Dot Star Media + Microsoft Teams

Journalist Requests Alerts in Microsoft Teams

Microsoft have announced the retirement of Office 365 connectors within Microsoft Teams. This changes how the ‘Dot Star Media + MSTeams’ integration works. This post provides updated instructions for setting up a journalist request alerts feed in Microsoft Teams.

Why use Microsoft Teams for managing journalist request alerts

Receiving media request notifications in a Microsoft Teams channel offers some advantages over receiving alerts by email:

  • Delivery to Teams is quicker than email.
  • It’s easier for your team to collaborate on the best way to respond to a request.

Set up journalist request alerts in Microsoft Teams

In Microsoft Teams create a new (or choose an existing) team to place a ‘Dot Star Media’ channel in and add a new channel for ‘Dot Star Media’ request notifications.

In the newly created ‘Dot Star Media’ Requests channel click the three dots to the right of the channel name, click on ‘Workflows’ and search for ‘Post to a channel when a webhook request is received‘.

Next, give your webhook connection a name and confirm the Microsoft Teams Team and Teams Channel (this may be pre-filled)

You should receive confirmation that a workflow was added. You’ll need to copy the link provided to your clipboard.

Now visit the Dot Star Media website and log in. You’ll need to be an account administrator. Visit the distribution channels page by clicking the ‘Configure channels’ button in the ‘Organisation’ area.

On the distribution channels page and paste in the endpoint URL created in the previous step. Click the checkbox to enable the new endpoint.

You’ll now receive journalist requests in Microsoft Teams, making it even easier to work on replies with your colleagues. Please let us know if you would like support setting this up or if you have any feedback on receiving requests in Microsoft Teams.

Using Grok for public relations

Anyone working in public relations will know that X/(Twitter) is still regularly used by journalists and remains an influential platform. Grok’s ability to access current X posts (Tweets) means that there are potential use cases for public relations professionals.

All Premium subscribers to X have access to Grok, the large language model developed by xAI. It’s worth taking a look.

Grok for media research and insights

Grok appears to be able to provide up-to-date information on various topics, including trends, public sentiment, and competitor activities.

For example, try asking Grok ‘What topics are [sector] journalists talking about right now?’ and Grok will return a summary, including recent posts. This is potentially useful for identifying up-to-the-minute trends and developing pitch ideas.

Grok for summarising and contextualising news stories and events

Grok also seems to be capable of providing story backgrounders and context for current news stories.

Be sure to fact check the output though. In Grok’s own words – it’s ‘an early feature and can make mistakes’.

HARO alternative: free media requests from USA & Canada

Help A Reporter Out’s (also known as HARO) long running three-times-a-day request digest emails stopped on 2nd April 2024. To access HARO queries you now need to login to Cision’s Connectively platform. Receiving email notifications for HARO queries has become a paid feature based on saved keyword searches.

There are plenty of reasons why Cision moved their service to a new platform, not least dealing with automated AI generated pitches. The changes, however, have left some HARO subscribers looking into other sources for media requests. The original founder of HARO, Peter Shankman, has responded to the demise of the free HARO digest emails by launching Help Every Reporter Out (HERO), a free service echoing the style and spirit of his original project.

Monitoring #journorequest for USA and Canadian media requests

The #journorequest hashtag 𝕏/Twitter is well used by UK journalists. It also includes requests for sources from journalists writing for US, Canadian and other media outlets from around the world.

At Dot Star Media our job is to deliver prompt email alerts for requests posted on 𝕏/Twitter alongside the requests directly submitted by journalists on our journalist enquiry form.

We primarily issue alerts for media requests from journalists writing for UK and Irish outlets, for which we charge (see pricing). Requests from journalists writing for outlets in USA, Canada and the Rest of the World are available free of charge.

How to get free USA and Canadian media request alerts

Register for access at using a business email address. Select your topics of interest and make sure that your ‘Regions of interest’ alert options include the ‘USA & Canada’ region.

USA and Canadian media requests

Regions of interest

We’re seeing, and including, increasing volumes of journalist requests from non-UK/IE journalists in our alert feeds and so have added a Regions of interest preference setting to the profile settings page.

This setting allows those that want to receive journalist requests from regions outside of the UK and Ireland to receive them, and those that don’t, to exclude them.

There are two new regions of interest available. Receiving requests from both of these two new regions is free of charge:

  • USA & Canada
  • Rest of the World

Existing subscribers who want to receive requests from journalists covering non-UK & Ireland regions can opt-in by login into your account and clicking the checkboxes for the additional regions that you want.

journalist enquiry region settings

If you’re new to Dot Star Media and would like to receive journalist enquiries from the USA & Canada region, or the Rest of the World region – free of charge – sign-up here.

