The news triumvirate
Date of this Version
News agencies, or wire services, are playing a growing role in the contemporary news environment, primarily due to the prevalence of the 24/7 online newsroom and its associated need for speed and volumes of copy. At the same time press releases and other public relations-generated material daily flood the news environment. This paper builds on research into these two fields, trialling a new methodology—one which follows press releases and other public relations material through the uptake by news agencies, in particular the Australian Associated Press, and finally, as published stories in metropolitan online newspapers. While previous research has tracked press releases and news agency copy individually, this study is significant because it follows the three distinct phases in the news cycle and determines how the news agency—the most pervasive and trusted news source—can become the de facto distributor of public relations material. It grounds the study in the work of political economists, who have endeavoured since the 1970s to explain the dwindling quality and quantity of good journalism in leading democracies. This work sets the foundations for a larger study into the production of news in contemporary media environments.
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