Qualitative, textual analysis, discourse analysis, public relations theories, crisis communication, reputation management, framing theory, communications case study, scientology
This study investigated the most common frames used in news coverage of the Church of Scientology from 2009 to 2013. Using textual analysis, with framing and public relations theories as lenses, this study examined recent news coverage – both print and television – to identify frames used, and the potential public relations crises the Church is currently facing due to this media exposure. Analysis showed three major frames used during coverage, along with their corresponding sub-frames, which highlight certain aspects of the frame: Culture of Abuse (Imprisonment, Controlling, Family Disconnection, Exploitation of Children, Violence, and Financial Abuse), The Information Paradox (Conflicting Information, Simple Misunderstanding, and Non-Traditional Approach), and Leadership Issues (The Problem Lies with Leadership, Celebrity Obsession). Also uncovered were three potential public relations crises: The Mistreatment of Church Members, The Misuse of Funds, and Bad Communication Strategy. The research showed a strong strategic preference of the Church to use legal tactics or denial strategies when dealing with crises. A review of public relations theory suggests that the Church use a more open approach and also incorporate mortification strategies to accept blame and repair their damaged image.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Communication; Mass Communication
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
McAllister, Kristy, "Framing, Public Relations, And Scientology: An Analysis Of News Coverage And A Controversial Organization" (2013). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2659.