Corporate Reputation
and the News Media

Corporate reputation has been a subject of considerable interest among scholars and practitioners because it is related to being able to increase market share, lower market costs, lower distribution costs, charge a premium, avoid overregulation, weather bad times, align employees, attract and retain talent, attract investors, and gain access to new global markets.


About This Book

In writing and editing this book, we are responding to the growing global  interest in understanding the media’s influence on corporate reputation. One of the primary motivators for this book was the spike in global  interest about the influence of the news media on corporate reputation. This interest coincided with the 40th anniversary of the agenda-setting paradigm and the growth in the practice and scholarly interest in business  news. In one sense, we wanted to bring research on corporate reputation and the news media up-to-date with the rest of agenda setting scholarship  from political communication.

his volume is significant for a number of accomplishments:

  • First, the project blends theory, research, and practice, providing case studies and empirical investigations. We use agenda-setting theory to investigate the effects of the news media on public opinion (specifically, on corporate reputation). We also engage in historical and comparative work in order to contextualize these findings in light of structural and cultural differences in the practices of journalism and public relations in the different countries examined.
  • Second, the project is interdisciplinary, incorporating scholars from the fields of journalism, public relations, communication, advertising, strategic management, business ethics, business and society, political communication, and sociology.
  • Third, the project is global and international in scope, including empirical investigations on the practice of media relations in 24 countries around the world. Only five of our contributors are native English speakers. The book includes a number of “first” investigations of corporate reputation and media relations in various countries, including Chile, China, and Nigeria, among others. Other authors are seminal scholars in their home countries who review and translate knowledge published in their home countries for use by a much wider audience.
  • Then, finally, the chapters provide the state-of-the-art on research that examines the influence of the news media on corporate reputation. The data, methodologies, and findings vary from country to country depending on the level of research for that country. The methodologies in the chapters vary from literature reviews and secondary analysis of public opinion polls to the collection of original data, including interviews, focus groups, and surveys. Each chapter considers the application of agenda-setting theory from political communication to business communication.

Each chapter is structured to consider two to three hypotheses in the country under discussion, including:

  • the impact of media visibility on organizational prominence, top-of-mind awareness and brand-name recognition
  • the impact of media favorability on the public’s organizational images of these firms
  • how media coverage of specific public issues and news topics relates to the associations people form of specific firms.


480 pages

July 2010

First Edition


This book is a major, multinational expansion of agenda-setting theory and research into a new domain of business and corporate world. Editor Craig Carroll has assembled a truly impressive collection of authors and chapters from more than two dozen countries in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. For scholars interested in this domain of agenda setting, this is the most comprehensive book yet.

David Weaver,
Professor Emeritus,
Indiana University,

 In this collection of 26 essays and studies by 52 writers from 25 countries, Craig Carroll has assembled a view of the world rarely examined through the prism of a single theory: how news coverage around the globe affects corporate reputations by establishing what audiences ought to think about those businesses.. Carroll has skillfully edited this tome so that each chapter is readable and insightful and true to his desire to explore the relationship between business and business news reporting… This book should interest those scholars in both worlds of media and business, once a land with separate and distinct boundaries but today in the era of convergence a mediascape nearly indistinguishable.

Ralph D. Berenger,
American University of Sharjah,
Global Media Journal

Each chapter of Corporate Reputation and the News Media presents a picture of the role of public affairs in recent years in the twenty-four countries, and one is struck by how important public relations has become in a global economy, regardless of political system (China and Russia are included… this represents pioneering work for agenda-setting, …is an important book that will widen the horizons of agenda-setting scholars…Carroll’s concluding chapter about methods, concepts, and challenges is an apt and useful summary.

Donald L. Shaw,
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly

Contributors …incorporate scholarship from a broad range of disciplines, including advertising, strategic management, business, political communication, and sociology. [and] contextualize their findings in light of the geopolitical environment of their home countries, the nature of their media systems, and the relationship between business and the news media within their countries.

Christopher Sterling,
The George Washington University,
Communication Booknotes Quarterly

“Dr. Carroll has collected research and observations from more than a dozen academic experts in 24 countries. This book provides their insight as well as current research data on the trends, norms, and biases in local news media. This book will help you understand how news media impacts corporate reputation wherever you are doing business.
The project itself is a testimony to the interconnected and intergalactic world we live in today. Most chapters were written by collaborators that were thousands of miles apart, and each reflects the different cultural norms and approach to news media.”

K.D. Paine,
The Measurement Standard

The authors of the book demonstrate the capabilities of various approaches to conducting research of this kind, which allows us to better understand what the methodology of a new, our own project can be.The authors position their book as a kind of “test shot”, the first attempt to apply the agenda-setting theory, used primarily in relation to discussions on political issues, to economic issues. The book “Corporate Reputation and News Media” may be of interest to researchers in the field of sociology, mass communications, PR and advertising, as well as other related disciplines.

Kazun Anastasia, 
Ph.D. Student

Laboratory for Studies in Economic Sociology
Higher School of Economics

02 (Small)

Corporate Reputation and the News Media sets out to account for the contingent conditions that influence the impact that media attention has on companies’ corporate reputations in light of geopolitical, social-economic, and cultural differences in business, media, and society relationships around the world–and the ways that companies should respond.

— Craig E. Carroll 

Craig E. Carroll Ph.D.

Dr. Craig Carroll is the Executive Director of the Observatory on Corporate Reputation, a research think tank devoted to the corporate communications and corporate affairs function. He is also Lecturer of Management in the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University and Communications Institute Leader at The Conference Board.

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