Journalist Enquiry Service overview July 2024

Political commentators, destination experts, and sports professionals: What the media are looking for in July

Want to get your clients featured in the media in July? While the General Election has been the media’s focus for the last six weeks – and will be a priority for a while yet – there are plenty of other opportunities for coverage, and the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service is a good gauge for what is trending. Here is what journalists have been requesting throughout June, and what we predict their focus will be in July.

General Election fallout

Unsurprisingly, ‘election’ became a popular keyword on the Journalist Enquiry Service, appearing in 2% of all enquiries in May, growing to 2.5% in June.

Journalists focused on gathering interviews, and the viewpoints of CEOs and leaders from different sectors, including technology, retail, and business. There have also been requests for information on tactical voting, analysis of the manifestos, and for an expert to comment on election marketing and advertising.

Going forward? Journalists will most likely be looking for expert comment on what to expect from the new Government, the impact on the public, and the economy. The Times, The Independent, Reuters, and ITV News all sent requests concerning the election in June, giving an opportunity to feature you or your client in the national news now.

Summer holidays and gardening remain popular

‘Summer’ was the top keyword on the Journalist Enquiry Service for a second month in a row, as it featured in 9.5% of all requests. This is also an 8% increase compared to this time last year, maybe a sign that we’re in for some better weather as well? ‘Holidays’ cropped up in just over 3% of the enquiries in June this year. ‘Gardening’ proved even more popular as it appeared in 5.5%, and this is a 51% increase compared to June 2023.

Requests around ‘summer’ varied widely last month with everything from fashion to health to skincare to food and drink. The enquiries about ‘holidays’ tended to look more for travel experts and information on places or activities for the school summer holidays. Journalists sending requests about ‘gardening’ were primarily looking for experts to give tips and advice.

Going forward? Journalists will be looking for gardening experts and travel experts/information on destinations, so have these clients ready to engage with these media coverage opportunities.The nature of summer requests are harder to predict, but fashion experts could be needed to comment on the best clothing to wear and health advice/information on what to do to stay cool during warmer temperatures. Journalists from The Guardian, The Sun, The Daily Telegraph, Homes & Gardens, and Woman’s Own all sent requests on these three topics last month.

Other opportunities for PRs in July and beyond

It’s just a couple of weeks until the Olympics starts in Paris and in June, just under 1% of all enquiries featured ‘Olympics’. This will receive a lot more traction this month as we approach the games, with journalists looking for former athletes and sports professionals to interview. ‘Euro’s’ has also featured as a keyword and if England continue to progress in the tournament, journalists will likely look for information on the best places to watch the matches, as well as the impact it could have on the economy. Both of these events, plus Wimbledon as well, means sports spokespeople will be in high demand from journalists.

There are several food and drink related days this month including World Chocolate Day (7 July), National Hot Dog Day (19 July) and the whole of July is National Ice Cream Month. Journalists could be looking for food experts to give related recipes and advice. Finally, while school will only just be finishing, the media will begin in July to look for information on back to school items. This could be for uniform, stationery, lunch boxes, and more. This will gain in popularity throughout July and into August, so have the information you need prepared to send to journalists and get media coverage in both national press and consumer media.

To connect with the media on these topics, and much more, check out the Journalist Enquiry Service and the Vuelio Media Database.

Find out more how Vuelio can help you gain and track your coverage in the media here.

Reform UK manifesto release

Reform UK releases ‘contract’ manifesto – what was the press and public reaction?

By Phoebe-Jane Boyd, Dahye Lee, and Ingrid Marin. 

After a wave of manifesto releases last week, Reform UK have released their ‘contract’ for the UK General Election.

In rebranding the manifesto as a ‘contract’, and repositioning the vote for country leadership as ‘the immigration election’, have Farage’s efforts to distinguish his party from its competitors, and get people talking, made an impact?

Here is analysis of the UK General Election 2024 conversation across online and print news, TV, radio, and podcasts as well as TikTok, Threads, Facebook, blogs, and forums, from midday 17 June, as we map the media and audience reaction.

What topics cut through the conversation regarding Reform UK’s manifesto?

Reform UK manifesto reactoin

Reform UK’s manifesto/’contract’ has significantly impacted one theme – immigration. As anticipated by anyone paying attention to Farage’s media appearances, the data shows just how much the topic has cut through into the public consciousness – immigration (+15.04%) emerges as a critical topic.

The party’s primary commitment to freeze what it has branded ‘non-essential’ immigration, and deport individuals crossing the Channel in small boats, has dominated the news coverage alongside the switch to the ‘contract’ nomenclature.

Perhaps surprisingly, this narrative has gained momentum on TikTok – the home of Gen Z – through Channel 4’s coverage, amplifying engagement among younger supporters of the Reform UK party.

Reform UK on TikTok

While conversation across other social media platforms has been comparatively quiet in comparison to that of other parties, Labour supporters – particularly vocal pro-Palestinian activists – have passionately engaged with Reform UK’s immigration agenda. This segment of social media users are actively positioning Labour as the antidote to Reform UK’s potential influence on the 2029 election.

Stand up to racism tweet

Energy and sustainability, largely overlooked in Reform UK’s pre-manifesto discussions, have also come into focus with a modest increase (+1.02%). The controversial move to abandon Net Zero goals in favor of bolstering fossil fuels has been extensively covered by the press, including BBC, ITV, LBC, and Sky News, alongside the party’s core policy pledges.

The practicalities of Reform UK’s manifesto – will it help the party’s chances at the voting booths this year?

The ‘contract’ was ambitious and could be considered somewhat scattergun in its policies – perhaps a reflection of Reform UK’s diverse voter base. Reform committed to around £140bn in spending commitments and tax cuts including raising income tax thresholds; abolishing stamp duty; tax relief for independent schools; and abolishing inheritance tax for all estates under £2 million. The party revealed this would be funded through £156 billion in savings in public spending and an assumption of increased tax revenue from higher growth.

These plans have drawn criticism around credibility, with the Institute for Fiscal Studies noting that Reform’s tax cuts and spending commitments would cost more than stated. Meanwhile, the Tax Policy Associates observed that £33bn of Reform’s commitments were found to be uncosted – this amounts to nearly double the unfunded commitments in Liz Truss’s mini-budget.

Concerns around the fiscal credibility of Reform UK’s manifesto are maybe not so important, however. A recent poll by Ipsos revealed that a significant portion of voters do not believe the main parties will be able to fund their own manifesto commitments anyway. The poll showed that 50% did not believe Labour could afford their plans, while 62% thought the Conservatives’ plans were unaffordable. 57% were not confident in the affordability of the Liberal Democrats plans either.

Perhaps this best encapsulates the relative apathy in the UK right now regarding choices at the 2024 General Election: with the UK facing significant economic and political challenges in the forthcoming years, a majority of voters do not believe that the main parties’ manifestos can deliver.

Could Farage’s warning during the 7 June TV debate that change is on the way, with support for Reform UK set to grow, prove true?

As the UK prepares for the upcoming General Election, stay informed with the latest news by signing up to Vuelio General Election Updates.

2024 manifesto reactions

Ambition, ‘bad ideas’, and pushes to be ‘bolder’: General Election 2024 manifesto reactions among audiences and the media

By Phoebe-Jane Boyd, Dahye Lee, and Ingrid Marin. 

This week represented the midpoint of the General Election campaign and it was a pivotal moment for all parties to pitch to voters.

Manifestos from the main parties were released throughout the week – with the exclusion of Reform UK, due to come on Monday 17 June.

To understand how the releases impacted press coverage and online discussion, here is analysis of the UK General Election 2024 conversation across online and print news, TV, radio, and podcasts as well as TikTok, Threads, Facebook, blogs, and forums, from 11 – 14 June, as well as a deep dive into political stakeholder reaction as the week progressed.

First, a look at the big two – the incumbent Conservatives, and the party expected by many to oust them come 4 July, Labour.

Manifesto coverage and conversation – Conservatives vs Labour

Manifestos 2024: Tories v Labour@2x

Following the passionate clashes during the ITV and BBC debates between Conservative and Labour, the main impact of their manifestos is focused on tax.

