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Obermaier, Magdalena; Koch, Thomas; Riesmeyer, Claudia (2018): Deep Impact? How Journalists Perceive the Influence of Public Relations on Their News Coverage and Which Variables Determine This Impact. In: Communication Research, Vol. 45, No. 7: pp. 1031-1053
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Abstract

Journalists perceive 25% to 80% of their coverage to be influenced by public relations (PR). However, there is hardly any research on what factors determine where on this wide spectrum an individual journalist will fall. This study analyzed the extent and source of the perceived influence of PR on news coverage via a quantitative survey of German journalists. On average, participants perceived over one third of their work to be influenced by PR, and a number of variables were found to be associated with the degree of this impact. Role conceptions as populist mobilizers and newsroom conventions discouraging excessive reliance on PR decreased the influence of PR on news coverage. Secondary employments in the field of PR, having close personal relationships with PR professionals, and considering interests of publishers or advertisers increased the impact of PR on journalistic content.