A profession in defense? An analysis of letters from editors-in-chief as a media accountability instrument



Veröffentlicht Mär 25, 2017
Harmen Groenhart Jo Bardoel


Letters from the editor-in-chief have both been celebrated and criticized as a potential media accountability instrument. In the light of these divergent qualifications we analyzed corporate accounts in letters from the editor-in-chief in four selected Dutch media, applying Coombs’ defensive-accommodative continuum (2007; 1998) for crisis communication to the news media sector. Content analysis shows that journalistic organizations facing criticism use seven different response strategies, ranging from defensive to accommodative: rejection, refutation, evasion, justification, mitigation, confession and alteration. Although occasionally editors-in-chief admit mistakes, practices and implementation of professional standards remain undisputed. This confirms the ambiguous role of letters from editors-in-chief as a platform for both self criticism and image management. 


Groenhart, Harmen, und Jo Bardoel. 2017. „A Profession in Defense? An Analysis of Letters from Editors-in-Chief As a Media Accountability Instrument“. MedienJournal 35 (3):6-17. https://doi.org/10.24989/medienjournal.v35i3.160.
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