I’m not vain, just investigating my output: journalists (and PRs), tune into Journa-list

Thanks to Bobbie for pointing me (and every other hack on the nationals) towards the endlessly fascinating Journa-list.com (foolishly, they haven’t set it up for http://journa-list.com – come on, people), which

is an independent, not-for-profit website that makes it easy for people to find out more about journalists and what they write about.


It is the first UK website to offer a fully searchable database of UK national journalists (who write under a byline), with links to their current and previous articles, and some basic statistics about their work.

It allows you to build up your own tailored list of journalists whose views you respect and trust. You can search through their back catalogue of articles, and link to other articles on the same topic by different journalists. And, if you want, you can be alerted each time any of them writes an article.

That’s scary, right? No, no, for PR people, it’s brilliant. Sort of. We’ll come to its failings (which are few) in a second.

Right now there is no website that pulls together the work of individual journalists and aggregates it to make it easy to search and link. If you search on the internet for a journalist the chances are you’ll find one of three things: a link to an article of theirs on a news website, a brief bio on the news website (or, if well known, on Wikipedia), or their own website / blog (very rare in the UK).

So, who you got in there, eh?

It contains all journalists from 12 national newspapers – The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, The Mirror, The Sun, The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Mirror, The Observer – and BBC News Online. The site can only index those articles which have bylines. We started indexing the articles in May 2007.

That May start date means that it doesn’t have that much authority, but hell, you have to start somewhere. (Possibly they’ll be able to work backwards and add content from earlier, using search engines or something.)

Here’s my profile:

Charles Arthur has written...

  • More about ‘apple’ than anything else
  • A lot about ‘linux’ in the last month
  • More bylined articles than the average journalist

Based on 44 articles since April 2007

Well, OK, sorta. If you look up Katharine Viner, though, you’d think she was a bit of a waster: one article since May. Except that disguises one thing: she’s the features editor on the Guardian, so wields much more power than you’d think from her “output”. That’s the weakness here: it only measures what can be measured – which is words and length and a rough parsing – not influence, which is more important in many regards. Plus it doesn’t include blogging, which has some influence too, surely.

Still, it’s a good start by the Media Standards Trust.


  1. >>>>It is the first UK website to offer a fully searchable database of UK national journalists (who write under a byline), with links to their current and previous articles, and some basic statistics about their work.

    Apollo Surveys have offered this kind of thing (albeit geared towards tech writers) for a few years now


    However, you do have to pay for it (1950 per annum) – so the Media Trust site may well be the first to offer this kind of analysis for free. And cover the whole national press arena rather than sector specific journalists.

  2. Charles

    Friday 12 October 2007 at 1:59 pm

    @Andrew: Apollo says “The Apollo Journalist Profiler is an online subscription database containing information on over 6,000 technology journalists at over 900 European and American media sources that have written articles in the last six months.”

    Which is different from Journa-list, which is national hacks. And, as you note, free. I suspect it’s doing it by scraping the websites – it found my online-only article from today, for example.

  3. Charles,

    Oo indeed. Could lead many ways…


  4. Wasn’t there something along these lines a couple of years ago that also added the spooky dimension of rating output as % positive versus negative, and also gave you an influence rating based on how likely you were to have names/pix of products in your copy?

  5. Well, my profile doesn’t know I also write for the Telegraph’s business pages (nor does it find Wendy Grossman without the M in the middle). And I’m sure I’ve written more than six articles since June, even for just you, Charles. Or maybe I’m starving and just don’t know it.


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