While we don't know, my theory is that, yes, it is helping ( or will help.)
Off site mentions of the site should be getting picked up by Google as it populates your business into the knowledge graph as part of entity understanding. Gary Illyes mentioned in a recent AMA that brand name mentions that aren't linked are user for entity determination: February 8, 2019 - Gary Illyes Reddit AMA - Marie Haynes Consulting
Essentially, if a "well known" entity is mentioning you, then that forms part of the way Google understands who/what you are as an entity. i.e. you are an entity that an authoritative publication recognizes regarding this topic. In theory, that is a pretty positive endorsement of you.
The theory would follow that is Google is trying to serve sites to users that have appropriate E-A -T for specific queries, and Google is trying to find ways to determine which sites are the appropriately expert, authoritative, and/or trustworthy source of content - it is likely they are drawing this information from the Knowledge Graph, and thus this kind of mention is going to stand you in good stead!
We don't know how good G is at doing this yet - some would argue that Google can, but doesn't, do this kind of thing because it is to much of a strain on resources etc. Some argue that it simply can't do this.... My personal opinion is that it can, and it is
Sorry for the long answer - as a side note, it never hurts to find out who the tech is responsible for publishing and reach out to get a link to your site.
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