Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Ethics of PR - 'not an oxymoron'

I'm speaking today about media measurement and monitoring at the annual conference of the Maryland Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. Here I met Jeff Julin, the outgoing national chair and CEO PRSA. He's quite a knowledgable fellow about the world of PR and is a real believer that PR is an ethical, honorable profession.

In a well-attended session, Jeff said that despite all the changes that have come to the profession because of the new flow of information on the Internet, PR is still all about relationships with your publics and being honest with them. He pointed to the groups Code of Ethics which focuses on the following values:

  • advocacy (for the public, not for their companies)

  • honesty

  • expertise

  • independenc

  • loyalty (to the organization, but not a blind loyalty)

  • fairness

  • loyalty

A question came up: How do you stay loyal to a client and to your ethics (think Edelman and Walmarting Across America.) if they are at cross purposes? Jeff said the good thing is that major personal crisis of ethics don't come up all that often. I asked what a company like Edelman should have done if approached by Wal-Mart to create a "fake" blog.

Jeff said in these cases, like all that PR does, you have a responsibility to stand up to your client and challenge something that you feel is not ethical. Jeff admitted that the realities of "paying the mortgage" come in and walking away from accounts is not always realistic but standing up for what you believe is the first step and showing WHY you think the idea is bad is the way to go.

One of the attendees followed on that and suggested you should challenge such ideas on the basis that they are bad business ideas and show examples of others' missteps. (Oh and there are lots of them out there.)

An aside: Jeff also talked about how PRSA no longer talks about "press releases" but "news releases" in a nod to the fact that information goes out to more than just the "press" today.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Measuring the U.S. Election without Counting Votes

PRWeek posted about one of Dow Jones Insight's observations last week about how George Bush has dropped out of the news hole during the final stages of the 2008 election campaign.

It was one of the many things we wrote about on Dow Jones Insight: Election Pulse blog, which was one practical use of media measurement.

We've devoted a significant effort over the past several months to measuring McCain and Obama campaigns via the footprint they've left on the mainstream and social media.

Of late we looked at the breakdown by battleground states to see if the press was covering the candidates in step with what the polls show. (In general the color of the state does not seem to be an indicator of the volume of coverage of a candidate.)

Another thing we did was a recurring "Issue Tracker" analysis to see which issues were sticking to which candidate as the months ticked by. (September was strong for McCain as he took over coverage of most of the 25 top issues we were tracking. He then lost that lead a bit at a time to Obama in October.)

Also of note. We caught the eye of the folks at XM Radio's POTUS '08 and were a recurring guest on the Thursday afternoon show.

All in all, a fun project. But it's kinda nice it's Election Day. One more summary post coming in a week.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Practice what you preach when it comes ot social media

David Meerman Scott, a PR strategist, practicing what he preaches -- a nice YouTube video marketing himself.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Reporting on the reporting of Vytorin Cancer Data

Our colleagues at The Wall Street Journal used some data from Dow Jones Insight to blog about the size of the spike of press coverage of a possible link between use of cholesterol-fighter Vytorin and increased risk of cancer.

A few of the comments were hostile toward the post. This one was from someone called "Steve Walker":

So now the WSJ is going generate and report statistics on how frenzied the press becomes over junk science flowing from questionable meta-analyses? Then try to analyze why some junk science leads to less or more press frenzy?...

I disagree with this criticism. I think reporting on the media coverage of a story such as this is valid as is the methodology used to count the media mentions.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Public Relations Metrics blog

Just came across this blog, Proving the Value of Public Relations, by Don Bartholomew of MWW. Not sure how I've missed it in the past.

Looks to be a lot of great thoughts on measuring the value of PR output. Can't wait to dig into it.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Blogging about the Election -- and now the Olympics

I haven't had too much time to think about Read Between the Mines lately. Much of my spare time has been focused on a couple of other blogs. Both of them are based on media measurement via text mining and both are based on data coming from Dow Jones Insight.

To see what we're up to check out:

Dow Jones Insight: Election Pulse at and the newly launched Dow Jones Insight: Olympics Media Pulse at

The election blog has been tracking the candidates' coverage in the social media and the mainstream press. We've caught the eye of XM Radio's P.O.T.U.S. '08 channel, with a recurring spot on Thursdays (exact schedule varies). I've been fortunate enough to be asked to explain the data there each week. It's been fun -- but I'm not giving up my day job.

PR Week has also picked up story and is running updates through the campaign.

