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Images of "Hong Bo (public relations)" and PR in Korean newspapers.

Jongmin Park (*)

Abstract

This study analyzed the meaning of Hong Bo and PR as the terms appeared in three main Korean newspapers, on the basis of Spicer's seven themes. A total of 1548 mentions of the term Hong Bo and PR were analyzed as follows: First, Korean newspapers, like newspapers in the United States, tend to view Hong Bo and PR as publicity or merely PR. Thus, overall Korean newspaper reporters have a negative attitude toward the meanings of Hong Bo and PR and the reporters' viewpoint was supported by this study. Second, the uses of PR and Hong Bo were categorized as challenge, distraction, disaster, hype and merely PR. While Hong Bo was categorized more of terms as challenge, distraction and disaster than PR was, PR was categorized more of terms as hype and merely PR than Hong Bo was. This also indicates that while the meanings of Hong Bo were more negative or positive than those of PR, the meanings of PR have been used as more neutral than those of Hong Bo. The study suggests that Korean public relations practitioners and relatives have to try to lead the public to a positive attitude toward the term Hong Bo, which has been used more frequently than the term PR. [C] 2001 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

The degradation of "public relations" as the domain's guiding term has been generally accepted for many years now. Olasky (1) has indicated that public relations practitioners have become associated with a litany of defamatory words such as "hucksters," "tools of the top brass," "parrots," "low-life liars" and "evasive, impotent, egomaniacal, and lying." Public relations educator William Ehling insisted that public relations practitioners "are handicapped rather than helped by the label 'public relations'." (2) Adams (3) reports that in 1992 only about 75 of the Fortune 500 companies were using some form of the phrase "public relations" and in 1997 only six of the top 50 public relations firms used the term in their title.

At his recent induction into the Arthur W. Page Society's Hall of Fame, Daniel J. Edlman (4) said that "our mission is to bring honor and respect to the term 'public relations' rather than discarding it." Despite Edelman's pleadings, the researchers on terminology in public relations indicated that public relations practitioners are adopting a plethora of new tides (e.g., corporate communications, corporate affairs, and investor relations) in an effort to distance themselves from the perceived negative connotations surrounding the term public relations.

Longitudinal studies reveal that newspaper reporters and editors have steadily held negative biases in relation to public relations and public relations practitioners. (5) Spicer (6) analyzed the terms "public relations" and "PR," revealing seven different connotative themes or definitions: distractions, disaster, challenge, hype, merely public relations, war, and schmooze. In over 80% of the cases, the journalists used the terms in a negatively embedded context.

Like American journalists, Korean reporters and editors have held similar negative attitudes toward the public relations fields. The misunderstanding and discord between public relations practitioners and journalists in Korea permeates scholarly and professional literature. (7) Each believes that the other exercises inordinate power over the news and subscribes to negative perceptions and unethical values in relation to news. Journalists are reluctant to admit informal relations, even association, with public relations practitioners. Shin (8) insisted that public relations practitioners' need to better understand journalists since enhanced understanding will help practitioners breach the gap between effective strategy and professional ethics, as well as play a social role as gatekeeper.

Korean gives the term Hong Bo the same meaning public relations has in English, but Korean also uses the term "PR" in the same way it is used in English. The purpose of this study is to research the variety of connotative definitions of "Hong Bo (public relations in Korean)" and PR used in the press. Thus, this study examines how journalists' antagonistic attitudes toward the public relations field influence Korean newspaper journalists' connotative uses of the term "Hong Bo" and "PR" in their stories.

1.2. Journalists' gatekeeping of the term "public relations"

Reporters can "tell it like it is" within 60 seconds, rapidly sorting key events from surrounding trivia, by drawing on reservoirs of familiar stories that may or may not be appropriate. (9)

For many years, Kurt Lewin's concept of the "gatekeeper" was the organizing standard for studies on news selection. Lewin believed that news flows along a channel containing several passages, guided by each gatekeeper who makes a decision as to whether or not an item is newsworthy and should proceed through the channel. (10)

Information processing research indicates that people have cognitive schema that construct their thinking, linking substantive beliefs, attitudes, and values. (11) For journalists, these frames determine the selection, interpretation, and evaluation of new information by slotting the new into accustomed categories.

Several researchers who demonstrated that the configuration of the dominant news frame is derived from the journalists' gatekeeping process have studied editors or reporters' individual impact on their selections. The theory of gatekeeping suggests that not only do journalists work with news frames to simplify, prioritize and structure the narrative flow of events, but as individual gatekeepers they also control the gravity and flow of news items.

Hackett (12) suggested that the traditional definition of objectivity (i.e., fairness and balance) is flawed in that it does adequately explicate the often subtle yet significant influences on reportorial bias. He insisted that the various types of systematic orientations and relationships that unavoidably structure news accounts influence the reporter's interpretation of events and his or her eventual presentation of that interpretation as a written news story. (13)

News editors or reporters' decisions are initiated by the presumptions they bring to their reports even prior to the information-gathering stage. Stocking and LaMarca (14), for instance, studied how journalists use assumptions in framing their stories. They found that all descriptive reports included assumptions or hypotheses about "the people, organizations, events, and phenomena reporters intended to cover." (15)

Based on the various gatekeeping studies, we can assume reasonably that a reporter's assumptions about public relations may well influence his or her ability to interact objectively with public relations practitioners.

