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An Island of Reliability in a Sea of Misinformation? Understanding PR-Journalists Relations in Times of Epistemic Crisis

An Island of Reliability in a Sea of Misinformation? Understanding PR-Journalists Relations in... With technologies making sources more accessible than ever before, journalists’ prime concern is no longer obtaining data; but rather sorting information out – undermining the traditional role of information subsidies. This study exposes for the first time a unique form of “epistemic subsidies,” suggesting a new explanation for PR-journalists’ paradoxical relations. Using a mix of quantitative and qualitative reconstructions, in which Israeli news reporters from national news outlets accounted for the sources they used (N = 1,147), this paper reaffirms the persistence of the paradox, while shedding new light on it, showing that the relationship is based on reliability rather than trust. Information from PR sources is communicated to journalists in a significantly more reliable way than from non-PR – making reliance much safer. Analyzing the findings with a framework that is based on social epistemology and the intereffication theory, the paper suggests that the epistemically-virtues practices of PR act as “inductions,” which could result from an “adaptation” to journalists’ increasing epistemic needs. Findings also reopen the normative debate about the implication of reliance on PR, indicating that such reliance reduces vulnerability to factually incorrect messages, while not defending journalists from misleading messages or “spins.” http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Public Relations Research Taylor & Francis

An Island of Reliability in a Sea of Misinformation? Understanding PR-Journalists Relations in Times of Epistemic Crisis

Journal of Public Relations Research , Volume 34 (3-4): 20 – Jul 4, 2022

An Island of Reliability in a Sea of Misinformation? Understanding PR-Journalists Relations in Times of Epistemic Crisis

Abstract

With technologies making sources more accessible than ever before, journalists’ prime concern is no longer obtaining data; but rather sorting information out – undermining the traditional role of information subsidies. This study exposes for the first time a unique form of “epistemic subsidies,” suggesting a new explanation for PR-journalists’ paradoxical relations. Using a mix of quantitative and qualitative reconstructions, in which Israeli news reporters from...
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Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2022 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
1532-754X
eISSN
1062-726X
DOI
10.1080/1062726X.2022.2077347
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

With technologies making sources more accessible than ever before, journalists’ prime concern is no longer obtaining data; but rather sorting information out – undermining the traditional role of information subsidies. This study exposes for the first time a unique form of “epistemic subsidies,” suggesting a new explanation for PR-journalists’ paradoxical relations. Using a mix of quantitative and qualitative reconstructions, in which Israeli news reporters from national news outlets accounted for the sources they used (N = 1,147), this paper reaffirms the persistence of the paradox, while shedding new light on it, showing that the relationship is based on reliability rather than trust. Information from PR sources is communicated to journalists in a significantly more reliable way than from non-PR – making reliance much safer. Analyzing the findings with a framework that is based on social epistemology and the intereffication theory, the paper suggests that the epistemically-virtues practices of PR act as “inductions,” which could result from an “adaptation” to journalists’ increasing epistemic needs. Findings also reopen the normative debate about the implication of reliance on PR, indicating that such reliance reduces vulnerability to factually incorrect messages, while not defending journalists from misleading messages or “spins.”

Journal

Journal of Public Relations ResearchTaylor & Francis

Published: Jul 4, 2022

Keywords: Public relations; journalism; epistemology; trust; subsidies; mixed methods; intereffication

References