Where do the political insiders get their information from?


From the first December 7 sealed section

Crikey is trying to get a grip on the Federal Parliament information services available to the likes of lobbyists in Canberra and would love some feedback from our plugged in subscriber base.

In terms of tracking press releases, committee reports, Parliamentary speeches, door stop transcripts and radio interview transcripts, where do lobbyists and corporates source the information from:

We started off assuming these four groups were the main source:

  • AAP
  • Parliamentary Library
  • Rehame or Media Monitors
  • Government websites

But it seems there are lesser known alternatives. For instance numerous lobbyists use a company called AusAccess which provides a subscription service. AusAccess are said to be a bit slow and sometimes subscribers can be deluged with 100 releases in a day, but overall they seem to get pretty good reviews.

Lobbyists tend to only use Rehame or Media Monitors when a particular client requires the service, although they tend to be a little unreliable time-wise, especially with smaller media outlets, and you can get most of the news from the internet news sites anyway.

The Parliamentary Library is a fabulous resource but can be tricky to get into given unless you are working on the Hill. They do have great folders on individual MPs but you are supposed to be a staffer to see them.

Some companies also subscribe to departmental releases and get lobbyists to trawl through the press gallery for communal releases and reports on big days.

A company called Factiva is also said to be quite good for immediate media reporting other than what is normally available for free.

Companies spend huge amounts on subscription services but what is good and who is making the cash? Feedback to [email protected].

Your feedback on where political insiders get information from?

From the second December 7 sealed section

We’ve had plenty of feedback on the question of where corporates and lobbyists get their political information from:

Lawrie Lobbyist writes:

You were pretty much on the mark regarding the sources for political information – in order of importance it probably runs Media Monitors, Factiva, Rehame and then Aus Access. The Factiva service is timely and can be very expensive if ordering vast quantities of information. Media Monitors is cost effective but cumbersome as they are slow to react to requests.

Melbourne based Media Research Group is increasingly used by corporates and governments alike. They provide bread and butter media monitoring as well as highly regarded media analysis reports but they don’t come cheap.

Rehame offer a similar service but have priced themselves out of the market as more clients become a wake up to their charging practices.

As all staffers know, the first port of call is the Parliamentary Library who are always helpful but are often deluged with more timely requests – a slice of cake and a smile ususally gets you want you want.

Another government affairs type writes:

Dear Crikey,

Yes, Factiva is a good news source. The other source is Lexis Nexis. They’re both available at major university libraries. They are both great for all sorts of news searching & until recently all newspapers were available through Lexis Nexis (Murdoch papers still are). Factiva is the break-away Fairfax product (presumably greater subscription fees behind the separation).

A political staffer writes:

Crikey, as you say – a variety of sources – some paid-for, others web-based, others discovered through social events, good contacts or good research…

Capital Monitors in Canberra and Melbourne provides a very good subscriber service – maybe someone out there uses it. The ABC’s website is pretty good for happening “local” news – ABC Online.

Microsoft Australia’s website provides an informative opt-in e-newsletter.

You mentioned the trawl-through the pigeon-holes in the Gallery – can be VERY useful – departmental/agency annual reports (dumped in the Gallery) also provide a number of different “takes” on information.

Unsolicited printed material is delivered daily to MPs and Senators offices – some of this can provide information not readily available elsewhere.

Peter Fray

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