1.3. Images of public relations in the print media

Studies on the attitudes of journalists toward public relations and public relations practitioners reveal an ongoing antagonistic inclination between journalists and public relations practitioners. (16) Clearly, Pincus et al., (17) insisted that the negative attitudes journalists hold toward public relations have abated little, if at all, over the past 20 years. Pincus and his colleagues found that 73% of California editors surveyed were either neutral toward or disagreed with the statement that "PR is equal in status to journalism." Seventy-four percentage of daily editors disagreed with the statement that "public relations is a profession equal in status to journalism." (18) When surveyed to rank order the status of 16 professional occupations, the same editors catalogued public relations practitioners next to the bottom, between lawyers, in the fourteenth position and politicians at sixteenth. (19)

Ryan and Martinson (20) found that 75% of public relations practitioners felt that the journalists' hostility is slightly explained because journalists judge their job as being more significant to the public than the work executed by public relations practitioners. A study by Belz, Talbott, and Starck (21) found that public relations practitioners were more likely to perceive both roles positively, whereas journalists evaluated their own role positively and the role of public relations practitioners negatively.

Using the co-orientation theory, Shin (22) surveyed public relations practitioners and journalists in Korea regarding their perceptions of the influence of informal relations on the news and their perceptions and cross-perceptions of their own and each other's ethical values in regard to informal relations. This study found that practitioners and journalists disagree regarding the influence of informal relations on the news; practitioners perceive a greater influence of informal relations on news coverage than journalists, who are reluctant to admit the power that informal relations have to restrict the flow of information and distort the news. These findings reinforce the previous research that the two groups misperceive each other and journalists are hesitant toward informal relations with public relations practitioners.

Ryan and Martinson (23) concluded that this animosity is "strongly embedded in journalistic culture, and that the antagonism influences the mass communication process." Spicer (24) suggested that research is needed to examine how the existing antagonism, as one of the journalistic culture, actually "influences the mass communication process," or the writing of the news. In particular, there is a necessity to research further how the existing negative attitudes may inordinately affect journalistic behavior. He insisted that "an essential question, then, is one related to journalistic objectivity regarding the use of public relations or PR."

1.4. Public relations in the Korean market

When companies in foreign markets hire public relations agencies, the different levels and types of public relations expertise in agencies should be considered. One report (25) suggested that the localization and adaptation of established public relations techniques to the local market are essential for success because the public relations industry, like advertising, is deeply involved with matters of indigenous culture.

According to Wouters, (26) American agencies in foreign markets offer worldwide connections and creativity, but they are of less value in supplying influential connections or negotiating for space in mass media. In Japan, for example, long-established, massive public relations agencies provide better service by exerting their influential control with the Japanese mass media. The local agencies in Japan are excellent at carrying out programs but tend to be weak on creative services such as "creative planning, selling ideas, inclusive programs for market entry, and goal setting," while American public relations agencies are counted on for problem solving and advice with creative expertise. (27)

Grunig (28) also suggested that the field of public relations should carefully examine its assumptions to understand where the field currently is, and more importantly, where the field is going from a global perspective. To learn more about the state of public relations, it is important not only to explore the meanings of public relations in the United States, but also to examine the social connotations of the field in other nations. One way to understand the similarities and differences in international practices is to compare the assumptions underlying each nation's practice. (29) Through such analysis, we can learn whether many of the assumptions that guide Western theories and practice are applicable in other regions of the world.

Although the skills and techniques employed in U.S. public relations have grown increasingly sophisticated in the past few decades, the practice of public relations in Korea is still in the formative stage. Even so, the public relations market in Korea had an estimated volume of 14 million U.S. dollars in 1993, and the public relations industry has been growing at about 30 to 40% annually since the beginning of the 1990s. (30) Market Reports insisted that foreign public relations firms have great opportunities in the Korean market, considering the market potential and increasing demand for quality public relations activities.

As Botan (31) points out, public relations is characterized in different nations by "different mixtures of national development, primary client, legal/political, and historical contexts." The principles and practice of public relations in Korea, quite naturally, differs from public relations in the context of other national cultures. The Japanese public relations market tends to consider public relations "self-promotion," (32) whereas Korean business people are likely to believe that "public relations has been functioning as a publicity/public information model of public relations or as a part of advertising and marketing." (33) In some circles, "PR" or "Hong Bo " in Korean has been understood merely as publicity. (34) Thus, Korean public relations organizations have focused habitually on defensively influencing the media, such as attempting to prevent society from learning information about a client that the client does not want known.

Korea used the personal influence model to conduct most of its public relations activities. (35) Public relations practitioners make personal influence with these vital individuals by doing favors for them so they can solicit favors in return when the organizations need help. Government regulators frequently bend the rules to help their favorite organizations. Also, the Chaebol system consisting of small group of business conglomerates in the Korean economy emphasizes the efficacy of personal influence as a key public relations tool in Korea. Korean public relations practitioners regularly send gifts and Ddukgab (money for buying Korean cakes) to important government officials and members of the media. (36)

According to advertising yearbook, (37) more than 95% of operational lines in Korean public relations agencies consist of media relations, including collection and distribution of news material, and news monitoring. They have not actively worked to promote cooperation between a client and its publics. (38) Recently, the Korean Businessman's Association published "Guidelines for public relations practitioners: How can businessman handle mass media?" to guide practitioners' toward better performance in public relations. (39) Notably, the guidelines did not focus on practitioners' professional practices but merely upon techniques for media relations, if not press agentry.

Even though public relations agencies in Korea typically offer expertise in dealing with the media, they have recently started expanding their business to take part in public relations for the government and to service crisis management. Kim and Hon (40) found that Korean practitioners of high level, professionally oriented public relations are more satisfied with their jobs than practitioners of low level, professionally oriented public relations. Even if Korean public relations practitioners are still using the one-way models of press agentry and public information, they aspire to practice two-way, or professional, public relations models.

1.5. Spicer's seven meanings of public relations or PR in print media

Spicer (41) formulated seven categories by which the terms public relations and PR are given subjective definitions in the print media: distraction, disaster, challenge, hype, merely public relations, war, and schmooze (See Table 1).

