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Journalism and PR

Unpacking ‘Spin’, Stereotypes, and Media Myths

Jim Macnamara

The interrelationship between journalism and public relations (PR) is one of the most contentious in the field of media studies. Numerous studies have shown that 50–80 per cent of the content of mass media is significantly shaped by PR. But many editors, journalists, and PR practitioners engage in a ‘discourse of denial’, maintaining what critics call the dirty secret of journalism – and PR. Media practitioners also engage in an accusatory ‘discourse of spin’ and a ‘discourse of victimhood’. On the other hand, PR practitioners say they help provide a voice for organizations, including those ignored by the media. Meanwhile, the growth of social media is providing new opportunities for governments, corporations, and organizations to create content and even their own media, increasing the channels and reach of PR.
This book reviews 100 years of research into the interrelationship between journalism and PR and, based on in-depth interviews with senior editors, journalists, and PR practitioners in several countries, presents new insights into the methods and extent of PR influence, its implications, and the need for transparency and change, making it a must-read for researchers and students in media studies, journalism, public relations, politics, sociology, and cultural studies.
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← VIII | IX → Acknowledgments


I gratefully thank the journalists and public relations, public affairs, and corporate communication practitioners who generously agreed to be interviewed as part of research that informed this book. In addition, I wish to acknowledge and recognize media and PR professionals who offered suggestions and introductions, particularly Barry Leggetter at the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) and Nick Grant, the CEO of Mediatrack in London, as well as Amanda Millar in Sydney who undertook interviews in the pilot study while working with me as a postgraduate student.

I am also indebted to my publisher, Peter Lang New York, particularly Mary Savigar, who helped bring this book into existence—the second research monograph that we have worked on together—and to the University of Technology, Sydney, which funded and supported my research.

And as always, a special thank you for everything is due to my wife, friend, and intellectual partner, Dr Gail Kenning.

Jim Macnamara, PhD, FPRIA, FAMI, CPM, FAMEC ← IX | X →

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