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Dealing with non-mainstream and biased sources

When a client recently asked if a source in their daily newsbrief was legitimate, here's how we responded...
Dealing with non-mainstream and biased sources

In 20 years in the media intelligence business, one thing has never changed: Communications VPs consider it risky to outsource their CEO-level newsbrief to an outside vendor. As the sponsor, it's their neck on the line. The only way it can work is if editorial judgement, timing, and content sourcing all remain impeccable.

So when a client recently asked our team if a hand-selected source in their daily Executive News Brief was a “legitimate / unbiased outlet,” we snapped to attention and responded quickly.

Things turned out fine—a publication with a slightly corny name had sparked the inquiry—but the exercise did surface a few points that we think are worth sharing with communicators swimming in an ocean of sources at their disposal.

Here they are:

•  Sometimes, valuable sources operate outside the well-worn path of mainstream media — reaching target audiences and fostering discussions that the major outlets can’t, or won’t.

•  Not all sources are created equal. A trustworthy media monitoring agency will thoroughly review, vet, and understand the nuances of each and every source. And know them all by name.

•  A source that leans in one direction politically may provide useful insights that are missed by more centrist outlets, as long as the content is viewed critically, and any biases are understood. WARNING on this one though: Slanted sources are often not appropriate for a brief sent to a large audience.

•  Publication names might be unconventional, but if they're reporting accurate, valuable intelligence that aligns with your monitoring goals, then they're worth including in your briefs and potentially targeting for relationship building and future outreach.

How does your organization treat sources that might be outside the mainstream? Do you feel you may be flying blind to what other valuable news & information are out there? We'd love to hear your perspectives on the ever-fragmenting media space — please drop us a line.