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Top Journalists: Which Reporters Influence CEOs?

This analysis identifies the top journalists and reporters that influence executives and other leaders of the C-Suite.

By: Michael Brito

Category: Analytics

I always get chills down my spine when someone asks, “Who are the top journalists?” It’s such a loaded question and there is no one right answer. Mainly because “top” can mean volume or how many times a particular journalist writes an article about a topic. Or, it can mean impact which is a measure that tracks several data points like engagement, clicks, sentiment and more. It can mean hundreds of other things as well.

Back in 2018, Rational 360 released a report, “Top 50 Journalists Followed by CEOs” that got some really good media coverage from Adweek, The Hill and many others. They mapped the social footprint of CEOs that made several high-profile lists:

  • 2017 Fortune 1000 CEOs
  • 2018 Fortune 500 CEOs
  • Business Roundtable Board of Directors,
  • Fast Company 2017 & 2018 Most Innovative Companies
  • Fortune’s 40 Best Financial Services lists

They provided a list of the top 50 journalists that the CEO’s follow on social media. I wanted to revisit this list and provide additional analysis.

The first thing that we did was build an audience of two point 2.3K self-identified C-Suite executives. We intentionally expanded the scope to include not just CEO’s, but also COO’s, CIO’s and CTO’s. We started with an affinity analysis which measures the percent of the audience that follows the top journalists, brands, media outlets and more.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the findings:

This data represents the top tech journalist audience that the C-Suite executives follow on social media. The data is based on affinity and can be interpreted by the percent of the audience that follows each journalist handle.

You might recognize some of the same tech journalists from the initial report back in 2018. You will also see some new names as well, some of which are former journalists and are working for some tech companies here in Silicon Valley. This data is a good indicator as to which media publications that CEO’s tend to read for business and tech related information.

Top Journalists

I’m sure you will recognize some of these top reporters below. A few of them are more focused on specific niche topics like cybersecurity and digital health. There is a distinction between the uniqueness data and the affinity data when exploring the top journalists.

The affinity data is based purely on the percent of C-Suite executives who follow these top journalists on social media. The uniqueness data is calculated based on the percent of audience who follow these top journalists when compared to a random sample of internet users (in some cases, it’s referred to as general population).

This type of data shows the unique interests and affinity’s that a particular audience has When compared to different groups of people. It could be gen pop, or you can compare it by female executives and male executives.

Top Reporters

Below are the top media publications that C-Suite executives are reading and sharing online. There’s nothing that unexpected here because one could assume that all executives read WIRED, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

What isn’t expected is what you will see in the next row. These are the top security specific media publications that executives are reading. I think there is a misconception in the marketplace that executives only read business focused media. The truth is, and especially with the pandemic coming to an end hopefully, executives are a lot more engaged with the day-to-day operations of the business. This includes issues related to remote work, and yes security.

What media do executives read?

This last data set represents the topics that are top of mind for executives. In this case, all we did is collect all of their social media mentions since January 2021 and categorized their mentions into related topics/categories. This is what we call a conversation analysis. It should be noted that the data is not mutually exclusive. This simply means that if they were talking about COVID 19 and remote work, the mentions would show up in both categories.

We also wanted to add one little bonus data point which might not be as helpful as the others. This just shows the volume of remote work conversations since the beginning of the year. This data really doesn’t tell us anything other than the topic of remote work is declining in usage. One could argue that executives are moving on to other things.

CEO Topics

At this point, we are just scratching the surface with this type of analysis. There is another way to look at this if you think about it. It’s not difficult to identify the top reporters in a specific vertical or category and use engagement data and article sharing to determine impact.

I hope you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to my PR, Analytics and ROI YouTube channel where I provide snackable data and analysis.

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