Wednesday, March 4, 2015

LexisNexis to Launch NewsDesk Aggregation Platform: Cool Tools, Deep Content, Rich Analytics

Lexis was the first legal research product to offer a news database to lawyers when they created Nexis in 1980. They were the first to offer newsfeeds when they introduced “eclipse” in 1984. They took an early stab at creating a news aggregation platform when they introduced LexisNexis Publisher in 2000. They have strengthened their position in the legal market with a series of strategic news alliances ( Wall Street Journal, New York Times and American Lawyer Media publications) and the acquisition of the Law360 newsletters.

Moreover. Last October they announced the acquisition of a news aggregation platform called Moreover. Next month the Moreover platform will be re-launched after the addition of LexisNexis content and rebranded as LexisNexis Newsdesk. Lexis Nexis news is in the process of being added to the Moreover news database before the launch. Factiva, Law360, Court Link and other Lexis content will be added in the third quarter of this year. They will be also offering NewsDesk on a Mobile App.

The LexisNexis NewsDesk Dashboard

From Abstracts to Analytics. I have watched the delivery of digital news morph from  primitive beginnings.  In 1983 the New York Times Infobank  was at the cutting edge by offering dial up access to news "abstracts."  (That’s right, no full text –  you got a citation and a summary  --then you had to locate a copy of the actual newspaper to read the full story.) We have come a long way…. The Lexis Nexis NewsDesk is a  gob-smacking, marvel of interactive features and functions.  News aggregation is on the cusp of evolving from  offering very sophisticated news curation  and personalized delivery to a new tier of offering "news as a living and interactive source of insights and analytics."
Although NewsDesk  will be a “stand alone" product like Lexis Nexis Publisher, it will only be available to Lexis subscribers, for an additional subscription fee. Lexis will continue to offer news libraries to  legal product subscribers. but these will lack the functionality and analytics available in the Newsdesk platform. They are clearly  positioning the product to compete with independent aggregators such as Ozmosys, Manzama, InfoNgen. Attensa and Linex.

Content Includes

      LexisNexis licensed news sources, including exclusives like Factiva, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, ALM and more.

      Coverage across 55,000 editorially-maintained Web-based news sources from 150 countries in 75 languages.

      Key social media sites including blogs, forums, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube and more.

      National, cable and local TV broadcast video clips and associated transcripts.

      Third party premium content based on subscribers licenses.


      Near-real-time media monitoring with over 2,500 new links added per minute – categorized and searchable.

      Powerful search filters  to quickly refine results.

      User-friendly interface with a personalized dashboard, on-demand updates and searching –  available for admins and end-users.

      Curated and automated email delivery options, including alerts and fully branded newsletters.

      Flexible export formats (RSS, Atom, etc.) to integrate news on an internal webpage or portal, like SharePoint.

      Advanced media analytics for deeper insights with many charting options and full data download to Excel.

      Platform can manage both personal curated content and aggregated content for groups. 

Really Cool Tools and Unique Features

I have only seen a demo and I haven’t used the product myself but I am a sucker for products which offer intuitive interactivity  and rich analytics. Here are the features which really caught my attention.

  • Newsfeeds include video clips from news broadcasts
  • Video clips include transcripts
  • Foreign language stories are automatically translated into English
  • Semantic tools provide sentiment analysis allowing you to focus on negative or positive stories on a subject
  • Sentiment can be graphed!
  • Word clouds, time trends
  • The relevancy slider. Each story is scored by relevance and you can adjust relevance to increase or reduce the search results using a sliding bar.

Location Location Location

One of my big gripes about the loss of access to  “native Factiva” was the granularity of Factiva indexing. The deal Lexis Nexis struck with Dow Jones in 2005 which ended law firms' ability to subscribe directly to either Factiva or to get corporate accounts for the Wall Street Journal. Factiva was loaded into Nexis and despite assurances, much of the power of the Factiva indexing was lost on the Lexis platform. Factiva coding of stories allowed you to  select stories based on both the geographic location of a publication and the geographic location of the subject. Without this coding it is extremely difficult to locate stories in Japanese news sources about Toyota plants in the US. Lexis assures me that the Moreover platform will support this kind of granular distinction in creating alerts.

Third Party Aggregation

The Moreover Platform can accept and redistribute feeds from third party publishers. According to Lexis it will be up to each publisher to determine if they will allow Lexis to redistribute the feeds. So in theory  -- the Lexis News Desk platform may be able to deliver feeds from Lexis major competitors, Thomson Reuters, BloombergBNA and Wolters Kluwer.

Getting Social: Share of Voice

The Moreover analytics are impressive. Administrators and end users can interact with and analyze news using a variety of visual tools.
  • Charts can show “share of voice”
  • Maps will show geographic concentration of coverage of a topic by state
  • Timetrends will show spikes in news coverage
  • Word clouds allow you to select a subset of stories on a particular issue
  • RSS feeds can be posted with charts to show trends

It is simply not possible to describe all the analytics or functions I observed in an hour long demonstration. I will summarize by saying that  anyone in the market for an aggregation platform should take a close look at the LexisNexis News Desk.

There is only one feature which I identified, that is available in competitors  and which NewsDesk doesn’t currently offer. NewsDesk does not currently allow end users to “unsubscribe” to selected content in their personal newsletters. And it does offer some unique features which I haven’t seen in competitor products.

Competition is the mother of better products.  As of 10pm on March 3, 2015, Lexis appears to be positioned to leapfrog over many of today’s dominant aggregation players. But it’s a horse race and law firms can only benefit from the fierce competition in this space. We can expect the products to keep getting easier, smarter and offer ever deeper analytic and even predictive capabilities.


  1. Yes, but will it work? If LexisAdvance is any indication, the other aggregation products have nothing to worry about.

  2. When I saw this product at LegalTech I inquired about content integration, as Lexis has had a hard time migrating content to Lexis Advance. I was informed that Factiva and the majority of Lexis' news content will not make it on to Newsdesk until approximately Q3 '15. Thereby making it just a flashy aggregator (why are people so impressed by colorful graphs and pie charts?) with very little upside at the moment. Additionally, it was indicated that those accustomed to the LN Publisher price point would see an increase to accommodate and offset the purchase and integration of Moreover's technology.

  3. I hope LexisNexis News Desk will do a good job of removing duplicate stories. Currently duplicate stories (e.g. different editions of newspaper or same story but one with company info at end and the other without) create a lot of noise in the daily updates for a particular topic.