It’s a truism of our modern media that news breaks on Twitter.
Realwire, a media intelligence firm based in Lincoln and Newcastle, UK has developed a tool to enable public relation practitioners to find, listen and monitor news sources in a structured way. Lissted is a web application based on a curated list of journalists, media professionals and outlets on Twitter.
Users can search the so-called Lisst for the relevant media that cover a sector, find mentions of specific topics and set-up alerts.
Monitoring media on Twitter
The Lisst currently consists of 12,000 UK and US sources and sucks in the Twitter firehouse for each account. Data can be scrutinised by account type (individual or outlet), sector, geography and time period.
Realwire has worked with the industry to develop Lissted. I’ve been vocal in my opinion whenever asked for comment by Realwire’s CEO Adam Parker during its development and have been road testing the app for a couple of weeks.
It’s by no means a revolutionary idea. You can use platforms such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck to follow and build lists of journalists. But not 12,000.
The ability to dynamically discover media sources based on the topics that they are talking about is a significant leap forward from the lazy database driven approach to media relations. Lissted has the potential to modernise media relations and make it far more efficient.
But for me it’s the real time insight into conversations that is the most powerful.
Identifying news stories before they occur
By monitoring trending topics you can get a window into news stories before they break. Drill down into a sector and you can find the issues being discussed in niche communities.
There are some limitations in niche communities where there aren’t sufficient tweets for Lissted to identify trends. But in these cases it should be possible to manually identify conversations.
Looking at the trending topics at the time of posting (16 September, 23:00 BST) the media was obsessed with the new series of Downtown Abbey on ITV1 and the ads running between the breaks.
Parker already has plenty of war stories.
When the story of nine year old girl Martha Payne and her Never Seconds blog about her school dinners broke the story received blanket media coverage on 15 June 2012, however the first mention on Twitter by a member of the Lisst was by Charles Arthur at 9.56pm the previous evening.
This was followed by a number of other high profile journalists retweeting or commenting on the story before the first formal report appeared on wired.com four hours later at 2.02am (BST) the next morning and subsequently on UK national media about five hours after that.
“From a media relations point of view having early knowledge that a story like this was now on the media’s radar would have obvious advantages when it came to responding to it,” says Parker. More recently Nick Clegg’s comments about taxing the wealthy illustrate how much conversation there is within the media on Twitter around a topic that isn’t just relating to articles they have written according to Parker.
“The story was broken by the Guardian at around 8.30pm on 28th August 2012. Around 20 journalists from other media outlets including the BBC, Huffington Post, Telegraph, Reuters and the New Statesmen then tweeted about the story before further coverage appeared around four hours later on the Express and the Independent,” he said.
Tool for PR engagement
By using Lissted to listen to the conversations, issues and breaking news stories being discussed by groups of bloggers and journalists a public relations practitioner can approach them with relevant content. Lissted is fully integrated with Twitter so that you can follow users and tweet from within the app.
Parker believes that Lissted has the potential to shift media relations away from the mechanised database driven approach for which it is commonly mistaken and back to relationships. It’s an admirable goal.
Lissted is sold as a subscription service. It’s free to use to find journalists using the defined categories. Listening costs £49 per month and monitoring between £99 and £149 depending of the number searches.
Finally a caveat: for every news story that breaks on Twitter there are countless examples of nonsense, propaganda and plain misinformation.
Lissted helps overcome this issue by focusing only on authoritative sources but even major news sources occasionally make a wrong call in a bid to be first with the news. Always view content on Twitter through a critical lens.
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