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Daily Digest Secret Sauce: Combining Meltwater Tools with a Human Touch to Elevate Automated Newsletters for the California JPIA

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Many organizations are challenged to stay informed and deliver detailed information without overwhelming their audience. Striking the right balance between streamlined updates and personalized content is critical. This article will guide you through how Tripepi Smith has mastered the art of crafting invaluable daily digests, combining Meltwater—an enterprise-class media monitoring solution—and the human touch of our media intelligence services team to deliver relevant and impactful newsletter content.

Case Study: The California Joint Powers Insurance Authority

The California Joint Powers Insurance Authority (California JPIA) is a leading provider of risk management solutions, serving over 120 cities, joint powers authorities and special districts. The California JPIA’s comprehensive portfolio of programs includes liability, workers’ compensation, property and earthquake coverage, as well as extensive loss control services. As one of the state’s largest self-insurance pools, it functions like a communal savings account. The pool covers unforeseen costs arising from accidents, natural disasters or legal actions, allowing members to save money and support each other during challenging times.

The California JPIA employs regional risk managers who work closely with member agencies to build relationships based on trust and mutual support. Their main goals are to enhance community safety, shield the public from potential harm and minimize the number and severity of insurance claims. Staying well-informed about their public agency partners helps them achieve their goals.

The California JPIA partnered with Tripepi Smith in February 2021 to implement a custom listening solution that combines the power of Meltwater with analytical expertise.

The Art and Craft of Custom Categories

Monitoring risks across more than 120 member agencies was no small feat. Tripepi Smith’s initial approach involved using intricate Boolean strings to capture key information, making it hard to focus on the unique needs of each agency. For example, how could we ensure that a search for the City of San Marcos didn’t accidentally include references to San Marcos, Texas? What if we needed to customize our coverage for the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District by specifying key, local publications?

Meltwater’s custom categories, introduced last year, have been a game-changer for our team. In case you aren’t already familiar, custom categories are saved Boolean queries that can be applied as filters to narrow results for analysis and comparison. Custom categories can be used wherever filters are available, such as keyword or advanced searches and combined searches, and they’re great for use as reusable categories. You can read more here

Working closely with Meltwater, Tripepi Smith transformed our highly specialized Boolean strings into two custom categories: one for organization-specific terms and another for location-specific terms. With custom categories tailored to each member of the California JPIA, our research process became more efficient, offering more in-depth and higher-quality data extraction. Now, the custom categories are doing the heavy lifting, keeping our searches clean and facilitating localized changes that can arc across the spectrum of our clients.

To show what the process of converting Boolean strings to custom categories looks like in action, we’ve created a quick how-to video. We start with a full search and, piece by piece, convert search elements to custom categories, which we then use as filters to arrive at the same result as the initial complex search. 

Setting up custom categories and applying them to each search demanded commitment, time and meticulous attention to detail, but the payoff has been immense. These categories can now be applied to every Tripepi Smith client, streamlining the onboarding process and allowing us to make universal updates effortlessly. This investment allows us to anticipate trends, provide regional insights and guide clients with data-driven decisions.

That Human Touch

You might need somethin’ to hold on to
When all the answers, they don’t amount to much
Somebody that you could just talk to
And a little of that human touch

—“Human Touch,” Bruce Springsteen, 1992

Over Tripepi Smith’s three-year partnership with Meltwater, we’ve learned a vital lesson: A search tool’s effectiveness is greatly amplified by the expertise of the team using it. That’s why we don’t rely on automated searches. Our in-house specialists—Katherine Griffiths, Kalee Cummings, Jacob Lyle, Amy Gallagher, and Peter Johnson —meticulously refine and curate the search results before disseminating the California JPIA’s Meltwater Daily Digest newsletters. By doing this, we can be confident that each senior risk manager receives information that is not only relevant but also rich in context. This individualized approach reflects our deep understanding of the intricate municipal risk pooling landscape, as well as the specific mission of the California JPIA.

To illustrate the importance of this specialized attention, consider this example: Joey Buttafuoco, infamous for the “Long Island Lolita” crime drama, is now a business owner in Moorpark, California, a member city of the California JPIA. Our team customized that region’s newsletter to eliminate any irrelevant news stemming from his past notoriety. This ensures that our client receives only the information that directly impacts their work and saves them valuable time they might otherwise spend sifting through irrelevant news articles.

Our best-practice process includes reviewing each California JPIA regional newsletter at least twice weekly, removing references to same-named cities outside the state, eliminating foreign-language references and filtering out unrelated news items. We also identify commonalities across regions and recommend follow-ups via feature coverage in the California JPIA’s monthly member newsletter. In the case of an incident or accident, we set up a new, crisis-focused search using the member’s custom category in addition to specific, relevant terms.

Transformed Media Monitoring

Meltwater’s daily digest newsletters have transformed how Tripepi Smith approaches media monitoring and research. Custom categories provide uniform and insightful searches, hastening the pace at which Meltwater’s newsletter automation saves time. Our team’s human expertise ensures that news is not only timely but also relevant. This blend of software and a personal touch enhances Tripepi Smith’s capacity for informed decision-making and keeps us ahead of the curve.

Now that you’ve seen how Tripepi Smith creates regional newsletters for the California JPIA, please visit to learn more about how our team can help your agency develop meaningful connections with your audience through media monitoring.