This research aims to throw a new light on a fundamental question in democracy: what place does the public relations content, more precisely press releases, occupy in the information produced by the media? It proposes a test methodology on a larger field that has been possible to date, namely the entire Canadian information ecosystem, that is, the quasi-total content produced by the Canadian medias, news agencies, the public relations industry, and the provincial and federal governments.

The communication sciences note that public relations play an important, even growing, role in journalistic production. This observation is based on a decrease in the number of journalists (Services Canada, 2011), an increase in the number of articles to be produced (Sullivan, 2011, Van Hout and Jacobs, 2008, Marcotte, 2008) and employment rise data among the publicists (David, Motulsky, 2011). Fewer to produce more and more content, journalists must use “turnkey” equipment provided by the public relations industry (Francoeur 2011, Sullivan 2011).

If information is the oxygen of democracy and is a public right, the increasing use of public relations material by journalists becomes a crucial issue in democratic life. The purpose of this research will be to discover the extent to which public relations content is reflected in Canadian news media.


  • Bernard Cloutier
  • Nicolas Kaser
  • Christophe Hirschi
  • Yoann Lehmann


David, M. D. et Motulsky, B. (2011). La grande enquête : vers une meilleure connaissance des pratiques en communication dans les organisations canadiennes. Montréal : Chaire de relations publiques et communication marketing.

Francoeur, C. (2017). Convergence : comment le travail des journalistes gravite autour des professionnels de la communication. Revue française des sciences de l’information et de la communication, (10). doi:10.4000/rfsic.2787

Marcotte, P. (2008). La qualité du journalisme vue par ceux qui le pratiquent. Consortium canadien de recherche sur les médias., 116.

Service Canada. (2011). Journalistes. Services Canada. Spotted on December 20th, 2011, at

Sullivan, J. (2011, mai). PR Industry Fills Vacuum Left by Shrinking Newsroom. ProPublica et Columbia Journalism Review

Van Hout, T. et Jacobs, G. (2008). News production theory and practice: fieldwork notes on power, interaction and agency. Pragmatics, 18(1), 59‑85.

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