Conflicting representations in business and media texts: The case of PowderJect Pharmaceuticals plc

Yvonne McLaren-Hankin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    8 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This article examines the case of PowderJect Pharmaceuticals, a British biotechnology company which became involved in a 'cash-for-contracts' scandal in April 2002. The main aim is to show whether the scandal affected PowderJect's portrayal of itself and how, and to what extent, the scandal influenced the media's treatment of the company. In order to investigate these issues, a corpus of company press releases and media articles from before and after the scandal is analysed, particular attention being paid to three features of linguistic and pragmatic significance, namely the information which is selected for inclusion in the texts, degrees of evaluation (with regard to PowderJect), and naming strategies used to refer to the company. It is shown that choices made by writers in these respects combine to create a certain representation of PowderJect. While company press releases consistently portray PowderJect in a positive manner, different portrayals are evident in the press after April 2002 with a clear distinction between the general press on one hand and the financial press on the other. The findings raise questions about how press releases are used by journalists and how representations of companies and their news are formed by the media. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1088-1104
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Pragmatics
    Volume39
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007

    Keywords

    • 'Sleaze'
    • Business communication
    • Crisis in organizations
    • Evaluation
    • Genre
    • Press releases
    • Representations

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