The Belo Corp. is familiar to those of us in the Dallas area, since it owns the Dallas Morning News and its Web site, dallasnews.com, and WFAA-TV (ABC). However, its reach is nationwide as one of the largest media companies with a diversified group of television broadcasting, newspaper publishing, cable news, and electronic media assets. So, when a press release came through with the Belo name mentioned, I paid attention.
An Internet company based in Florida, dbusiness.com, has announced an agreement with Belo Interactive, the Internet subsidiary of Belo Corp., for dbusiness.com to provide local breaking business news, emerging company news, and local press releases to Belo's 31 online properties across the country. Each site will carry five breaking local business news headlines per day in the business channels of their network of city-specific sites and will link to the stories residing on dbusiness.com.
Belo Interactive president Jim Moroney III said: "In many of our markets dbusiness.com provides an outstanding supplement to our news coverage. Their focus on emerging companies is right on target with Belo Interactive's mission of delivering comprehensive local reporting."
The syndication of its news headlines is a very smart move for the young company. For dbusiness.com, the agreement is a major boost to extending its brand recognition by reaching the highly trafficked Belo sites with its vast business audiences. It should also pull some traffic over to its own network of sites (http://www.dbusiness.com). dbusiness has agreements for distribution of its unique content to other media sites, including the network of Cox Interactive Media sites and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and is probably lining up others.
I found that the news coverage on the dbusiness site for Dallas provided some unique stories and a nice complement to the coverage over on the dallasnews.com site. It was also easier than looking at dallasnews.com—a general site offering sports, entertainment, and many other kinds of news and information—and clicking through to get to the area with local business news.
The company employs its own network of reporters and editors in each of the major city markets that it serves. It currently provides coverage in 25 cities and expects to grow to over 38 by December 2000. Besides Dallas, its markets include Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York, Orange County (California), Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Research Triangle Park (North Carolina), San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, South Florida, Tampa Bay, and Washington/Northern Virginia.
Over on the dbusiness.com sites, there's more than just news reports. The company aims to be a comprehensive business resource tool for small businesses and provides several "Research and Information Tools." The Venture Tracker offers detailed information on emerging companies, including financing, competitors, partners, and contact information. There are also daily e-mail alerts that include news and stock market updates, and press release tracking. The sites also provide some e-commerce tools, such as local business auctions, and a mall listing local merchants and services.
dbusiness.com also publishes digitalsouth magazine (http://www.digitalsouth.com), billed as "the only publication that covers leading-edge technology companies, venture capital, and finance from the Mason-Dixon Line to the Florida Keys and west to Austin, Texas."
Of course, searchers have other options for local business news and analysis, and now much of what used to be premium-priced content (on services like Nexis, Dow Jones, and Dialog) can be accessed for free on the Web. For example, the Dallas Business Journal (http://www.bizjournals.com/dallas) is just one of 41 weekly city business journals published by American City Business Journals, Inc. (http://www.bizjournals.com). Not everything from the print makes it to the Web sites, and the archives go back just a few years, but the sites are excellent resources for current coverage of the local business scene.
So, while our screens and print newspapers may seem to be dominated by news from Washington or Silicon Valley, the local business scene is vibrant and booming, and access to information continues to improve.