Date of this Version


Document Type

Research Report

Publication Details

Pearson, Mark; Patching, Roger (2008) Government media relations: A 'Spin' through the literature, Centre for New Media Research and Education, Bond University, July 2008, 62pp.

With research assistance from Richard Phillipps and Anna-lise Rosendahl.

Funded by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Bond University, Queensland, Australia..

Copyright © Mark Pearson and Roger Patching, 2008. Photograph copyright © Mark Pearson, 2006.



Government media relations is deserving of serious study because it sits at the interface between the executive and journalism, two of the fundamental institutions in a modern democratic society. That line of communication is central crucial if citizens are to be kept informed of the workings of government and the machinations of the political system. The Australian High Court underscored its importance in the 1990s when it introduced an ‘implied constitutional freedom of communication on matters of politics and government’ through a series of decisions (2007, pp. 35-38). It is a communication channel where truth and transparency should be institutionalised. Truthful, accurate and transparent government communications are crucial to an informed citizenry via an effective news media.

This literature review aims to background and map key themes within the research to date in the field of government media relations (sometimes pejoratively known as ‘spin’) for the benefit of fellow researchers and to identify opportunities for research to take knowledge beyond that existing body of material.



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