Conversation has risen around this topic following Labour’s manifesto pledge to increase taxes, in a potential boost to the Tories.

Did Labour’s manifesto make an impact?

Reaction to the Labour manifesto

As to whether Labour’s manifesto has changed reporting and social media discussion around its policies and promises, analysis of the pre- and post- release shows an impact on the topics of tax (+5.3%) and energy policy (+7.5%).

The increase in coverage and discussion of tax is driven by diverse news narratives surrounding Labour’s related policies. The highest engagement is for ITV‘s focus on Labour’s tax lock, while GBNews highlights voter concerns about Labour’s proposed tax increases.

Why the spike for energy? Labour’s pledge to ban new petrol and diesel cars and ensure ‘certainty to manufacturers’ in energy and sustainability has prompted Conservative communities to generate criticism.

Alan D Miller tweet

Did the Conservative manifesto make a difference?

Reaction to the Conservative Manifesto for 2024

The Conservative manifesto also made an impact on Tax (+8.2%), alongside Housing (+2.3%).

BBC’s coverage of Keir Starmer’s condemnations of Sunak’s National Insurance cuts dominates the tax narrative, as the Tory campaign becomes increasingly embattled. Over on social media, the proposal to scrap National Insurance for the self-employed is provoking negative reaction due to perceived unfairness.

Unsurprisingly, Nigel Farage is enmeshed in discussion of Conservative chances at the election, as the Reform UK leader criticises policies as they are announced – this week’s manifesto included. Gaining traction online now – his comment that a Conservative promise regarding its Rwanda Bill was ‘another lie’.

Political stakeholder reaction – a look back at the week

Monday: Liberal Democrats got ambitious
The week began with the Liberal Democrats releasing their party manifesto. They pledged a £8.35bn NHS and care package – funded by reversing tax cuts for banks and closing tax loopholes – and set out long-term plans for rejoining the EU.

Nuffield Trust Chief Executive Thea Stein responded to the manifesto, calling it highly ambitious. However, she also said the funding proposed appeared ‘insufficient’, and that the sums ‘simply don’t add up’. Additionally, IFS Director Paul Johnson said that the tax measures would not raise the £27bn a year that the party claims, and that some of the tax raising proposals are, economically, a ‘bad idea’.

Tuesday: Conservatives sparked questions regarding costings
Questions about how proposals will be paid for were also raised on Tuesday when the Conservatives released their manifesto and pledged to cut taxes (including entirely scrapping the main rate of self-employed National Insurance) and introduce a new Help to Buy scheme by abolishing stamp duty for first-time buyers (on homes up to £425,000).

Paul Johnson from the Institute for Fiscal Studies said that the manifesto promised £17bn a year of tax cuts, alongside a big hike in defence spending, and questioned how this would be paid for. The Conservatives suggest they will fund some of their commitments by cutting the rising welfare bill, but Johnson questions how achievable this is.

Similarly, Labour leader Keir Starmer said it was a ‘Jeremy Corbyn-style manifesto’, suggesting the Conservatives had not explained how they would pay for their policies. He promised that Labour’s manifesto would be ‘fully costed’ and would only include ‘promises that we can keep and that […] the country can afford’.

Wednesday: Green Party pushed Labour to be bolder
Wednesday marked the release of the Green Party manifesto, pledging to raise taxes on the wealthy to fund more spending on housing, the NHS, and the climate crisis.

The manifesto includes the introduction of a wealth tax and a raising of National Insurance on annual wages above £50,270. Focusing on the four seats which the party believes are winnable, the co-leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay said electing Green MPs would ‘push Labour to be bolder’, particularly on net-zero climate change policies, which they accused other parties of ‘running away from’.

Thursday: Was Labour too cautious?
On Thursday, Keir Starmer launched the Labour party’s manifesto, where he pledged to prioritise ‘wealth creation’. As commentators expected, the document was relatively light on policy detail, and didn’t contain any big surprises.

Some commentators have suggested that Labour’s spending plans are more cautious than the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. If Labour are firmly committed to not raising taxes, this does raise questions about how they would be able to avoid cuts to public services.

Former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls warned the manifesto could be a ‘straitjacket’, and make the first year of a Labour Government very difficult. Senior Labour figures have responded to such criticisms by saying they would deliver growth, and therefore expand the total revenue available for public services without having to raise taxes.

Still to come: Reform UK
Ahead of the Reform UK manifesto being released on Monday 17 June, a poll found that Reform UK had overtaken the Conservatives for the first time. Farage has said his party ‘are now the opposition to Labour’, and that a Tory vote would only ‘enable’ Starmer’s party.

Whether the release of Reform manifesto adds solidity and credibility to their challenge, or else sees their recent progress melt away, is something that will be closely monitored by politics watchers.

As the UK prepares for the upcoming General Election, stay informed with the latest news by signing up to our Vuelio General Election Updates.

Newsrewired panel 2024

The rise of AI in journalism and its impact on PR

Could the use of AI have an impact on the relationship between journalists and PRs?

This year’s Newsrewired conference featured several panels discussing AI and the benefits it can bring to journalism. Here is how journalists are using AI already, and what this could mean for PR.

Fact-checking and misinformation

The rise of misinformation is a continuing problem for journalists to contend with. Charlotte Maher, social media editor at Bellingcat, explained its impact on politics:

‘In regards to deep fakes in election periods, something that we’ve seen – which is a very worrying trend – is the rise in deep fake audio. Video and imagery – there’s a lot of tools out there and more data to analyse in the video and images. With audio, it’s a lot harder.’

To combat this, various AI tools and programmes have been and continue to be developed to aid journalists fact-checking information and identifying manipulated images or repurposed content. Charlotte Maher recommended GitHub as a platform, full of open source, easy to access tools.

Impact on PRs: Journalists are now more cautious when putting content into print or online. To be seen as trustworthy and reliable to the media, be ready to back up sources or statistics included in press releases to set yourself apart.

Being able to give journalists an exclusive case study or information will be more likely to result in coverage. Repurposed or recycled material is not as useful to journalists, as it can include misinformation.

Winning back time

Regional publisher Newsquest has developed an in-house tool to draft articles based on trusted information from verified sources. However, there is always a human at the beginning and end of the news cycle. Jody Doherty-Cove, head of editorial AI at Newsquest, spoke about how this benefits the editorial process:

‘Around 3,500 AI assisted news articles are published across Newsquest each month, and we’re reinvesting that won-back time into our newsrooms, allowing journalists to get back out into their communities and focusing on specialisms, like getting back into court’.

Impact on PRs: Regional and local editorial teams have been getting smaller and smaller in the past few years. Journalists at this level have less time to engage with PRs as a result.

If other publishers follow Newsquest’s example, and win back more time for reporters to get out to cover stories, this could mean more engagement with PRs, and an increase in coverage of community news initiatives, as well as local projects and events.

Help with vertical video

Platforms like Instagram and TikTok are becoming increasingly popular with younger audiences as a way to consume news. However, there are still comparatively few journalists using these social media sites as a way to promote their journalism.

Sophia Smith-Galer, a freelance journalist who has previously worked for the BBC and Vice, is a pioneer of TikTok journalism, with over 500,000 followers on the platform, plus over 250,000 on Instagram. Using this expertise, Sophie trained an AI tool (called Sophina) to help write viral video scripts for journalists:

‘Current AI tools don’t do what we want them to do. We don’t know the training data, for example, on ChatGPT. I wanted to build an ethical tool where you knew the knowledge base was being used consensually.’

Impact on PRs: An increasing number of journalists will be using TikTok and Instagram in the future and will need press materials to work in a vertical video format.

Make sure what you’re offering journalists is adaptable to fit into various formats. As well as how it could work in print and online, think how it could appear in a TikTok video or an Instagram reel. This is particularly important for product placement or general product review articles you’re aiming to feature in.

Connect with journalists directly via the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service and Vuelio Media Database.

Want to know more about pitching to the media? Download the Vuelio white paper ‘How to pitch to journalists’, covering national press, consumer media, trade outlets, and freelancers.

Second General Election debate 2024

From Mordaunt vs Rayner clash to Farage winning popularity poll: Impact of the second TV debate

By Phoebe-Jane Boyd, Dahye Lee, and Ingrid Marin. 

