PR Newswire was a distributor of press releases headquartered in New York City.[2] The service was created in 1954 to allow companies to electronically send press releases to news organizations, at first using teleprinters. The founder, Herbert Muschel, operated the service from his house in Manhattan for approximately 15 years. The business was eventually sold to Western Union and then United Newspapers of London.[3] In December 2015, Cision Inc. announced it would acquire the company.[4] On January 1, 2021, Cision formally merged PR Newswire into the company, ending its status as a legal entity after 66 years. Cision plans to continue utilizing the brand name for the foreseeable future in the United States, as well as in Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions.

PR Newswire
  • Publications
  • communications
FoundedMarch 8, 1954 (1954-03-08)
FounderHerbert Muschel
DefunctJanuary 1, 2021 (2021-01-01)
FateAbsorbed by Cision Inc.
350 Hudson Street, Suite 300 New York City, New York
United States 10014-4504[1]
ProductsNewswire service
ParentWestern Union (1971–1982)
United Newspapers (1982–2015)
Cision (since 2015)


PR Newswire was founded in March 1954 by Herbert Muschel, who ran the business from his town house in New York City for the first 15 years of its operation.[5][3] The company used telecommunications lines and teleprinters owned by Western Union to distribute content to a dozen news organizations in New York.[3] Its first customer was Trans World Airlines.[3]

In 1963, Muschel recruited David Steinberg of the New York Herald Tribune to take a management position with the company after the 1962–1963 New York City newspaper strike.[6] Muschel had been impressed by Steinberg's use of the service to report financial news during the strike without using reporters.[6]

Muschel sold 81% of the company to Western Union in 1970 for over 60 thousand shares of letter stock,[7] with Muschel and Steinberg continuing to manage the company after the acquisition.[8] Steingberg served as vice president and chief of operations, and became president of the company in 1976.[6][9]

In 1977, PR Newswire began using electronic terminals for copy editing.[citation needed]

By 1978, PR Newswire distributed content to approximately 250 news points and financial institutions in 75 cities using 12,000 miles of private transmission lines.[6] In addition to its New York headquarters, the service also sent content from offices in Boston, Miami, Los Angeles, and San Francisco at a rate of 150 words per minute.[6]

In 1982, the company was sold to United Newspapers of London for $9.5 million.[10] PR Newswire acquired Mediawire in 1983, expanding the company's reach into over 125 newsrooms in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, and West Virginia.[10] The company acquired Intermedia Group in 1985, incorporating its regional news wires in Washington, D.C., Michigan, Ohio, and Georgia.[11]

ABC-TV and Indesys partnered with PR Newswire in 1989 to provide news feeds to television and entertainment editors and writers in the U.S. and Canada.[12] Program changes, production schedules, and news from entertainment sources were transmitted over a satellite distribution network and an FM subcarrier.[12]

Steinberg retired in 1992, but continued as vice chairman until 2002.[13] During his tenure, the service became a state-of-the-art communications network with 700 employees.[13]

In 2000 the company acquired eWatch, founded in 1995 as an automated service to monitor websites, chat rooms, Usenet groups, web publications, online service forums and investor message boards for mentions of a specific organization, issue, product or service. In 2001, PR Newswire issued a multimedia news release for Touchstone Pictures promoting the film Pearl Harbor, which included b-roll, soundbites, high resolution images, and film trailer.[14] On April 17, 2007, PR Newswire acquired Vintage Filings.[15]

In December 2008, PR Newswire moved its New York City corporate headquarters from Midtown Manhattan to Lower Manhattan, at 350 Hudson Street.[1] In mid-2009, PR Newswire acquired The Fuel Team.[16] The largest competitor to PR Newswire is Business Wire, as of 2014 and PR News Journal as of 2018.[17] On December 15, 2015, PR Newswire was sold to global media intelligence company, Cision, for $841 million.[4] The transaction, which required approval by the shareholders of UBM plc as well as regulatory approvals, was expected to close late in the first quarter of 2016. As of June 2016 (closing date of the deal) it became a subsidiary of Cision.[2] As of 2013, the PR newswire database included 10,700 syndicated websites and had 800,000 journalists and influencers in its network.[17]

In the 2010s, PR Newswire and its competitor Business Wire were the target of extensive successful attacks by Ukrainian hackers, who accessed not yet published press releases to enable insider trading.[18] According to the FBI, the case was the world's largest known computer hacking and securities fraud, with profits exceeding $100 million in those trades that were made public by the SEC alone, but believed to be vastly higher than that by the authorities.[18]

In 2021, there are unconfirmed reports that parent company Cision are looking to spin off PR Newswire driven by Cision-majority owner Platinum Equity.[19]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Worldwide Offices - New York Headquarters". PR Newswire Association LLC. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Todd Spangler (June 17, 2016). "PR Newswire CEO Bob Gray to Exit as Cision Completes $841 Million Acquisition". Variety. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Abelson, Reed (November 5, 2003). "Herbert Muschel, 85, Founder Of Service for Corporate News". The New York Times. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  4. ^ a b Bray, Chad (December 15, 2015). "PR Newswire Sold to Cision for $841 Million". The New York Times. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  5. ^ "About PR Newswire". PR Newswire. Archived from the original on 25 June 2012. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e Thompson, Geoffrey (April 30, 1978). "Producing packaged information". The Herald Statesman. 115 (171). pp. F1–F2.
  7. ^ "Western Union To Buy 81 Per Cent Of PR Newswire". The Pittsburgh Press. 86 (254) (Sunday ed.). March 8, 1970. p. 14-2 – via
  8. ^ "WU Acquires 81 Percent of PR Newswire". San Francisco Examiner. 105 (235) (9 Star Final ed.). Dow Jones Newswire. March 13, 1970. p. 60 – via
  9. ^ "Steinberg". The Herald Statesman. 113 (179). June 9, 1976. p. 44 – via
  10. ^ a b Rouse, Ewart (July 22, 1983). "National service to acquire Phila.'s Mediawire". The Philadelphia Inquirer. 309 (22) (Sports Final ed.). p. 9-C – via
  11. ^ "PR Newswire buys Intermedia Group". The Atlanta Constitution (Sports Final ed.). November 5, 1985. p. 2-C – via
  12. ^ a b "Wire Service Joint Venture". The New York Times. CXXXVIII (47908). Associated Press. June 21, 1989. p. D19.
  13. ^ a b Steinberg, Michael (March 17, 2017). "David Steinberg, former chief executive of PR Newswire and chairman of Canada Newswire, dies at 85". Cision. Retrieved October 12, 2021.
  14. ^ "Touchstone Pictures' "Pearl Harbor" Premieres". Archived from the original on August 23, 2002.
  15. ^ "United Business Media acquires Vintage Filings, LLC". April 18, 2007. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  16. ^ "PR Newswire Acquires Leading Online News Room Hosting Company, The Fuel Team". PR Newswire. July 31, 2009. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  17. ^ a b "UBM plc Annual Report and Accounts 2013" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 May 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  18. ^ a b Koshiw, Isobel (2018-08-22). "How a hacker network turned stolen press releases into $100 million". The Verge. Retrieved 2019-12-23.
  19. ^ "Cision may be looking to spin off PR Newswire, report says". SeekingAlpha. Retrieved 2021-04-07.

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