Thesis

An attitudinal study of White House correspondents, attitudes toward reporters who leave journalism for White House or other high government public relations jobs and then return to journalism

This study sought to discover what media correspondents think of their colleagues who leave the media for high White House or government public relations jobs and then return to their medium. It was exploratory research, and was significant because it has not been done before and could be useful as a guide to journalists who are contemplating this move. The subjects in this study were 103 White House correspondents. These are the correspondents who are called by the White House press office when the President has an important news announcement. They represented the major newspapers, magazines, wire and news services, radio and television networks. Study material consisted of a ten-item questionnaire with room for additional comments on each question. The most significant finding was that White House correspondents are very concerned with truth versus deception. They feel many public relations people do not tell the truth. For this reason, reporters tend to have some prejudice and a feeling of lesser respect for the public relations profession. Reporters felt objectivity and credibility are difficult to maintain for ex-reporters in public relations. The majority questioned thought most correspondents leave journalism for more money. These same correspondents said they would not willingly give up their positions for a White House or other high government public relations job.

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