1.5.1. Public relations as distraction

Items categorized according to this theme are often used to indicate that "the reporter perceives that someone in public relations is trying to obfuscate an issue/event or deflect the reporter's interest in the issue." (42) In this theme, public relations and PR are used mainly in a manner to make right or fix previous actions of a dubious or detrimental nature- public relations as a "quick fix." Public relations as distraction is understood as an approach by which the organization can use a current tendency or fad to hide former difficulties or misconduct.

1.5.2. Public relations as disaster

The items categorized within this theme represent "public relations as a decision that was made (or almost made) or an action taken (or almost taken) that is perceived to be unwise, foolish, or a mistake." (43) The terms public relations and PR are related to this ill-judged decision in that the mistake is made public and viewed as an insuperable blunder that opens that organization to public derision.

1.5.3. Public relations as challenge

The meanings used in this category suggest "public relations as an ongoing effort on the part of an organization or person to link substantive actions with increased public awareness through communication activities." (44) Only public relations as challenge includes a subjectively neutral or positive image of public relations. The terms found in examples categorized as challenge referred to a "genuine" public relations difficulty as opposed to a one-time disaster or distraction. Spicer commented that

By genuine I mean that the reporter writes as if the public relations person or organization under scrutiny is not trying to distract, deflect, or avoid an issue or event but is honestly attempting to deal with whatever public relations aspects related to the event may arise. (45)

1.5.4. Public relations as hype

The terms public relations and PR as hype are similar in that they are used "either to suggest positive but relatively meaningless action on the part of a person or organization or to create an artificial excitement." (46) Those attributes of public relations as hype offer only the most limited vision of public relations as publicity, supporting Bishop's previous findings. (47) Public relations is perceived as an inevitable by-product of particular professions or undertakings, and the public admits these by-products in a relatively good-natured way.

1.5.5. Merely public relations

"Merely public relations" is a term used to suggest that "some action is 'just' or 'only' public relations, as opposed to any real idea or program." (48) "Just" PR or "only" public relations indicates that public relations means are often utilized in place of substance or as a substitute for real activity. These items are also closely related to the items categorized as distraction. The key factor of this category is the perceived separation of public relations actions from any substantive program. Spicer suggested that

Indeed, in many cases, public relations is presented by the journalist to be an activity used in place of substance. The items grouped within this category often imply that the distinction between image and reality is a created or manipulated one. That is, public relations can be used to manufacture a new image or burnish a tarnished image totally apart from the organization acting in any way to resolve the reasons for the perceived image building. (49)

1.5.6. Public relations as war

Public relations as war is presented as "an ongoing battle or fight to gain positive public opinion or perception." (50) Terms in this type are identified by the perception that public support will combine, thereby allowing one side to claim victory over the other side. Another feature of items in this category is that the other side is vanquished or completely defeated; there is no middle ground obtainable for win-win outcomes. In examples of this type, "the battle is waged through the media but reveal no perception of public relations as communication directed to facilitate or encourage dialogue between competing parties." (51) Public relations is perceived as a method of bludgeoning the opponent into surrender through mediated communication.

The items found in this category, with neither positive or negative meaning, also offer only a limited understanding of the public relations process. As hype is confined to publicity, public relations as war is limited to media relations.

1.5.7. Public relations as schmooze

The characteristics associated with public relations as schmooze represent public relations as a personality characteristic, embodied within the personality of an individual. The terms public relations and PR embedded in this theme are "ones familiar to the traditional stereotype of the potentially sleazy public relations person as a word-abusing con artist." (52) These items, although just a few, depict "a still prevalent stereotype of the glad-handing, smooth-talking, personally charming front man or woman." (53)

1.6. Spicer's seven meanings and Grunig and Hunt's four models of public relations

Another approach to explaining the results of thematic study is to compare Grunig and Hunt's (54) dimensions of four models. Spicer suggested that the themes of distraction, merely public relations, hype, and scbmooze are the equivalent of the press agentry/publicity model. The items in these four categories are utilized by reporters "to indicate a use of public relations for propaganda purposes often at the expense of the truth." (55) Those items associated with the theme of public relations as war are used in a way consistent with Grunig and Hunt's two-way asymmetric model in that "each 'side' in the public relations war is trying to persuade but in a very imbalanced format." (56) Only public relations as challenge or war in the thematic category seems to resemble closely Grunig and Hunt's two-way symmetric model indicating an effort at some kind of public discussion toward a reciprocally satisfying solution (See Table 2).

2. Method

To analyze how the term Hong Bo and PR were defined in the articles in the three main Korean newspapers (Chosunilbo, Dongailbo, and Joonangilbo), content analysis was used. Spicer' s seven themes were adopted into this study to analyze the meanings of Hong Bo and PR.

To ensure the validity of this study, a native-Korean speaker translated Spicer' s seven meanings into Korean. The translated meanings were translated back into English by a second Korean speaker, working independently, who has lived in the United States. The back-translation was accomplished without reference to the original English language translation. The two English-language versions (the original and the translation) were compared. The two versions were essentially the same.

Spicer used an inductive thematic analysis to develop seven categories to emerge from the data. In a similar manner, a pretest was done to analyze fifty mentions of the term Hong Bo and PR in the three newspapers, with results similar to Spicer's seven meanings. While Spicer analyzed the term PR and public relations, Hong Bo (Public Relations in Korean) and PR were examined in this study. In Korean, Hong Bo has the same meaning as PR. While public relations and PR have been used as the almost same meanings in the United States, Hong bo and PR have been used as the equivalent meanings in Korea. This study analyzed Hong Bo and PR.