Representatives from seven parties took to the stage for Friday 7 June’s BBC Election Debate 2024. Following on from ITV’s broadcast of Sunak vs Starmer’s debate the previous week, which topics grabbed the attention of the viewers and sparked political media reports this time around?

We analysed social and news in the UK General Election 2024 conversation across X, TikTok, Threads, Facebook, blogs, forums, online news, print news, TV, radio, and podcasts, from Friday 7 June 7:30pm, to Monday 10 June.

Did the Conservative’s Penny Mordaunt, Labour’s Angela Rayner, Liberal Democrats’ Daisy Cooper, Scottish National Party’s Stephen Flynn, Green Party’s Carla Denyer, Plaid Cymru’s Rhun ap Iorwerth, and Reform UK’s Nigel Farage’s time on TV shift the needle on the conversation?

Tax, health and foreign affairs – Most popular topics before and after Friday’s debate

Top mentioned topics

Taking the spotlight for many write-ups in the press and reaction on social media following the debate were the clashes between deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner and Commons leader Penny Mordaunt, who had been placed in close proximity.

Key moments from Friday: The clash over Mordaunt’s choice to repeat Conservative claims that Labour would raise taxes by £2,000; Mordaunt’s repeated apologies for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s early departure from the D-Day ceremony; and Reform leader Nigel Farage’s strong criticism of Sunak, branding him ‘unpatriotic’ and a ‘complete and utter disgrace’. Farage himself did not escape harsh words, being described as a ‘clown personality’ by Rayner.

Overall, the BBC debate didn’t make a significant splash when it comes to pushing the directions of press coverage and online conversations. The main difference in trending topics across both when looking at pre- and post- Friday’s debate is for discussion of tax.

Tax saw the highest increase (+7.5%) among the topics we tracked compared to share of voice before Friday’s televised debate.

Mordaunt was criticised by many across social media for returning to the well of that controversial £2k tax claim that Sunak had dug in the first debate:

Lisa Pattern tweet

Reports from Sky News, BBC, and The Guardian concerning Labour’s mention of ‘no tax hikes’  were highly shared.

Another conversation that increased following the second debate – the topic of the NHS.

Analysis shows this was driven by Farage’s statement during the debate that the NHS should be scrapped in its current form. This comment continues to drive discussion in the press and online, as it faces criticism from left-leaning audiences:

Jon Jill tweet

Which of the two TV debates so far has driven the most coverage and conversation?

ITV vs BBC volume comparison

Analysis of the 24-hour periods following each debate shows that it was 6 June’s ITV broadcast that has had the most impact on the conversation and coverage, driving reports and shares. The reason for this could be two-fold – the first debate of its kind for this General Election drew more curiosity, and featured the only two party leaders realistically positioned to be UK Prime Minister post election.

But what do the polls say?

 

Following the BBC debate, a poll from More in Common found that Farage possibly came out on top; with 25% thinking the Reform leader had won the debate; 19% saying Angela Rayner; 14% saying none of the above; 11% for the Green Party’s Carla Denyer; 10% for the Scottish Nationalist Party’s Stephen Flynn; 7% for Penny Mordaunt; 5% for the Liberal Democrat’s Daisy Cooper; and 2% for Plaid Cymru’s Rhun ap Iorwerth.

As the media, and voters, await the release of each party’s manifestos this week – much mooted by each speaker throughout both TV tussles – debate as fierce as those televised so far continues online and in the press.

Stay informed with the latest news on the upcoming General Election by signing up to our Vuelio General Election Updates.

How to get PR coverage in June 2024 and beyond

Travel experts, election comment and festival essentials: How to get coverage in the press in June

Want to get media coverage in June? The next month will be a busy one for journalists, with General Election build up, Glastonbury, Wimbledon, the Euros to cover.

The ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service gives a good indicator of what topics and areas the media are particularly interested in and what they will need from PRs. Here are trends from May, and what we expect to be popular in June and beyond.

Summer season is here

While it isn’t officially summer yet, journalists have been keen to cover it with over 8% of the total requests last month containing the word ‘summer’. The enquiries have varied quite widely in topic but many have been around ‘holidays’, with that also appearing in 3% of requests in May.

‘BBQ’ has proved popular, too, with the word appearing in 2% of enquiries. The start of summer also marks ‘festival’ season with 1.5% of requests in May looking for information and essential products to take camping.

Going forward? While ‘Summer’ is broad as a keyword, we know that ‘holidays’ will continue to perform well as the Travel category peaks for requests in June. Journalists will want comments from travel experts. Summer fashion, beauty and health will also prove popular, so get information or experts ready and you could feature in The Guardian, Women’s Fitness, Fabulous, The i paper, Ideal Home, Pick Me Up! and the MailOnline.

UK General Election takes centre stage

While much of the UK press were expecting an Autumn election, the surprise announcement in May didn’t stop journalists sending requests to PRs related to the news –  ‘Election’ appeared in 2% of the total enquiries last month.

Initial journalist requests sought ‘business leaders’ thoughts on the UK election’ and ‘comment from logistics expert on how the General Election could impact the UK logistics and supply chain sector’.

Going forward? With less than a month until the General Election, journalists will increasingly use the service to get comments from different sectors for how it will impact them. This represents a great opportunity to get CEOs or industry leaders featured in the media. The Times, Sunday Mirror, The Independent, and Reuters have all had journalists send requests around the election already.

Interest in gardening and AI still high as sport gains more traction

‘Gardening’ and ‘AI’ have both been consistently popular on the Journalist Enquiry Service for several months now and that didn’t change in May. ‘Gardening’ appeared in 5% of the total requests last month and ‘AI’ occurred in just over 3%.

With a big summer of sport ahead, including the Euros, Wimbledon and the Olympics, the category increased in use by journalists by 12% compared to April. ‘Euros’ and ‘football’ combined appeared in 1% of the requests last month.

Going forward? Garden requests are likely to remain high in June with the more summery weather (we hope) the Home & Garden category received 7% more requests in May this year compared to 2023. AI has seen an even bigger increase, with 17% more enquiries last month than this time last year. Journalists are looking to connect with experts in both of these areas. In regards to sport, requests tend to be for places to watch sporting events, or products to work alongside it.

Other opportunities for PRs in June and beyond

As June is Pride month in the UK, journalists will likely be looking for events and what’s on in certain cities to celebrate. Expect ‘LGBTQ’ to crop up in a lot of requests from the media, too. Aside from the two big music festivals in June, Taylor Swift is also coming to the UK and journalists have already been sending requests around this, mainly for personal case studies.

It’s Men’s Health Week from 14-20 June, so get ready for the opportunities to get health and medical experts featured in the media. There is also Clean Air Day on 20 June, providing a chance to get environmental experts quoted in the press.

To connect with the media on these topics, and much more, check out the Journalist Enquiry Service and the Vuelio Media Database.

Find out more how Vuelio can help you gain and track your coverage in the media here.

Katherine Hignett Health Journalist

How to connect with health journalists in the post-pandemic era 

Just as the healthcare sector was forever changed by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, so too was how the media reports on the topics of health, medicine, and treatment.

What does this mean for PRs aiming to connect with health journalists now?

Forbes.com senior contributor Katherine Hignett led Vuelio event ‘Truth and impact: Health journalism in the post-pandemic era’ on Wednesday evening, 29 May, at Vinoteca City to share her experiences and insight.

Topics covered – how health journalists became a vital force in newsrooms across the world; the challenges of sourcing trustworthy experts; and the long-term impacts still being felt in the media today.

How the pandemic changed health journalism

Extra pressures
Health journalism already comes with unique demands – ‘It’s very technical, and has regulatory frameworks other sectors don’t,’ Katherine explained – but the start of COVID-19 only brought more challenges…

Culture wars
‘Disinformation is a huge issue on social media now, and it gave us more work to do during the pandemic – debunking and extra fact-checking as part of every report. Topics that were politically inert were now potentially culturally sensitive.’

Katherine explained the impact of the rise in anti-vax sentiment, conspiracy theories, and misinformation on medications that could supposedly stop the spread.

