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Media Monitoring: A Critical Tool for Communications

Knowing what media outlets—including local TV and radio stations, and print and digital publications—are reporting is critical for organizations to understand how their information is reported and perceived.  

For USAID and other development agencies, gaining an understanding of how U.S. foreign assistance is covered by the media is critical to planning for and delivering results as part of a larger strategy.

We are helping USAID/Kenya and East Africa improve its media monitoring efforts by moving beyond a broad “media sweep” and putting in place a system that pinpoints coverage directly related to activities. With a targeted keyword system, we’ve helped USAID cut through the “noise” of unrelated articles and broadcasts, and improve analytics that demonstrate a tangible return on investment.

Working with local partners, we have crafted and automated daily summary newsfeeds that make it easy for senior U.S. officials to stay up to date on which programs are covered by foreign news media. Our custom-built databases are pushing the limits of emerging digital monitoring tools by introducing search capabilities designed around USAID’s development priorities, for example by making it possible to find coverage by technical area and geography.

We have found that monitoring needs to be paired with audience-centric and return on investment analytics to have real value. 

That’s why our analyses dig deep into earned media using public relations metrics such those that indicate how often, on average, a person has come into contact with a certain broadcast, and why we use the advertising value equivalency metric, known as AVE, which estimates in dollars the value of earned media generated.  

We also help manage, and monitor and analyze the Mission’s social media, and include digital metrics alongside traditional media metrics, taking the concept of media monitoring a step further.