TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Concept and Relationship of Journalism and Corporate Communication
Journalism and Corporate Image
Journalism and Corporate Reputation
The Responsibilities of Journalists and Corporate Communicators in a Constantly Evolving Environment-Nigerian Case Study
Ethical Issues in Journalism and Corporate Communications
Journalism and Corporate Communication – Nigeria Case study
The role of the media cannot be underestimated in any nation. The media contributes to the economy through development and education agenda of the citizens. Corporate communications just like the media have a crucial role to play in the development agenda of an organization. Media can influence action, change and even destroy (Nkechi & Onwuka, 2013, p. 14). For instance, the Rwanda genocide was one of the world’s worst genocides that used the media as the major arsenal to spread hatred among ethnic groups. However, corporate journalism and communication plays an essential role in enhancing stakeholders’ understanding of organizations progress, operations and development.
A United Nations leader who led peace intervention was blamed for the inability to destroy the radio used to spread hate messages among the ethnic groups. The ability to use the media can influence a series of issues at the national and organizational level. Journalism plays a big role in informing the public about major organizational issues. Countries that are considered to be democratic are characterized by the freedom of the media.
Media freedom, in this case, means the ability of the media to report on governmental and economic matters that are both positive and negative in nature. Media is assumed to be the eye of the people in monitoring and reporting the activities of government. In his research Raufu described the role of the mass media as; the educational role, information role, and the entertainment role. He further described the media as the agents of mobilization of the society and active participants in steering the community development agenda. They are the voice of the voiceless in matters of political administration. They are engaged in the activities of influencing the culture band unique educators of the society (Raufu, 2003). The focus of the paper is to explore the role of journalism in corporate communication, exploring their intersections taking Nigeria as the case study.
The history of corporate communications dates back to the early 1930s during the industrial revolution. In this early period,the need for companies to manage their growth and keep contact with the society was of great concern to every organization. The various organizations of the early years took much of their time to communicate to customers in terms of product promotion, sales promotion, and publicity. The industrial revolutions led to a series of industries and a rise in competition among the companies and harsh economic factors also led to the rethinking of their new communication strategies (Cornellisen, 2004).
However,the continued need for development in various countries led to a rise on the need for effective management of organizational activities. The activities that needed proper management included the marketing activities and the employee management activities. The need, for maintaining a positive image of the organization, was emphasized by each company seeking to acquire new customers and maintaining the loyalty of the existing customers. By the early 1980s, organizations had fully established departments that were responsible for maintaining and ensuring the communication activities that were well managed within the organization. One challenge that existed at that time was the difficulty to establish the role of corporate managers. The name of communicators in most organizations,then was the public relations manager. The industry was saddled with the responsibilities of managing the communications, branding of organization’s products and meeting the general communication needs.
Professionals at that time had no clear definition of their responsibilities, and all they needed to do included the activities of a secretary. With the continued rise in the competition, organizations were forced to design new ways of approaching and maintaining their corporate image. The competitions led to the development of the corporate communications department in most of the organizations. But,yet, there was no clear way to distinguish the roles of a corporate communicator from the roles of public relations personnel. They all share roles and their names vary from one organization to the other.
The ability of organizations to convince their customers for patronage is based on the mode of communication used to reach the customers.Then, the mode and the message were the major issues to be considered when delivering messages to the public. There is no gainsaying the fact that,sales promotion and sales marketing activities entirely rely on corporate communications. In essence, corporate communication involves all those activities both external and internal with the aim of giving a clear perspective of the organization to the stakeholders (Argenti, 2009).
Stakeholders in this sense include employees, partners, customers and the general public. Cornelissen described corporate communication as:
A management function and vocabulary for effective management and coordination of all the forms of communications with the sole purpose of establishing and maintaining favorable reputations with the stakeholders upon which the organization is dependent (Cornellisen, 2004).
From the above definitions, we can concor that the purpose of corporate communication in an organization is to enhance coherence credibility and ethics through the communication of the mission, vision and values of the organization to stakeholders.
The corporate communications department in an organization is also held liable for maintaining the image of the organization. Other duties include profiling the company, executing communication activities about decisions made by management to the employees and also coordinate with both national and local business firms. Corporate communication department plays a strategic role in managing the perception of the company to the employees, investors, and the general public. The department prepares for statements, interviews with the media and messages to investors and stakeholders.
It is truism that,corporate identity is achieved by the emphasis laid on the values of an organization. Employees can feel comfortable when they are part of the organization. To be part of the organization first bit entails the sharing of the common values that drive the organization (Argenti, 2009). Sharing of the common values helps the employees identify themselves with the company.
The achievement of the organizational objectives becomes easier when people can share the common values. The second mode of corporate identity is through the visions and mission of the organization. The mission and vision of the organization are the basic factors of identifying the company. Every organization has its vision that drives its performance. The mission of the organization is broken down into the day-to-day objectives of the organization (Aggarwal & Gupta, 2001). The corporate communications department plays a role in making the employee understand the vision, mission and values of the organization. Unlike in the past, the effects of globalization and the need to venture into new markets are the key drivers of businesses today. Every business has an objective of expanding and exploring into new markets. Before businesses venture into new geographical regions, research has to be carried out to rate the viability of the business expansion. Some of the factors examined in this research include the calculated risks to be undertaken, the behavior of customers in that region and the legal formalities and regulations in that region (Kariithi, 2002).
The corporate communications department has to present such research findings to the stakeholders and communicate their findings appropriately. These findings enable the stakeholders to make an informed decision about their investment. For this reason, the accuracy and authenticity of the information provided by the corporate communicators are of paramount importance. In this century, organizations realize the need to manage all stakeholders effectively (Cornellisen, 2004). Their main aim is to help manage the issues raised by the stakeholders before they get out of hand and cause damage to the image of the organization. Currently, the corporate communicators have been included and made a part of the strategic management in organizations. Their strategies in the management are based on their ability to communicate effectively with the public. They are involved in the activities of giving guidance to the corporate identity and reputation management.
The heightened claims from the society, the government, and humanitarian organizations indicate that stakeholder perspective is one of the business standards that should be maintained. Stakeholder interests if not taken care of can impact the organization negatively based on the circumstances that may arise. Proper communication on problems and dialogue resolution all serve to deal with such issues. The corporate communicator should possess skills that can convince people to believe in whatever they say (Argenti, 2009). When facing investors or financial institutions, corporate communicators should convince the investors that their finances will go into a good cause and make their input profitable.
The communication cannot be achieved orally, but should be organized and communicated in a manner that they believe is the best that can convince the investors or the financiers. Organization history is managed effectively by the corporate communications department. The department can produce magazines that highlight the progress that the organization has made for the last financial year. When organizing for stakeholder meetings the corporate communications arranges and organizes the activities of the day (Smith, 2011).
The corporate communicator can publish a magazine highlighting the various aspects of progress that the organization has made. When these magazines are given out to the stakeholders, they will have more confidence in the organization and believe that their investments are profitable. Keeping close contact with the stakeholders does not only help achieve trust of the stakeholders, but also increase the publicity of the organization. Organizations that have invested more in the public relations and corporate communications have a higher number of customer turnovers than those which do not (Argenti, 2009). Corporate communicators play a major role in maintaining the reputation of the company and building trust for the organization.
The history of economic journalism in Africa is dated back to the early 1970’s and 1980’s. The economic journalism activities began when the World Bank sponsored economic programs failed. The World Bank withdrew its economic sponsorship programs in Africa and the situation led to a rise in economic crisis in the continent. The initial attention to the economic progress debate all started with the debate whether the actions taken by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank were appropriate (Eribo & Tanjong, 2002).