Safeguarding the News Release Process in an Age of Rapid Information Sharing
Published on November 28th, 2012 by Renee Sylvestre-Williams
Hundreds of thousands of news releases are distributed by wire services every year and the incidences of security violation or fraudulent releases are very rare. Unfortunately, breaches do occur and that is why we all have extensive processes in place to ensure a level of comfort and security for our clients.
It’s imperative to have a rigorous authentication and proofing system, with numerous checks and balances, prior to news release distribution. The Marketwire editorial process, which applies to every release issued through our distribution system, is much more than just checking for spelling and grammatical mistakes – it’s essentially the protectorate of your brand. Brands can be tarnished without quality editorial processes. Even small mistakes can be damaging, as they lead to embarrassment and the potential for reporting misinformation. Ensuring timely, accurate distribution is critical, because many news releases involve time-sensitive, market-moving information, such as quarterly results or acquisitions. Ultimately, the content of any release is the client’s responsibility; however, we do everything possible to ensure its accuracy.
We know there is little room for error in an age of public conversation and rapid information sharing: our business demands a delicate balance of speed and accuracy. Therefore, we work to safeguard client information with a multi-step process to prevent errors, leaked information and other costly mistakes.
- We conduct a background check based on a client application to ensure the legitimacy of its organization and key contacts.
- When a client submits a news release, a security code is assigned to the release and sent via email to the submitter. Within 15 minutes of submission, an editor confirms receipt and verifies the code with the client as well as the headline, dateline and release contact.
- Two editors review each release for obvious spelling, grammatical or numerical errors, incorrect links, or any other anomalies they notice.
- For releases from companies that include a ticker symbol other than their own, Marketwire requires written permission from that company prior to distribution.
- Should our editors discover anything questionable or an error in the release, the key editor contacts the client immediately for verification and input.
- Clients are able to preview the release online for a final check and review formatting prior to distribution at the specified time.
There are often multiple client changes to the release during this approval process before the release reaches Marketwire. By the time we get an earnings release, for example, there have typically been numerous versions and sometimes it’s not final until half an hour before it goes out. The Marketwire editorial process, therefore, is critical. This fresh perspective helps to catch errors that a client might otherwise miss.
This happens more frequently than you might think. A few of the more common errors we catch during the process and prior to distribution include:
- Using outdated information such as a link to a previous quarter’s earning
- Using a link to an incorrect website
- Mismatched financial figures
- Incorrect dates and numbers
Clients and their stakeholders rely on newswire services for accuracy, timeliness and authenticity, and that requires careful attention to detail. Overall, the frequency of security violation or fraud across our entire industry is very low, which demonstrates an effective approach in place. However, nothing is ever perfect for any process; that is why we are always striving for improvement and training our teams to prevent and catch what could be costly errors for our customers.