Perspectives of an underconsidered stakeholder group: Citizen journalists' views of public relations practitioners and their materials

Burton St.John, Old Dominion University
Kirsten Johnson, Elizabethtown College


Scholars have long studied the relationships between professional journalists and public relations practitioners. However, public relations literature (both scholarly and trade) has not sufficiently examined the nature of the relationships between citizen journalists and public relations practitioners. This study addresses that gap through surveying U.S. citizen journalists on their views of public relations professionals and their materials. Study findings point to ambivalence among citizen journalists: they are not sure of the value of public relations people or the usefulness of their material, but they voice a positive regard for public relations people the more they interact with them. These findings indicate that a more carefully considered outreach to citizen journalists can allow public relations practitioners to build better relationships with these non-traditional reporters and, therefore, enhance the opportunity for practitioners to be more effective conveying information within the online news ecology.