journalism as propaganda

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Summary. The authors discuss the demarcations between what is considered journalism and what is considered public relations. However, the authors use the professional societies of each to describe, define, and delineate between what constitutes the key elements of each profession.  While acknowledging the professional job descriptions of each, the authors also acknowledge that the development of information and communication technologies as well as social development processes has blurred the lines between the two where now a journalist may contribute to the promotion of some goods or services. (p. 218). While I understand this is a summary of a study, I disagree with the generous assessment of the authors regarding the long-standing “impartiality” of journalists who retain biases from what they are assigned and from what they write and ask.

Problems. The authors admit that both journalists and PR specialists are increasingly blurring the lines of demarcation between the two professions due to the proliferation of information on the Internet that is freely used by both. The authors make a distinction between PR, advertising, and propaganda (the former subcategories of propaganda), admitting that the PR specialist uses these and the journalist frequently uses the press releases wholesale as “stories” from the PR specialist.  Additionally, the authors cite the acceptable practice of negative coverage of a featured advertiser as a story subject until their advertising budget is paid to the media outlet.  This, according to the authors and the ethics of the two groups societies, is acceptable.  The authors are not interested in eliminating the demarcation problem, but they point out further trends for discussion.

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