The Olympics blog is focused on the business of the Games, measuring which sponsors are getting the most coverage, which athletes stand to get the best sponsorship deals and which negative issues are being attached to whom.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Dow Jones Election Media Pulse on PR Week

PR Week picked up one of our recent posts over on the Dow Jones Insight Election Pulse blog. The blog is a demonstration of one way to make great use of media measurement tools to closely follow a news story.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Perceived Media Bias in referring to 'Mrs' Clinton perhaps not true

I heard an interesting comment by a caller into "Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane" (this is a show produced in the Philadelphia areas by WHYY, a local NPR affiliate). Audio of show here.

The caller remarked that she was tired of suble sexism of the media in its repeated references to "Mrs" Clinton and "Senator" Obama -- often in the same sentence.

I thought I'd put that unsuspecting caller to the test and run the numbers against Dow Jones Insight. It seems that the caller's perception of bias might be just that -- perceived.

In the past two years of articles from more than 6,000 mainstream media sources, we found 89,540 references to one of the following: Mr. Obama, Mrs. Clinton, Sen. Obama or Sen. Clinton. There were indeed more raw mentions of "Mrs. Clinton" than there were of "Mr. Obama". But there were also more total mentions of Clinton than there were of Obama.

Furthermore, if you compare the relative percentages of "mrs/mr" to "senator" you see that 29% of all mentions of either "Senator" or "Mrs" Clinton used the term "Mrs. Clinton" while 35% of all mentions of either "Senator" or "Mr" Obama referred to him as "Mr Obama."

So perhaps the media going out of its way just a little NOT to refer to Clinton as "Mrs."

When we dive deeper and just look at paragraphs where one title is used with a mismatch to the other, we see 69 paragraphs in two years where there was a mention of "Mrs. Clinton" and "Sen. Obama." While there were 99 mentioning "Sen Clinton" and "Mr. Obama." But to be clear, these 168 mentions are a trifle compared to the tens of thousands of articles mentioning them.

This shows clearly there has been no mainstream media bias in treating the two candidates differently because of their genders, at least in the use of courtesy titles.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Starbucks Idea shines: How to do social media right

I've been talking up "My Starbucks Idea" as a great example of how companies can engage their customer base using social media techniques.

The sites about a month old and they are already touting the changes they are making and planning to make in their stores, etc. based on user ideas. The cynic might say these are changes they were going to make anyway and are just making it seem like the customers drove them, but that's not the impression I get.

Check it out.

(Also of note, they built this site on's -- the newest thing in software development is this idea of platform as a service.)

The magical life and quick death of 'Elitist'

One of my posts over on Dow Jones Insight Election Pulse shows how fickle the press can be. One day's "elitist" is another day's "electability." This election seems at times to be all about buzzwords. Buzzwords are the new talking points. He's an elitist. She wants progress. He's bitter. And on it goes. This graph really shows how fast a word can come on the scene and disappear.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Talking Media Measurement to the Next Generation of Measurers

I'm going to be guest lecturing to an undergraduate PR class at Rider University next week. The class is taught by my friend and colleauge colleague Diane Thieke.

Diane has been teaching, in part, about how blogging has become an important tool in the corporate world.

From a corporate perspective we're all in awe of how Gen-Y is changing the rules with their embrace of social media. But from reading some of their blogs (which they were required to create for class) one might get the impression they are not as ready to open themselves up in blogs as I thought. They get social media (Facebook, perhaps) is a tool for communicating but they might not be thinking about how corporations are listening. Or perhaps I'm dead wrong. Look forward to finding out on Monday and hoping to learn as much from them as I can try to teach.

Measuring the Language of the Campaigns -- Hundreds of Thousands of Documents at a Time

We're getting some interest in our new presidential-election-monitoring blog, called Dow Jones Insight Election Pulse. For this blog, the approach we're using is heft over manual analysis. We're able to look at nearly 1 million documents and posts a day to get a view of the broad picture.

The latest thing we did was track individual words and how they are sticking to candidates -- does Obama own "change" for example. Text mining is great for this because you can look at such a big picture so easily

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

2000 Press Mentions of 'Stagflation': NPR

There was a "cough-and-you-miss-it" mention of Factiva on NPR's Morning Edition Tuesday when Wall Street Journal economics editor David Wessel said he found 2,000 mentions of "stagflation" in the Factiva database. (Thanks to attentive listener John C. in New Jersey. )

We know that journalists use Dow Jones Factiva's archive of mainstream media to do this kind of light text mining all the time.

