“A reporter accused of being a CIA agent falls under me,” says Robert Christie, Vice President, Communications for Dow Jones, when talking about the various PR challenges he’s faced over the years. “And that has happened before.”
Christie has been with Dow Jones since 2003, during which he has seen the company’s in house PR team grow from two to six people, with offices in New York, London, Hong Kong and Beijing. He was previously with Sony Electronics. In terms of outside help, Dow Jones works primarily with New York-based agency Goodman Media, but also has various contracts for global work including with Ketchum-Pleon in Europe and Burson-Marsteller in India. Agencies bring a “fresh perspective” as well as “arms and legs,” he said.
Asked if PR should keep going with the “we’re cheaper than advertising” pitch during tough times, Christie agreed and said, “the PR option is a value added benefit, it helps get the message out but costs less,” than other marketing disciplines. He says the marketing budget at Dow Jones has not decreased. “We just keep spending and doing things.”
While the company name is Dow Jones, Christie acknowledged that The Wall Street Journal is “the property that defines the brand.”
Christie’s team monitors an average of 5,000 TV and radio appearances per year by Dow Jones employees.
But when it comes to pitching Dow Jones’ breaking news stories and intriguing editorial content to other reporters, Christie says the PR team lets reporters help them out. “Editors don’t want to hear from the PR department,” he said, adding that pitching breaking news and scoops is viewed as a “peer to peer activity.”
In terms of Q1 and Q2 plans, expect to see more enterprise products from Dow Jones such as this past fall’s “The Wall Street Journal Professional” offering.
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