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

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.