Congressional Quarterly Inc., today announced it will team with leading wireless data services providers Aether Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: AETH) and Metrocall, Inc. (Nasdaq: MCLL), to provide interactive news alerts and other essential information to the nation's top journalists and party officials this summer at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia and the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.
The first-ever convention news service, called Pocket CQ-Alert, also will include an instant-messaging e-mail feature linked to CQ's Political Help Desk, allowing reporters to query CQ researchers for additional background material from any location in the convention cities.
CQ, Aether and Metrocall will provide 500 Motorola T900 two-way e-mail devices to premier political reporters, producers and newscasters for use during the two conventions. Journalists using the devices will receive frequent alerts on breaking convention news from CQ's team of on-site reporters, as well as real-time access to convention schedule changes.
Users will also be able to receive general and political news from CQ's campaign content partner, Washingtonpost.com, producer of the "OnPolitics" web portal.
"Pocket CQ-Alert will give the convention community real-time access to breaking stories inside and outside the convention hall, as well as finger-tip access to CQ's stable of political reporters, researchers and analysts," said CQ President and Publisher Robert W. Merry. "Competition to be first has never been more intense in political journalism--and by moving into publishing via wireless handheld devices, CQ and its subscribers can stay ahead in that race."
Under a joint agreement, Congressional Quarterly will staff both a news desk and help desk in the convention work areas. The professionals who staff these desks will provide breaking news and immediate answers to queries from working press, party officials and other CQ subscribers, who will receive Pocket CQ-Alert free of charge for the duration of the two conventions.
Metrocall will provide the two-way e-mail devices together with airtime. Aether will configure and distribute the devices for users, set up and manage the interface with the CQ desks and provide telephone support during the conventions.
"Wireless handheld devices are becoming a new delivery medium for publishers, changing the news industry in the same way it is transforming financial services, transportation, health care and other industries," said Aether Chairman and CEO David Oros. "We're excited to be working with Metrocall to provide this customized two-way messaging solution to Congressional Quarterly."
Stated William L. Collins III, Metrocall's chairman, president and CEO, "The myriad of news developments surrounding these conventions make Metrocall's nationwide two-way wireless data and messaging capabilities the ideal fit, as reporters from around the country on tight deadlines will receive updates and can communicate with one another via e-mail wirelessly. Metrocall, Aether and CQ together will deliver comprehensive news and information with the immediacy that these important political events demand."
The GOP convention will be held July 31 through August 3 in Philadelphia, while the Democratic event convenes August 14 -17 in Los Angeles.
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