LCI Blog: MediaMonday – Zack Fornaca, Senior Newsroom Supervisor at Business Wire

New PictureWhat’s your role at Business Wire?
I’m the senior newsroom supervisor overseeing the newsroom in our San Francisco office. We’ve got dozens of editors in rotating shifts, covering all hours of the day. Like the rest of my team, I work on press releases for everything from small companies just getting started to some of the biggest companies in the world – and everything else in between. FDA’s Michael Manis approvals, shareholder disputes, holiday sales, public policy, you name it. It’s a crazy mix, but it keeps things interesting.

Describe a typical day in the Business Wire newsroom.
It can go from serene to bustling at a moment’s notice. Our clients make the news and our job is to make sure we’re ready at all times to facilitate the clean distribution of that news. We might have a quiet Wednesday afternoon, or a bustling Sunday morning. We have so many clients making so many announcements that the job is nothing if unpredictable.

What types of errors/typos do Business Wire editors catch the most in press releases?
A lot of the errors we catch are the result of incomplete changes a client has made to a release. For example, a footnote could be removed but the reference to the footnote was retained, or a multi-paragraph quote could be cut down to one paragraph but the quote attribution might be dropped in the process. Rewriting is arguably more complicated than writing and many errors are introduced that way.

Of course, knowing what kinds of errors to look out for is essential for us but it can be very helpful for our clients too, which is why we actually have an entire Top Ten we’ve shared.

Tell us about one of the wackiest press releases you’ve ever seen cross the wire.
One person’s wacky is another person’s essential, but I can tell you I got a lot of joy out of a Smart Marketing Page promoting the Wearable Towel and the subsequent press release announcing that the product had been licensed for sale in Japan. It’s a towel that can be worn toga style or tunic style, so it’s more secure than a traditional towel if you want to run out and grab the paper right after taking a shower, for example. Do I own one? No, but I’m glad I live in a world where I could.

What is your biggest PR pet peeve?
Late breaking changes to press releases are a fact of life in the business, but I can’t deny that I much prefer being able to work with a final approved version from the get-go.

What advice would you give to PR agencies about working with Business Wire? Tell us what you need! We have thousands of clients and no two are the same. The better we know you, the better we can serve you.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in a Los Angeles suburb called Torrance, close to the mighty Del Amo Fashion Center. For most of my childhood that was the largest mall in America, right up until they built the aptly-named Mall of America. I’m happily settled in the Bay Area now but I have a soft spot for suburban megamall chain store commercialism that a lot of my neighbors don’t share. LA has great food too, although I couldn’t leave San Francisco sourdough or coffee behind. I got so into the local coffee culture that I started roasting my own just as a cost reduction strategy. Coffee’s expensive! Worth it, necessary and the water of life – but also expensive.

Questions or comments? Please leave them in the comments section below!

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5 Comments

  1. David Landis Reply

    Thanks, Zack. My pet peeve is one of yours: it’s vs. its. They are definitely NOT the same. Thanks for the post. Cheers, David

  2. David Cumpston Reply

    Hi Zack, thanks so much for taking time to share insight into a company that many PR pros depend on every day but few understand what happens behind the scenes. Your post was informative and entertaining at the same time.

  3. Hilary Burns Reply

    Hi Zack! Thank you for a great blog. I enjoyed reading about the “Wearable Towel”–how funny! Cheers, Hilary

  4. Kendra Lee Reply

    Thanks Zack! It was fun for me to get to know someone a little bit better who I interact with on a daily basis. I cannot live without my coffee…I will have to give your homemade brew a try! And thank you also for the holiday shopping tip – I will plan on buying my friends and family “Wearable Towels” this holiday season!

  5. Manny Alcantar Reply

    Thanks for the encouraging interview, Zack. I’ve always been under the impression that people–competent or not–land certain higher-up positions based on looks. But after seeing your mug, I’m confident even the most aesthetically deficient people, such as myself, can achieve anything. Thanks again!