The Relationship between CEO Media Coverage and Overall Organization Media Coverage

2012 Grunig PRIME Research Fellow

This study examines the relationship between the tone and visibility of media coverage about a CEO and an organization’s overall media tone and visibility. This paper also examines how the topic of media coverage (strategy/vision, product, CSR, positioning, financial performance) impacts the relationship between CEO media tone and organization media tone. A content analysis was conducted of media coverage for 36 Fortune 100 companies and their CEOs within 53 opinion-leading U.S. media outlets between January 2010 and June 2012.

The findings show a positive relationship between CEO visibility and organization visibility, as well as CEO media tone and organization media tone. A negative relationship was found between CEO media tone and organization media visibility, as well as CEO visibility and organization media tone. The tone of media coverage related to organization strategy, CSR and positioning had the strongest relationship with CEO media tone. The results from this study can inform practitioners what organization stories benefit most from CEO involvement.

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