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Beyond the ‘little black book’: How AI and automation helps you stay on top of media contact rapid changes

30 April, 2024

Black Book blog post topper (1)In the world of public relations, the size of the 'little black book' is traditionally seen as a key indicator of a professional's network of influence.

These valuable repositories of exclusive contacts prove useful as needed; however, they are static and challenging to update, even in their digital versions such as mobile phones and Excel spreadsheets.

In today’s complex media landscape, navigating the media's 'wild west' requires more than retaining existing contacts. It requires keeping track of changes, building relationships and getting to know journalists as the individuals they are. 

This is how Medianet’s innovative approach to media contact updates facilitates those key relationships and successful media outreach.


The importance of accuracy in a media database

There are two reasons why it’s important and valuable to “keep up with the media”:  relationships and relevance.

Data facilitates relationship building, which is key when you are working with an ever-changing industry. 

Given that nearly half of journalists change roles or job positions within a year, it is important to ‘keep up’ to maintain relationships and forge new ones.

Change of media roles in Australia 2024

Phoebe Netto, founder and Managing Director of Pure Public Relations, explained how important it is to understand journalists’ individual preferences in our webinar.


Relationships facilitate relevance which is absolutely key to the success of any PR campaign.  In fact, journalists expressed that one of the best ways to build effective relationships with them is to send personalised pitches with relevant stories above other ways such as attending events, regular contact or attending networking events.

It only makes sense that after spending countless hours and resources planning your messaging and PR campaign, you want to ensure it is delivered effectively to someone who wants to listen. Like a blunt arrow, if the contacts you are targeting have left the building or are not interested, your whole strategy will fall on deaf ears. 

Serving time-poor journalists with stories they can and want to run is what will make your campaign successful.

How to build relationships with journalists

"PR who are familiar with a person's work, or an outlet's specific tone and coverage area, will have more success and foster better connections with journalists"

Journalist - Medianet Media Landscape Report 2024


Injecting relevance and accuracy into the Media Contacts Database

Medianet’s Media Contacts Database has been the standard by which all media databases in Australia have been measured for 40 years and is the most effective way to find journalist contacts. In charge of maintaining high accuracy, is a committed and passionate team of media researchers.

Among other tasks, the work of media researchers involves regular contact with journalists and spot checks of existing data to detect any changes. When the team is alerted to a change, that journalist is contacted to confirm that the change is accurate and to seek permission to update records on the database.

The media research team also captures journalists’ interests in terms of what stories they want to cover, when to be contacted and how to best reach them.


Achieving a 370% increase in material contact updates with automation and AI

With 36,000+ media contacts and outlets, keeping Medianet’s database accurate, reliable, and a valuable tool for PR professionals requires a sophisticated approach.  

Thanks to bespoke AI and ML models developed in partnership with knowledge extraction and text generation services leader Identrics, Medianet experienced a staggering 370% year-over-year increase in material updates to journalist profiles compared with a purely manual approach.

Automation and AI increase our media researchers' efficiency, enabling timely, precise updates for clients. It also allows us to enrich data about journalists' preferences with not just what they say they are interested in covering, but also what topics they are actually writing about.

Ultimately, we are helping clients deliver relevant content that resonates with target audiences  amidst the noise of the digital age:

  • Enhanced Data Quality. The AI solutions augment our capabilities, resulting in an accuracy of 98.7% across six core metrics. Medianet subscribers can rely on up-to-date and relevant journalists’ contact information to inform their strategies and decisions.
  • Increased Efficiency. Automation streamlines processes and reduces manual effort in media research and content curation. This frees up on average 40% of time for Medianet resources to work on other higher-value tasks.
  • Elevated Relevance. Leveraging advanced technology allows PR professionals to deliver personalised and relevant content to target audiences,  driving meaningful connections with the media and increasing the likelihood of earned media pick-up.

Medianet’s approach to media database updates revolutionises the little black book into an efficient tool for communication experts to tell their stories with impact and authenticity, driving meaningful outcomes for their organisations.


What you enjoy with Medianet’s Media Contacts Database

  • A team of highly efficient local media researchers building relationships and trust with journalists for you to be able to pitch to them confidently.
  • An accuracy rate of 98.7% based on quarterly spot checks of six core metrics (name, last name, phone number, email address and, job role and media outlet).
  • Dynamic update of your saved lists and replacement of outdated contacts with new ones
  • An exhaustive list of 36,000+ contacts and outlets in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Regular updates of contacts involved in topics that are relevant to the current news cycle. For example, we focus more on topics that are going to be covered in the Federal Budget in the months ahead of the Federal Budget.
  • Ability to create, save and export lists of contacts.
  • Ability to seamlessly use your own media lists when distributing via Medianet.

Want to know more about Medianet’s team of researchers and how we keep it up to date? Sign up for our upcoming webinar “Insider tips to maximise your PR impact with the Contacts Database” and learn:

  • What they do day-to-day, the methods they employ to keep Medianet's Contacts Database up to date.
  • Real-life examples of their ongoing work.
  • Tips to engage with journalists when you are updating your own lists.


Medianet is the ultimate PR platform connecting you with media contacts and outlets to get your story told.

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