Book

Transparency, public relations, and the mass media: Combating the hidden influences in news coverage worldwide

Authors:

Abstract

This book is about media transparency and good-faith attempts of honesty by both the sources and the gatekeepers of news and other information that the mass media present as being unbiased. Specifically, this book provides a theoretical framework for understanding media transparency and its antithesis-media opacity-by analyzing extensive empirical data that the authors have collected from more than 60 countries throughout the world. The practice of purposeful media opacity, which exists to greater or lesser extents worldwide, is a powerful hidden influencer of the ostensibly impartial media gatekeepers whose publicly perceived role is to present news and other information based on these gatekeepers’ perception of this information’s truthfulness. Empirical data that the authors have collected globally illustrate the extent of media opacity practices worldwide and note its pervasiveness in specific regions and countries. The authors examine, from multiple perspectives, the complex question of whether media opacity should be categorically condemned as being universally inappropriate and unethical or whether it should be accepted-or at least tolerated-in some situations and environments.
... Nevertheless, practitioners perceived that the paid media coverage factor, which includes native advertising, advertorials, and compensation articles linked to advertisement placements, would become slightly more important after implementation of the law. Tsetsura and Kruckeberg (2017) referred to those practices as news media opacity, which refers to "hidden influences [that] exist in the process of gathering/disseminating news and other information that is presented as truth" (p. 13). ...
... Giving gifts to journalists and paid media coverage are both specific activities of media non-transparency (Tsetsura & Kruckeberg, 2017). Interestingly, this study found that because of the enforcement of the anti-graft law, the practice of providing various forms of monetary and non-monetary benefits for press and journalists has become less common; therefore, the transactions of paid media coverages can be used more than before to effectively promote amicable publicity and defend negative publicity. ...
Article
The Improper Solicitation and Graft Act, which went into effect on September 28, 2016, strictly prohibits gift giving to journalists, thereby making a traditional media relations practice in Korea illegal. A survey of 342 public relations practitioners revealed that providing monetary gifts, performing formal responsibility, building informal relationships, receiving paid media coverage, and giving and accepting informal support were found to be significant subdimensions of media relations. After implementation of the anti-graft law, public relations practitioners expressed a belief that the practice of providing monetary gifts would shrink the most and that performing formal responsibility would experience the most growth. The formal responsibility factor was significantly positively related to support for the new law and public relations ethics, while giving and accepting informal support was negatively linked to public relations ethics. Paid media coverage showed a positive relationship with public relations practitioners’ perceptions about difficulties of increasing outputs of media relations. Finally, this empirical study shows how new external regulations arising from implementation of the anti-graft law can affect the personal influence model of media relations in Korea.
... In contrast, journalism is the least important channel between the other media channels with a mean of (3.68). These findings agreed with Sissons (2012), who found that as the number of public relations professionals increases and the number of journalists, and Tsetsura, et al. (2017), who noted that as media transitioned into a new age, the relationship between public relations and journalism changed. On the other hand, these findings disagreed with Tsetsura, et al. (2018), who stated that Journalists recognize that public relations play a vital role as an information subsidy. ...
... Based on guidance from the CDC, advance planning, preparedness, and open dialogue are keys to public health communication, particularly with underserved minority and immigrant populations (Stern, Cetron, & Markel, 2009;Tsetsura & Kruckeberg, 2017). Only when trust and transparency are established with the populace-with especial regard to disseminating information through media (O'Malley, Rainford, & Thompson, 2009)-will public health officials, education officials, and political leaders have auspicious opportunities to improve collective decision making processes and resolve differences that are crucial to social, economic, and cultural equity amid global crises (Stern et al., 2009). ...
Article
Full-text available
This commentary aims to deconstruct xenophobia and its worldwide impact, particularly on people of Asian descent, amid the global COVID-19 pandemic. The commentary begins with an overview of COVID-19’s impact on the United States economy and educational landscape, continues with a discussion about the global history of pandemic-prompted xenophobia and its relationship to sensationalized media discourse, and concludes with recommendations to reconsider various aspects of intercultural communication in relation to public health issues.
Article
Full-text available
Over the last few years, European public broadcasters have promoted the concept of public service media as one of their main values. To this end, transparency policies have been implemented as a mechanism of corporate projection by strengthening their role as an essential service. The objective of this article is to ascertain the existence of this type of policies among European public broadcasters. To this end, a nominal group was made with 24 experts who were surveyed, thus generating new indicators of transparency and accountability strategies around sustainability and digitalization. The contents of the websites of RTVE (Spain), RTP (Portugal), France TV (France), RAI (Italy), BBC (UK), RTÉ (Ireland), ZDF (Germany), VRT (Belgium), and SVT (Sweden) were also analyzed, paying attention to such indicators and strategies. The main results include the identification of differences on the basis of the ideal models described by Hallin and Mancini; a commitment to credibility (fact-checking) to the detriment of diversity of opinions; and a connection between the political system and the media system, which, preliminarily, determines the level of transparency of these public entities.
Article
News media are important for society, because they provide information on relevant topics based on journalistic norms, such as truthfulness and impartiality. However, traditional news brands have found new competition in non-journalistic digital media. Google and YouTube have disrupted the business model of journalism by creating platforms on which everything and everyone competes for consumers’ attention. Despite the recognised importance of this topic, empirical studies about the competitive situation of (journalistic) news media brands in the limitless digital media market are scarce. The aim of this study is to investigate the extent to which non-journalistic competitors replace traditional news media brands in relation to relevant topics. A programmed web scraping software automatically gathered Google and YouTube search results of trending topics (e.g. Industry 4.0, Blockchain, or CRISPR). Afterwards, a manual content analysis was conducted to classify the source of each search result (e.g. news media brand, corporate publisher, non-governmental organisation) (N = 556 Google results and 792 YouTube results). The findings show that news media brands still dominate on Google but placed a distant third on YouTube, behind amateurs and corporate publishing. News media brands should reconsider their strategies for YouTube with regard to presenting their content.
Article
This article derives a theory of informative fictions (TIF). Common forms of misinformation—fake news, rumors, and conspiracy theories—while dysfunctional for communicating property information—information about the state and operation of things—can actually be valuable for communicating character information—information about the motivations of social agents. It is argued that narratives containing “false facts” can effectively portray a speaker's theory of another individual's character. Thus, such narratives are useful for gathering information about leaders and other important individuals who are evaluated in the community. After deriving the theory, TIF is used to derive propositions predicting the empirical conditions under which misinformation will be accepted, tolerated or promoted. The implications of the theory for addressing the normative problem of misinformation are also discussed.
Article
Full-text available
Building on the previous research of media non-transparency in Eastern European countries, this study examined non-transparent media practices that occur at the interpersonal, intra-organizational, or inter-organizational levels in the media of the Urals Federal District of Russia. It appears that although the majority of non-transparent media practices happen at the inter-organizational level, the single most frequent practice was documented at the interpersonal level. This practice included accepting small gifts and benefiting from the provision of such services as transportation, food, or hotel stay that are eagerly offered by the news sources. The results showed that this trend is common in both local Ural media as well as in the Russian national media. The difference of non-transparent media practices that occurred between local and national media was mostly evident at the intra-organizational and inter-organizational levels, indicating that local media are more prone to be non-transparent than the national media. The study offers implications of the findings and recommendations for future research.