Suppose a corporate lawyer's clients include a dozen major, mostly
public, companies. When news about lawsuits, regulatory issues or
major corporate events breaks, it appears in The
Wall Street Journal, The New York
Times and other national newspapers. If it's
big news, it may also appear on television news networks
such as CNN, MSNBC or ABC.
Previously, the lawyer kept current by reading
The Wall Street Journal and scanning
industry newsletters or reporting services. Sometimes she heard news
from her clients first.
Now she wants to know about it before the client calls. She sets up
an e-mail alerting service with LexisNexis or Westlaw. She begins
receiving daily e-mails containing dozens of news stories about her
clients, many of which repeat news she has already read in
The Wall Street Journal or
The New York Times
(Both services now have features to
turn off duplicate news stories.). In fact, many of the
stories report on the same event. Many also reproduce the same
Associated Press or Reuters story.
matter of days, the lawyer succumbs to
information overload, cancels the service and returns to doing what
she has always done. She can live with hearing the news from the
In this situation, a more
focused and timely approach would keep the lawyer informed without
inundating her. Since she reads The
Wall Street Journal, she should begin by setting up a keyword
alerting service on Factiva. The
Wall Street Journal
Online offers an e-mail alerting service for fixed topics only.
Factiva provides same day access to The
Wall Street Journal. Because the lawyer already reads the
newspaper, she should be able to scan matching headlines quickly for
anything she might have missed.
She can opt
to expand the sources covered by the alerting service by selecting a
broader group of publications. Factiva's Major News and Business
Publications, for example, covers BusinessWeek, Forbes,
The New York Times and several other major news sources in
addition to Dow Jones publications.
up broadcasts by CNN and other major news networks, she could
subscribe to a niche service such as
which monitors live and archived televised programs for
mention of your keyword, and then delivers the matching segments
As an alternative to these costly tracking
services, the lawyer could supplement monitoring
The Wall Street Journal with Factiva
by subscribing to select low-cost or free alerting services. Many of
these alert subscribers to the news more quickly than the
traditional aggregators. However, they do not necessarily offer the
same search power.
In the case of the corporate lawyer, services
The New York Times Tracker (low-cost),
(free), Yahoo News
Alerts (free) or
Alerts (free) might come in handy. Each enables keyword tracking
and provides customizable delivery options. But the more alerting
services you set up, the higher your chances of becoming inundated
with stories that are of little relevance,
or that you have already seen.
you have a high tolerance for receiving lots of news,
provided at least some of it is relevant? Several media sources or
aggregators offer alerting services that track news by keyword.
Those not offered by a major research service,
such as Factiva or LexisNexis,
provide minimal search power. Typically, you can search by
a single keyword or
phrase, or by connecting search terms with
the Boolean "and,"
"or" or "not."
Often the search engine loosely interprets your terms so that news
mentioning "West Virginia" matches a query for "Westlaw."
Nonetheless, these services are likely to alert you to news of
potential interest faster than the traditional research systems.
Yahoo News Alerts, for example, lets you track about 40 sources by
keyword, including Associated Press, Reuters, major press release
services, and major and regional
newspapers. You can opt to receive immediate delivery of matching
items or daily delivery at a specific hour.
CBS MarketWatch, a business and financial news reporting service,
lets you track the news for up to 25 keyword queries. Sources
include CBS MarketWatch News, news services such
as Reuters, Associated Press, Knight Ridder and theDeal.com,
as well as press release services.
business news service,
gives searchers access to thousands of online news and industry
sources through its software, Rocketinfo Desktop. Sources include
traditional news media as well as Weblogs, books, market research
reports and more. You can set up keyword queries that automatically
update when you activate the software. With the built-in e-mail
feature, you can also comment on specific news stories and send them
A unique service,
monitors multiple Web-based sources, alerts you
to stories that match
your keywords and lets you annotate them for publication on
your Weblog, intranet or Web site. You can even deliver the news
stories you annotate in a single e-mail message to clients. Of the
free or low-cost sources mentioned, Nexcerpt delivers more local or
If you rely on a specific news
source, review its Web site for a keyword alerting service.
Though still new, an increasing number of
publishers are providing them.
Director greets Lawyer X as they pass in the hall. "Oh, by the way,"
he begins, remembering the suggestions
Lawyer X gave him, "You were right about different groups wanting
different things when it comes to receiving news about clients."
"So how did it go?" Lawyer X asks.
"We're going to
work with Lexis to set up some industry trackers on our intranet as
a test. We're also preparing a memo for all lawyers to let them know
about the free and low-cost services available
"Sounds like a plan," Lawyer X
comments before continuing on his way.