The three assumptions used are as follows: First, reporters have a negative attitude about the public relations field. Second, reporters have an opinion before writing up an article. And, third, language determines the direction and tone of any story that reporters write. Research questions for this study are as follows:

RQ 1. How are the terms Hong Bo and PR used in the three main Korean newspapers (Chosunilbo, Dongailbo, and Joongangilbo) according to Spicer's seven meanings of PR?

RQ 2. Are the terms Hong Bo and PR used differently in the three main Korean newspapers (Chosunilbo, Dongailbo, and Joongangilbo) according the source (government and corporate) of the terms?

RQ 3. Are the terms Hong Bo and PR used differently in the three main Korean newspapers (Chosunilbo, Dongailbo, and Joongangilbo) according to the placement (reporter's words, a quote used by the reporter, headline) of the article in the newspapers ?

RQ 4. Are the terms Hong Bo and PR used differently in three main Korean newspapers (Chosunilbo, Dongailbo, and Joongangilbo) according to the content categories (politics, society, international, regional, information & communication, sports, culture and economics) ?

RQ 5. Are the terms Hong Bo and PR used differently in three main Korean newspapers (Chosunilbo, Dongailbo, and Joongangilbo) according to the type (news story, opinion, editorial, interview, and people) of the article?

The use of the terms Hong Bo and PR in articles in the three main Korean newspapers (Chosunilbo, Dongailbo, and Joonangilbo), which have the largest circulations in Korea, from 1994 to 1999 was analyzed. The Korean Press Foundation Database (The Korean Integrated News Database System, Http://www.kinds.or.kr) was used to select the samples in the newspapers. 1994 was the most appropriate year to search for articles available on the Internet because the database was started in1990 and the database from 1990 to 1993 did not have a sufficient amount of data. Because this study was done in May, 2000, 1999 was selected in order to allow for the longest time span possible.

A large of percentage of articles use the term Hong Bo. At least four mentions of the term appeared in each newspaper every day. Therefore, a standard was needed to analyze the articles. Articles appearing in the newspaper on the 15th day of each month were used in this study. If the term Hong Bo did not appear in the newspaper on a selected day, the following day was used as a sample. A total of 865 articles were located.

The number of times the term PR was used was completely different from the number of times the term Hong Bo was used. Compared to the term Hong Bo, PR was not used much by Korean newspapers. This result shows that even though Koreans use Hong Bo and PR as synonyms, they mainly use the term Hong Bo. A total of 683 articles in which the term PR appeared were found in the database from 1994 to 1999 and were analyzed for this study.

The articles selected for the sample were content-analyzed according to the following categories:

1. Content: politics, society, international, regional, information and communication, sports, culture and economics

2. Type: news story, opinion, editorial, interview, and people

3. The meaning of Hong Bo: Public Relations as Distraction, Public Relations as Disaster, Public Relations as Challenge, Public Relations as Hype, Merely Public Relations, Public Relations as War, Public Relations as Schmooze

4. The placement: reporter's words, a quote used by the reporter, headline

5. The source: government, corporate

If coders found Hong Bo and PR used more than once in an article, the meaning that was most emphasized from Spicer' s seven meanings was chosen. Also, Hong Bo and PR did not appear at the same time in an article. A check for intercoder reliability was carried out by having three coders determine Spicer's seven meanings. Intercoder reliability was 0.81 for Hong Bo and 0.83 for PR.

3. Results

A total of 1,548 (Hongbo 865, PR 683) examples were analyzed. Three-hundred-ninety-five (25.5%) mentions of the term Hong Bo and PR were analyzed from the society section; 370 (23.9%) were from culture; 302 (19.5%) were from economics; 199 (12.9%) were from the politics section, and 111(7.2%) were from the international section. In addition, 64 (4.1%) were from information and communication; 55 (3.6%) were from sports and 52 (3.4%) were from the regional section.

Mentions of the term Hong Bo and PR categorized by types of reporting among the total sample yielded the following results: 1,283 (82.9%) were from news stories; 83 (5.4%) were from 'people'; 73 (4.7%) were from opinions; 57 (3.7%) were from editorials and 52 (3.4%) were from interviews. In terms of the placement of the examples, 1,213 (78.4%) were from reporters' words; 207 (13.4%) were from quotes used by reporters; and 128 (8.3%) appeared in a headline.

Categorized by newspaper, 668 (43%) were from Chosunilbo; 362 (23.3%) were from Dongailbo; and 519 (33.4%) appeared in Joongangilbo. As shown in Table 3 the term Hong Bo appeared at an even rate for each year in the sample. When compared to the years 1996 to 1999, the term PR appeared a remarkably small number of times in 1994 and 1995. This indicates that the Korean Press Foundation Database (The Korean Integrated News Database System) did not have an adequate collection of data prior to 1995.

RQ 1. How are the terms Hong Bo and PR used in the three main Korean newspapers (Chosunilbo, Dongailbo, and Joongangilbo) according to Spicer's seven meanings of PR?

Five-hundred-eighty-six (37.9%) of the items were categorized as hype; 500 (32.3%) were categorized as merely PR; 149 (9.6%) were found in examples categorized as challenge and 111 (7.2%) were categorized as distraction. In addition, 91(5.9%) were categorized as schmooze; 62 (4.0%) were categorized as disaster; and 49 (3.2%) were categorized as war (see Table 4).

When Bishop analyzed three American newspapers, he found that public relations is seen as publicity by reporters. In Korean newspapers also, reporters equate Hong Bo and PR with publicity, that is, PR as hype, was dominant in this study. Next in dominance was merely PR, indicating that some action is just or only public relations, as opposed to any real idea or program. This finding implies that Hong Bo and PR activities have a negative meaning, separated from actual and true behavior.

