Media agenda behind ballerina "outing"

Interesting reflection in the on the tactics used by The Guardian in respect of “outing” ballerina Simone Clarke as a member of BNP (see my earlier post).  In particular, the analysis of language used by the newspaper in “spinning” the story is relevant for public relations practitioners. 

It also raises the issue regarding the media agenda – they have in effect created a story (call it investigative journalism if you will), reported it, and then, it could be argued, continue the narrative, seeking their “ideal” end (ie the ballerina’s dismissal) to demonstrate their own power.

The media agenda is a difficult dimension for public relations practitioners who often feel when confronted by journalists who have already “written the ending” that regardless of what they say, the story is going to run in a particular way.   Also, in cases such as this, the journalist is seeking to manipulate the PR people who need to protect the company’s reputation and avoid negative headlines.

With the pressures on journalists to deliver audiences, it is inevitable that “a good story” is increasingly all that matters.  But, should PR be the patsy of media in this way?

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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.