Journalist request alerts – updated for 𝕏

Links in the journalist request alert emails and the button labels in the online media request archives have been updated for 𝕏, the new name for the website formerly known as Twitter.

Journalist request alerts - updated for X

Journalists are welcome to submit their media requests for comment to an established network of public relations professionals at agencies, businesses, charities and universities using the Dot Star Media journalist enquiry form.

Event: PR Live with Natalie Trice

PR Live with Natalie Trice

PR Live – event series with Natalie Trice

Natalie Trice will be hosting PR Live, the first in a series of ‘meet the journalist’ events on Friday 10 November 2023. The launch event features three established freelance journalists each speaking about their careers and how best to pitch stories to them. Each speaker session is followed by a question and answer sessions and live pitching opportunities.

Event #1: The Freelance Session

Kelly Rose Bradford

Kelly Rose Bradford

Kelly has been a freelance journalist for over 25 years. today she divides her time between freelancing as a features writer and commercial copywriter with a staff position with one of the UK’s biggest newspaper and magazine publishers. With extensive television and radio experience as a social commentator, Kelly will open your eyes to the potential of PR and the need to pitch well.

Sarah Whiteley

Sarah Whiteley

Sarah has been working in real-life and human-interest journalism for the past 17 years. After working as the features editor for Best magazine for six years, she is now a freelance writer and a parenting columnist. Sarah works for all of the national magazines and newspapers and it’s a job she still feels passionately about and a world she will let you into.

Sam Brick

Sam Brick

Sam has been a features writer for the last 15 years and mainly writes for the Daily Mail, The Sun and various women’s weekly magazines. Before that, she worked in the US and UK in television where she was an award winning documentary producer. Got a question about hitting the right note with the press, Sam will tell you how.

Tickets and Event Details

Friday, 11th November 2023 at 10:45am

  • Session 1: 11:00 AM – 11:50 AM – Kelly Rose Bradford
  • Session 2: 12:00 PM – 12:50 PM – Sarah Whitely
  • Session 3: 1:00 PM – 1:50 PM – Sam Brick 

Tickets are £25/session (discount available for all three sessions) and available from the PR Live website

How do UK PR Agencies describe themselves?

Using Python and AI to analyse 1,320 PR Agency website home page title and description meta tags.

We extracted web page meta tag data from over a thousand public relations agency homepages and did some text data analysis.

The most generic PR Agency description tag ever written.

Given a text file of 1,320 UK PR Agency meta tag page descriptions Claude.AI was asked to assimilate the text and write the most generic PR agency description tag possible. The resulting, rather soulless, AI generated, most generic PR Agency description is:-

“Award-winning PR agency offering integrated communications strategies including media relations, digital marketing, content creation, brand building and crisis management. Based in the UK.”

Here’s the prompt:

Most generic PR Agency description ever

One discovery from this research is that 108 out of 1320 PR agency websites didn’t have a home page meta description at all. Google has said for a long time that meta discription tags are not a search ranking factor, so while not critically important, meta descriptions are easy to add and can help improve click through from search results.

Common keywords in PR Agency page title and page descriptions

We used Python to crawl page title and page descriptions. The extracted results were then tokenised, cleaned, and stopwords removed before counting word frequencies. From a dataset of 1,320 UK PR Agency websites, the words that occur most frequently in UK PR Agency page description and page title meta tags are shown in the chart below.

The dominance of London shows through. There are so many agencies describing themselves in their page descriptions as award winning that one wonders if it’s a distinguishing factor at all.

Most frequent words in PR Agency page descriptions
pr: 1468
agency: 925
marketing: 679
communications: 473
digital: 375
media: 300
relations: 274
public: 262
london: 219
social: 190
home: 186
award: 185
creative: 182
winning: 180
brands: 172
based: 171
content: 149
brand: 148
services: 138
uk: 125
consultancy: 123
business: 121
seo: 109
clients: 106
businesses: 94
help: 93
campaigns: 91
lifestyle: 89
specialising: 88
b2b: 86

Clustering and Categorisation

For fun, and to maybe take the analysis a step too far, let’s look for patterns of similar messaging in how UK PR Agencies describe themselves and identify any outliers. First, the text data is converted into numerical vectors using the Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency (TF-IDF) vectorisation. Then an attempt is made to cluster the PR Agency page descriptions into categories based on common themes using the K-Means clustering algorithm.

Overall the page descriptions used by PR Agencies do (as you might expect) share pretty similar characteristcs. This is why we have one large mega-blob on the cluster chart below.

PR Agency page descriptions clusters

Manually reviewing meta descriptions within each cluster revealed groups of agencies that put their emphasis on ‘Public Relations’, some that lean towards emphasising their ‘Sector Specialism’, a group of agencies that focus on their ‘Digital Marketing’ expertise, and a less well defined cluster of agencies around ‘Marketing Communications’. The outlying green cluster is mainly those agencies with no, or incomplete page meta tags.