There is a statistically significant difference in the ways the term Hong Bo and PR are defined in the three main Korean newspapers ([chi square] =205.8, df.=6, p < .05). "PR as Challenge" (13.2%); "PR as Distraction" (12%); "PR as Disaster" (6.8%). More mentions of the term Hong Bo in these categories appeared than the term PR. However, "PR as Hype" (47.7%) and "Merely PR" (38.5%) were more prevalent in the term PR than in the term Hong Bo (see Table 5).

Table 6 was made by recategorizing Spicer's seven themes into three meanings or connotative values (positive, neutral, negative). While the meanings of Hong Bo were both more negative (46.2%) and positive (13.2%) than those of PR. PR(54.9%) was used as a neutral term more often than Hong Bo ([chi square] =46, df.=2, p < .05).

Based on Table 2, the next table (Table 7) was constructed by combining Spicer's seven themes and Grunig & Hunt's four models. Overall, press agentry/publicity was dominant among the four models. Despite this fact, in the use of the term Hong Bo the two-way symmetrical and asymmetric models appeared more often than in the use of the term PR, although it's not clear why. Because this study was not intended to analyze the use of PR with Grunig and Hunt's four models, interpretative error might occur in recategorizing Spicer's seven meanings into the four models.

RQ 2. Are the terms Hong Bo and PR used differently in the three main Korean newspapers (Chosunilbo, Dongailbo, and Joongangilbo) according the source (government and corporate) of the terms?

Overall, there is a statistically significant difference in Hong Bo meanings and PR meanings as defined in three main Korean newspapers in government and corporate uses ([chi square] = 168.7, df.= 1, p < .05). While the meanings of Hong Bo (29.9%), when attributed to a government source, were more frequent than those of PR (4.1%), the meanings of PR (95.9%) were mainly used in reference to a corporate source (see Table 8).

RQ 3, 4. Are the terms Hong Bo and PR used differently in the three main Korean newspapers (Chosunilbo, Dongailbo, and Joongangilbo) according to the placement and the content categories of the article in the newspapers? (reporter's words, a quote used by the reporter, headline) of the article in the newspapers?

There is a statistically significant difference based on placement (reporter's words, a quote used by the reporter, headline) between Hong Bo and PR ([chi square] = 13.7, df.=2, p < .05). Thus, while the term Hong Bo was appeared in quotes used by reporters (16.1%) more often than the term PR, PR appeared in headlines (9.5%) more than the term Hong Bo (see Table 9). Also, there is a statistically significant difference based on content categories (politics, society, international, regional, information & communication, sports, culture and economics) between Hong Bo and PR ([chi square] = 316, df.=7, p < .05). While the term Hong Bo was appeared in the society section (33.4%), the politics section (19.4%), and the international section (9.1%) more often than the term PR, the term PR appeared in the culture section (38.6%) and the economics section (28.5%) more often than the term Hong Bo (see Table 10).

RQ 5. Are the terms Hong Bo and PR used differently in three main Korean newspapers (Chosunilbo, Dongailbo, and Joongangilbo) according to the type (news story, opinion, editorial, interview, and people) of the article?

There is a statistically significant difference based on type (news story, opinion, editorial, interview, and people) between Hong Bo and PR ([chi square] =38.3, df.=4, p < .05). Thus, while the term Hong Bc was appeared in editorials (5.2%) and interviews (4.0%) more often than the term PR, PR occurred in people (8.5%) more often than the term Hong Bo (see Table 11).

PR was used as a means to hype action on the part of a person or organization. Public relations as schmooze reflects an effort to use public relations as a personality characteristic, embodied within the personality of an individual. That the term PR was used more often in the people section than Hong Bo is consistent with the previous results, in that "PR as Hype" (47.7%) and "PR as Schmooze" (6.4%) were more prevalent when the term PR was used than when the term Hong Bo was.

4. Discussion

This study analyzed the meaning of Hong Bo and PR as the terms appeared in three main Korean newspapers, on the basis of Spicer's seven themes, and compared the use of Hong Bo and PR by government and corporate representatives. In addition, the meanings of Hong Bo and PR, in accordance with the placement, the type and the content categories of the articles, were examined.

A total of 1,548 mentions of the term Hong Bo and PR were analyzed as follows: 588 (38%) of the items were categorized according to PR as hype; 493 (31.8%) were categorized under merely PR. Thus, Korean newspapers tend to view Hong Bo and PR as publicity elicited from PR as hype. This trend is the same as in the United States.

These results can be summarized as follows: First, Korean newspapers, like newspapers in the United States, tend to view Hong Bo and PR as publicity or merely PR. Park (57) suggested that this trend showed no difference between the early 90's and the late 90's. Thus, overall Korean newspaper reporters have a negative attitude toward the meanings of Hong bo and PR and the reporters' viewpoint was supported by this study. Although a large percentage of the effort put forth by Korean public relations agencies consists of media relations, including collection and distribution of news material, and news monitoring, public relations practitioners failed to develop a positive reputation among journalists.

The recent study (58) found that practitioners and journalists disagree regarding the influence of informal relations on the news; practitioners perceive a greater influence of informal relations on news coverage than journalists, who are reluctant to admit the power that informal relations have to restrict the flow of information and distort the news. Shin (59) insisted that public relations practitioners' need to better understand journalists since enhanced understanding will help practitioners breach the gap between effective strategy and professional ethics, as well as play a social role as gatekeeper.

The result of this study also means that Korean public relations practitioners need to change their basic strategies from the press agentry/publicity model, which only focuses on media relations, to two-way models. Kim and Hon (60) found that even if Korean public relations practitioners are still using the one-way models of press agentry and public information, they aspire to practice two-way, or professional, public relations models.

