Media Relations and Data Protection FAQ's
Whitney W. avatar
Written by Whitney W.
Updated over a week ago

The European Union as well as multiple countries and states have geared up their data protection legislation in the past years. In this article we aim to provide you, as our customer, information about how data protection laws have been taken into consideration in our Media Relations product and how data protection laws may impact your use of the product.

Who is the data controller of media contacts and the journalist data?

Meltwater is the controller of the journalist database it maintains and provides to its customers.

Please note that if you as a customer import any lists or your own contacts to the service, you will remain the controller of the imported personal data and are responsible for its proper storage and use.

Meltwater's process of updating and adding the journalist's details to the database are as follows:

Does Meltwater collect consent for all EU contacts?

On April 12th 2018 (for German contacts on April 1st 2017) we changed the legal ground for processing European journalist data from legitimate interest to consent .

All European journalists added post this date have given us their consent. All updates to European journalist profiles that have been added prior to this date, will only be done with the consent of the journalist.

This process has been developed in collaboration with the Berlin Data Protection Authority. Based on the communications from the Berlin DPA and our understanding, we do not have to collect retroactive consent for journalist profiles, that we have had prior to the above mentioned dates and which we do not update.

We created a website to collect consent from journalists:

By creating a profile, journalists give consent that we use and share their data with our customers for PR communication. They also accept, that we track if they open or read their emails, to optimize the communication they receive.

The profile gives journalists full control about their data and the type of communication they receive. They can unsubscribe from or subscribe to specific customers through their profile and link to their articles.

As of August 1, 2020 we no longer track email open rates for most journalists in Germany through our Journalists product. Historical email open rates have been removed as well. We made this decision in order to better respect the privacy of journalists and to remain GDPR compliant. While journalists located outside of Germany are not currently affected, this is subject to change in the future.

If an EU contact is requested to be added or updated, our Media Research team will contact the journalists and ask them to sign up or claim their profile via Our experience is that these requests are more successful, if we can reference the customer (in particular, if the customer has an existing relationship with the journalist, opt-in rates are much higher).

The Media Research team alway seeks consent form the customer, before naming them in the journalist communication. (Reference example:. "There's been some interest from our clients to reach out and pitch you a story. With the recent GDPR changes, we want to give you complete control over who reaches out to you and how. If you’d like to start receiving pitches from Meltwater customers such as [X, Y, and Z] create your Meltwater profile.")

If we are not able to reference a customer, the team sends out a general request (e.g. "There's been some interest from our clients to reach out and pitch you a story. With the recent GDPR changes, we want to give you complete control over who reaches out to you and how")

Does Meltwater follow up with journalists that are unresponsive?

Yes. If a journalist does not respond to our request, we send them a follow up email after 7 days. If we do not hear back from them at all, we will deactivate profiles that would be out of date without the update.

Can I email public EU contacts without any issues?

We believe the described process provides the legal ground to process this data. Should you receive any complaint or question from a journalist, you should refer to us. Meltwater as the data controller will be responsible to resolve these issues.

For private contacts, Meltwater is the data processor. Your business is the data controller and responsible for collecting consent/ensuring you have legal ground to use the contact’s information.

This applies to all private contacts, also contacts that were exported from public contacts and (re-)imported as private contacts!

How should I handle complaints from public journalists?

You should inform the journalist that Meltwater is the data controller and that you used our database for the outreach. The contact email that you can share is

We will get in contact with the journalist and resolve the issue.

Can I use public EU contacts after exporting?

Meltwater’s legal grounds only apply to your business when using media lists within our platform. By exporting public contacts, you become the data controller of the personal data and are responsible for the legal grounds to use such data, as per applicable law

This message will appear when you export media lists.

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