Университет Российской Академии Образования

Нижегородский филиал

Факультет экономики и бизнеса


Тема: «PR and Journalism»

выполнила студентка III курса

факультета экономики и бизнеса

специальность: связи с общественностью

Кришталь И.А

проверил: к.п.н., доцент Паршина Н.А





Theoretical Starting Points

Media and PR in Society

The Editorial Conditions

PR Agents' and Journalists' Perceptions of Each Other


List of the literature


In many countries, the PR industry has undergone significant growth in recent decades. In Sweden today, the number of active communications experts is seven times that at the beginning of the 1990s. Through this significant growth, PR agents have established themselves as an important group alongside parties traditionally considered being part of the democratic process.

Public relations have become a significant and powerful industry, particularly in recent decades. This industry and its actors mainly work through the media to spread information, persuasion and opinions to the public on behalf of their clients. Publicity is the predominant goal. Networking, relation-building, news production and activities intended to be published in the media are thus part of the everyday work of PR agents such as information officers and PR consultants. The PR phenomenon needs to be examined and scrutinized as a new party and power in the democratic process. In recent years, some international studies have taken on this mission, but there is scope for more studies on different aspects of the phenomenon.

In this work we are focused on the relation between the PR industry and the news media.

The main themes and questions are: What characterizes the relation between the PR industry and the media or between PR agents and journalists? The work starts by outlining some of the pertinent circumstances concerning the relation between the parties as well as their view of each other.

Theoretical Starting Points

The news media are the most outstanding, common, and important channel for interest groups to get their messages out and influence their surroundings. A focus on media has, in fact, grown in importance to these agents, especially concerning those active on the scene of policy shaping in the broader sense. The media work has become a more central part of political activity in recent years.

Studies of the relation between the PR industry and the news media show that PR actors and journalists often establish close relations in order to fulfill a mutual need.

The influence of the PR industry appears in many different shapes in daily life. It involves anything from traditional press conferences and press releases to various more or less successful long-term agenda-setting-related activities. Among other things, strategies for controlling the news agenda are based on producing and serving the media with material that promotes the instrumental purposes of the senders' interests. This type of media influence and strategies for controlling the news agenda are today often referred to by the concept news management. Meanwhile, news material from sources outside the media may also be seen as a contribution to journalistic work and as a way of cutting costs. Observations in line with this point of view have made way for the theory of information subsidy, meaning efforts by policy actors to increase the consumption of persuasive messages by reducing their costs. A reasonably large proportion of published articles originate from external sources - in fact, more than half of the studied published articles stem from material originating from outside sources.

There is reason to argue that, in recent times, the theory of information subsidy has increased its relevance to the everyday journalism reality as a consequence of the financial and personnel cutbacks many news organizations have undergone. Some analysts claim that this type of contact and exchange has forced journalism to become increasingly dependent on, and more easily affected by, outside influences - a transformation of professional conduct that has resulted in a more alienated journalism. According to Davis (2002), the cutbacks are one explanation of the fact that PR practitioners have come to strongly influence today's news agenda. He argues that the material they present has become extremely successful in passing itself off as 'real news', and thereby, to a great extent, PR people have "worked to erode the autonomy of journalists at the micro level". Other researchers follow this line:

What passes for news of politics is often an inextricable mixture of messages from different sources. Advertising, public relations, reports of opinion polls, and propaganda become mixed up in the news product along with facts and editorial opinions. It certainly tends to undermine any simple faith in the reliability and independence of news.

Media and PR in Society

The news media are the most prominent instrument for disseminating information in society. The media have become an increasingly important stage for organizations' external communication. Editor of a business magazine:

«Today, the media are the most important marketplace - all important deals are settled in the media sphere /.../. And as everyone is squeezed together on the same media scene, it becomes very loud, very crowded and very short of oxygen. That's where the PR business comes in» (Editor, business magazine).

The media, however, do not constitute a platform with actors of equal importance to PR practitioners. Rather, the media sphere appears as a media hierarchy. Typically, the largest radio and television stations along with the large national newspapers constitute the most important targets for PR activities. Within television, news programmes are especially sought after, followed by talk shows and entertainment programmes. For PR activities directed at the print media, the editorial and debate pages of the daily morning newspapers are essential targets. When it comes to activities such as product promotions and launches, trade magazines and other types of specialized press increase in ranking and become a high priority. For opinion-generating campaigns, regional and local media are also of interest. However, the latter types of media organizations pick up PR-related information mostly through news agencies, and thus their journalists experience little direct connection with PR agents.

The features of the relationship between PR agents and news journalists vary with the type of organization or consultancy they represent. Journalists often claim a skeptical approach to those representing commercial interests, as journalistic norms have long deemed textual product placement despicable. Representation in the interest of political organizations, on the other hand, sets a different tone because of these organizations' position as being fundamental to a democratic society and therefore considered to be legitimate opinion leaders. Their actions thus become "in the interest of the public". Public authorities are also by their nature obvious targets of media observation.

Between the corporate interest groups and the political groupings stands a middle-category - the non-profit organizations. Non-profit organizations with a clear social ideology are often treated much like a party or public authority by the media. Furthermore, representatives of non-social ideology groupings often aim for publicity by trying to pass off their PR-activities as relevant to policy or community matters, regardless of whether this is actually the case. In other words, they attempt to move the characterization of a specific organization and its activities from the commercial sphere up to the societal/political one. However, one can say that the media's perceived understanding of the potential social impact of the organizations the PR-agents represent largely determines the conditions for the relation.

The Editorial Conditions

The impact potential of the news media is of course a crucial factor in why journalists are a prioritized target of actions taken by the PR industry. However, there are at least two additional reasons for why media publicity is considered the best way to reach the public - and thereby to achieve a desired image and swing public opinion or parts of it in a favorable direction.

First, publication in the media has a higher level of credibility than other communication channels do. Second, compared to advertising, media publicity is a cost-effective method.

It should be added that today's senders, whether they are professionals within an organization or hired consultants, find it fairly easy to get material published in newspapers. The prevailing conditions are the result of decreases in editorial staff in recent years and increasing demands for raised production goals for each journalist. "Today, we are so pressed by shrinking advertising revenue and diminishing circulation rates, that we try to save, we cut back wherever we can", said one editor. The work climate has created an increasingly stressful situation and resulted in less time for journalistic fieldwork, especially with regard to investigative efforts. That, in turn, has created an increased need for access to raw material from sources outside of the news desks. The senders - or agents promoting a specific interest - are well aware of the situation and use it consciously:

The everyday work of a journalist is very stressful /So/ they often consider contacts with PR agents as useful, if we practice serious work conduct and do no gold digging. Because we know exactly what journalists want (PR Consultant).