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Article
Publication date: 7 November 2016

Tiffany Schweickart, Jordan Neil, Ji Young Kim and Spiro Kiousis

The purpose of this paper is to explore the linkages between public relations efforts and policymaking activity during a non-election setting.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the linkages between public relations efforts and policymaking activity during a non-election setting.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a time-lag design, this study used content analysis to examine public relations materials and policymaking activity during the first six months of US President Barack Obama’s second term. The public relations data were collected from the official White House website and social media. The policymaking data were collected from congressional calendars of business.

Findings

The data revealed varying degrees of support across the three levels of agenda-building for issues, attributes, and issue/attribute co-occurrence. Contrary to the expected relationship that public relations drives policymaking activity, the data suggest that policymaking activity was a stronger predictor of public relations material.

Research limitations/implications

This study provides modest support for time-lag agenda-building effects across three levels. However, future experimental research is needed to truly assess causal relationships. Future research should also explore alternative sources of data for policymaking activity.

Practical implications

This study demonstrates that the efficacy of information subsidy types is not uniform and should be chosen strategically. Traditional subsidy types were most effective for driving issues, while digital subsidy types provided more useful outlets for driving issue attributes.

Originality/value

This study contributes to political public relations scholarship by exploring the temporal relationships between public relations efforts and policymaking activity in a non-election setting. The time-lag design serves as an exploratory inquiry into the agenda-building process.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 20 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 February 2018

Diana Ingenhoff, Alexander Buhmann, Candace White, Tianduo Zhang and Spiro Kiousis

The purpose of this paper is to examine how varying degrees of media-constructed associations between organizations and their home countries affect audience perceptions of…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how varying degrees of media-constructed associations between organizations and their home countries affect audience perceptions of such associations and, subsequently, how recipients attribute crisis responsibility and reputational damage to the home country. Additionally, the paper investigates if pre-crisis country image can buffer negative effects of the crisis for the country.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors hypothesize that the strength of actor associations in media reports about crises affects recipients’ cognitive processes of crisis responsibility attribution and, thus, the “direction” of reputational damage (corporation vs country). Empirically, the authors analyze the effects of different levels of actor association in crisis reports (strong actor association vs weak actor association) regarding a Chinese corporation in a one-factorial (between-subjects) experimental design; and the intervening effect of China’s country image prior to the crisis. Participants for the study lived in Switzerland and the USA.

Findings

The effect of different actor associations presented in the media on perceived association between a corporation and its home country is confirmed. Furthermore, these varying perceptions lead to significantly different tendencies in people’s ascriptions of crisis responsibility (corporation vs country), and different degrees of reputational fallout for the home countries. Finally, the data did not confirm a moderating effect of pre-crisis country image on the reputational damage caused by the crisis.

Research limitations/implications

The study contributes to the understanding of key factors in the formation of crisis attributions as well as insights for the study of country image and public diplomacy.

Practical implications

It provides a new approach for corporate communication and public diplomacy to analyze the complex interdependencies between countries and internationally visible and globally known corporations, which potentially affect the country’s perception abroad.

Social implications

Particularly for smaller countries that cannot rely on political and economic power to defend national interests in a global context, their “soft power” in terms of reputation and country image can play a central role in their political, economic, and cultural success.

Originality/value

The paper applies a new conceptual framework and methodology to analyze how both mediated and cognitive associations between different actors influence attribution of responsibility in crises, and how these associations ultimately bear on reputation spillover for the different actors.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 28 January 2014

Hyejoon Rim, Jin Hong Ha and Spiro Kiousis

– This paper aims to explore the links among health authorities’ public relations efforts, news media coverage, and public perceptions of risk during the H1N1 pandemic outbreak.

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1054

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the links among health authorities’ public relations efforts, news media coverage, and public perceptions of risk during the H1N1 pandemic outbreak.

Design/methodology/approach

This study used a triangulation of research methods by comparing public relations materials, media coverage, and public opinion. The data were collected from a federal government web site, national newspapers, and national polls.

Findings

The data revealed a positive relationship between information subsidy attention and media attention to the H1N1 disease as well as the severity attribute. The salience of the severity attribute in information subsidies was linked with increased H1N1 salience in media coverage, extending the testing of the compelling-arguments hypothesis to an agenda-building context. However, there was no association between salience of the severity attribute and public risk perceptions.

Research limitations/implications

The study provides evidence for public relations effectiveness. However, the limited influence of the severity frame on the public's risk perception suggests a gap between news coverage and the public's view. Framing that effectively empowers the public to engage in desired behavior should be further studied for the success of a public health campaign. The study is limited to examining the severity attribute. A future study should pay more attention to different issue attributes or other frames. The media sample was limited to newspapers and thus lacks generalizability.

Originality/value

The study contributes to public relations scholarship by demonstrating how information subsidies influence media agendas and public opinion in a health communication context. The public health authorities’ role in influencing media agenda should be stressed.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 18 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 19 October 2017

Abstract

Details

Mastering Business for Strategic Communicators
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-503-0

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