“Everything Else is Public Relations” How Rural Journalists Draw the Boundary Between Journalism and Public Relations in Rural Communities

Document Type


Publication Date


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



Rural journalists are news professionals, but also citizens engaged in their communities. The function and purpose of local journalism and public relations have become interdependent as media and communication has become more digital. These relationships create some tensions and it is in this environment that rural journalists make daily choices to cover a story or run prepared content provided by an outside source. Through the lens of boundary work, this study explores how (N = 33) self-identifying rural journalists navigated this gray area and walked the line between creating authentic journalistic content and publishing public relations content. We found that in principle they identified stark boundaries between public relations and rural journalism based on journalistic norms, but in practice these journalists were often put in a position to engage in public relations work to support their communities.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Mass Communication and Society