Online resources: Gorkana

Founded 2003

Users 143,698, of which 75,000 in UK, 35,000 in rest of EU, 30,000 in US
Cost £5,500 annually for one licence

Alex Northcott, who co-founded Gorkana with Michael Webster, says: ‘We wanted to provide an online directory of journalists that gave PROs more detail than names, phone numbers and email addresses. We wanted them to be informed about what those journalists wrote about.’

Gorkana has built up its database by offering journalists the chance to sign up to a range of ten email alerts such as the Journalist Job alert, which has more than 52,000 subscribers. In return, Gorkana asks for information from them such as their career history, photo and interests.

The company has 1,200 PR clients, of which around 1,000 are in the UK. Northcott reports that of the recently released PRWeek Top 50 Consumer Consultancies, 47 subscribe to his service.

PROs speak highly of the service. Magda Klimkiewicz, senior account executive at CHA, says: ‘Gorkana is particularly useful when we spot new journalists in the media and we want to find out more about them.’
However, the greatest praise is reserved for Gorkana’s events. The most popular are breakfast briefings, at which audiences of around 250 PROs hear journalists describe what they want. Sam Espensen, founding partner of Red Dog, says: ‘They are very good for junior members of staff to learn more from the horse’s mouth about how to pitch.’

But she adds: ‘Junior members of staff can get sucked into thinking a system like Gorkana is the only way to find information on journalists. I regularly have to remind them that if they can’t find a certain piece of information on the system, it is likely to exist somewhere on the internet. Journalisted, for example, is free and often more up to date.’

Looking ahead, there will be big changes at Gorkana over the next couple of years. In March it was bought by Durrants for £25m, and Northcott explains the team is working on presenting a complete service, whereby PROs can research a journalist on Gorkana and then track coverage on Durrants.

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