Analyze That: LexisNexis Media
By Hal Kirkwood
BUSINESS researchers know how difficult it is to track
press coverage of companies. Getting an overall count
of how many times the company was mentioned in the
press has been getting steadily easier as more publications
appear in electronic form. Ascertaining the slant of
these articleswhether they treat the company
in a positive, negative, or neutral wayremains
a challenge. Help is on the way, thanks to Media Analyzer.
Media Analyzer, a new offering from LexisNexis, is
a joint venture with CARMA International, Inc., a global
media analyst firm. Media Analyzer's purpose is to "measure
media coverage for more than 700 global companies and
28 industry sectors from 85 domestic and international
sources with links to the full text." Using Media Analyzer
you can study both the quality and quantity of coverage
for a specific company across the selected group of
media sources. The database boasts over 400,000 articles
analyzed at the time this article was written.
You can also benchmark a company against its competitors,
its sector, or all companies. The company's stock price,
when available, can be overlaid to compare how the
media's coverage may or may not be affecting the stock
price. You can also focus in on a specific corporate
topic or a specific sector to determine what trends
are taking place in the media's coverage.
LexisNexis and CARMA imMEDIAte, a division of Carma
International Inc., formed an alliance to integrate
their individual strengths in a new database. Carma
brought its expertise in researching media coverage
from across the globe while LexisNexis brought its
The key piece of Media Analyzer is the Favorability
Rating. The Favorability Rating is a score displayed
as a weekly line graph that charts the course of a
given company (or sector or topic) up or down based
on how it scored in the articles that week. Analysts
assign each article a score between 0 and 100 using
a pre-determined set of criteria designed to eliminate
subjectivity. The points are awarded or subtracted
from a neutral 50 based on this pre-determined criteria.
Each article is analyzed based on the following:
Headline of the story
Length and placement of the story
Photos and graphics associated with
Number and quality of sources quoted
in the story
Positive and negative messages articulated
in the story
Language used by the journalists and
general tone of the story
Articles are screened in their native languages.
Shown are 52 week high and low scores. The Favorability
Rating is the unique value-added component of Media
Analyzer. This rating provides a layer of knowledge
that was previously difficult, if not impossible, to
obtain at this scope.
Selecting a company from the Company list presents
the user with an array of information and analysis.
A weekly line graph of the Favorability Rating is provided
along with a bar graph displaying the weekly volume
of coverage in the media. The time frame can be set
at "last 8 weeks," "last 16 weeks," "last 32 weeks" (default),
and "last 56 weeks." The scope of coverage can also
be controlled by selecting Global, North America, Latin
America, Europe, or Asia-Pacific. This allows users
to focus on how a company's activities are being covered
within regional publications. Each graph is clickable
and allows you to burrow into a specific week and review
the list of headlines with links to the available full
text. The headlines are presented within a small pop-up
Two other areas on the Companies screen are News
Topics Driving Company Coverage and Media Outlets Driving
Company Coverage. The News Topics consist of a non-clickable
list in rank order by volume of coverage listing such
topics as Earnings/Finances, Management, Labor/Employee
Relations, and Partnerships/Ventures. The Media Outlets
list is the top three volume leaders for the selected
company. Both lists are color-coded black (neutral),
red (negative), or green (positive) for the coverage
of the company. These sections of the Companies screen
provide you with greater detail about the companies'
recent activities and which media are specifically
targeting the selected companies' activities.
Additional options include charting the 50-day moving
average for the Favorability Rating and plotting the
stock price to compare to the Favorability Rating.
You are also able to compare the selected companies
Favorability Rating to a sector rating or to another
specific company rating. This compares both Favorability
Rating and Total Volume for the two selected companies
and sectors. Only the primary company headlines can
be selected in the rating or volume graphs.
The Competitive Benchmarking option presents the
user with the functionality to compare a company with
up to six selected competitors, to its peer (or any
sector) group, or to all 700 companies covered by Media
Analyzer. Region and Time Frame are again available
options for manipulating the graph.
