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Understanding Today’s Media: Insights from Top Journalists

Join this panel with top journalists to explore findings from the 2024 State of the Media Report.

The 2024 State of the Media Report

Get actionable insight from 3,000+ journalists on what they truly want and need from PR teams.

Meet the Cision Insights team: Barney Baron

At Cision, we connect organisations to critical information and insights which enables them to control and manage their reputation across all media platforms.

The Cision Insights team create reports and analysis which enables organisations to understand the impact of their comms programmes - and the team are hiring.

We talk to insights director Barney Baron to discover the ins and outs of Cision analysis…

Tell me about your current role.

I am in an insights director for the technology sector in Europe.  I manage a team of around 20 staff who are responsible for providing Insights services to some of the world’s biggest technology clients.

I’ve been a Cision for six and half years, starting as a data analyst, my first job out of university. Since then I’ve been lucky enough to move through a number of roles to where I am now.

Have you always liked working with numbers, or was your route to working with data slightly more circuitous?

I’ve always enjoyed working with numbers, I studied physics at Cardiff University, completing my Masters in 2012. At the same time I worked as a brand manager for Teach First.

I was interested in both data and communications, Cision was a perfect fit. One of the things I really enjoy about the work we do is translating news content into quantitative and qualitative data, and then into actionable insights.

What does a typical day in the insights team look like?

The majority of our work is focused on creating reporting for clients, whether that be campaign reports or regular monthly/quarterly reporting.

However, one of the exciting parts of our job is that you never exactly know what is going to happen, you could walk into work and find there’s been a major news story for one of your clients that would need urgent reporting.

What are the key skills for success in analysis?

The most obvious ones are an eye for spotting trends in data and attention to detail to ensure the quality of reports being produced is good.

The less obvious skills that I think are key are the ability to project manage. The team have 40+ clients, managing all those at once can be challenging as no-one wants their reports at the end of the month!

What sectors do you work across and how do briefs differ across your client portfolio?

As the lead for the technology sector I’m primarily focused on those clients, but there can be large differences between those clients.  Broadly the clients fit into one of three categories though B2B, B2C or the ‘mega tech’ brands. 

As you can imagine, a report on how you’re helping drive sales of your latest mobile phone looks very different to one where you’re targeting Sysops professionals to convey the benefits of your enterprise security offerings.

What skills have you developed whilst working here?

So many different skills! I feel like I’ve learnt different things across the roles I’ve held here at Cision, but more than anything I think I’ve learnt the importance of people.  You can have the best products, the best technology, but if you don’t have great people to find the real meaning behind that data, then it won’t matter.

What's your favourite thing about working for Cision?

I’ve mentioned the fact each day can be different depending on what clients need.

Other than that I’ve enjoyed the journey the company has been on since I’ve been here, the Insights organisation was around 70 people in the London & New York when I started. Now we have around 1,000 across a dozen offices globally, that’s quite the journey to have been on!

What's your favourite PR campaign of the last year?

I enjoyed the recent campaign by Paddy Power to 'unsponsor' Huddersfield Town, in which they initially released a garish kit with the Paddy Power logo emblazoned on it. 

This subsequently prompted an official statement from the Football Association, before Paddy Power revealed it all to be a hoax.