Media Spot Me streamlines the interview chase

A Waterloo-based start up launched earlier this year aims to help journalists find high quality interviews without the frustrations of lengthy online searches.  logo

Media Spot Me is the work of Stavros Rougas (a former associate producer with TV Ontario’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin) and his partner, developer Ebrahim Ashrafizadeh. Together they’ve compiled a database of more than 7000 Canadian academics who are interested in media.

“We allow people to apply to join but as of now we’ve restricted it to academics,” says Rougas.

“We’re really trying to keep the barrier high, making sure it’s really effective for the end user, who is the journalist.”

The inspiration for the project came from Rougas’s own experience in journalism.

“It’s an outgrowth of my own frustration as a journalist,” says Rougas, recalling time-consuming Internet searches for interviews.

“You’re going though old news articles, other competitors in the field, in order to pick out names. Or often you’re going through the resources you already have. And then that leads to certain issues. There’s never enough women, there’s never enough of certain other kinds of people. And your readers or your viewers get tired of the same people,” he says.

“And then these people start to get out of their domain of expertise. You get to the point where they’re good on TV but they don’t add a lot of value. I do believe that the competitive advantage for content producers is to produce good quality content. That’s what drives the eyeballs which in turn is what drives the advertising.”

Rougas says that so far around 100 journalists have signed up to pay the $29 monthly (or $290 yearly) fee to access the database. Although he doesn’t know whether any current users are freelancers, he does believe the database would be of benefit to independent journalists who are producing high volumes of work.

“It’s ideal for people producing regular content on a news cycle. That’s when it’s a really powerful tool,” says Rougas. He acknowledges that research-savvy journalists can accomplish a great deal with regular internet searches, but points out that finding good quality interview subjects can be time consuming.

“You can’t make any money by spending hours and hours on one piece. There’s a balance between getting it done and doing it to a certain quality,” he says.

Media Spot Me, he says, takes care of some of the mechanical tasks of journalism, allowing writers to focus on the task of writing.

Rougas is confident that his product will pay off for journalists.

“If you’re able to identify people that actually have specific knowledge in an area, you’re just going to produce better quality. Over time you produce better quality and you’re more likely to get work and, hopefully, better paid work. You’re able to move up the food chain,” he says.

Rougas and Ashrafizadeh are currently working on enhanced search features for the database, allowing for more cross-referencing between areas of expertise and richer, more relevant results. They’re also expanding their database to include academics from larger institutions in the United States.

You can sign up for a free 14-day trial of Media Spot Me here.


Posted on May 31, 2013 at 9:15 am by editor · · Tagged with: , ,

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