In another example of the value-added nature of Media
Analyzer, you can view a plotted graph that visually
places the company in relation to other companies.
This information is displayed on a graph plotting each
company along an x (Favorability) and a y (volume of
In addition to focusing on specific companies, you
can use Media Analyzer to analyze the Favorability
Rating for an entire sector. Among the 28 sectors are
Chemicals, Leisure, Retail, and Utilities. The information
is presented in a similar format to the Companies screen
with 52 week high-low information and a weekly volume
bar graph. A similarity to the Companies screen is
a (unclickable) list of the top news topics driving
the sector coverage while a difference is a list of
the top three companies driving the sectors' coverage.
The News Topics screen is identical to the Sectors
screen, the major difference being the ranked (unclickable)
list of 10 companies driving the coverage in the selected
topic area. Included in the 30 News Topics are Acquisitions/Spin
Offs, Earnings/Finances, Products/Services, and Technology/R&D.
Media Analyzer provides access to its information
from the media perspective by allowing the user to
select one of the 85 media sources and plot how it
covers the News Topics, Sectors, or Companies by Sector.
The information is presented in a pie-chart format.
Selecting a slice of the pie pops open a separate window
showing a list (unclickable) of the News Topics (or
Sectors or Companies) and the total volume of articles
for each subtopic. A list of the Leading Companies
in descending order by volume is presented. However,
it is unclickable as well.
MEDIA ANALYZER'S USEFULNESS
The Weekly Favorability Rating graph and the Weekly
Volume of Articles graph can be downloaded in a spreadsheet
format. This feature makes it easy to compare the data
to other elements you have acquired elsewhere. It is
also possible to format the graphs for printing or
e-mailing to yourself.
The Help section consists of a FAQ and a Help Index
to resolve problems and to provide additional information
on facets of Media Analyzer. It is straightforward
to use. There is no contextual help built into the
interface, but the Media Analyzer interface does not
really warrant it.
Help also contains detailed information on the methodology
of the Media Analyzer process and the Favorability
Rating using some basic concept map techniques to provide
some insight into the process of analyzing the articles
and rating the companies.
At first glance, the screens feel a bit cluttered
and condensed to me. LexisNexis provides a border of
white space to each side and below, which is generally
beneficial for on-screen viewing. My own desktop settings
favor smaller fonts. I would imagine that some users
might find that Media Analyzer packs an abundance of
information into a rather small area.
There is awkwardness about what is clickable to delve
deeper into the information and what is not. It was
frustrating at times to leave one section and move
to another to obtain information across the primary
areas: Companies, Sectors, News Topics, and Media.
Improving the cross-linking would greatly improve Media
The home page of Media Analyzer has a section labeled "Coming
Soon." It highlights future directions and additions
to the database. These currently include: CEO Reputation
Measurement, Immediate Analysis White Papers, and the
addition of more companies.
Media Analyzer is a new and interesting company and
media database from LexisNexis. Its ability to analyze
both textually and graphically how media sources cover
companies, sectors, and news topics will find many
practical applications in business, communications,
and journalism. Tracking bias by a publication or by
a region and tracking how a company's media coverage
can influence its stock price are just a few examples
of how this database might be utilized. I recommend
that libraries and information centers with needs in
business and communications evaluate this product.
It may provide them with a source of information that
was previously very tedious to collect and perhaps
impossible to consistently create on their own.
Media Analyzer will be a useful supplemental database
to other company and full-text journal databases. The
value-added information makes it unique and presents
users with a new set of data to add to their toolkit
when evaluating companies or tracking a story across
multiple publications. Media Analyzer is also another
database that is presenting the information in a variety
of graphics and charts. This is a direction toward
which many databases are beginning to further move.
This trend toward visual information will continue
as the upcoming generation of users demands it.
Hal Kirkwood [firstname.lastname@example.org] is
instruction coordinator, Management & Economics Library,
Comments? E-mail letters to the editor to email@example.com.