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Inside the major media experiment to end email
Future News 172: The British comms-tech firm making a big splash
Some of the UK’s biggest publishers are taking part in an experiment which could significantly reduce email traffic and potentially boost productivity amongst their editorial teams.
Reach, National World and Newsquest have signed-up to a new platform called Synapse.
The service, which describes itself as the “stories marketplace”, was soft-launched near the end of September and it already has more than 1,100 journalists signed up to the platform, Future News has been told.
The business is the brainchild of Charlie Russell, who has prior experience in the communications-tech world thanks to his time at Gorkana and Dow Jones.
The company also has influential shareholders in the media industry, including Rupert Howell, an ex-Managing Director of ITV and former executive at Trinity Mirror (now Reach), and Carl di Cicco, who has held senior positions at BT and served as an editorial manager at the FT.
The platform connects journalists with communications experts through a marketplace, thus cutting out a laborious back-and-forth email exchange in the process.
Synapse has partly seen a surge in users after some junior journalists claimed they were mandated to use the platform and ignore all PR emails.
Russell has strongly stressed that this isn’t the case, but there was still a minor raucous in the British communications industry which Synapse has ultimately benefited from.
Beyond Reach, National World and Newsquest, Future News also understands that journalists at The Mail Online are trialling Synapse in small numbers. And other hacks are free to join the platform.
The ,main attraction is that journalists could save considerable time and avoid their inboxes getting clogged by unwanted pitch emails.
On the other side, PRs are able to map their interactions with journalists and it also means they don’t have to send out streams of emails. In theory, and it’s still very early days, it should be win-win on both sides.
As for Synapse itself, the business is currently seeking to raise further capital and continue its expansion. And though the platform has potential to go international, Russell is concentrating on the UK market for now.
Synapse is expected to move to a subscription payment model in the future to generate highly visible revenues.
Synapse stats to date:
1,100 journalists onboarded
1,800 PRs onboarded (+80% growth in 7 weeks)
250+ journalist interactions with pitches (hide, irrelevant, flag, accept)
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