Managing the Media: The Financial Press Plays a Crucial Role in Shaping Business Ideas. If Corporate Leaders Wish to Influence Public Opinion, They Need to Learn the Art of Media Management

By Tienari, Janne; Kuronen, Marja-Liisa | European Business Forum, Summer 2006 | Go to article overview

Managing the Media: The Financial Press Plays a Crucial Role in Shaping Business Ideas. If Corporate Leaders Wish to Influence Public Opinion, They Need to Learn the Art of Media Management


Tienari, Janne, Kuronen, Marja-Liisa, European Business Forum


The media plays an important role in shaping ideas and promoting particular versions of social reality. Journalists not only report on business phenomena, but they are also important actors in the legitimation or de-legitimation of management ideas, convincing and persuading readers to share their interpretations and conclusions. Journalists construct their texts in particular ways, through rhetorical strategies and techniques. Business leaders should thereby attempt to understand the textual strategies and rhetorical constructions through which journalists convey particular messages to their readers.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Journalists work under continuous pressure for space and time, where choices have to be made. Limited space in media outlets means that individual texts have to be compressed. Time pressures, in turn, mean that media texts have to be produced rapidly. As the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1998) argues, journalists think in cliches. They think in "commonplaces" that are received generally. In other words, journalists write what they think their audience expects them to write. In this way, journalists often reconstruct commonly held views rather than act as opinion leaders on given phenomena. On the other hand, journalists are, at least occasionally, able to take part in constructing social reality in that they influence the interpretations of their audience. They do so by framing ideas, issues and events in persuasive new ways. This is not always intentional. The consequences of media coverage are often unintended.

We combined critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, 1997), systemic functional text analysis (Halliday, 1994; Martin, 2000) and the analysis of rhetorical structures (Mann and Thompson, 1988), in order to study the rhetorical practices of journalists. We studied in-depth a feature article on a recent cross-border merger in financial services. We chose this particular article as a typical example of media coverage of contemporary international industrial restructuring. This choice allowed us to illustrate the processes through which journalists first construct images of a specific business case (here, a cross-border merger) and second, put forward general claims around the management idea at hand (international industrial restructuring).

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Our focus is on international industrial restructuring as a timely but contested management idea, which needs to gain legitimacy within the media in order to become accepted. We identify five particularly salient rhetorical constructions in the studied article: rationalising, portraying future challenges, confrontation, personification and constructing inevitability. We elaborate on these findings by reflecting on earlier research. Our analysis is not - and it can never be - exhaustive.

Rationalising the discourse

Journalists typically buy into what we call "rationalistic discourse" (Vaara and Tienari, 2002). This means that journalists often base their texts on "facts", offered to them preferably in the form of numbers and figures. Business journalists are socialised into appreciating rationality and efficiency in companies' actions (Hellgren et al, 2002).

What is considered rational, however, is likely to shift over time. This is exemplified by different waves of mergers and acquisitions (M&As). In the sixties and seventies, M&As were typically justified by a need for corporations to diversify their business, while today's justifications are based on the need for focus (Jansen, 2002). What becomes taken as legitimate and natural is historically specific. It is interesting that this phenomenon usually passes unnoticed in individual media texts.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Overall, it is tempting to argue that journalists search for clarity, and therefore make attempts to judge the rationality of the ideas, events and issues they cover. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Managing the Media: The Financial Press Plays a Crucial Role in Shaping Business Ideas. If Corporate Leaders Wish to Influence Public Opinion, They Need to Learn the Art of Media Management
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.