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What if an investigative journalist calls? Media relations in social work
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology, Centre for Social Work - CESAR. Umeå universitet, Institutionen för socialt arbete.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4540-5373
(English)In: British Journal of Social Work, ISSN 0045-3102, E-ISSN 1468-263XArticle in journal (Refereed) In press
Abstract [en]

This article aims to investigate to what extent social service organizations (SSOs) conceive news management as a means to promote organizational self-interest as opposed to achieving democratic openness.

 

The study is based on a nationally representative telephone survey with persons responsible for communication or public relations in Swedish SSOs (n=91). Against the background of descriptive statistics, the aim is pursued by qualitative analysis of four open-ended questions.

 

The literature on the relations between social work and media has largely painted a negative picture. This study suggests a different image. The statistical analysis of survey data revealed that respondents were largely satisfied with their relations to journalists.

 

It is concluded that increasingly professionalized news management in SSOs has largely served the function of protecting organizational self-interest, at the expense of democratic openness. This is expressed in how respondents talked in terms of promoting the positive aspects of organizational performance, how they applied a marketing perspective and how the goal of addressing criticism was to deflect it rather than embrace the potential it had for improving performance. This approach is problematic and scholars and practitioners alike need to be more detached from the interests of the social work profession and its organizations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå.
Keywords [en]
public relations, news management, public relations, risk, child protection
Keywords [sv]
mediehantering, socialtjänst, risk
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Sociology; medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-348187OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-348187DiVA, id: diva2:1196761
Projects
Mellan organisationsintresse och demokratisk insyn - utmaningar inom mediehantering i socialtjänst, polis och skola
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and WelfareAvailable from: 2018-04-11 Created: 2018-04-11 Last updated: 2018-08-31

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