How combining technology and human curation gives a PR advantage

When we launched our all-new Media Contacts Database in late 2016, we were on version 2.4.

We’re currently on version 5.5.

This is our real internal version numbering. It equates to 28 major releases in 20 months (and over 200 smaller ones). That’s how much our media database is evolving, and will continue to evolve as we strive to give our users the best UK media data with the fastest and most powerful user interface. The only way to achieve that is through constant innovation.

We never stop. New releases go live as often as every two weeks. That kind of iterative development, by our own team here in Croydon, south London, using agile development techniques, means our clients benefit from enhancements in our technology sooner and in a way that doesn’t interrupt their workflow.

An on-going area of development is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for journalist identification. We use machine-learning systems to identify journalists working at different media outlets and when they move from one to another. This helps us to ensure our database is comprehensive and it also means that for many of the biggest media outlets you can search by keyword in recent articles. That’s a powerful way to identify journalists based on what they are actually writing about as well as their ‘patch’ or biography.

But AI alone does not give you deep, quality media data. By combining this kind of technology with human curation you get depth as well as breadth. And I am in no doubt too that journalists prefer their media database profiles to be checked by real people rather than just being scraped by machines.

Another example of the power of combining technology with human curation is our recent enhancement allowing searching for journalists by their recent tweets. Finding someone who tweets something is easy, any social media monitoring software will do that. The extra value we offer is the marriage of that tweet data with deep, human validated, journalist contact profiles.

This doesn’t come cheap. Although I prefer to focus on clients rather than competitors I am certain we have the biggest media database research team in the UK – we have 21 fab media researchers here in our office in Croydon. These wonderful people are checking and adding to the database every minute of every working day.

We’re well known for our market-leading Journalist Enquiry Service, and our deep engagement with journalists helps us a great deal when it comes to maintaining our media database thanks to the recognition that ResponseSource works for them, not just for PR professionals. This network of thousands of journalists that actively use ResponseSource services is what sets us apart from other media intelligence providers. Some journalists are understandably anxious about what information exists about them in media databases, but, as a former journalist myself, I like to think that journalists feel that ResponseSource is on their side.

I’m really proud of our Media Contacts Database, sometimes however I think it lives in the shadow of our enormously successful Journalist Enquiry Service. I guess that’s why I wrote this post, to ‘big up’ a service that really gives our clients an edge for media relations.

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