Curating conversations in times of transformation: Convergence in how public relations and journalism are “Doing” communication

Franzisca Weder*, C. Kay Weaver, Lars Rademacher

*Corresponding author for this work

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Purpose: In an era of networked production of the public sphere and with the arrival of new communicator roles such as citizen journalists, influencers and bloggers, the “old” roles and professions of “the journalist” and “public relations professional” are challenged. In this paper, avoiding the familiar debate about antagonisms between journalism and public relations, we provide empirical insights that identify specific characteristics of a convergence in the “doing” of public relations and journalism. Design/Methodology/Approach: The paper presents recent data from a series of comparative interviews, conducted in Central Europe (Austria, n = 10, Germany, n = 25), New Zealand (n = 7), Australia (n = 25), and the Pacific Islands (n = 5). The conversational narrative interviews bring in self-reflections on skillsets, professions, normative frameworks and the doing of professional communication from a range of communicators, primarily public relations practitioners and journalists, but also activist campaigners, science communicators, bloggers, and social influencers. Findings: The findings show that while interviewees were likely to represent their roles as related to a singular, across those roles they presented what they did – the “doing” – as akin to that of an authorial “curator” of communication in the context of societal transformations and constantly changing and converging media environments. Across different communicator roles professional communication is increasingly perceived as a co-creational process of entering, initiating, sometimes managing, and, thus, driving public discourses and conversations. Originality/Value: The paper complements the debate around skills and professionalization in public relations and adds to broader discussions about role responsibility, agency, and authorship related to public conversations in an age of digital transformation and social change by bringing in the concept of curating as the co-operative ‘management of stories’ between, and across, professional roles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-182
Number of pages20
JournalPublic Relations Inquiry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • convergence
  • curating
  • curator
  • discourse
  • journalism
  • professionalization
  • public conversations
  • Public relations
  • responsibility
  • social change
  • storytelling

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