PR and media – conflict of interests

Publications and broadcasters are increasingly turning to public relations campaigns to promote themselves – but is this a conflict of interest?  The BBC’s promotion of its own programmes within the news agenda is a prime example – especially when “pseudo-news” tactics are used to portray as hard news what would be viewed suspiciously as puff if originating from other sources. 

Leading consumer car magazine, What Car? is launching its own vehicle warranty to consumers (using media relations to get other publications to report this initiative).  How can a publication undertake objective reports on such topics when they have a vested interest?  Does it lose credibility in writing about those companies providing the service under the publication’s brand name?  And why would other media wish to “plug” a rival?   In securing deals with the media, are the marketing departments further devaluing the benefits that independent endorsement brings?  Does anybody care?


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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.