Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mass Communication

Document Type



A study of public information officers (PIOs) in three states and the journalists that cover state government finds five primary factors that shape the working relationships between both groups. Institutional pressures on both PIOs and journalists impact the ability of both parties to meet the needs of the other party on a daily basis. High levels of centralization in state government communication limit the ability of PIOs to meet the needs of journalists, fostering journalists’ antagonism and a more combative working relationship. The economic decline of journalism is creating a dichotomous situation where PIOs can help journalists manage increasing demands on shrinking deadlines, or they can take advantage of growing limitations on journalists and abuse the relationships. Growing use of social and digital media are providing opportunities to help journalists be more efficient in performing daily tasks, but some journalists perceive of PIOs’ use of these tools as a source of competition for public attention. Straightforward, ethical practices by both parties that are grounded in candor help build trust over time and strengthen working relationships. These findings provide the basis for a new model for state government media relations that helps PIOs and journalists negotiate these factors to meet their shared responsibilities in co-creating an enlightened citizenry.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Broussard, Jinx C.