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Evaluating the media: The objective of favourability

PR geekiness - the tools & techniques to gain insights from PR exposure

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The objective of favourability

The discipline of media evaluation has over the years found it hard to dodge the accusation of subjectivity. I have noticed that when executing research using the accepted forms of best practice it is never possible to make the process completely objective.

I have also noticed over the years that media research often returns to the core disciplines of the measurement of tone and the spotting of key messages. When it comes to establishing favourability there is always the possibility of some sort of ‘unfair’ bias.

There are ways to give the research rigour including proportional analysis, headline bias, other branding traits and potency of the wording. The default categories have tended to be ‘positive’, ‘neutral’ and ‘negative’, although it is possible to feel slightly uneasy about what the actual difference is between a neutral and positive item, for example.

If an article mentions an organisation by name is there some value to that, or should it just be classed as neutral? This could be resolved by introducing the categories of ‘slightly positive’ and, ‘wholly positive’ however there seems to a lack of research to support one categorisation over another. I strongley feel PR measurement would benefit from some form of discussion on this area.

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