Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Cork Institute of Technology

First Advisor

Emmett Coffey

Second Advisor

Frank O'Donovan


This thesis looks at how new media is impacting on the public relations industry in Ireland. It attempts to identify if Irish practitioners believe that the Internet is an important tool for two-way communication purposes, to identify the implications of new media on the practice of public relations, to determine how new media is impacting on the mass media in Ireland and to determine how social media is currently being implemented by PR practitioners in Ireland.

The study attempts to fill a gap in public relations research and professional literature because there is no organising framework that merges new technologies with existing communication tools used in public relations.

A qualitative research method was chosen and the primary method of research was the in-depth interview. Interviews were carried out with six Irish PR practitioners both in in-house and consultancy roles. The study investigated PR practitioners’ perceptions of the Internet as a communications tool and how new media is viewed and regarded by them to gain a better understanding of how they are incorporating it into their communication strategies.

The research findings show that practitioners believe that the Internet is useful for two-way communication. It was found that new media is definitely posing threats for the physical media. It was also discovered that practitioners are not applying the new Web 2.0 technologies to the greatest effect.

It can be concluded that Irish PR practitioners are currently using the Internet as a two-way communications tool. They deem there is enough effort being made to educate the industry on the benefits of new and social media. Irish practitioners also think that new media is posing a threat to traditional media but believe it will still play an active role in Irish public relations for the foreseeable future.

Practitioners in Ireland have a broad overall knowledge of the many social media tools and their benefits. However they are not all applying them in the most effective way. They are aware of the potential of new media but if they are to be successful in the Irish public relations industry they must embrace it fully.

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