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To succeed with the national business media, companies must have a strong sense of the media environment, including trends getting written about as well as the state of the media itself. The reason: cultivating the media is similar to making sales calls – you need to understand how you and your story fit into the reporter's needs.

As we have for the better part of two decades, we take an analyst's approach to monitoring the media so that we can best advise our clients on:

  • The stories getting covered
  • The tone of the articles: positive, skeptical, etc.
  • The elements: who gets quoted: Customers or competitors? Financial or industry analysts? Or, increasingly, which regulatory officials?
  • Approaches being used: does the article focus on the CEO, an employee or customer to make its point?

In addition to monitoring national business media closely, we base our recommendations on our conversations with the media – conversations in which we try to interview them as much as possible about stories they're following.

We then combine our media interviews and analysis with a look at macro media issues, such as other news stories, media changes, new broadcast schedules, even the amount of ad pages – because that affects what journalists refer to as a the "news hole," the amount of pages allocated for editorial coverage, and the stories they can cover. For example, in a recent email, Peter Jennings wrote about the editorial challenge ABC Evening News faces in deciding what stories to cover: "Over the last several months of the collective power of the news about terror and security has made it difficult to devote the time we normally would to some of the country's major political and social issues."

We compile the information in our TrendReports, which arms clients with topical trend ideas that enable us to determine ways clients might be able to generate coverage based on these trends. This analysis also enables us to advise clients on the type of stories that have the best chance of capturing the media's attention and to avoid those that reporters consider to be a waste of time.


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