I took David's statement a bit further and looked for the word in the past 14 months using Dow Jones Insight. I'm not sure what time frame he used. I found 4,603 documents mentioning that term during that time and certainly a lot more interest of late. This was from about 6,000 world-wide mainstream media publications and wires.

(Full disclosure: The Journal and Factiva are both owned by Dow Jones, which also pays my salary.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Barack Inching Ahead -- in Media Mentions

While we all know the news from the polls is that Barack Obama is on a roll and has taken over the lead in the delegate count, a more subtle switch has also occurred since about Super Tuesday. Obama is leading over Hillary Clinton since then in the total number of media mentions (the individual occurrences of the person's name). Before Super Tuesday, Clinton was most always ahead of Obama.

So while the number of documents in which each gets mentioned is about the same (essentially, you can't write about one without at least mentioning the other), the number of mentions within those documents has switched.

Have the members of the press shifted their collective mindset? Are they subconsciously jumping on the Barack bandwagon?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Jeremiah's Complete list - 2008

The blog post title (A Complete List of the Many Forms of Web Marketing) sounds audacious, but it's pretty darn accurate. Mr. Owyang succeeds again at codifying something many of us feel overwhelmed by.

Mossberg addresses Web's impact on journalism, lifestyle

Walt Mossberg addressing right now Dow Jones IT staff on how web is impacting Journalism and our lives.
- he doesn't have much time any more to read the paper versions of the "3 best newspapers in the world": wsj, washingtonpost, nytimes. Because more of his time is reading content that never existed before
- his kids don't read newspapers, but one subscribes to rss feeds
- in 10 yrs the internet of today will look archaic - like a 1960s mainframe
- people will soon stop talking about "the internet" the way we don't say "I'm going to go on the electrical grid now"
- the PC has already peaked as the dominant digital device
- the iphone is significant milestone because it's at it's heart a PC
- multitouch features changing the way we interact with devices
-expects blackberry to take a big leap forward to catch up with iphone

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media

During our recent Webinar we received a few questions about how non-profits can make use of social media tools. I admit we didn't do the best job answering this question and some of you called us on it. Perhaps it's because Dow Jones (and perhaps Forrester) don't have too many clients in the non-profits space so our personal experiences don't go in that direction.

I mentioned during the Webinar, that I personally volunteer (with the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate) and we make use of the Web as a way to get our message out, to raise funds and to get volunteers. These are obvious examples.

But I'm sure others have better ones. I found this blog and will be spending time reading it.
Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media

Do other people have examples of how non-profits and social media have found happy marriages.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Social Media Webinar Data shows about half of coporations are engaged

I just finished up the Webinar with Jeremiah. We had several hundred people on the line and received dozens of spot-on questions. We will be posting information on that shortly, including a copy of the presentation.

In the meantime, we also conducted a few polls during the event, and here is some data:

In one we found that 48% of attendees' companies are using some sort of social media to connect with customers.

Another question showed us that the number one reason attendees' companies use social media is to attempt to gauge sentiment about products and brands.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A little data mining for your Football Squares

If you're wondering your chances of winning that "Football Squares" office pool you got into (assuming the numbers were assigned randomly) you can see an analysis of which of the 100 squares are most likely to win. This was done a couple of years ago, but after the addition of the 2-point conversion rule.

BTW: The best six squares are:


The worst: 2-2

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Join us for a social media webinar with Jeremiah Owyang

I will be working again with Jeremiah Owyang, now of Forrester, later this month, this time playing the role of host to his feature presentation on the latest trends in effectively measuring social media.

We will be talking about such things as communication is taking place through social media and what things businesses should do to get involved.

Sure blogs are established and you have to listen to them - or ignore at your peril. But the presenations will likely dip into things like talk of the hot, new tools like Twitter and whether they should be monitored or if they are too new to even cause a ripple.

If you'd like to attend the event, being held Jan. 31, 2008, from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. EST, you can sign up here.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Different Parties = Different Issues in the Media

The issues on your mind might not be the ones the candidates are talking about nor the ones the press is reporting on. What's further is that issues that are "sticking" to the candidates tend to differ by party. See below: The Democrats' top issues are health care and the economy and the Republicans' are immigration and taxes.

This analysis covers December 10, 2007 to January 10, 2008 and counts issues only when they co-occur with the candidates with 50 words of each other. Documents come from 6,000 main stream media publications, broadcast transcripts, 10,000+ Web sites, 2 million influential blogs and 6,000 message boards.