Quantifying government media relations in Queensland

Mark Leslie Pearson, Hamish McLean

Abstract

This article draws upon historical and contemporary data to attempt to identify key issues in government media relations and to discuss the processes and challenges involved in attempting to quantify the expenditure on this activity in the state of Queensland in the modern era. A combination of investigative journalism and academic research methods have been used to position government media relations as a practice and to gauge expenditure, staffing, and cost to the taxpayer of government media relations in Queensland. The Electoral and Administrative Review Commission’s Report on review of government media and information services (EARC, 1993) was the first comprehensive measure of such costs and since then only some insights were offered by premiers Beattie and Bligh in 2006 and 2008 in response to parliamentary questions on notice. This article reviews these costs, canvasses expert estimates of the real cost of government media relations, and debates some of the competing interests at stake.

Keywords

government media relations, 'spin', public affairs, Queensland media

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