‘When fact-checking stories, we had to personally deal with conspiracy theorists and anti-science sentiment. We got some nasty stuff from strangers over the internet. Some of these things are still with us today’.

Increased responsibility
‘Before the pandemic, the closer a story was to politics, political journalists would pick up the story. But suddenly, the expertise we had as health journalists was really important to those stories. We were suddenly among the most important journalists in the room’.

New sources
With all of the bad, came some good:

‘It was suddenly easier to get information from sources. NHS workers weren’t so open to talk to journalists before, but then, even though managers would try to stop sources in back offices from leaking information, people did it.

‘We were given amazing data on staff levels, PPE. We didn’t have capacity to cover it all.’

How to work with health journalists today

‘Covid is still something we cover everyday, even if it’s indirectly covered,’ said Katherine.

The legacy of the pandemic is also felt in how journalists source, fact-check, write, and share stories. This also impacts how they work with PRs.

Do extra checks on your experts
‘It’s more difficult to figure out who to trust when it comes to experts now,’ explained Katherine.

‘The pandemic was really good training for journalists on how to work with experts. Just because someone wears a white coat, doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about.’

‘We often speak to them about research, and for commentary for articles. Sometimes the press can over-egg and oversell scientific findings, so genuine experts are really important.’

What is a sign of a trustworthy expert for health journalists? University affiliations. Katherine also pointed out pHd research as an interesting starting point for stories, and a way to find and connect with new experts.

Provide sources for stories
As people the world over have made efforts to return to some form of normality, so too has the status quo on sources:

‘Sadly, the sources and tips have gone back to “normal” now; it’s more tricky,’ shared Katherine.

While Katherine herself has a consumer and national focus in her work, she highlighted trade journalism’s deep connections with useful sources:

‘The trade press are really good at finding stories we wouldn’t find in consumer and on national titles, because they have access to contacts we don’t.

‘Journalists working on consumer media rely a lot on trade press, but also on releases and contacts from charities.’

What Katherine is interested in for her own reporting – drug shortages on a national scale, and health stories that reveal information that could impact society.

‘As a country, we are sicker than we were before Covid. It had a big impact on drug shortages, and exacerbated existing global issues. Many are still waiting for care that was cancelled during the pandemic. People are getting sicker and relying on medication – more pain, and more drugs, while waiting for surgery.

‘For journalists, this means there are more opportunities to hold people to account. It’s an important and fascinating area.’

Katherine Hignett is a senior contributor to Forbes.com on healthcare and health policy, and freelance journalist for titles such as Metro.co.uk and Newsweek. Katherine is a former correspondent for award-winning health policy publication the Health Service Journal, and was recognised by PressGazette for her investigative work exposing PPE shortages in hospitals during the pandemic.

To connect with health journalists working across broadcast, national and regional press, consumer and trade publications, the Vuelio Media Database and ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service can help. 

voters queuing outside polling station

UK General Election 2024: What was the state of the public conversation leading into the first debate?

By Phoebe-Jane Boyd and Dahye Lee.

The first television debate between party leaders took place on Tuesday 4 June, coming at the culmination of two weeks campaigning in which both Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer set out their stalls for the country. But, as the studio lights went up on Tuesday evening, which policies and points of view had already cut through into public consciousness?

Read the full transcript of the ITV debate here.

Using Pulsar TRAC, we analysed social and news mentions of themes in the UK General Election 2024 conversation across X, TikTok, Threads, Facebook, blogs, forums, online news, print news, TV, radio, and podcasts between 23 May – 5 June 2024.

Here is what is capturing the attention of the media and the public.

As the UK prepares for the upcoming General Election, stay informed with the latest news by signing up to our Vuelio General Election Updates.

Top mentioned topics in UK General Election 2024 coverage and conversation

National Service stirs engagement

Coverage in the press, and engagement across social media, gave early indicators of what would be covered within the debate.

NHS, foreign affairs, and education featured highly in coverage and conversation between 23 May – 5 June, due to uproar around the prospect of the return of National Service – what Starmer called ‘Teenage Dad’s Army’, and Sunak described as ‘bold action’ during the debate.

While audible laughs from the in-studio audience met Sunak’s words on the topic on Tuesday night, coverage of the proposal has received serious and significant engagement, particularly from BBC News.

The audience most engaged with the topic? Young people, and many parents, who would be impacted the most should Sunak’s plan come to fruition. Channel 4’s TikTok on this was most shared by the younger generation.

Balance of conversation

Tax was always going to be a significant part of the first TV debate for this year’s election, but Sunak’s numerous accusations regarding a supposed (since disputed) ‘extra £2,000 tax’ from Labour took up a significant portion of TV time last night.

However, it’s the Conservatives who have over-indexed for mentions of tax since the start of the party’s campaign.

In the lead up to the TV debate, this was partially due to Reform outflanking them on income tax pledges while, after the debate, numerous journalists and influencers factchecked Sunak’s £2,000 tax allegation.

Labour vs Conservatives: Who’s dominating discussion around specific topics?

Analysis of these key topics broken down by mentions of each party shows a mostly equal split of coverage and conversation for Labour and Conservative… with the expected outlier of National Service. The Tory proposal has been further amplified by ITV’s coverage.

As of today, a major focus of mentions for Labour are foreign affairs, NHS/health, and energy & sustainability, and this was driven by Tuesday’s debate directly. An X post from MP David Lammy regarding the NHS triggered intense engagement online, as did his commentary on bombing in Gaza.

 

News vs social media: Where are people talking and engaging?

While both social media and news outlets focus on the NHS, the narratives unfolding on each platform differ.

News coverage centres on questions regarding how national service can support NHS issues, while social media users urge support of the NHS and junior doctor strikes.

Immigration is the second highest topic in news coverage. Tackled by Sunak and Starmer during the debate, the resulting high number of mentions is largely driven by write-ups in right-wing outlets. Their focus? Reports regarding migrant channel crossings.

Media outlets leading coverage and engagement around the General Election

Which media outlets are leading coverage of the 2024 UK General Election so far, and sparking shares on social media?

The Mirror’s reporting of Sunak’s interactions with Russian associates – not covered in Tuesdsay’s debate – has received considerable traction among left-leaning readers, who have expressed concern over his affiliations with Russia.

While BBC’s coverage of Sunak’s National Service plan maintains broader audience interest, the Scottish Daily Express has sparked controversy, and engagement, with its reporting of alleged ‘outright lies’ in the Scottish National Party’s campaigning.

While Tuesday’s debate did not necessarily introduce anything new into the fabric of discussion, with both leaders returning to topics and talking points that they know to be important to their audiences and stakeholders, it did re-entrench battle lines. Tax is now more central to the overall discussion, which had previously not attained much prominence, or airtime.

Whether it’s Sunak’s £2,000 tax attack line, or the subsequent debunking of the figure the next day, which sticks in voter’s minds, the subsequent weeks will reveal.

For extra on the UK political landscape, sign up to the weekly Vuelio Point of Order newsletter.

Find out more about Vuelio’s solutions for public affairs and politics.

The perception of PR in sustainability communications

The perception of PR in sustainability communications

The current climate of accountability for those with influence and power means organisations are held to higher standards than ever before.

Now that ESG concerns are an unavoidable responsibility of public relations, how can practitioners ensure they’re communicating on sustainability with full transparency?

Our latest report uses Pulsar and Vuelio to track the sustainability conversation across press, online news sources, and social media between January 2023 to February 2024, uncovering the responsibilities that come with this new reality.

Read ‘The perception of PR in sustainability communications: How to avoid greenwashing and be an advocate for change’ to learn:

  • How PR became inextricably tied up in sustainability discourse and the role of practitioners going forward
  • Which stories grab the attention of the press and public and how to secure positive coverage and engagement
  • Why understanding where and how your audiences and stakeholders share information can help your strategic planning and inspire longer-term loyalty

Download the report by filling in the form below 👇

foreign aid workers

Insights from engagement in Foreign Aid discourse

Having a full view of your wider stakeholder conversations across media, online, and social media gives you an advantage when shaping your comms strategy. Access to data across multiple channels can help you detect emerging trends and crises, and provide insights into public opinion, identify misinformation, and present opportunities to educate where needed.

