NewsEdge (http://www.newsedge.com) subscribers concerned about the effect of the company's acquisition by Dialog Corp. had those fears allayed by the introduction of NewsEdge Insight 6.0. Combining technology with human acumen, Insight 6.0 promises same-day updating of some 15 industry-specific vertical market SmartWires. The industries covered are pharmaceutical; telecommunications; financial services; advertising and public relations; accounting, consulting, and legal services; automotive; banking; chemicals; computer equipment; healthcare; Internet; legal; oil and gas; regulatory; and semiconductors. Clicking on the News tab at the top left-hand corner of the screen brings up those topics to which the customer subscribes, with wire story headlines in the top pane and the full text in the bottom pane.
Editorial intervention assures that the stories are, in fact, on target. David Stewart, NewsEdge editor in chief, said: "We've learned from more than a decade of experience, reviewing hundreds of millions of news stories, that the human touch is vital in organizing news for true intelligence. We're proud that the NewsEdge Editors' Desk is the core differentiator of the NewsEdge product offering." Although NewsEdge is also well-known for its automated taxonomy building, it does not depend solely upon an automated solution. It's the human touch that keeps the taxonomies up-to-date and appropriately deployed.
Clicking on Editor's Page brings up top business and top world news, items not displayed willy-nilly but selected by the editorial staff. In addition to general news, customers can click on a NewsDesk industry category for related news that's drawn from hundreds of sources. The newspaper model works well for this portion of Insight 6.0, as does the magazine model for the industry news. With a cover story and breaking news chosen by editors, it gives the impression of a current industry e-zine. Stories do not automatically refresh; the replacement of one cover story by another is mandated by the editor, not the digital news feed.
Also new to Insight 6.0 is the addition of archival information. The Archive tab takes customers to an extensive news archive that provides contextual and historic backup to the real-time news in the SmartWires, allowing customers to synthesize old and new. Included in the searchable archive are millions of documents from thousands of sources, such as trade press, business journals, newspapers, research studies, and analyst reports. Cliff Pollan, NewsEdge CEO, believes that this mixture helps customers overcome both information overload and information overlook. "NewsEdge Insight 6.0 ensures that important, timely, and relevant news isn't missed and everyday decisions can be made with confidence."
NewsEdge's editorial staff of about 40 is also involved in both behind-the-scenes taxonomy work and consulting. The latter works with clients to customize NewsEdge for a particular customer base. According to marketing vice president David Scott, Insight 6.0 is designed to make the editorial staff more visible in order to capitalize on the expertise they bring that makes the product more robust. Or, as he quaintly put it, "We're starting to surface our editors." For those who labor in the editorial departments of news organizations, this announcement has a special poignancy as it acknowledges the value of editorial judgment and insight.
Customers were advised of the upgrade 2 weeks ago and approximately half are now using Insight 6.0. Scott notes that it's much easier to upgrade customers who use NewsEdge as their host. For those who host NewsEdge on their internal client/servers, the process could take as long as several months.
In the planning stages prior to the acquisition, Insight 6.0 changed somewhat. Scott says: "Now we look at content more widely, with a more inclusive view towards integrating content. As part of Dialog, we reworked our original upgrade plan. With the added resources at Thomson, we accelerated the process. Plus, there's still stuff on the horizon."
The biggest roadblock to content integration appears to be pricing. Reconciling various pricing algorithms, particularly with Dialog's prior missteps in this area, requires considerable study, not to mention tact. How to price information has always been a dark art. Both Dialog and NewsEdge executives are cautious in trying to integrate content when the pricing of that content integration might bring disapproval from customers. Scott acknowledges that it will "take longer to sort out, which is why there's been no announcement of combined content offerings."
It would seem, though, that the introduction of NewsEdge's Insight 6.0 is compatible with the ongoing strategy of content integration and new product development as articulated both by Dialog (http://www.dialog.com) and its parent, Thomson (http://www.thomson.com).