Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right: Journalists’ Perceptions and Usage of Press Releases

  • Melanie FormentinEmail author
  • Kirstie Hettinga
  • Alyssa Appelman
Original Article


Exploring reputation and organizational communication, this study tests how journalists perceive press releases containing grammatical errors. Journalists (n = 118) read a press release with or without errors from an existing or unknown company. Journalists ranked the press releases without errors more favorably, regardless of their perceptions of the company. Additionally, press releases from the existing company were ranked more favorably than those from the unknown one, regardless of errors. Notably, there were no interaction effects, which suggests that reputation cannot overcome negative error effects and that polished writing cannot overcome negative corporate perception effects. Implications for the public relations–journalism relationship are discussed, as is the legitimacy of using unknown organizations when testing reputation via experiments.


Public relations–journalism relationship Grammatical errors Credibility Press releases Corporate reputation Experimental design 



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Copyright information

© Reputation Institute and Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melanie Formentin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kirstie Hettinga
    • 2
  • Alyssa Appelman
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Mass CommunicationTowson UniversityTowsonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Communication, California Lutheran UniversityThousand OaksUSA
  3. 3.Department of Communication, College of InformaticsNorthern Kentucky UniversityHighland HeightsUSA

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