The Structural Organization of NGO Publicity Work: Explaining Divergent Publicity Strategies at Humanitarian and Human Rights Organizations

Matthew Powers


This article examines the role of humanitarian and human rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in producing global news content in light of legacy news media’s shrinking international footprint. Using original interviews, NGO documents, and content analysis, it finds that different types of funding, government relationships, organizational dynamics and desired impacts tend to be associated with divergent publicity strategies. In particular, some NGOs target the prestige press to engage with political elites, while others use the general news media to attract new audiences for fund-raising and educational purposes. The implications of these findings, both for international news and scholarly analysis of civil society, are discussed in the conclusion.


NGOs; journalism; international news; civil society

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