Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

A Relational Approach to How Media Engage With Their Audiences in Social Media

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Abstract:  People are increasingly turning to social media for their news and for sharing and discussing news with others. Simultaneously, media organizations are becoming platform-dependent and posting short forms of their news on their social media sites in the hope that audiences will not only consume this news but also comment on and share it. This article joins other media and journalism studies exploring this phenomenon through a relational approach to media audiences to better understand how media organizations, particularly newspapers, are cultivating relationships with audiences via social media. Drawing on public relations theory about organization–public relationships, the article examines how news organizations nurture relationships with audiences via social media, such as through engagement and dialogic communication strategies. This article empirically examines organization–public relationships strategies (disclosure, access, information dissemination, and engagement) of nine newspapers with the largest reach in Australia, the US, and the UK. A content analysis is conducted of these newspapers’ posts (total 1807) published in March 2021 on their Twitter and Facebook sites to identify and examine these strategies. Findings show that their social media accounts are predominantly used for news dissemination rather than audience engagement. The implications are that although media professionals are frequently distributing news content among their audiences via their social media sites, they are not adequately engaging with them.

Keywords:  audiences; engagement; media organizations; news dissemination; organization–public relationship strategies; relational approach; social media



© Mark Badham, Markus Mykkänen. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.