For insight into the media and online landscape when it comes to conflict, we took the topic of foreign aid and tracked the conversation between 1 November 2022 – 31 October 2023 with our sister platform Pulsar.

Read on for how stakeholder insight can help you tailor your comms strategy.

Trends dominating the foreign aid discussion from November 2022 – October 2023

Volumes of the Foreign Aid conversation on X between 1 November 2022 and 31 October 2023. Source: Pulsar TRAC

Mentions of different themes in the Foreign Aid conversation between 1 November 2022 – 31 October 2023. Source: Pulsar TRAC

As global conflict unfolded throughout 1 November 2022 to 31 October 2023, related media coverage naturally grew to keep the public informed. But which topics took up the most attention when it came to foreign aid?

Tracking sharing of, and engagement with, posts on X during this period uncovered obvious subjects peaking the discussion. These included countries involved in geo-political crisis – ‘Ukraine’ and ‘Israel’ – as well as where displaced members of their population would go for safety (‘immigration’).

Alongside these aforementioned trends was a significant engagement with the topics of the domestic need for money and corruption – two issues that often go hand-in-hand with the costly realities of conflict and aid.

News sources dominating the conversation of foreign aid between Nov 22 – Oct 23

Volume of Outlet by Credibility on X in the Foreign Aid conversation between Nov 1 2022 – Oct 31 2023. Source: Pulsar TRAC

When looking at media outlets across the world, expected long-established news sources including The Guardian, the Express, and BBC News produced plenty of coverage and engagement during the year of analysis. Outlets considered non-credible by Pulsar’s misinformation detection – including the US-based right-wing brand Breitbart – also feature. But at the top is a relative newcomer to the press landscape – GB News.

Launched in 2021, GB News’ right-leaning political slant has attracted an audience with a matching right-wing mindset. UK politicians regularly feature in GB News programming (to some controversy), clips are shared across social platforms, and other news outlets regularly cover its fluctuating fortunes. Despite questions around impartiality and audience numbers, its influence online grows.

How do political leanings impact which topics attract the most engagement from stakeholders, and how can you attract attention with your own comms?

Which topics interest which stakeholders

Share of Narratives by Community in the Foreign Aid conversation between Nov 1 2022 – Oct 31 2023. Normalized to 100. Source: Pulsar TRAC

An analysis of stakeholders grouped by their political affiliations (as identified by their online affinities and behaviours) shows their differing preoccupations and interests, as well as different styles of interaction with messaging.

A comparison of UK-based Conservatives, UK Republicans, and Left-leaning audiences engaging in the online foreign aid conversation unearths high engagement for ‘immigration’ topics from right-wingers in the United Kingdom, with less engagement for ‘Israel’ and the ‘Domestic Need for Money’.

Left-wingers are equally engaged in the four of these trending topics tracked, while US right-wingers engaging in these topics were most invested in Ukraine and Corruption-focused reporting.

What does this show us? US and UK right-wing stakeholders engaged in singular discussions, with broader narratives taking the attention of global left-wingers.

Volume, visibility & impressions for communities on X between Nov 1 2022 – Oct 31 2023. Normalized to 100. Source: Pulsar TRAC

Analysing impressions (how many people see the content) versus visibility (a bespoke Pulsar metric that reflects how how much impact a piece of content has) also uncovers a clear difference – right-wing content between November 2022 and October 2023 gained viral traction in specific communities, where left-leaning content resonated more widely.

What does this mean when seeking meaningful engagement with all groups, regardless of political affiliation?

Engaging your stakeholders with your comms

Tailoring your strategy and communications for each audience online is how to hit each of your stakeholder segments. Considering where each of these gets their information and how they share it with their own communities provides a map for reaching them.

This could mean making Facebook groups or podcasts a part of your outreach strategy alongside the news channels your stakeholders watch daily with your messaging, or creating short-form content for specific social media platforms designed to be shared quickly and widely.

Engaging with global conversations of conflict is complicated, but an understanding of your stakeholders, where to find them, what they interact with, and how, provides a clearer direction for your comms strategy going forward.

For more on planning your strategy in times of crisis, find out about Vuelio’s horizon scanning solutions.

How to elevate your share of voice

Share of voice is a great way to benchmark yourself against competitors and understand your position in the market, however comparing volumes or potential reach of coverage is just the tip of the iceberg.

Here are some alternative ways to calculate your share of voice and really see how you’re measuring up against your peers.

Target media

It’s important to consider your target media when looking at your share of voice. Whether you’re aiming for coverage in the high-reaching nationals, or niche trade publications, ensure you set a target media list so you can compare yourself to your competitors based on titles you are actually trying to reach. By looking at your exposure in these outlets in comparison to your peers, you can refine it to your own priorities and even take into consideration budgeting by including a smaller, high impact set of titles if resources are low. For example, your competitor might have a greater share of voice based on volume, but if none of these articles are in the key titles, then they aren’t as much of a threat!

Sentiment

Analysing the sentiment of coverage really gives some context to your figures – a high-reaching article may sound great on paper, but if it’s a scandal story or a complaint gone viral, you won’t be too pleased. Firstly, having your coverage manually verified for sentiment ensures that analysis is accurate and that any nuances in language have been accounted for in a way that automation might not. This means that your share of voice by sentiment is as accurate as possible, and you’ll be able to better understand the full picture. Measuring your share of sentiment compared to competitors gives background to your place in the media landscape: maybe your competitors had hundreds more articles this month, but when you delve into the sentiment, they had a huge share of negativity. Moreover, if your peers are achieving a higher proportion of positive sentiment, you can consider how and why they are gaining such favourable mentions, so you can increase your efforts and hopefully follow suit going forward.

Topic

Share of voice can not only be used to look at brand awareness, but it’s also a great way to see how your products, services, or coverage themes are performing in the media compared to competitors. Knowing the number of times your product has been mentioned is great to see, however it’s much more valuable when it’s put into the context of the sector. The value of share of voice by topic is that it can be totally customisable and allows you to see exactly what you’re leading the industry in. Analysing this also enables you to see where you’re coming up short and therefore what you need to proactively increase visibility on in the future. Alternatively, you could look at competitor topic share of voice in a new field you want to branch out in – this way, you understand the media landscape and are totally aware of who to watch out for!

Share of Impact

All of these elevated ways of measuring your share of voice lead to the gold-standard method: share of impact. At Vuelio, this metric combines the factors that are most impactful to you, whether that’s positive sentiment, headline coverage, or a key message mention, and creates a bespoke impact score aligned to you and your strategy. This is the most holistic way to measure your impact in the media, as it truly takes your quantity, quality, and objectives into account, and can be used to measure different aspects of your communications in a singular, easy-to-report metric, from your monthly impact, to the success of a proactive campaign.

Reach out to us to see how our Insights team can help you.

For more on effective benchmarketing and measurement, check out how media analysis can help with your campaign planning and strategy.

Horizon scanning for PRs

How horizon scanning can help with your crisis communications strategy

As shown by high-profile scandals that have hit the headlines recently – from the Post Office Horizon case, to the Boeing blow out – no brand is immune to crisis.

In our constantly connected world, a crisis could emerge from external factors like supply chain problems, misinformation, and data breaches, or from internal issues like information leaks, or staff misconduct.

With the right skill set and tools to prepare for all possible scenarios, PRs have a clear starting point on how to handle each type of risk.

Understanding, and planning for, risk

Horizon scanning tools offer a look ahead at potential problems, including what’s happening in the media, in politics, and what is on the minds of the public, seen through their online actions and reactions.

‘No tool offers a crystal ball, but asking the right questions helps you understand internal and external risk issues and how you may need to respond,’ believes management consultant and professional advisor Sarah Waddington CBE.

Media monitoring and social listening tools allow PRs and comms professionals to track their organisational reputation, competitors, as well as issues facing the industry. These tools empower you to pinpoint early signs of risk, as well as where your organisation fits within the unfolding stories.

Monitoring emerging issues, trends, and opportunities

For effective planning amid the 24-hour news (and social media) cycle, Vuelio’s unique media monitoring technology identifies risks, trends, and opportunities across your sector.

Monitoring your brand’s presence in the stakeholder environment helps you understand the immediate impact of any news story, and how events spread across mainstream news, online, and social media.