JournoRequest Service

Most of this post has little to do with our media request service – that said, if you are a sector specialist interested in receiving prompt alerts for #journorequest posts from 𝕏/Twitter, and also in receiving journalist requests submitted by journalists directly on our website – please register for a 14-day free trial.

Top hashtags used by journalists on #journorequest

Dot Star Media technology monitors tweets posted to #journorequest and other related hashtags on Twitter. We identify which tweets are requests from journalists and send prompt alerts to subscribers – by email, Teams or Slack.

Frequency of hashtags appearing in journalist requests can give an indication of what subjects are in journalist minds.

Many themes are seasonal or recurring. Knowing what typically gets talked about through the course of a (normal) year can help with campaign planning.

Here’s a month-by-month look at top hashtags used by verified journalists over the last year or so.

JournoRequest themes – September 2023

It’s September, so it’s time for #halloween and #christmas journalist requests. The #raac (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) crisis blew up a few days before schools returned. This generated several short deadline media requests for both expert comment and personal experience. We saw journalist using hashtags #travelpr and #foodpr to connect with specialists in these areas.

JournoRequest top hashtags Sept 2023

JournoRequest themes – August 2023

An astonishing third month of #barbie related requests in August 2023, this month alongside #oppenheimer movie, which was released on the same day. A seasonal trend seen every August is journalists looking for content around #backtoschool, and starting #university. From the world of sport the #fifawwc saw the #lionesses have a run to the final – and losing to Spain. Journalists found journorequest a useful channel for seeking comment on #airtrafficcontrol problems that caused misery for many travellers.

JournoRequest top hashtags August 2023

JournoRequest themes – July 2023

In July 2023 climate issues, such as the #wildfires in #rhodes and the European #heatwave dominated the news and saw several requests for comment. The #costofliving crisis continues and from the world of entertainment did interest around #barbie and the #barbiemovie

JournoRequest top hashtags July 2023

JournoRequest themes – June 2023

In June 2023 on #journorequest we see artificial intelligence occupying minds with both #ai and #chatgpt and even #aiart appearing in several journalist requests this month. Economic issues are prevalent, with #interestrates and mortgagecrisis. Travel related requests were frequent as we move into high summer.

JournoRequest top hashtags June 2023

JournoRequest themes – May 2023

Looking at hashtags used by journalists on #journorequest in May 2023 we see artificial intelligence occupying minds with #ai appearing in multiple journalist requests this month. Other frequent hashtags seen in May 2023 media requests are #eurovision, #localelections2023 and #gardening and #holidays.

top hashtags on #Journorequest in May 2023

April 2023

In April 2023 the top two hashtags used by journalists on #journorequest were #ai and #coronation, followed by #travel and #juniordoctorstrike

top hashtags on #Journorequest in April 2023

March 2023

#internationalwomensday and #iwd2023 were frequent topics in March 2023. There were requests about the #budget. #costoflivingcrisis dropped out of the top hashtags used by journalists on #journorequest for the first month in seven months.

top hashtags on #Journorequest in March 2023

February 2023

#costoflivingcrisis was the top hashtag mentioned by journalists in February 2023 in their #journorequest posts. Journalists worked on story angles around how the cost of living crisis impacts the dating scene, living back at parents, socialising, and disabled people. Other common themes for February 2023 were #nhs and #valentinesday. Here’s a word cloud of the most frequent hashtags in the month.

top hashtags on #Journorequest in February 2023

January 2023

The top five hashtags mentioned by journalists in Jan 2023 on their #journorequest posts – #nhs, #parenting, #travel, #mentalhealth, #fashion. And #valentinesday was next on the list. We spotted some useful thoughts from fashion writer Laura Craik on PR pitches hooked around Valentine’s Day in a recent Roxhill RoxStars newsletter.

top hashtags on #Journorequest in January 2023

December 2022

In December 2022, besides #christmas, judging by the content of #journorequest (and related hashtags) on Twitter, the media turned its attention to #travel. Unfortunately #costofliving / #costoflivingcrisis topics continue, with 1970s style industrial relations topics emerging as new trends – #railstrikes appeared in our top hashtag word cloud roundup for the first time.

top hashtags on #Journorequest in December 2022

November 2022

Top hashtag in November 2022 was #christmas followed by #travel. There were a handful of popular hashtags around the football World Cup. As winter begins to bite, #costofliving and #costofliving crisis are topics that remain on the minds of journalists.

top hashtags on #Journorequest in November 2022

October 2022

For the third month running #CostOfLivingCrisis was the most frequent hashtag used by journalists posting journalist requests to #JournoRequest (and related hashtags) on Twitter. Related to cost of living issues are call-outs for data and case studies on the consequences of increasing #mortgage costs. Journalists looking for #Christmas related content is standard seasonal fare for October.

