Crowdsourcing Sources : Designing a media catching service for media and PR in Sweden

University essay from KTH/Skolan för datavetenskap och kommunikation (CSC)

Abstract: For decades, the relationship between journalists and PR representatives has been found to be a difficult one, due to a lot of economic and professional pressure on journalists, and PR agents trying to push their agenda. Digitalization has brought many new tools into the game and one of them is turning this relationship around: Media Catching. Such services put the power back into the hands of journalists and other content creators, by giving them the opportunity of crowdsourcing sources for their specific stories by sending out a request to a big pool of sources including PR agents, entrepreneurs, experts etc. While such services are growing in the US, they are not established in Sweden yet. Hence, this study looks at two questions: (1) How should a media catching service in Sweden be designed, in order to meet the requirements of the Swedish media and PR landscape? (2) For which different target groups within the Media and PR landscape could this service be beneficial? To find answers, this research conducted qualitative interviews with three representatives of the Swedish media and five PR agents and/or entrepreneurs. Literature research, previous studies and a benchmark analysis of media catching services delivered further insights. In terms of designing a media catching service, the results showed that it should allow journalists to choose whether they want to be contacted via mail, phone or social media; it should send out requests via mail; different Facebook integrations are discussed due to its big popularity; it should include an option for users to gather the contacts they made through the service; the question whether it should offer an online community should further be investigated; Users should be given personalization and targeting options so that sources can choose how often and which media requests they want to receive, and so that content creators can send their requests to their specific target group. At least four different user groups were found that could benefit of a media catching service in Sweden. Due to their different demands, knowledge and target groups the media catching service should either focus only on two of these groups or offer enough targeting and personalization options to make it successful for all of them. Finally, it is important to ensure quality on a media catching platform which can be achieved through different steps, like offering trainings for the users or implementing different control functions. Hence, when establishing a media catching service in Sweden, all of the above mentioned findings can serve as a guideline for designing it and for understanding which groups could be targeted with it to create a user base. 

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