In fact, even though public relations agencies in Korea typically offer expertise in dealing with the media, they have recently started expanding their business to take part in public relations for the government and to service crisis management. Also, they have actively worked to promote cooperation between a client and its public.

In Korea, the importance of public relations has grown since l99O. Since 1996, the public relations activities in Korea have grown beyond publicity and merely PR by using corporate magazines, brochures, PR events, and movies. Public relations cover corporate advertising, research, lobbying and donations, and is becoming an important measure of Integrated Marketing Communication. In near future, it is expected that the changed role of public relations can have a positive influence on the meaning of the term Hong Bo and PR in Korea.

Second, there is a significant meaningful difference between the term Hong Bo and PR as they are defined in Korean newspapers. While the term Hong Bo was used more often in the categories, PR as challenge, distraction and disaster than the term PR, the term PR was used more often in the categories, PR as hype and merely PR than the term Hong Bo. This also indicates that while the meanings of Hong Bo were both more negative and positive than those of PR, the meanings of PR have been used as a more neutral term than those of Hong Bo.

While the term of Hong Bo in reference to government sources was more frequent than those of PR, the term of PR was mainly used in reference to corporate sources. Also, the term Hong Bo appeared in quotes used by the reporter more often than the term PR and PR appeared in headlines more often than the term Hong Bo. Whereas the term Hong Bo appeared in the society, politics, and international sections more often than the term PR, the term PR occurred in the culture and economics sections more often than the term Hong Bo.

Even if Koreans believe that they have defined the two terms, Hong Bo and PR, in the same way, it was found that they have used the two terms in different ways. While this may not be a problem, it is problematic that this was not known until now. After an exact understanding of the cultural, social, and political connotations of the two terms, Koreans have to use the two terms in their social language system. Thus, from now on, it will be necessary to foment an extended discussion of these terms to develop a social consensus. In addition, Korean public relations practitioners and relatives have to try to lead the public to a positive attitude toward the term Hong Bo, which has been used more frequently than the term PR.

Since the term Hong Bo has been used extensively in Korea government public relations and Hong Bo has more negative connotations, the government may have a more negative public image as a result. This implies that the Korean government has used one-way communication against the people. This suggests that the Korean government has to be more open when releasing information to the people.

Jongmin Park is an assistant professor in the Public Relations Area of the Department of Communication at Pusan National University, Pusan, Korea and an associate editor of Sungkok Journalism Review.

(*.) Tel.: +011-82-51-510-2149; fax: +011-82-51-512-0945.

E-mail address: jongmin2000@hotmail.com (J. Park).

Top Faculty Research Paper of Public Relations Division at the Annual Conference of Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Washington, DC, USA, August 2001.

0363-8111/01/$ -- see front matter [C] 2001 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.

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References

(1.) M. N. Olasky, "The Aborted Debate Within Public Relations: An Approach Through Kuhn's Paradigm," Paper presented to the Qualitative Studies Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Gainesville, FL., 1984.

(2.) R. Lapierre, "How to get Maximum Benefit from Public Relations by Positioning It Properly in the Organization," PR Reporter: Tips & Tactics 28 (1990), pp. 1-2.

(3.) B. Adams, "Ask the Professor" Public Relations Tactics 5 (1998), p. 3.

(4.) P. Jackson, "Edelman Sees Field Diminished by Not Using Term 'PR,'" PR Reporter 40 (1997), p. 2.

(5.) M. Ryan and D. L. Martinson, "Journalists and Public Relations Practitioners: Why the Antagonism?" Journalism Quarterly 62 (1988), pp. 131-140.

(6.) C. H. Spicer, "Image of Public Relations in the Print Media," Journal of Public Relations Research 5 (1993), pp. 47-61.

(7.) J. H. Shin, Public Relations Practitioners' and Journalists' Informal Relations: Perceptions and Cross-perceptions. Thesis (Master) Sea-Gang University, Korea, 1999.

(8.) Ibid, p. 10.

(9.) S. Peterson, "Foreign News Gatekeepers and Criteria of Newsworthiness," Journalism Quarterly 56 (1979), pp. 116-125.

(10.) Ibid, p. 118.

(11.) W. Gamson, Talking Politics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991).

(12.) R. A. Hackett, "Decline of a Paradigm? Bias and Objectivity in News Media Studies," Critical Studies in Mass Communication 1 (1984), pp. 229-259.

(13.) Ibid, p. 254.

(14.) S. H. Stocking and N. LaMarca, "How Journalists Describe Their Stories: Hypotheses and Assumptions in Newsmaking," Journalism Quarterly 67(1990), pp. 295-301.

(15.) Ibid, p. 299.

(16.) See following articles. C. Cline, "The Image of Public Relations in Mass Comm Texts," Public Relations Review 8 (1982), pp. 63-72; L. L. Kopenhaver, "Aligning Values of Practitioners and Journalist," Public Relations Review 11 (1985), pp. 34-42; J.D. Pincus, T. Rimer, R.E. Rayfield and F. Cropp, "Newspaper Editors' Perceptions of Public Relations: How Business, News and Sports Editors Differ," Paper presented at the meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Boston, August 1991; M. Ryan and D. L. Martinson, "Journalists and Public Relations Practitioners: Why the Antagonism?" Ibid., pp. 131-140; C. H. Spicer, "Image of Public Relations in the Print Media," Ibid., pp. 47-61.

(17.) J. D. Pincus et al., Ibid., p.31.

(18.) L. L. Kopenhaver, Ibid., p.40.

(19.) Ibid.

(20.) M. Ryan and D. L. Martinson, Ibid.

(21.) A.Belz, A. D. Talbott and K. Starck, "Using Role Theory to Study Cross Perceptions of Journalists and Public Relations Practitioners," In J. E. Gruing & L. A. Grunig (Eds.), Public Relations Research Annual 1. (Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc, 1989), pp. 125-140.

