The Relationship between PR and Journalism in Crisis Situations

Diana Ingenhoff, Ansgar Thiessen

Abstract


The relationship between journalism and PR has long been discussed within communication science. However, the impact of crisis situations on that relationship has rarely become part of the discussion. Therefore, the aim of the study is to describe the relations between journalism and PR specifically under crisis conditions. Embedded into the intereffication approach, the empirical study is based on qualitative interviews with the heads of corporate communication of Germany's leading stock listed companies and the editors-in-chief of Germany's leading newspapers. Results show, that crises evoke organisational changes in communication and editorial departments. Moreover, in crises, journalists work around prescribed terminologies and take information provided by PR only as basic information. While personal relationships gain relevance for PR, for journalists they become less relevant in a crisis. Journalists intensify and widen their research instead in order to gain exclusive material. Our study for the first time offers a multidimensional examination of media relations in crises both, on the level of actions and on the level of organisation. Findings provide new input for a theoretical development of the intereffication model and help practitioners find guidelines for sophisticated media relations in crises.


Keywords


crisis communication; Public Relations; journalism; intereffication model

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Studies in Communication Sciences | ISSN: 1424-4896