How does bending the genre of press release with promotional elements correlate to acquired media coverage – Case: PLCs in Nasdaq Helsinki’s Large Cap segment and Finnish online media

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Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
School of Business | Master's thesis
Date
2020
Major/Subject
Mcode
Degree programme
Corporate Communication
Language
en
Pages
59 + 15
Series
Abstract
This study investigates the genre of press release and its possible bending along the informative-promotional continuum. Press release is a rarity among genres as it is an antecedent of a genre chain where it—if successful in acquiring media coverage—precedes another genre: news report. Traditionally, press releases have been advised to be written without promotional language as they are intended to become news reports which should be informative above all else, but the findings of this master’s thesis suggest this might not be the case anymore. This master’s thesis undertook a large-scale corpus-based statistical analysis of lexico-grammatical features of 125 press releases from 32 companies in Nasdaq Helsinki’s Large Cap segment—a dataset which altogether comprised of 31,903 words. The data was combined with the 231 news articles in 40 online media sites created based on the press releases, and linear regression analysis with several contra-variables was conducted. As a result, this study found a positive correlation of small effect size with the promotionality of a press release about positive or neutral development and its acquired media coverage: r(115) = .21, p = .026. This outcome suggests genre bending for the genre of press release from a specifically in-formative genre into a sort of hybrid between informative and promotional. This change seems to have happened both in the eyes of journalists and press release writers: Journalists aren’t flagging press releases with promotional elements as flackery and choosing not to publish them because of it. Press release writers, on the other hand, are using positive characterizations in press releases and, therefore, distancing the journalistic style of the press release from that traditionally required by the preformulation directive. To all appearances, press release has experienced a genre bending while its promotionality has become journalistically approved.
Description
Thesis advisor
Eräranta, Kirsi
Keywords
press release, genre, genre theory, genre bending, genre mixing, genre embedding, media coverage, promotional language
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