This weeks Highlights: Media relations, convergence and citizen journalism

This weeks readings really highlighted the prominence of the public relations and media relationship. I additionally found information on the convergence of media systems quite interesting. In chapter 6 of Public Relations Theory and Practice (4th edition), Jane Johnston (2014) describes how important public relations practitioners are to journalists. I obviously, being a journalism student, knew to an extent how reliant journalists are on things such as media releases but I was not fully aware of the extent of the dependence until I embarked upon this weeks readings. The study discussed on page 137 of the textbook definitely made me realise the relationship between public relations and the media. In this study, “55 percent of news stories were driven by some form of public relations­­­” (Johnston, 2014). These forms include media releases and some form of promotion. But, that doesn’t mean that public relations practitioners don’t, in turn, rely on journalists also. There are many things that journalists do that benefit a public relations practitioner such as carrying stories to readers and also acting as an “information source from around the world”.

Now looking more closely at the concept of convergence in the media. In my day-to-day life, I have absent-mindedly recognised the convergence of media systems but have not recognised it AS convergence of media systems. This basically means that I was not really aware that it was happening, but now that I really think about it, I see many examples of media convergence in todays technologically obsessed and advanced society. This concept is present in my life as I read articles from my favourite magazines online instead of in print and I watch television shows online instead of on the television. These are examples of print and television converging with the Internet, which Cunningham and Turner (2010) have titled as “converging industries”. I find it interesting that I can learn about a public relations concept and relate it to my own life, which I think is a great thing because it deepens my understanding of it.

Another aspect of this weeks reading that I found interesting is from pages 136 and 154 of the textbook where Johnston (2014) briefly discusses citizen journalism. I am fascinated by the power and growth of citizen journalism due to social media. I’ve learned that citizen journalism has propelled professional journalism into the Internet stratosphere, which I personally think is for everyone’s benefit. This has provided the world with an instantaneous circulation of information and has made news much more assessable therefore resulting in more consumers. My understanding of public relations has grown tremendously due to readings such as this one as it points out all the different layers to public relations and makes me excited to deepen my knowledge of the profession.

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