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Dialog Revamps NewsEdge Service
Posted On September 3, 2002
NewsEdge (, acquired by Thomson Corp. in September 2001, has integrated its operations with Dialog, its new parent company within Thomson. The corporate current awareness and news-alerting service has been upgraded and relaunched as Dialog NewsEdge. The upgrade includes substantial real-time capabilities as well as expanded coverage. At the same time, Dialog announced the appointment of Cliff Pollan, one of NewsEdge's 1989 co-founders and its last CEO as an independent company, as Dialog's executive vice president for strategy and alliances.

As with NewsEdge, Dialog NewsEdge provides current news, analysis, and research culled from several thousand sources worldwide. Editors specializing in individual industry sectors continue to process the material and provide relevance ranking. Enterprises that subscribe to the service may further customize the news feeds to meet the needs of individual users and departments (e.g., by selecting specific content feeds). Dialog prices the subscription service according to the number of individuals within the organization who are authorized to use the Web-based service.

The relaunched Dialog NewsEdge includes the following:

  • Real-time news that's updated throughout the day
  • Direct searching of archived articles from over 2,000 global sources that are covered by Dialog NewsEdge
  • The option for users who refer articles to colleagues to add their own comments and descriptions
  • Automated relevance ranking
The eight vertical markets initially targeted for Dialog NewsEdge are Aerospace/Defense, Biotech, Healthcare, Information Technology, Oil and Gas, Pharmaceutical, Telecom, and Utilities. Within those vertical market segments the product is aimed at horizontal markets, and in particular at PR professionals, strategic planners, senior executives, and information professionals.

Pollan said that the differences between the old NewsEdge and Dialog NewsEdge are concentrated in a couple of areas. Users would now see news merged from industry, product, and subject areas. Dialog has organized all topical areas by industry for a perspective "right out of the box." Extended editorial capabilities will allow staff members to update all 2,000 of the topical areas "instantaneously. Before it was only once a day. Now we can cover breaking news throughout the day. In the past users interested in that kind of currency had to build their own filters."

Pollan said: "Our customers and friends in the information industry no doubt have wondered how the integration of NewsEdge into Dialog would be manifested. The launch of Dialog NewsEdge represents the first of what we expect will be a series of significant innovations stemming from the combination of our two great companies."

In his new position, Pollan reports to Dialog president and CEO Roy M. Martin Jr. Pollan will have global responsibility to coordinate all business development activities, including acquisitions and new ventures, as well as operating responsibilities for alliances and third-party relationships. He also coordinates overall strategy development for Dialog.

In announcing Pollan's appointment, Martin said: "The area of alliances offers an incredible opportunity for Dialog at this point in our company's history, both within and outside the Thomson family of companies. The appointment of Cliff Pollan to this new, strategic position will allow us to integrate all alliance-related efforts worldwide."

I asked Pollan what it felt like to move from a small company to a large, established concern owned by an even larger, older mega-corporation. He pointed out that NewsEdge had some 350 employees, "close-knit colleagues with a sense of mission," but that Dialog itself, with around 1,000 employees, was not that huge and had a similar feeling of connection and mission. On the other hand, Thomson, a 50,000-employee company, offered the biggest change, but Pollan said it was "fun to have all the resources and capabilities [that] Thomson brings. It's definitely a big adjustment for me, but enjoyable and positive."

Pollan felt the method Dialog used to handle its NewsEdge acquisition exemplified a "very deliberate approach to lay out a careful strategy" by applying the "patience and energy" needed to make it work. "The Dialog NewsEdge product is targeting to information professionals and key end-users in marketing, sales, competitive intelligence, etc. We have an enormous focus on building the right products and solutions for the right needs of the right users." Pollan believes that you can't build a system "so [that] only power users get the good results. The biggest issue in products is to create and maintain a phenomenal out-of-the-box experience for users and build on that."

Pollan added: "What excites me at Dialog is that we have one of the richest, broadest, deepest collections in the industry. It is literally unmatched. Our job at Dialog is to match the diverse set of our content with the right applications for the right users. I want us to have a user application focus. It's given that we have the best collection, but we must meet the needs of users."

The integration process for Dialog NewsEdge has apparently only begun. Pollan indicated that the company plans to connect the new Dialog NewsRoom pool of data—some 6,700 sources—to NewsEdge in a fall release. This will give Dialog NewsEdge a "good, robust archive that matches well to any commercial archive." Dialog NewsEdge also plans to expand the use of Dialog's collection of online business directories to hone NewsEdge corporate taxonomies. For smaller users, the company may co-develop Dialog NewsEdge with the DialogPRO service, which is targeted and priced for smaller companies and individuals.

The company has opened a 30-day free trial offer to Dialog NewsEdge (

Barbara Quint was senior editor of Online Searcher, co-editor of The Information Advisor’s Guide to Internet Research, and a columnist for Information Today.

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