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It takes two to tango, but do sources take the lead? A study of the rise of press releases in Flemish newspapers

Sarah Van Leuven UGent and Karin Raeymaeckers UGent (2011) A question of power, Proceedings. p.1-11
abstract
The goal of this study is first to examine whether, how and how far the commercialsation of the media sector affects changes in the relationship between journalists and their sources. Second, we want to check if this impacts on the construction of the mediatized public sphere (Habermas, 2006). Ample research has shown that the commercialization and professionalization of the journalistic field lead to cost reduction and standardization of news production (e.g. Gans, 1979; Lewis, Willliams & Franklin, 2008). Thus, journalists develop routines and easily applicable practices for information gathering to produce news efficiently with few resources in a limited time frame. It is clear that pre-packaged material, such as press releases and press conferences, meets these journalistic needs. Public relations practitioners indeed deliver ‘information subsidies’ or ready-to-use news that can be planned out in advance and copy-pasted in a news article (Carlson & Franklin, 2011; Gandy, 1982). Research has shown that journalists increasingly incorporate pre-packaged information – and especially public relations material – in their news output (Buijs et al. 2009; Lewis, Williams, Franklin, Thomas, & Mosdell, 2006). Yet, research about the use of public relations in Flemish news media is still lacking. We want to fill this gap by analyzing the presence of pre-packaged information and especially press releases in Flemish newspapers. The empirical research focuses on sourcing practices in the newsrooms of four Flemish newspapers. By means of a quantitative content analysis we examine the source use in their foreign news output over a period of 15 years (1995-2010). After this large-scale study with a broad perspective on pre-packaged news in general, we will conduct a more in-depth case study content analysis to examine how and how far these four newspapers adopt press release material of the nongovernmental organization Doctors Without Borders (Flemish department) in their foreign news output (1995-2010). This case study exists of an input-output-analysis of the archives (press releases) of DWB versus the corresponding media output. In this manner, we can investigate the findings of the quantitative content analysis more into depth. The long-term perspective (1995-2010) of both studies invites matching our findings with reflexions on the bursting impact of marketing and with debates on the shrinking or expanding mediatized public sphere. Moreover, we will analyze the results of both studies in a comparative perspective by examining how inherent characteristics of the four newspapers impact on their use of pre-packaged information and especially press releases.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
conference
publication status
unpublished
subject
keyword
journalism, churnalism, content analysis, press releases, public relations, commercialisation, ngo, gatekeeping, public sphere, information subsidies, pre-packaged information, Doctors Without Borders, Artsen Zonder Grenzen
in
A question of power, Proceedings
pages
1 - 11
publisher
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Faculteit der Letteren
place of publication
Groningen, The Netherlands
conference name
A question of power
conference location
Groningen, The Netherlands
conference start
2011-09-29
conference end
2011-09-30
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
C1
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
id
1977506
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-1977506
alternative location
http://www.rug.nl/let/onderzoek/onderzoekinstituten/icog/conferenties/aQuestionOfPower/index
date created
2012-01-03 17:24:56
date last changed
2017-01-02 09:53:16
@inproceedings{1977506,
  abstract     = {The goal of this study is first to examine whether, how and how far the commercialsation of the media sector affects changes in the relationship between journalists and their sources. Second, we want to check if this impacts on the construction of the mediatized public sphere (Habermas, 2006). Ample research has shown that the commercialization and professionalization of the journalistic field lead to cost reduction and standardization of news production (e.g. Gans, 1979; Lewis, Willliams \& Franklin, 2008). Thus, journalists develop routines and easily applicable practices for information gathering to produce news efficiently with few resources in a limited time frame. It is clear that pre-packaged material, such as press releases and press conferences, meets these journalistic needs. Public relations practitioners indeed deliver {\textquoteleft}information subsidies{\textquoteright} or ready-to-use news that can be planned out in advance and copy-pasted in a news article (Carlson \& Franklin, 2011; Gandy, 1982). Research has shown that journalists increasingly incorporate pre-packaged information -- and especially public relations material -- in their news output (Buijs et al. 2009; Lewis, Williams, Franklin, Thomas, \& Mosdell, 2006). Yet, research about the use of public relations in Flemish news media is still lacking. We want to fill this gap by analyzing the presence of pre-packaged information and especially press releases in Flemish newspapers. The empirical research focuses on sourcing practices in the newsrooms of four Flemish newspapers. By means of a quantitative content analysis we examine the source use in their foreign news output over a period of 15 years (1995-2010). After this large-scale study with a broad perspective on pre-packaged news in general, we will conduct a more in-depth case study content analysis to examine how and how far these four newspapers adopt press release material of the nongovernmental organization Doctors Without Borders (Flemish department) in their foreign news output (1995-2010). This case study exists of an input-output-analysis of the archives (press releases) of DWB versus the corresponding media output. In this manner, we can investigate the findings of the quantitative content analysis more into depth. The long-term perspective (1995-2010) of both studies invites matching our findings with reflexions on the bursting impact of marketing and with debates on the shrinking or expanding mediatized public sphere. Moreover, we will analyze the results of both studies in a comparative perspective by examining how inherent characteristics of the four newspapers impact on their use of pre-packaged information and especially press releases.},
  author       = {Van Leuven, Sarah and Raeymaeckers, Karin},
  booktitle    = {A question of power, Proceedings},
  keyword      = {journalism,churnalism,content analysis,press releases,public relations,commercialisation,ngo,gatekeeping,public sphere,information subsidies,pre-packaged information,Doctors Without Borders,Artsen Zonder Grenzen},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Groningen, The Netherlands},
  pages        = {1--11},
  publisher    = {Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Faculteit der Letteren},
  title        = {It takes two to tango, but do sources take the lead? A study of the rise of press releases in Flemish newspapers},
  url          = {http://www.rug.nl/let/onderzoek/onderzoekinstituten/icog/conferenties/aQuestionOfPower/index},
  year         = {2011},
}

Chicago
Van Leuven, Sarah, and Karin Raeymaeckers. 2011. “It Takes Two to Tango, but Do Sources Take the Lead? A Study of the Rise of Press Releases in Flemish Newspapers.” In A Question of Power, Proceedings, 1–11. Groningen, The Netherlands: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Faculteit der Letteren.
APA
Van Leuven, Sarah, & Raeymaeckers, K. (2011). It takes two to tango, but do sources take the lead? A study of the rise of press releases in Flemish newspapers. A question of power, Proceedings (pp. 1–11). Presented at the A question of power, Groningen, The Netherlands: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Faculteit der Letteren.
Vancouver
1.
Van Leuven S, Raeymaeckers K. It takes two to tango, but do sources take the lead? A study of the rise of press releases in Flemish newspapers. A question of power, Proceedings. Groningen, The Netherlands: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Faculteit der Letteren; 2011. p. 1–11.
MLA
Van Leuven, Sarah, and Karin Raeymaeckers. “It Takes Two to Tango, but Do Sources Take the Lead? A Study of the Rise of Press Releases in Flemish Newspapers.” A Question of Power, Proceedings. Groningen, The Netherlands: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Faculteit der Letteren, 2011. 1–11. Print.