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Media positioning: comparing organizations’ standing in the news

Anke Wonneberger (University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Sandra Jacobs (University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 7 August 2017



Visibility in the media is considered important for organizations, as it is alleged to affect their reputation, public legitimacy, and stakeholder relations. Strategies for media relations often discern corporations, public organizations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The media attention for those organizations is, however, often studied in isolation. The purpose of this paper is to introduce the concept of media positioning to compare media coverage for corporations, public organizations, and NGOs.


A quantitative content analysis of the media coverage of 61 Dutch organizations was conducted. The comparison focused on three aspects of media positioning: prominence, context, and evaluation.


Public organizations and corporations were most similar, whereas corporations and NGOs differed most strongly in their media positioning. Corporations appeared most prominently in the media. While corporations and public organizations were more often related to organizational issues, NGOs were more often linked to substantial issues and received more positive coverage.


Insight into the content, amount, and tone of organizational media coverage is crucial for the formulation of public relations strategies by corporate communication professionals. The analysis shows whether and how the prominence, context, and evaluation differs among corporations, public organizations, and NGOs. The findings shed light on institutional factors that affect the visibility of different types of organizations, thus enabling future scholars in the field of visibility analyses in corporate communication to refine theories on drivers and characteristics of media coverage regarding different types of organizations.



Wonneberger, A. and Jacobs, S. (2017), "Media positioning: comparing organizations’ standing in the news", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 354-368.



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