Media Spot Me is one of the newest companies to join Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone.
The company, launched last year, is the first search engine that connects journalists and other writers to industry professionals willing to be interviewed as expert sources.
Teaming up with the DMZ is a step in the right direction for the fledgling company, said co-founder Stavros Rougas. “It’s good to be a part of a larger entity,” he said. “There are great people here that are doing different things. They help you learn new things, develop new things and balance ideas.”
Not only has the DMZ been a practical place to work, Rougas says it also provided his team with a support system where he has been able to network and make connections.
The idea for the business came from Rougas, a former TV producer and journalist, who found it difficult to find experts to interview.
Media Spot Me is a network of 15,000 academics, and can be used as a tool for everyone, not just journalists. The point is to get people thinking like journalists and expand their knowledge beyond traditional research methods.
However, the constant challenge, Rougas said, is finding people to get involved and get the brand out. “We wanted to build something that is sustainable so the database we have won’t disappear,” he said.
While its main database is on the Media Spot Me website, its search engine software is used to power other media directories, including one at Ryerson.
“We would like to push out other universities as our initial market,” said Rougas. Athabasca University and University of Guelph are some of its current clients.
The DMZ could be next on its list of clients, according to the incubator’s media relations officer, Lauren Clegg. “I was so impressed with their technology that we are trying to use it here at the DMZ,” she said. “The search capability is very useful and intuitive.”
Rougas said the business is still a work in progress. “We will be improving the project and looking at different market opportunities to leverage what we’re good at beyond media,” he said. “It’s a startup. Everything is a battle, there’s no magic. You have to keep going and keep at it.”