Dialogic communication and media relations in non-governmental organizations

Seow Ting Lee (Department of Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore)
Mallika Hemant Desai (Department of Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore)

Journal of Communication Management

ISSN: 1363-254X

Publication date: 28 January 2014



The purpose of this paper is to seek to clarify the conceptual building blocks of relationship building between non-governmental groups (NGOs) and news media, which is essential for the development of civil society where dialogue is a product of ongoing communication and relationships.


The paper is based on an online survey with a sample size of 296 NGOs from India. The data are analyzed with SPSS to test six hypotheses related to dialogic orientation, media relations, relationship quality and the NGOs’ structural characteristics.


The study found that an organization's dialogic orientation has a positive impact on media relations knowledge and strategy but not on the action dimension that focusses on providing information subsidies to journalists. A stronger dialogic orientation is also associated with better organization-media relationships. A stronger engagement in media relations also has a more positive impact on the quality of organization-media relationship. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of this study are limited to a sample of NGOs from India. Future research should address more diverse samples to better understand the dynamics of media relations in NGOs, and how their patterns of media relations, use of information subsidies, culture and media choice shape news coverage and their impact in developing civil society.


By approaching media relations from an organizational perspective to investigate media relations in the NGO sector to address an under-researched area, the study is able to draw out the significant relationships between and among three distinct and yet connected conceptual building blocks of public relations.



Ting Lee, S. and Hemant Desai, M. (2014), "Dialogic communication and media relations in non-governmental organizations", Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 80-100. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCOM-07-2012-0059

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