1st Edition

Secrecy in Public Relations, Mediation and News Cultures The Shadow World of the Media Sphere

By Anne M. Cronin Copyright 2023
    138 Pages
    by Routledge

    138 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book investigates the relationship of secrecy as a social practice to contemporary media, news cultures and public relations.

    Drawing on Georg Simmel’s theorisation of how secrecy produces a ‘second world’ alongside the ‘obvious world’ and creates and reshapes social relations, Anne Cronin argues for close analysis of the PR industry as a powerful vector of secrecy and an examination of its relationship to news cultures. Using case studies and in-depth interviews, as well as recent research in media and cultural studies, sociology, journalism studies and communication studies, the book analyses how PR practices generate a second, shadow world of the media sphere which has a profound impact on the ‘obvious world’. It interrogates both the PR industry’s and news culture’s role in shaping social relations for a digital media landscape, and those initiatives promoting transparency of data and decision-making processes.

    An insightful, interdisciplinary approach to debates on media and power, this book will appeal to students of public relations, sociology, media studies, cultural studies and communication studies. It will also be of interest to scholars and practitioners working at the intersections of media, social relations and public trust.

    1. Introduction; 2. Framing Secrecy, Publicity and News Media Cultures; 3. PR Techniques of Secrecy and Publicity; 4. News Cultures, Journalism and the Secrecy-Publicity Dynamic; 5. Revelation and Secrecy in PR and News Media Cultures; 6. Theorising Secrecy and the Media Today; Index


    Anne M. Cronin is Professor of Cultural Sociology at Lancaster University, UK. Her previous books include Public Relations Capitalism: Promotional Culture, Publics and Commercial Democracy (2018); Advertising, Commercial Spaces and the Urban (2010); Advertising Myths: The Strange Half-Lives of Images and Commodities (2004); Advertising and Consumer Citizenship: Gender, Images and Rights (2000).

    “This book analyses recent developments in the evolution of news culture. It provides an insightful picture of the changing dynamics between PR and journalism, highlighting the challenges these developments pose to social justice and democracy. Underpinned by strong empirical research and theorising, this is brilliant and very important book!”
    Maureen McNeil, Professor Emerita, Department of Sociology, Lancaster University, UK