Hoe journalisten omgaan met gemeentelijke persberichten | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 32, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1573-9775
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1236


In this study of the editorial interventions of local newspaper journalists reworking press releases of municipalities, we address three questions. First, we look at the content variables that affect the decision to use a release at all for a news report; this primarily concerns dimensions of the release’s news value. Second, we examine what transformations are applied to press release headings and leads. It is shown that they often undergo changes in perspective: whereas releases provide news from the municipality perspective, the report tries to look at the news event from the citizen’s point of view. In doing so, journalists try to increase the news value of the report. Third, we provide a sentence-bysentence analysis of the stylistic changes in the entire reports. Most editing operations enhance the readability of the release sentences and delete unnecessary details. Besides, the release copy is ‘neutralized’ in the sense that positive elements are toned down or deleted, negative elements are strengthened and evaluative statements are explicitly attributed to the municipality. These four editing orientations (news value, readability, conciseness, neutrality) yield important insights into the nature of the genre conflict between press releases and news reports. Besides the corpus analysis, this study uses excerpts from interviews with municipal press officers and local journalists to support the interpretation of the transformations in terms of the four orientations. These interviews also show that press officers are faced with the need to find a compromise between the wishes of their employers and the needs of the news media they provide with news material.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): editing; genre conflict; news reports; press releases; readibility
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