News media as corporate governance watchdogs

This source preferred by Donald Nordberg

Authors: Nordberg, D.

Start date: 10 September 2013

How do news organizations shape development of regulative measures in corporate governance? The press is often called the Fourth Estate, an acknowledgement of the quasi-regulatory role it plays in investigating and bringing to public attention malfeasance and misdemeanours in public and business life. Recurrent corporate governance problems have raised questions about how well the news media perform this watchdog role, less well understood is how the role they play in framing the debate itself. News organizations respond to the terms in which a debate is cast, but on retelling some aspects of the story can be amplified and others suppressed. So, this project asks, to what extent is our understanding of what corporate practice is legitimate influenced by the terms in which the debate is cast and projected in the press? How has this framing shaped the way we discuss corporate governance and then turn it into policy and practice? This developmental paper sketches a project to undertake such an analysis on a comparative basis, looking at field-configuring events in the US, UK and Germany to track how the vocabulary of corporate governance has developed in the press, and how it does or does not differ from other conceptions of what good governance entails.

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