(22.) J. H. Shin, Ibid.

(23.) M. Ryan and D. L. Martinson, Ibid., p.139.

(24.) C. H. Spicer, Ibid., p. 49.

(25.) Market Report (March 21, 1995).

(26.) J. Wouters, International Public Relations (New York: Amacom, 1991), p.70.

(27.) Ibid, p. 71.

(28.) J.E.Grunig, "Symmetrical Presuppositions as a Framework for Public Relations Theory," in Carl Botan and Vincent Hazleton Jr. (eds.), Public Relations Theory (Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1989), pp. 17-44.

(29.) M. Taylor and M. L. Kent, "Challenging Assumptions of International Public Relations: When Government is the Most Important Public," Public Relations Review 25 (1999), pp. 131-144.

(30.) Market Report, Ibid.

(31.) C. Botan, "International Public Relations: Critique and Reformulation," Public Relation Review 18 (1992), pp. 149-159.

(32.) R. Josephs, "Japan Booms with Public Relations Ventures. Public Relations Journal 18-20 (1990), p. 25.

(33.) I. S. Kim, "A Q Study of Practitioner Perceptions about Public Relations Practitioner's Role and Expertise for U.S.- based Multinational Corporations in Korea," Paper presented at the Thirteenth Annual Conference of the International Society for the Scientific Study of Subjectivity, 23-23, Oct. 1997.

(34.) The Korea Economic Weekly (August 28, 1996).

(35.) K. Sriramesh, Y. Kim and M. Takasaki, "Public Relations in Three Asian Cultures: An Analysis," Journal of public relations research 11 (1999), pp. 271-292.

(36.) Ibid.

(37.) Advertising Yearbook, Korea, 1997.

(38.) Y. Kim and L. C. Hon, "Craft and Professional Models of Public Relations and Their Relation to Job Satisfaction among Korean Public Relations Practitioners," Journal of Public Relations Research 10 (1998), pp. 155-175.

(39.) Chosunilbo (March 29, 1999).

(40.) Y. Kim and L. C. Hon, Ibid. pp. 172-173.

(41.) C. H. Spicer, Ibid, pp. 47-61.

(42.) Ibid, p. 53.

(43.) Ibid, p. 54.

(44.) Ibid, p. 58.

(45.) Ibid, p. 54.

(46.) Ibid, p. 55.

(47.) R. L. Bishop, "What Newspapers Say about Public Relations," Public Relations Review 14, (1988), pp. 50-52.

(48.) C. H. Spicer, Ibid, p. 56.

(49.) Ibid.

(50.) Ibid, p. 57.

(51.) Ibid.

(52.) Ibid, p. 58.

(53.) Ibid, p. 57.

(54.) J. E. Grunig and T. Hunt, Managing Public Relations (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1984).

(55.) Ibid, p. 59.

(56.) J. E. Grunig and T. Hunt, Ibid, p. 59.

(57.) J. Park, "Images of "Hong Bo (Public Relations)" in the Korean Newspapers," Korean Journal of Advertising Research 48 (2000), pp.7-26.

(58.) J. H. Shin, Ibid.

(59.) Ibid.

(60.) Y. Kim and L. C. Hon, Ibid.
Table 1

Spicer's seven meanings of public relations or PR in print media
(Spicer, 1993, pp. 53-57)

Seven meanings of public relations or PR in print media


Public Relations as      Items categorized according to this
 Distraction              theme are often used to indicate
                          that the reporter perceives that
                          someone in public relations is
                          trying to obfuscate an issue/event
                          or deflect the reporter's interest
                          in the issue.
Public Relations as      The items categorized within this
 Disaster                 theme represent public relations
                          as a decision made (or almost
                          made) or an action taken (or
                          almost taken) that is perceived to
                          be unwise, foolish, or a mistake.
Public Relations as      The meanings are used in this
 Challenge                category to suggest public
                          relations as an ongoing effort on
                          the part of an organization or
                          person to link substantive
                          actions with increased public
                          awareness through communication
                          activities. Only public relations
                          as challenge incorporates a
                          subjectively neutral or positive
                          image of public relations.
Public Relations as      The terms public relations and PR
 Hype                     as hype are similar in that they
                          are used either to suggest
                          positive but relatively
                          meaningless action on the part of
                          a person or organization or to
                          create an artificial excitement.
Merely Public Relations  Merely public relations are used to
                          suggest that some action is "just"
                          or "only" public relations, as
                          opposed to any real idea or
                          program. The use of just PR or
                          only public relations indicates a
                          perception that public relations
                          techniques are often used in place
                          of substance or as a substitute
                          for real action.
Public Relations as War  Public relations as war is
                          presented as an ongoing battle or
                          fight to gain positive public
                          opinion or perception. As hype is
                          limited tp publicity, public
                          relations as war is limited to
                          media relations.
Public Relations as      The terms public relations and PR
 Schmooze                 embedded in this theme to
                          represent public relations as a
                          characteristic, embodied within
                          personality of an individual. The
                          items categorized as schmooze,
                          although just a few, represent a
                          still prevalent stereotype of the
                          glad-handing, smooth-talking,
                          personally charming front man or
                          woman.
Table 2

Spicer's Seven Meanings and Grunig and Hunt's Four Models of Public
Relations

Spicer's seven meanings          Positive/Negative


Public Relations as Distraction  Negative
Public Relations as Disaster     Negative
Merely Public Relations          Negative
Public Relations as Hype         Neutral
Public Relations as War          Neutral
Public Relations as Schmooze     Neutral
Public Relations as Challenge    Positive

Spicer's seven meanings          Grunig and Hunt's four
                                  models of public relations

