Newsknife Starts Rating Journalists

by coach

Newsknife Starts Rating Journalists: What Does It Mean?


Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, Newsknife is now closed.

In an interesting new development at, journalists are being rated based on monitoring of 22 national Google news sites (Featured rating: previewing Newsknife’s rating of top journalists). Subscribers who pay a small $10 quarterly fee were able to preview initial ratings of the entire list of 1000 journalists beginning on June 2nd.

Newsknife says its rating of journalists is based on by three factors: the ranked position of each of their listings at Google News; the quantity of their listings; and how often their news items are repeated across 22 other Google News regional sites.

The Google News sites included the US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, India, Ireland, Israel, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malaysia, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, Singapore, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Because the ratings are based on 22 Google national news sites, they have an international perspective or, some would say, bias.  The sample included 88,262 listings by 4,523 sites for 1,325 news items during 2010.

The top ten journalists in the first rating and their affiliation were:

  1. Mu Xuequan (Xinhua)
  2. Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
  3. Elizabeth Benjamin (New York Daily News)
  4. David Lightman (McClatchy Newspapers)
  5. Barak Ravid (Haaretz)
  6. Brian Montopoli (CBS News)
  7. Frank James (NPR)
  8. Avi Issacharoff (Haaretz)
  9. Mark Memmott (NPR)
  10. David M Herszenhorm (The New York Times)

On its website, Newsknife said the ratings will “give a guide to the ability and specialized expertise of individual journalists.”

The challenge is, I’m not sure if the ratings reflect anything other than a popularity contest based on Google’s mysterious algorithms. Can anybody help me here? Maybe there will be implications if PR pros can target these top 1000 journalists?

Most look unassailable for typical public relations stories however. They are primarily hard core news journalists.

Time will tell whether this online popularity contest will have any meaningful outcome or really serve PR pros or the public in any meaningful way.

New Zealand-based Newsknife is best known for rating the world’s top news sites every month since 2002 for quality and “to try and help news sites improve their performance within Google News.”

In my view, Newsknife provides an often fascinating ranking of media, news sources and blogs which are  usually partially available for view by non-subscribers.

Other June 2010 ratings showed the following news sites appearing for the first time:

  1. New York News Today
  2. News Provider
  3. MNDC Breaking News (NA)
  5. Daily Political
  6. WireUpdate

I can just imagine the reaction of some journalists, academics and pundits at the prospect of being “rated”. There will be a lot of setting the hair on fire I’m sure, not to mention intense debate on the method, who’s rating whom and more!

Newsknife is available at

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