Public Relations Democracy: Politics, Public Relations and the Mass Media in Britain

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Manchester University Press, May 3, 2002 - Business & Economics - 222 pages
Written for social science students, this text is a study of the public relations industry in Britain, examining the rapid expansion of professional public relations and discussing its effects on the mass media and political process. Over the last two decades the PR industry has expanded more than eleven-fold. A diverse range of organisations, from political parties and pressure groups to churches and charities, have attempted to use it as a means of achieving specific ends. At the same time news journalists, under increasing pressure to raise output, have come to rely more and more on this public relations supply. In an era of media-conscious decision-making, public relations has further transformed the media's role in the democratic process.
 

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Contents

Introduction
3
Frameworks and debates
4
A few notes on theory and methods
14
Book outline
17
The expansion of public relations and its impact on news production
19
The interaction of journalists sources and public relations practitioners
25
Resources and the shift to source supply
32
Conclusion
40
Radical pluralist optimism and nonofficial source strategies
120
Conclusion
123
Trade union public relationsresistance within news production
125
The state of union communications in the late 1990s
126
Overcoming communications disadvantages
131
Evaluating the effectiveness of new union communications
142
Conclusion
148
The Union of Communication Workers versus Post Office privatisation in 1994
150

Corporate public relations and corporate source influence on the national media
45
Public relations and corporate control of news production the radical thesis
46
Radical miscalculations and the failure of business sources
50
Alternative business communication objectives
55
City and financial public relations and business news
60
Financial news and the transition from public interest to corporate need
61
Closed discourse networks and the corporate capture of financial news
70
The ideological and material consequences
77
Conclusion
82
The Granada takeover of Forte
84
Corporate conflict and communications conflictthe spinning of elites
85
From spinning corporate elites to corporate elite capture of the media
97
Conclusion
104
Outsider and resourcepoor groups trade unions and mediasource relations
109
Union communications and the Glasgow University Media Group thesis
110
Unions as outsiderresourcepoor sources
116
Union communications or force of circumstances?
151
Overcoming the economic and media deficits
157
Overcoming the limits of institutional authority with thirdparty endorsement
160
Setting news agendas dividing oppositions and the creation of negative news
165
Postscript
168
Conclusion
169
Conclusion
171
Public relations and patterns of interest groupsource access in Britain
173
Public relations policymaking and power relations
178
Appendices
183
List of interviewees
185
Table printouts for trade union survey
188
Bibliography
195
Index
215
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Aeron Davis is Lecturer in Sociology at City University, London.

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