Ten Shades of Truth: A study of Australian Journalists’ shift to Political PR

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    Abstract

    The use of manipulative overt and covert ‘spin’ tactics by parliamentary media advisers to embellish, obfuscate and evade has been well documented. However, there has been less attention paid to the way journalists adapt to ‘spin’ culture and interpret truth once they become parliamentary media advisers. Based on inductive analysis of in-depth semi-structured interviews with twenty-one Australian journalists who made the transition to parliamentary media advising, this paper offers a typology of ten subtle approaches to truth telling adopted by these journalists in their new role as political media advisers. The interview data revealed a range of pragmatic approaches including: ‘triage’, ‘putting the best foot forward’, ‘never tell a lie’, ‘playing a dead bat’, and ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’. Through the comparative insights of journalists who have worked as parliamentary media advisers, the practitioner reflections in this paper complicate the blunt conception of the mendacious ‘spin-doctor’ and point to the malleability of ‘truth’ in both communications roles
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)665-672
    Number of pages8
    JournalPublic Relations Review
    Volume42
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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