top hashtags on #Journorequest in October 2022

September 2022

#costoflivingcrisis and related hashtags, like #mortgage continue to be front of mind for journalists posting requests in September 2022.

top hashtags on #Journorequest in September 2022

August 2022

#costofliving, #costoflivingcrisis and #energycrisis were frequent topics on Twitter’s #journorequest in August 2022

top hashtags on #Journorequest in August 2022

July 2022

In July 2022 the dominant themes indicated by hashtags used by journalists posting requests to #journorequest were sport with #euro2022 #lionessess and #commonwealthgames2022 prominent. Travel chaos that occurred at Dover (#dover and #doverchaos) at the start of most school summer holidays, and in the entertainment – again, #loveisland

top hashtags on #Journorequest in July 2022

June 2022

June 2022 saw requests looking for comment on the impact of rail workers strikes. We also had the annual Pride month and the much anticipated return of Glastonbury festival generating media requests.

top hashtags on #Journorequest in June 2022

May 2022

Based on hashtag analysis of journalist requests the Cost of Living crisis was a dominant theme for May 2022. The #platinumjubilee is a less than once-in-a lifetime event and is getting plenty of journalists requesting contributions around jubilee themed events and activities.

top hashtags on #Journorequest in May 2022

April 2022

Cost of living crisis and the HRT shortage emerged as topics in April 2022.

top hashtags on #Journorequest in April 2022

March 2022

top hashtags on #Journorequest in March 2022

Journalists sticking around on 𝕏 (Twitter)

One of the most popular hashtags on 𝕏 (formerly Twitter) for journalists is #journorequest, which – as readers here will know – allows journalists to find sources, experts, or stories for their articles. But has the use of this hashtag changed since Elon Musk took over 𝕏 (Twitter) in October 2022?

We analysed the data and found that the number of journalists using #journorequest has remained broadly stable since the Musk acquisition.

The chart below shows the monthly count of individual journalists using #journorequest from April 2022 to March 2023. There is no significant increase or decrease in the trend, despite all the controversial changes that Musk has introduced to the platform.

This suggests that journalists are continuing to find value in using #journorequest on Twitter to connect with potential sources and stories.

At Dot Star Media we monitor the #journorequest hashtag 24/7 for journalist requests, and send alerts to subscribers for relevant opportunities – helping people respond to journalists promptly and win media coverage. Journalists can also submit requests to our network of public relations professionals, charities, businesses and academic institutions through our free journalist enquiry form.

Responding to media requests – the basics

What is a media request?

Journalists writing stories often search for insights, remarks, or interviews from organisations in the sector they are covering. Many journalists post these requests on social media, forums, or specialised platforms.  These requests are referred to as media requests, or journalist enquiries. Responding to media requests can be a swift and simple way to get your organisation highlighted in the media.

Media request alerts in an email client inbox

Who do journalists want to hear from?

All sorts. The kind of organisations journalists seek information from is varied and includes businesses, academia, think-tanks, individual experts, authorities and charities. The actual information or comment sought very much depends on the story.

Who can respond to a media request?

Anyone who can genuinely help a journalist with their story can respond to media requests. In practice many organisations find that hiring a PR agency, who are experts in reviewing and responding to media requests, works well. Business owners can also receive and respond to journalist enquiries directly. Either way, responding to media requests is an established and effective way to earn print and online media coverage in newspapers, consumer magazines and trade titles.

How to respond to media requests?

When responding to media requests it helps if you put yourself in the journalist’s shoes and consider the audience that they are writing for. These tips make it easier for a journalist to work with you:

Be relevant:
Journalists frequently complain about off-topic pitches. Read the request carefully – we suggest reading it twice – then make sure your response is relevant to the journalist’s request.

Be prompt:
Journalists often have tight deadlines. Responding fast builds trust and establishes you as a reliable source. Being quick gives you a better chance of winning media coverage in a competitive field.

Be transparent:
Be open about who you are, who you represent, and what information you can provide. Be clear about any limitations or restrictions on what you can share.

Be concise:
It’s ok, and respectful, to keep your initial response short and to the point. If a journalist needs more information from a source, they will ask for it.

Be responsive:
Make sure you are available to answer any follow-up questions or provide additional information if needed. Provide a phone number as well as email contact details.

Follow these tips and you’ll improve your chances of securing some media coverage.

Dot Star Media provides a media request service connecting journalists with businesses, academia and charities.

Businesses and public relations people looking to receive journalist enquiries are welcome to try the Dot Star Media journalist enquiry service – see

Journalists can send media requests to a wide range of business, PR, charity and academic sources using this journalist enquiry form. Dot Star Media also monitors Twitter for journalist requests and alerts its network to relevant journalist enquiries. More information on how it works here: