Media relations after the introduction of social media
In the light of the popularity of social media on one hand, and the contradictive relationships between journalists and public relations practitioners on the other hand, the thesis studies media relations after the introduction of social media. The study focuses on media relations in Estonian public relations scenery. The research answers to the questions: - What are media relations today? - What are the functions of social media and media relations in organizational communication? - Have media relations changed with the introduction of social media? - What is the future of media relations? The research was carried out by using qualitative methodology. Semi-structured interviews were used to conduct interviews with eight communication experts from Estonian organizations that use social media in their communication activities. Additionally, visual methods were used to analyze drawings about the future of media relations sketched by the respondents. The main findings of the research suggested that the meaning of ’media relations’ concept has remained the same. However, the functions of media relations and social media clearly differ from each other – while media relations are used by organizations to enhance reputation and to reach broad audiences, social media are used mainly as a channel for two-directional communication, discussion cultivation and monitoring. The findings indicated that the relationships with journalists will not disappear in the future, but rather exist as one of many different communication activities of public relations. The results predicted that in the future public relations will be more multifaceted and diverse due to different social media applications available for use. Also, the findings of this thesis revealed the role of opinion leaders or so-called super-users in social media environment. These faith-holders of the organization have a gatekeeping role in social media. In order to learn more about the importance and the functions of super-users in new media, further research on the topic is needed. ...
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