And as media topics can quickly spread to the halls of Government and diaries of legislators, Vuelio also provides weekly sector specific horizon scans and consultation updates for identifying upcoming events, as well as important discussions in Parliament.

These solutions uncover important signals among the static, helping you find relevant coverage and conversations relevant to your organisation and your stakeholders.

Strategic planning and controlling the narrative

Keeping an eye on real-time stakeholder conversations gives you the opportunity to answer quickly.

As research into the controversy surrounding brands involved with the 2022 FIFA World Cup shows, organisations linked to negative coverage need to react quickly. Leaving the story to play out – with hopes it will die down – risks other voices taking over.

For extra support with your reputation management strategy, our Insights team is also on hand to prove the value of your comms and help you understand the immediate impact of a crisis. They’ll also provide you with recommendations to support your future plan and strategy, including risks, threats, and opportunities.

Find out more about Vuelio Insights as well as our PR software for media monitoring.

Post Office Scandal

What PR lessons can be learned from the Post Office Horizon scandal?

The Post Office Horizon scandal continues to take up column inches and spark political debate.

What lessons can be learned from the ongoing PR crisis? And how did the story explode so quickly across ​multiple platforms?

We analysed media coverage, Parliamentary events, and online mentions of ‘Post Office scandal’ between December 2023 to March 2024 to better understand how the story evolved from an under-reported legal issue, to prime time TV fodder and social virality, to a topic debated in Parliament.

Read our case study to learn:

– How brand controversies move from platform to platform when left unchecked
– How a crisis strategy can mitigate the risks of growing controversy
– How horizon-scanning can help prepare for what lies ahead
– Why staying on top of both media and political conversations will help you identify the right stakeholders

Download ‘From TV, to headline news, to Parliament: How an ITV drama brought the Post Office scandal back into the spotlight’​.

Want to track your own media coverage and brand reputation? Check out Vuelio Media Monitoring and Insights

How an ITV drama brought the Post Office Scandal back into the spotlight

The Post Office Horizon scandal continues to take up column inches and spark political debate.

What lessons can be learned from the ongoing PR crisis? And how did the story explode so quickly across ​multiple platforms?

We analysed media coverage, Parliamentary events, and online mentions of ‘Post Office scandal’ between December 2023 to March 2024 to better understand how the story evolved from an under-reported legal issue, to prime time TV fodder and social virality, to a topic debated in Parliament.

Read our case study to learn:

  • How brand controversies move from platform to platform when left unchecked
  • How a crisis strategy can mitigate the risks of growing controversy
  • How horizon-scanning can help prepare for what lies ahead
  • Why staying on top of both media and political conversations will help you identify the right stakeholders

Download the report by filling in the form below 👇

Springtime on the Journalist Enquiry Service

Springtime, outdoor activities, and AI: How to get featured in the media in April

Easter, Mother’s Day, and Valentine’s Day have been and gone, but there are plenty of opportunities for media coverage over the next month to make the most of.

Journalists are constantly looking for information, experts and case studies around topical issues, with hundreds sending requests every week via the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service. We look at what was popular in March and how you can get featured in the media in April.

Springtime gardening and other outdoor pursuits

Last month, ‘Spring’ proved popular with the media, appearing as a keyword in 3% of the total enquiries. This is true of March, too. Requests from journalists covered a range of topics including fashion, beauty, cleaning, recipes, and weddings. Journalists sending these requests write for titles including Ideal Home, Yahoo! Life, Health & Wellbeing, and OK! Magazine.

Another keyword that ties in with Spring is ‘gardening’, and this increased in popularity from February, appearing in 4.5% of all requests last month. Enquiries were primarily for experts and advice on the best plants for garden privacy, rainwater harvesting, and how to use tea bags and eggshells in the garden. The MailOnline, The Sun, BBC Gardeners World Magazine, and House Beautiful all sent requests around gardening.

A new keyword on the Enquiry Service was ‘outdoor’ which appeared in just under 2% of the enquiries in March. Journalists and broadcasters were looking for outdoor dining sets, to outdoor tech and exercise ideas. Titles making these requests included The Daily Express, Grand Designs Magazine, and Homebuilding & Renovating. We expect all three of these keywords to perform well again in April, with scope for getting your experts and info featured in consumer magazines and national press.

AI and tech companies remain in focus

The interest in AI has stayed consistent on the enquiry service for over a year now. That was the case again in March, with just under 3% of requests being about ‘AI’. These are mainly looking for experts to comment,and included ‘What specific roles and skills will be under threat from AI in the near future’ and ‘Seeking AI experts for a piece on the defences you have against deep fakes on the internet’.

Journalists at trade titles such as Verdict, The Register, and IT Pro are regularly looking to cover this topic. However, there are also opportunities with national press outlets too with the Telegraph, Reuters, and the Financial Times sending enquiries last month.

Some of the major tech companies were also in focus in March with ‘Google’ cropping up in over 1% of the enquiries, and ‘Microsoft’ and ‘Apple’ just under 1%. ‘Fintech’ was also starting to crop up and could be a topic that gathers more interest with the media as the year goes on.

Skincare specialists, fitness professionals, and sleep experts

We predicted that ‘sleep’ could be popular in March due to World Sleep Day (19 March) and that turned out to be the case with over 1% of enquiries from journalists containing the keyword. These were mainly for experts, plus some case study requests. Cosmopolitan, Stylist.co.uk, The Independent, and The Guardian all sent enquiries around this topic.

‘Fitness’ was one of the top keywords in January and that happened again in March, as it appeared in just under 3% of the total requests. This might be tied into the London Marathon coming up, with journalists looking to speak to personal trainers, running coaches, and yoga instructors. The Health category benefitted as a result and was the second most selected after Women’s Interest & Beauty. 

Within that top performing category, ‘skincare’ was another topic of interest that we saw regularly in March, with over 1% of the total enquiries containing the keyword. Many were looking for products to use in Spring, as well as skincare experts and dermatologists to comment on specific issues.

Opportunities for PRs in April and beyond

With ‘Spring’ in full bloom now, we expect that it will continue to be a key topic for journalists, alongside the keywords ‘gardening’ and ‘outdoor’. Journalists tend to focus on getting experts in relation to gardening, while Spring and outdoor relate to general information. The UK media are likely to be looking ahead now for advice on what to do over the May bank holidays.

‘Fitness’ could be joined by ‘running’ as a keyword for April, with the London Marathon taking place. This could present an opportunity to PRs with fitness experts and running coaches. We also expect an increase for the Environment & Nature category, with Earth Day on 22 April. Journalists will be looking for climate experts for comment, so be ready to connect them with the relevant people in your roster. ‘Election’ could be a new keyword, too, with the UK local elections taking place in May. Related to what politicians are talking about now –  ‘energy’ could return as a keyword for journalists looking for contributions from PRs via the Journalist Enquiry Service following 1 April’s energy price cap reduction.

To connect with the media on these topics, and much more, check out the Journalist Enquiry Service, and the Vuelio Media Database

Find out more how Vuelio can help you gain and track your coverage in the media here

Alexander Larman interview

‘Harmless, but fascinating’: The Spectator World’s book editor Alexander Larman on covering the UK royal family

Alexander Larman, books editor for The Spectator‘s world edition, has covered the royals for a number of years now, both in his journalism and as an author. He has written about the current turbulent times and issues, as well as approaching the subject from a historical angle, showcased in the final book of the ‘Windsors trilogy’ series, ‘Power and Glory: Elizabeth II and the Rebirth of Royalty’.

We chatted to him about the enduring interest in the royals, the commissioning process at Spectator World, and the benefits of relationship building between journalists and PRs.

Alexander Larman

Having written extensively on the royal family, both as an author and a journalist, what makes them so fascinating to write about?

I’ve never been a royal family obsessive, and in fact, in the introduction to ‘Power and Glory’, I explicitly out myself as a non-monarchist, which I think may ruffle a few feathers. They’re far more interesting to write about if you don’t come at them from the perspective that they have a god-given right to exist, because then you get to ask questions that more respectful chroniclers tend to steer clear of. Why wasn’t the Duke of Windsor interned or jailed during WWII? (He was clearly a traitor by any conventional definition of the term.) Why do we still subsidize the royals with taxpayer money? Why has the recent Kate Middleton story obsessed so many people? 

