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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.

«Jim Macnamara sets the stage for a long-needed dialogue between journalism and public relations, defining their respective roles and the relationship between the two fields. The evidence of their interdependence is abundant, and this dialogue is essential in today’s crowded communication landscape. Both journalism and PR have fringe operators and high-minded operators … significant codes of practice grounded in transparency must become paramount in both journalism and PR. The scholarly background needed to advance professional excellence is detailed in this book.» (Max McCombs, University of Texas)
«A sharp and astringent account of the love that dares not speak its name – PR and journalism. Jim Macnamara’s book challenges stereotypes and makes a compelling case for the positive role PR can play in our democracy and our media, while at the same time cautioning about some PR practices and calling for improved standards and transparency in both journalism and PR.» (Catharine Lumby, Macquarie University)

«Jim Macnamara sets the stage for a long-needed dialogue between journalism and public relations, defining their respective roles and the relationship between the two fields. The evidence of their interdependence is abundant, and this dialogue is essential in today’s crowded communication landscape. Both journalism and PR have fringe operators and high-minded operators ... significant codes of practice grounded in transparency must become paramount in both journalism and PR. The scholarly background needed to advance professional excellence is detailed in this book.» (Max McCombs, University of Texas)
«A sharp and astringent account of the love that dares not speak its name – PR and journalism. Jim Macnamara’s book challenges stereotypes and makes a compelling case for the positive role PR can play in our democracy and our media, while at the same time cautioning about some PR practices and calling for improved standards and transparency in both journalism and PR.» (Catharine Lumby, Macquarie University)