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Framing New Zealand: How international media project the images of Aotearoa

Travel stories (travelogues) are a potentially important source through which people can understand different cultures. They could be consulted as frames of reference for immediate or future travel decisions. Consequently, tourism organizations are keen to have their destinations introduced or described in media. It is also essential that 'positive images' of a destination be projected to potential visitors. As a result destination marketing organizations attempt to influence media and use visiting journalist programmes to generate favourable coverage in the travel columns of newspapers and magazines. In tum this demands publicity messages be critically analysed to check whether visiting travel journalists utilize the desired themes (frames). Accordingly, the purpose of this thesis is to examine the level of congruence between two sets of frames: those of tourism organizations and those of media. Creating a link between words and pictures, this research explores the possibility of creating interval and ordinal levels of measurement (level of interest and frames salience ranking of travelogues) from textual messages. These datasets are used (1) to measure the congruence level of frames, (2) to visually present frames perception (using Multidimensional Scaling), (3) to test factors that influence level of frames congruence, and (4) to examine variables that affect travelogues' 'level of interest' and the number of senses stimulated. Additionally, this thesis examines the similarities and differences in promotional and writing strategies respectively used by tourism organizations and travel writers. It is believed and hoped, with these analyses, that this thesis can contribute to an understanding of the relationship between the promotional material of tourism organizations and travelogues written by travel journalists. Results of the study show that female journalists are important in terms of accommodating frames nuanced differently from the promoted, salient ones. It also shows that itinerary design is essential in frames congruence, level of interest of a travelogue, and senses stimulated for visiting journalists. Moreover, results confirm that most travel journalists do not challenge the major frames promoted by tourism organizations, and nearly 45% of travelogues' editorial content can be traced back to destination promotional material. For a 'hot' destination like New Zealand, this representation cycle is even more consolidated and keeps reinforcing itself. Therefore, the success of tourism public relations campaign should not be measured entirely against the praises levelled upon such a destination that enjoys so much good publicity. Alternatively, it is the constructive criticism (critical evaluation) provided by visiting travel journalists that is 'beneficial' to a destination. The results also support the argument that good and sustained public relations start at home.
Type of thesis
Pan, S. (2006). Framing New Zealand: How international media project the images of Aotearoa (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12709
The University of Waikato
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