The answer is because it’s a grand narrative. Unlike politics, which is soap opera but liable to mess up our lives if handled the wrong way by the wrong people, the royals are essentially harmless but fascinating, history writ large. And the fact that they’re useless at concealing their rows and disagreements is hilarious, too.  

What are you looking for content-wise at Spectator World?

A trade secret is that very few working journalists are particularly brilliant writers. This is doubly, even trebly, true in the fields of literary and arts criticism. A lot of people can put together a pithy or witty sentence or two on social media, but to be able to review a book, film or exhibition in an erudite and literate manner, with a genuine understanding of context and history? Nope, that’s a rare skill. 

I have a broad monthly section to fill at the Spectator World, and I am in the fortunate position that because I’m so limited, I only commission the people who can write really well about fascinating subjects. And they do exist, from household name authors to brilliant young women (they’re always women in my experience) in their twenties. I’ve been doing it since 2021 and it’s the thing, apart from my own books, that I’m proudest of professionally.

You also do freelance work as well, what are the pros and cons to working freelance alongside a permanent job?

It’s a necessity. I realised years ago that I needed to earn a certain amount a year in order to enjoy the same kind of lifestyle as my peers – and I’m not talking about holidays in the Maldives or a second home in Cornwall, just being able to go out for the odd meal and keep my wonderful daughter Rose in toys and the occasional treat. And you have to do an awful lot of work in order to make that happen. Journalism isn’t well paid, unless you’re writing for the New Yorker and the like, and this isn’t likely to change any time soon, either.  

I’m relatively lucky these days in that I’m a known quantity thanks to my books and journalism, so I haven’t had to scrape about for work for a few years. But before, say, 2019, times were very tricky. It’s often feast and famine in this industry and I can’t say I relish the prospect of the latter again.

What’s the best way for PRs to get in contact and work with you?

Phone calls never work unless I know you personally – sorry, but that’s the truth in my experience. Email is fine but impersonal, unless again there’s the personal connection, a reply might take a while. Make the effort – ask me out for lunch/coffee/a drink, and come armed with stories, potentially a few writers for those stories. Be professional, engaged, and good company, and we’ll hopefully have a great working relationship. But I’m insanely busy at the moment so we’re looking at June at the earliest (sorry!). 

Connect with Alexander via the Vuelio Media Database, and get pointers on what journalists want from PRs, and more ways Vuelio can help, in this blog post.

Do you have a license for that

Want to share your media coverage, but struggling to make sense of UK copyright laws?

CIPR Midlands’ Licensing Roundtable, chaired by CIPR President Rachael Clamp, brought together Reach plc’s Fergus McKenna, NLA’s Josh Allcorn, CLA’s Ossie Ikeogu, and Vuelio’s Chris Wheeler to provide a rundown of the ins and outs of copyright for PRs.

While ‘there’s nothing straight-forward when it comes to licensing’ – as Ossie admitted – here is our quick guide to keep you on the right track when sharing your coverage.

CIPR Midlands Licensing Roundtable panel

Why do PRs need to know about this stuff?

‘The way we get notified of coverage is completely different now – no scanning the papers in the morning for the right words,’ said Rachael.

As well as protecting PRs from sharing content in the wrong way (and racking up fees as a result), licensing protects publishing. And every creative industry, including PR and comms, needs published content.

‘Licensing is a very important part,’ said Reach plc’s Fergus. ‘Most people’s engagement with us now will be through an app, and not directly through our printed papers or our websites.

‘Publishers need to be wary of how they manage their IP, and get the most value they can from their content. That’s why licensing organisations are vital – I don’t know if publishers would have the bandwidth to do what they do for us’.

Josh added: ‘Publishers need the PRs for the content, the publishers need the licensing bodies because they don’t have the bandwidth – we’re all part of this content ecosystem. We need each other’.

Why are there two licensing orgs in the UK, and do PRs need to be members of both?

As the panel acknowledged, some other countries are served by one all-encompassing licensing organisation, but the UK has two. Why?

NLA initially began in the mid-90s as a venture between the Financial Times and the Telegraph in a bid to find an easier way of allowing PR agencies, among others, to reuse and share their content.

‘As a comms practitioner, when you send out PR, you want to hit as broad a market as possible,’ explained Josh. ‘For publishers, there’s a broad range of rights. The NLA became a more efficient vehicle to put all that activity in one place.’

The CLA is a complimentary service, explained Ossie. But don’t get the two confused.

Formed in 1983 on the basis of Government recommendations to standardise copyright and collection of fees, CLA covers ‘everything from printed to digital formats, books, magazines – that’s our remit,’ said Ossie.

The NLA, in comparison, covers newspapers and a selection of magazines and media sites.

Wouldn’t it be easier to just have one governing licensing body in 2024? Maybe – but as Vuelio’s Chris explained:

‘There are PR clients who don’t need everything, so there are benefits to having two – less unnecessary content; more streamed down. Anything that makes this a simpler process for all is better.’

How can Vuelio help with licensing?

For support with the above – Vuelio serves as an ‘intermediary for clients and copyright organisations,’ explained Vuelio’s Chris.

‘We deliver all those clips through. Our role is reporting back to the CLA and NLA for clients – that’s what we do on a monthly basis for NLA, and quarterly for CLA.

‘We become an advisor for many PRs in this respect. We help them decide what they need. Our clients may want to monitor themselves and their competitors, without everything else. It’s about focusing on what PRs need, and getting fairness and transparency in the pricing as well.

‘We catch up regularly with the licensing bodies to understand the difficulties for our clients, and be the voice of PRs. We’re aiming to get to the point where the pricing and structure is understood by all, so it doesn’t feel like one party is inflicting something on the other.’

Should PRs be wary of the NLA and CLA?

No, said all panelists – licensing organisations are here to help both sides of the PR and media ecosystem.

‘These organisations aren’t just waiting for an infringement – you can have a chat with somebody if you need help. Much like setting up with Vuelio, it’s about finding the right thing for each circumstance,’ said Rachael.

Where copyright gets complicated…

So far, so good – but what about the more confusing parts of copyright law? With the way content is shared constantly evolving, a number of scenarios were brought up during the session. The panel had answers for each:

Sharing coverage on social safely

‘The social media explosion a few years ago muddied the waters because of how the platforms share content,’ said Josh from the NLA point of view.

‘Sharing a link to digital content on socials – there’s no IP on that. And if I want to put a link on my site, that leads traffic back to the publisher, so that’s okay, too. On X, if you’re retweeting and sharing a publisher’s post, you’re absolutely fine.’

‘But taking a headline from the article when sharing – you do need a license.’

Reach plc’s Fergus agreed: ‘If you are amplifying a publisher’s communication, they’re going to welcome that. But using the IP yourself, that’s where there is a copyright issue.’

‘Unfortunately, the CLA license doesn’t cover any social media use,’ added Ossie. ‘From my understanding, that’s been something of a minefield, we haven’t got the okay from our publishers yet. But rest assured that’s something that’s brought up every year.’

As summarised by Rachael – if you’re sharing, liking, or reposting content – that’s engagement for the publisher, and okay. But if you’re sharing for your own engagement, like a quote repost on X, you’ll need a license.

When a publisher uses your press release

As explained by Josh – if the publisher makes an alteration to the copy, the copyright moves to the publisher. With no alteration to the press release, the PR would likely need no license for sharing.

However, speaking from Reach plc’s point of view, Fergus pointed out that publishing can change the ownership: ‘The act of publishing takes on certain copyright protections. If we publish it, those are our words, that is our article. We would see that as being our piece.’

But don’t worry – Vuelio makes this very simple so you won’t get into trouble:

‘There are websites that publish press releases word for word, but Vuelio excludes them from monitoring – that wouldn’t be considered content.’

The grey area of Google Alerts

Google Alerts has changed the way coverage is shared with PRs… and sparked yet more questions around copyright.

‘We would regard a snippet that does contain a headline, or some of the text, as sharing and, in effect, as copyright infringement. And that’s where the CLA license would come into effect,’ said Ossie.

