Next Conference: September 22-26, 2014

Powered Globally by: Microsoft

Social Media Week

From Pussy Riot to Paul Ryan, Muck Rack Is Curating What Journalists Do and Say

From Pussy Riot to Paul Ryan, Muck Rack Is Curating What Journalists Do and Say

Friday, August 17th, 2012

  • NEXT:

If you’re following the news and surfing your social networks today, you’ve probably heard about the two-year prison sentence given to three members of the Russian puck band Pussy Riot. The women are being jailed for a “punk prayer” that they sang in a Moscow cathedral to get rid of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Needless to say, the tough verdict and concerns about the right to self-expression in Russia are being covered by the media worldwide.

This is just one of many stories curated on a daily basis by Muck Rack, a website owned by New York-based tech start-up Sawhorse Media. Muck Rack focuses its curation efforts specifically on journalists, providing insights to anyone interested in what the media is doing at both a macro and micro level. The service uses an algorithm to identify the most active journalists on Twitter and other social sites, and the most shared story links to curate the biggest news of the day, or hour, for its home page. As I write this, Pussy Riot has given way to Paul Ryan’s topless photo.

Indeed, with news and other content flying around the world at warped speed, it’s hard to keep track of it all. But for journalists and the communications professionals working with them, Muck Rack is a handy service. Journalists often say that PR people do not understand their beat or how to pitch them, and PR people often say that journalists are gruff and “misquote” their clients. Muck Rack’s curation service might just be able to help the two sides mend their differences, according to Greg Galant, CEO of Sawhorse Media, which also produces The Shorty Awards to celebrate the best content producers on social networks and runs curating sites Listorious (2 million top tweeters by category) and Venture Maven (venture capitalists).

“Throughout civilization, there have probably been a million rules but we settled on the 10 Commandments. All cultures have their lists and areas of focus,” Greg said, adding that curating is innate to all of us. “With people around the world creating content every day, it increases the need exponentially for someone to make sense of it all.”

Muck Rack focuses on the journalist-publicist relationship because journalists were the first professionals to incorporate Twitter into their everyday lives. The early adopters made excuses for using it, perhaps out of shame for becoming so “new media,” but, today, many give excuses for not using it. Moreover, the PR world could use some help.

“People pitching story ideas have a tough time connecting with journalists and journalists get spammed because the pitches are not relevant to them,” Greg said.

Muck Rack enables users to curate lists of journalists by name, beat, title, tweets or even articles to which journalists link. More than 6,000 journalists have applied to be on Muck Rack and social media editors of major news organizations are registering  their reporters on the site, Greg said. Members of the media are using it to find out what the competition is writing, scoop or collaborate with fellow journalists, identify sources, promote their finished stories, and gain visibility for themselves and their news organizations.

Likewise, communications professionals can use Muck Rack to find out what journalists are saying about their company or client(s), competitors and industry. With the ability to create lists based on journalists’ current tweets and other criteria, PR folks no longer have to question what a reporter covers. As a result, they can create highly targeted media lists and pitch more accurately, resulting in better overall relationships and media coverage. (I can see this service being especially important when a PR person is new to a certain industry or topic—the more time you spend at a certain company or in a certain vertical, the more familiar you become with the reporters covering your space.)

In addition to the web property, Muck Rack provides other ways for journalists and PR people to get to know each other better and solve problems.   Twitter chats using the #muckedup hashtage take place weekly and focus on topics such as interviewing, how to pitch journalists on social media, and the future of both professions. People can sign up to be alerted to future chats by sending an email (address at bottom of web page) or via the company’s Facebook or Twitter pages. The company is also going to host a New York seminar in September that will gather journalists and communications professionals. Follow the #muckedup hashtag on Twitter for details as they develop.

Journalism has often been described as the “first draft of history.” With Muck Rack’s curation service, Twitter also provides a pretty good first draft, too.
 

Sally O’Dowd is a VP and head of the social media team at DiGennaro Communications, a firm specializing in corporate communications for ad agencies, media-buying concerns and entertainment companies. @digennaro @sallyodowd.


Want more?


Comments


Related