Public Relations as Distraction  Press agentry/publicity
Public Relations as Disaster     None
Merely Public Relations          Press agentry/publicity
Public Relations as Hype         Press agentry/publicity
Public Relations as War          Two-way asymmetric
Public Relations as Schmooze     Press agentry/publicity
Public Relations as Challenge    Two-way symmetric
Table 3

The Number of Samples According to Years

        1994         1995         1996         1997         1998

Hongbo  139 (16.0%)  140 (16.1%)  148 (17.1%)  132 (15.2%)  151 (17.4%)
PR       58 (8.4%)    42 (6.1%)   153 (22.4%)  148 (21.6%)  146 (21.3%)

        1999         Total

Hongbo  155 (17.9%)  865 (100%)
PR      138 (20.2%)  683 (100%)
Table 4

The Frequency of Spicer's Seven Meanings

The meaning of PR                Frequency (%)

Public Relations as Distraction   111 (7.2%)
Public Relations as Disaster       62 (4.0%)
Merely Public Relations           500 (32.3%)
Public Relations as Hype          586 (37.9%)
Public Relations as War            49 (3.2%)
Public Relations as Schmooze       91 (5.9%)
Public Relations as Challenge     149 (9.6%)
Total                            1548 (100%)
Table 5

Spicer's Seven Meanings by Meaning Difference between Hongbo and PR

        Distraction  Disaster   Merely       Hype         War

Hongbo  104 (12%)    59 (6.8%)  237 (27.4%)  260 (30%)    44 (5.1%)
PR        7 (1.0%)    3 (0.4%)  263 (38.5%)  326 (47.7%)   5 (0.7%)
Total   111 (7.2%)   62 (4.0%)  500 (32.3%)  586 (37.9%)  49 (3.2%)

        Schmooze   Challenge    Total

Hongbo  47 (5.4%)  114 (13.2%)   865 (100%)
PR      44 (6.4%)   35 (5.1%)    683 (100%)
Total   91 (5.9%)  149 (9.6%)   1548 (100%)

[chi square] = 205.8 df = 6 p < .05
Table 6

Meaning Difference between Hongbo and PR (Positive vs. Negative)

        Negative     Neutral      Positive     Total

Hongbo  400 (46.2%)  351 (40.6%)  114 (13.2%)   865 (100%)
PR      273 (40.0%)  375 (54.9%)   35 (5.1%)    683 (100%)
Total   673 (43.4%)  726 (46.9%   149 (9.6%)   1548 (100%)

[chi square] = 46 df = 2 p < .05
Table 7

Meaning Difference between Hongbo and PR (Grunig & Hunt's PR Four Model)

        Press agentry/publicity  Two-way asymmetric  Two-way symmetric

Hongbo   648 (80.4%)             44 (5.5%)           114 (14.1%)
PR       639 (94.1%)              5 (0.7%)            35 (5.2%)
Total   1287 (86.7%)             49 (3.3%)           149 (10.0%)

        Total

Hongbo   806 (100%)
PR       679 (100%)
Total   1485 (100%)

[chi square] = 62.5 df = 2 p <.05
Table 8

Hongbo and PR According to the Source

        Government   Corporate     Total

Hongbo  259 (29.9%)   606 (70.1%)   865 (100%)
PR       28 (4.1%)    655 (95.9%)   683 (100%)
Total   287 (18.5%)  1261 (81.5%)  1548 (100%)

[chi square] = 168.7 df = 1 p < .05
Table 9

Hongbo and PR According to the Placement

        Reporter's words  A quote used     Headline    Total
                          by the reporter

Hongho   663 (76.6%)      139 (16.1%)       63 (7.3%)   865 (100%)
PR       550 (80.5%)       68 (10.0%)       65 (9.5%)   683 (100%)
Total   1213 (78.4%)      207 (13.4%)      128 (8.3%)  1548 (100%)

[chi square] = 13.7 df = 2 p < .05
Table 10

Hongbo and PR According to the Content

        Politics  Society  International  Regional  Information &
                                                    Communication

Hongbo  168       289      79             48        41
        (19.4%)   (33.4%)  (9.1%)         (5.5%)    (4.7%)
PR      31        106      32             4         23
        (4.5%)    (15.5%)  (4.7%)         (0.6%)    (3.4%)
Total   199       395      111            52        64
        (12.9%)   (25.5%)  (7.2%)         (3.4%)    (4.1%)

        Sports  Culture  Economics  Total


Hongbo  27      106      107        865
        (3.1%)  (12.3%)  (12.4%)    (100%)
PR      28      264      195        683
        (4.1%)  (38.6%)  (28.5%)    (100%)
Total   55      370      302        1548
        (3.6%)  (23.9%)  (19.5%)    (100%)

[chi square] = 316.7 df = 7 p < .05
Table 11

Hongbo and PR According to the Type

        News story    Editorial  Opinion    Interview  People

Hongbo   715 (82.7%)  45 (5.2%)  45 (5.2%)  35 (4.0%)  25 (2.9%)
PR       568 (83.2%)  12 (1.8%)  28 (4.1%)  17 (2.5%)  58 (8.5%)
Total   1283 (82.9%)  57 (3.7%)  73 (4.7%)  52 (3.4%)  83 (5.4%)

        Total

Hongbo   865 (100%)
PR       683 (100%)
Total   1548 (100%)

[chi square] = 38.3 df = 4 p < .05
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Title Annotation:Korean newspaper reporters have negative attitude toward Hong Bo and public relations
Comment:Images of "Hong Bo (public relations)" and PR in Korean newspapers.(Korean newspaper reporters have negative attitude toward Hong Bo and public relations)
Author:Park, Jongmin
Publication:Public Relations Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 22, 2001
Words:8312
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