Josh agreed: ‘We have to be aware of the changes and how content is pushed out into the market. Google is obviously a free service – we have to determine what should be protected by copyright and what isn’t. A link isn’t serviceable, but an alert from Vuelio is copyright protected.

‘We are constantly looking at how technology changes and making sure our licenses are fit for purpose.’

For how Vuelio can track your coverage and ensure you’re sharing with your clients and colleagues correctly, find out more about Media Monitoring.

Find extra on the NLA in ‘The PR guide to the NLA’.

WITA Powerlist reception

Celebrating powerful women in trade associations 2024

Vuelio was proud to be a sponsor of last week’s Women in Trade Associations Powerlist reception, celebrating the accomplishments of women making a difference throughout the sector.

Those acknowledged by the TAF, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)’s powerlist were invited to this celebratory event at Space14.

Emily Wallace TAF

‘What I am struck by is what an incredible opportunity we have in this room, with the most inspirational and powerful women in associations,’ said TAF CEO Emily Wallace.

‘There’s a real challenge for trade associations to support female entrepreneurs and female-led businesses. Let this be the start of something. What more we can do to become more powerful advocates for women in business in the UK and support ambitions for growth?’

Nicola Bates WineGB

WineGB CEO and head judge for the powerlist Nicola Bates highlighted the importance of gender balance within organisations, acknowledging that ‘we still have a huge amount to do in the industry’.

She also took a moment to highlight the work of previous generations of women:

‘On the personal side, I really want you to think about the woman who helped you the most in your life. She might be someone in your family, she might not. I believe we stand on the shoulders of giants.

‘We’re so fortunate to be born at this point, we’re so fortunate to be working in this country, in the West, at this time. There are so many problems in terms of women’s rights, and we happen to be here and able to advocate for our sectors.

‘Fifty years ago, this room would not be full.’

Ayesha Patel

Ayesha Patel, sector policy lead (domestic and international) at the Department for Business and Trade and judge for the TAF Awards, paid tribute to the hard work of everyone gathered in the room:

‘Not only does this event, and this list, shine a light on your extraordinary leadership, but also on the job that you do in representing your industries and sectors, as well as engaging with us in Government in the most invaluable and constructive way.

‘As a woman, may I also thank you for setting such a strong example of leadership, tenacity, and integrity for all of us, particularly in the most challenging circumstances and environments when the work is never, ever done. We all know the importance of representation, role models, and advocacy, so congratulations to all of you, and thank you for all that you do.’

Emelia Quist

Emelia Quist, head of policy research at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) spoke about the most positive parts of her job:

‘One of the things that I have to do in my role is look at survey data and see what women-led businesses are doing, and I also get to meet our members. It gives me energy to be in a room with women and drive policy change. I’m really glad to be here this evening, getting to meet so many wonderful people.’

Liz Banks CBI

‘We know how impactful trade association members can be, to drive policy change, to offer advice and support directly to businesses, and to overcome challenges, and seize opportunities – whether that’s meeting net zero targets, or meeting societal challenges in your particular sectors,’ said Liz Banks, campaigns & communications director for the Confederation of Business Industry (CBI).

‘Among the applications there were so many inspiring stories of real impact and ambition – folks rolling up their sleeves, not accepting the status quo, and getting things done.

‘On behalf of CBI and TA, thank you for creating this opportunity to celebrate all these women.’

Check out the full Women in Trade Associations Powerlist 2024 here.

How to navigate the storm of crisis

How to navigate the storm of a PR crisis

Is your organisation prepared to handle the top global risks predicted for 2024?

From the far-reaching impacts of geo-politcal conflicts, the threats of misinformation, or values-based mismatches between audiences, the possible sources of future problems are numerous. But they can be planned for.

As part of the webinar ‘Preparing for the unexpected – redefining communications strategy’, Wadds Inc.’s founder and managing partner Stephen Waddington shared extra pointers for navigating crises.

Read on for ways to get internal stakeholders onboard and how to bring international teams together.

How do you educate the leaders of an organisation about their roles in crisis comms planning?

Crisis response is part of any leader’s role. Planning, training, and regular testing for key management team members should be part of an organisation’s risk preparedness. The frequency of these activities depends on the organisation’s operational context.

Horizon scanning is a helpful tool to alert management to the range of risks around an organisation.

How do you manage risk in an environment where there is a high level of staff turnover?

An organisation’s governance should include a risk register and a robust training programme. These safeguards protect the organisation from operational issues such as staff turnover.

What are key observations on the dovetail between operational and reputational risk?

The nature of operational risk within an organisation should be well understood. Areas of crisis preparedness and response will typically be led and managed by operational teams. Reputational risk is more dynamic and depends on the operational context and markets in which an organisation operates. It should be reviewed frequently as part of the analysis for a risk register.

What advice do you have for helping global teams respond to crises and keeping teams joined up?

The robust capability of the corporate communications function to respond to issues and crises as part of an integrated organisational response is a legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic. Communications teams tested crisis plans and their execution in terms of technology, media, and processes.

How can you mitigate risk for organisations that are dealing with issues that have the potential to polarise stakeholders?

This is a critical contemporary issue for corporate communication and management teams. Political and societal issues must be balanced with business imperatives and values or purpose-driven leadership. We’ve developed a decision-making framework to support this activity.

Do you have a recommendation to manage a crisis simulation within a comms team?

We work with Polpeo, a UK crisis simulation company led by Kate Hartley. Its virtual environment can simulate a full-blown crisis in a safe setting. Polpeo combines technology and expert practitioners to train and test a corporate communications or management team.

For more on managing crisis, download the accompanying white paper ‘The evolving nature of crisis communications management’ and watch the webinar ‘Preparing for the unexpected – redefining communications strategy’.

Want to start scanning for crisis sources? Find out more about Vuelio’s Media Monitoring.

Webinar write up

Are you prepared? It’s time to redefine your crisis communications strategy

It’s impossible to plan for every future crisis, but having a comms plan in place is a must-have for every organisation in the current climate.

To help with this, we teamed up with Wadds Inc. founder and managing partner Stephen Waddington for the webinar ‘Preparing for the unexpected – redefining communications strategy’.

Watch the webinar here.

Stephen shared the lowdown on risks you need to know about this year, how to identify potential problems sources, and how to prepare for what’s ahead.

If you missed it, don’t fret – here are some of the key points covered:

Risk has changed – here’s how to keep up

2024 has already been an eventful year, and the tried and tested comms plans of the past need to be updated – it’s time to adapt with the changing world PR communicates with:

‘We are operating in a complex geopolitical environmental and societal perspective,’ said Stephen.

‘Organisations have had to humanise how they communicate with the public as a collective response to COVID-19. Initially, this was related to mental health and wellbeing, and then the wider societal context, including Black Lives Matter and Roe vs Wade. Three years on, this has resulted in a new area of crisis.’

Quote from Rod Cartwright

Stephen shared advice from Rod Cartwright, special advisor to the CIPR Crisis Communications Network:

‘Risk registers, heat maps, and risk appetite statements are essential for any organisation. But they are also only the start…’

Responding to crisis

The three tenets at the core of any crisis response according to Stephe are monitoring, testing, and then centring your comms:

‘Crisis comes with maining public trust, coordinating a complex stakeholder environment, and holding leadership to account.

‘Preparedness is tested through simulation exercises where we can spot gaps in capability, and we can put teams under pressure to help develop plans. Finally, we can make use of our ability to continually monitor, and horizon-scan’.

‘Media monitoring and social listening tools allow us more than ever to understand the public and social sphere and identify those behaviours around a crisis event’.

Future reading

Stephen highlighted some useful resources to bolster your crisis planning:

– Vuelio and Wadds Inc.’s latest white paper The evolving nature of crisis communications management
– The CIPR Crisis Communications Network’s Drafting a Crisis Communication Plan
– The National Protective Security Authority’s Reducing Insider Risk Toolkit
– The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report for 2024.

For much more on the top risks to plan for this year and beyond, as well as strategies for tackling crises as they unfold, as well as the fallout, check out our white paper.

Want to know more about media monitoring and social listening? Check out solutions from Vuelio and our sister brand Pulsar.