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Reuters Builds Niche Community Sites
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Posted On June 1, 2009
The press release from Reuters announced that it was launching a new small business community site within Reuters.com (http://reuters.com/smallbusiness) that would offer breaking news, commentary, videos, a blog, and exclusive access to the FindLaw Small Business Resource Center. Of course, I was interested. But the more striking piece of news was that the site is "one of a series of sites that will be launched to provide our niche communities easy access to relevant information." A look back in the press release archive showed that in late April, Reuters launched an online green business community, accessible at http://reuters.com/greenbusiness. (Oops, how did I miss that one?)

The free resources available to the public through Reuters.com have been steadily growing. I was surprised at the results of my investigation into the various components of the site. It now offers quite a rich array of resources, organized broadly by two major categories of News and Business & Finance. Under the Business & Finance section (www.reuters.com/finance) are the new small business site and the green business site as well as special sites for deals, industries, stocks, funds, currencies, and more-each further subdivided-plus a section focused on the economy. It is visually rich with excellent explanatory graphs, charts, photos, and videos.

Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, claims to be the world's largest international multimedia news provider touching more than 1 billion people a day. Reuters provides business, financial, national, and international news to professionals via Thomson Reuters desktops to the world's media organizations and directly to business professionals through Reuters.com and other digital platforms.

With its vast stores of content plus distribution deals with other content providers, it's a natural step to offer carefully chosen segments wrapped in a niche community format. Commenting on the launch of the small business site, Alisa Bowen, senior vice president, consumer publishing, says, "Thomson Reuters has been providing indispensible news and information to entrepreneurs for decades. With the creation of this online destination within Reuters.com, we're bringing all our resources to bear in one location and creating a community where small business owners can quickly access the must-have knowledge they need to make smart decisions and navigate market challenges."

Besides the content from Reuters' journalists, the small business site includes content from partners such as BNET; Entrepreneur; Greener World Media; IDG's CIO, PC World, Network World, and Computerworld; and Wired. Additionally, a small business blog (http://blogs.reuters.com/small-business) edited by Reuters' journalist Jon Cook, addresses timely issues and events affecting small businesses.

The Reuters online green business community provides Reuters breaking news, commentary, videos, and data-along with analysis from key contributing industry partners including CNET; Earth2Tech (GigaOM); Greener World Media; IDG's CIO, PC World, Network World, and Computerworld; Matter Network; and Wired. Topics covered include green technology, energy and building solutions, carbon emissions, green investing, and more. The site claims an exclusive feature-the Reuters Global Green Portfolio-that tracks the performance of companies taking the lead in environmental advancements. The portfolio is interactive, designed to facilitate dialogue and debate around key issues and trends driving green opportunities.

Bowen says that the company's first vertical community site on Reuters.com was actually introduced late last year for Deals (www.reuters.com/finance/deals). The company definitely has specific plans to expand to other areas, but it's not ready to specify which areas at this point. She did indicate that it would build in areas where Thomson Reuters already has a robust business built around a niche-such as in the legal, healthcare, scientific, and the media communities. Important considerations include areas where the company has unique editorial expertise, brand leverage, and where there would be commercial viability with advertiser interest. She also says the company is working hard to provide data visualizations that can prove actionable to users.

Niche community offerings aren't unique to Reuters, of course. For example, there are other valuable sites for small business information that should be used along with the more news- and community-oriented features of the Reuters' site. One is Business.gov, an official site of the federal government that helps small businesses understand their legal requirements and locate government services supporting the nation's small business community. It also offers community forums and expert commentary (http://community.business.gov/bsng). Another is the site from the Small Business Administration (www.sba.gov), which offers a variety of tools, services, and links to resources.

AllBusiness, a subsidiary of Dun & Bradstreet, offers news and resources of interest to small businesses and budding entrepreneurs. The comprehensive site (www.allbusiness.com) includes blogs, videos, forms, expert advice, journal articles, company profiles, and more.

Small business users may also be lucky enough to find that their public library subscribes to a resource such as Gale's Small Business Resource Center (www.gale.cengage.com/SmallBusiness/explore.htm). This would add the layer of reference and periodical content (including encyclopedias, handbooks, books, business plans, and business journals) that would nicely complement the free information and community features available from Reuters.

The bottom line is that users of all kinds are benefiting from the expanding array of resources and niche community sites. And it's clear that Reuters intends to be a top resource for business users at all levels.


Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.


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