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The use of press releases: A case study of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games

Author(s): Nick Linardopoulos

Journal: PRism Online PR Journal
ISSN 1448-4404

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Date: 2005;
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Keywords: Public relations | Olympic Games | media | analysis | press releases

Organising committees for Olympic Games face multi-level problems before, during, and after the Games. The recent summer Olympics in Athens was closely watched by a wide variety of interested parties, including the IOC and international media. The Athens 2004 Organising Committee (ATHOC) experienced difficulties, mostly associated with re-occurring negative media coverage. Media outlets were extremely critical of the slow pace of facility preparations and general infrastructure problems. During the Games, ATHOC had to confront several international media reports of low spectator turnout. This paper reports on an exploratory pilot study examining potential links between ATHOC’s media relations techniques and media outcomes in Games coverage. The paper evaluates ATHOC’s use of press releases and statements issued from June 2003 until August 2004, and uses content analysis to critically examine the tone of selected newspaper articles published during the same time period. Overall, ATHOC’s press releases seem to have little correlation with media coverage tone. However, there is evidence suggesting that timely press releases and statements did correlate with positive Olympics coverage in some areas.
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