Media Relations: Website launch offers expert commentators

PROs across a range of industries have a new means to gain coverage for their clients, with the forthcoming launch of a website called punditpal.com.

Punditpal's online database features experts in ten fields including politics, media, defence and health, which journalists and PROs can call on to provide informed comment. The ten fields are divided into more than 100 sub-categories, and users can enter keywords in the search facility to be taken to pages displaying the experts' details, their most recent media coverage and links to their own sites.

It is free to register for experts and journalists wishing to use it, although its creator is considering funding it by advertising or subscriptions in future.

The site was developed by an unnamed former BBC broadcaster who previously struggled to find expert commentators when deadlines loomed.

Pundits already signed up include the Queen's former press secretary Dickie Arbiter, former Boots external relations chief and Eperon Consulting MD Alastair Eperon and Greenwich Royal Observatory public astronomer Robert Massey.

Punditpal PR consultant Sarah Gardiner said: 'There is no guarantee that the experts' comments will end up in print or broadcast, but it is an invaluable tool for PROs looking to raise their clients' profiles in the media.

'PROs should make their clients' contact details on the site their press offices, to ensure that the coverage they get is in line with their communication strategies.'

Gardiner said some universities had their own online directories of academics: 'Similar services exist but this hopes to pull everything together and include independent commentators too.'

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