Measuring the impact of pr on published news in increasingly fragmented news environments: A multifaceted approach

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57 Scopus citations


As news environments become more fragmented, public relations grows more sophisticated and editorial systems weaken, the impact of PR on news becomes greater and more diverse. Its scope and intensity, however, can hardly be grasped by traditional newsroom-oriented and press release-centered approaches that try to reduce PR impact to a single bottom line. The present study proposes a multifaceted approach to studying PR impact on the news. It examines textual and oral PR-media exchanges flowing inside and outside newsrooms that reach reporters personally or through their respective newsrooms and affect published news both directly and indirectly. The study adopts an innovative method: a series of face-to-face reconstruction interviews in which reporters representing nine leading Israeli news organizations detailed, contact by contact, any type of PR involvement or contribution to a random sample of their freshly published items. PR impact was found to be richer, more complex and broader than suggested by former studies. Although reporters rarely allow practitioners to serve as single sources for their items, they often let them serve as dominant sources, constituting at least 50 percent of their contacts for specific items. Furthermore, practitioners lead agenda building for every other item and involve themselves in no less than 75 percent of items by supplying information, story leads and even dubiously "technical" services. PR is more involved in business and domestic affairs than in politics, especially in non-exclusive and less prominent items and in stories whose sources stay anonymous. Apparently both parties' interest in disguising their exchanges overrules the public's interest in proper disclosure to enable assessment of the information and its source credibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)799-816
Number of pages18
JournalJournalism Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2010


  • Agenda building
  • Media relations
  • News subsidies
  • Public relations
  • Spokespersons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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