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A compromised Fourth Estate? UK news journalism, public relations and news sources

Lewis, Justin Matthew Wren, Williams, Andy and Franklin, Robert Arthur 2008. A compromised Fourth Estate? UK news journalism, public relations and news sources. Journalism Studies 9 (1) , pp. 1-20. 10.1080/14616700701767974

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The suggestion that the activities of public relations professionals and news agencies help to shape news content in national and local news media is increasingly commonplace among journalists, academics and public relations professionals. The findings from this study provide substantive empirical evidence to support such claims. The study analyses the domestic news content of UK national'quality'newspapers (2207 items in the Guardian, The Times, Independent, Daily Telegraph and the mid-market Daily Mail) and radio and television news reports (402 items broadcast by BBC Radio 4, BBC News, ITV News and SkyNews), across two week-long sample periods in 2006, to identify the influence of specific public relations materials and news agency copy (especially reports provided by the UK Press Association) in published and broadcast news contents. The findings illustrate that journalists' reliance on these news sources is extensive and raises significant questions concerning claims to journalistic independence in UK news media and journalists' role as a fourth estate. A political economy analysis suggests that the factors which have created this editorial reliance on these 'information subsidies' seems set to continue, if not increase, in the near future.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Uncontrolled Keywords: agency copy, editorial reliance, journalism, journalistic independence, public relations
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1461-670X
Funders: Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, Mediawise
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2019 02:13

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