RTE’s Des Cahill Comes Top in #murraytweetindex

Research Shows Journalists Who Engage Their Audience Most on Twitter

11th December 2014: A review of over 300 Irish journalists’ level of influence on Twitter has revealed RTE sports journalist Des Cahill as the top performer. He was closely followed by Newstalk presenter George Hook and Irish Times consumer affairs correspondent Conor Pope.

The #murraytweetindex was published by communications consultancy Murray (@MurrayIRL), and ranks journalists across six parameters*, measuring popularity, quality of engagement and level of activity. A composite index was then created to rank overall positions; the Top 20 journalists in the overall rankings were:

In addition to the overall rankings, the research ranked journalists’ influence on Twitter in a range of different news categories**. Category winners were:

The publication of the #murraytweetindex coincides with the 40th anniversary of the agency which has recently rebranded from Murray Consultants. The new, more contemporary identity reflects the firm’s 40 year heritage and its full service offering to corporate and consumer clients out of Dublin and London.

Commenting, Pat Walsh, Managing Director of Murray said:

“This research shows that Twitter has empowered journalists to extend their reach and influence, and to build a personal brand that enhances their capacity to attract consumer and advertiser interest for their employers and for themselves. 

“This evolution undoubtedly benefits those journalists who embrace Twitter, but it presents an interesting dilemma for media organisations who benefit from the halo effect of popular journalists but are exposed to the increased risk of audience attrition where high profile media defections occur. 

As social media plays an increasing role in the dissemination of news it has become a core part of the skillset for any communications professional. The ‘science’ of analysing Twitter is rapidly evolving, and whilst no measurement approach is definitive, we believe that data analytics and the #murraytweetindex methodology can be applied to provide insights into how brands’ and companies’ social media strategies are performing.”

The methodology used in the research analysed journalists across 6 parameters and then ranked them based on a weighted average of the results.  The approach sought to measure each Twitter user’s performance across three main areas:

  1. Absolute popularity (as measured by number of followers)
  2. Quality of engagement (as measured by the level of retweeting and favouriting)
  3. Activity level (as measured by tweets per day)

Doug Keatinge, Senior Account Director at Murray, who led the research said:

“This study is focussed on the mass market influence of journalists rather than their relationships with the power elite. As such it probably provides a better benchmark of which journalists are most effective at reaching out to the general public who ultimately pay for the content they produce.   The #murraytweetindex also values the quality of engagement on Twitter as highly as having a large number of followers.

“One of the joys of Twitter is that it generates insights based on clear data, rather than narrow personal perceptions. Editors recruiting journalists may find it sensible to consider a strong Twitter profile as one of the elements they would like to see in a candidate.

“The research also shows the value of news organisations leveraging their high profile presenters on Twitter. George Hook makes no apology for his traditional views, and yet his Twitter handle @ghook is one of the top performers because of the way his handle is used to promote The Right Hook programme.”

In addition to the overall results and news category winners, the research looked at how journalists performed for each of the parameters measured. David McWilliams takes the top spot for most followed, with radio drive time rivals George Hook and Matt Cooper in second and third position. The most prolific tweeter was Irish Examiner sports contributor Miguel Delaney, closely followed by Sunday Times economics columnist Constantin Gurdgiev. When it comes to tweet quality, Irish Times rugby correspondent Gerry Thornley rarely tweets, but when he does his comments are favourited over 80% of the time by one his 10,000 plus followers.

The top ranking journalists for each parameter were as follows:

 With offices in both Dublin and London, Murray works with a range of blue chip clients including Glanbia, Three, Heineken, Kellogg's, and Hibernia REIT. The renaming of the consultancy and associated rebrand and new website can be viewed in more detail at www.murrayconsultants.ie

For full report, click here.



For further information please contact:

@dougkeatinge, +353-1-4980379/ +353-86-0374163; dkeatinge@murrayconsultants.ie



Overall Top 50

Top 5 by category

Top by measurement parameter


*The study was based on the analysis of the Twitter handles of over 300 journalists carried out in September and October 2014. Using the analysis tool Twitonomy, we gathered the following data for each of the journalists:

  1. Total Number of Followers          30%
  2. Total Number of Retweets          25%
  3. % Retweeted                                   15%
  4. Total Number of Favourites        15%
  5. % of Favourited                                5%
  6. Tweets per day                                10%

The data was based on the previous 3,200 tweets that the user had made (or if the user had yet to make 3,200 tweets then all their tweets to date). To calculate the overall rankings we attached a weighting to the user’s ranking in each of the individual parameters. The percentages shown above indicate the weighting each parameter was given in the overall score. The factors that influence the overall ranking are:

  • A person’s absolute popularity on Twitter (as measured by number of followers)
  • The quality of engagement the user has with followers (as measured by the absolute number of  retweets and favourites, and the percentage of these in the tweets analysed)
  •  The level of activity on Twitter (as measured by Tweets per day).

**Journalists were restricted to being considered in only one specialist category even if they might have been ranked in more than one. For example George Hook could have been considered in the sports category, but was restricted to what we viewed as his primary role as broadcast presenter.

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