Branding & Media Monitoring
Once you have a distinguishable "Brand" you need to monitor the media, to alert for problems, and track feedback. The desire to monitor the worlds media and identify news patterns has been at the forefront of intelligence for over a hundred years. Newspapers were collected and every major corporation employed a clipping service. With the arrival of broadcasting entire networks were developed to listen, watch and monitor the broadcasts, analyze the content, and report to corporations.
In the early 1990's the arrival of the Internet brought with it a whole new paradigm of monitoring, where sites around the world can be watched from anywhere. By the 2000's the shear volume of websites made it an impossible task. By 2009 there were over a Trillion web pages indexed by Google.
Fortunately a new academic theory came to the rescue, that of Swarm Intelligence. Around 2005 the intelligence community, frustrated that their old models of top down command and control had been replaced by loose and independent groups of terrorists working towards a common goal, and common purpose. Massive resources were pumped into creating automated research capabilities as the numbers were far too great to utilize traditional labor intensive methods. It didn't take long to realize that this Swarm Intelligence could be applied to many other complex problems, and one of these is pulling together tens of millions of postings on Blogs, chat rooms and social networking sites, and of course the websites and news feeds from traditional media and the PR industry.
But these algorithms driving massive computer power go further than just cataloging the hundreds of millions of pages written every year, they can analyze and predict behavior, perceptions and intentions of the public.
We now have an effective Media Intelligence resource to support effective decision making.
The filtering of news and insertion of opinion has long been a serious problem, especially with political news, and news on issues that affect every person in a country. President Reagan understood this and ordered the creation of WorldNet to by pass the Gatekeepers of the Washington Press Corps. They skewed the news to suit the political, or religious leanings of the media moguls who owned the newspapers, radio and television stations.
Today the polarization of news reporting is so blatant that if you watch a news segment on Fox News, and the same incident on MSNBC they could have been on two different planets. The worst is the partisan reporting on political statements, never identified as personal commentary, but taken by the public as facts. No wonder the audience is migrating to the Internet for their news. The mainstream TV News has degraded to entertainment driven wall to wall coverage of ideological driven commentary. This is the driving force behind News Pattern services, for accurate news, or sufficient and diverse amount of opinion is needed to develop a clear picture, and enable actionable intelligence.
All News Monitoring Programs are Not the Same
There are some news monitoring services that have given stellar service for many years, their editors spread around the world carefully reading and listing the news items they consider important. They produce lists for you to access, and many produce neat graphs and pie charts of the articles they have found. Life was great at 14.4 modem speed.
Today at blazing broadband speed and the need to input tens of millions of sources the text based services are woefully inadequate. The corporate media managers need to act and think at the same speed as their audience, their customers. This applies equally to the assignment editor in a newsroom, or the CEO of a major corporation, whose sales depend on the perception of the marketplace. By the time problems, or opportunities can be clipped from the major news outlets, or wire services the window of opportunity can be closed, or stolen by the competition. This is why so much research has been done on the graphical display, the weak link in the information chain. Text input to the human brain has a limit of 200b/s speed, but video patterns can utilize a read speed of 10Mb/s. That's how our brain interprets information. So why use a text program at 200b/s when the sheer volume of news needs 10Mb/s?
The BBC and Secret Media Monitoring
Since 1939 the BBC has maintained a close watch on broadcasts from around the world, to give the intelligence services "Heads up" on breaking news which could impact British interests around the world. Housed in Caversham Park, the operation was kept under wraps till quite recently. Even in the 1980's the BBC would neither confirm, nor deny it's monitoring of foreign broadcasts.
The facility monitors information from radio, television, print media and now the Internet, from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.
In the United States the similar function is undertaken by the CIA run Open Source Center, formerly the Foreign Broadcast Information Service.