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As journalism scholars’ interest in the impact of public relations on hard news has grown in recent years, little attention has been paid to attempts by elite sources to influence soft journalism. In an effort to better understand what can, in fact, be complex interactions between travel journalists and public relations practitioners, this paper tracks one destination's brand over an extended period of cosmopolitan concern. It finds that in times of conflict, government tourism public relations may become politically instrumental, as public relations practitioners seek simultaneously to promote the destination and shield it from media scrutiny. At such times, travel journalists may subvert traditional expectations of their genre by exposing contradictions in the brand. The paper concludes that the power of travel journalism derives not only from its authors’ capacity to communicate through their texts but also from their tendency to be enmeshed in the interactivity of the brand.
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Keywords: cosmopolitanism; environmental conflict; political conflict; source–media relations; travel journalism

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 February 2012

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