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Title: The impact of police public relations on regional print news-coverage of environmental protest
Author: Fern, Richard
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2018
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The thesis examines the impact of police public relations upon regional print coverage of environmental protests, focussing upon Fracking in three areas of England as case studies. It examines in depth the competition for positive coverage of those protests and the associated issues of communications, public relations and newspaper practice. In so doing it draws upon extant discourses of propaganda and legitimation – showing them to be insufficient in accounting for the news-coverage of these case studies. It goes on to look at press coverage of protest events as a field of conflict commensurate with the theories of Bourdieu and other associated academics. The thesis shows how such concepts as media logic, PR-logics and media rituals of objectivity are represented as indices of journalistic and public relations norms in the coverage. It is found that police media-relations is present in the coverage, but it is not dominant in all cases. It is argued that, while such PR practice yields advantages to police in the coverage, these advantages are not decisive in securing positive coverage. However, it is further argued public relations – as a wider form of practice including media relations – has produced significant impacts upon the public sphere and its discourses, and this is reflected in the press coverage. Moreover, police media-relations is found to be part of the representation of state policy-making, which is itself dominated by business or neo-liberal actors. As such police action and public relations are found to be central to a crisis of legitimacy generated by the interaction between political and business actors. Protest itself, and its policing - together with representations thereof - have become one ‘cockpit’ or crucible of that crisis.
Supervisor: Harcup, Tony Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available