“Crew, don’t go anywhere near this man!” the co-construction of celebrity and responsible capitalism in broadcast interviews with a chief executive officer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Celebrity CEOs espousing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are receiving increasing media attention. However, researchers have not yet examined how CEOs and journalists co-create meaning about CSR in broadcast talk, an unscripted genre of news making, rife with contestation and cooperation. This paper presents a Conversation Analysis of six interviews featuring Dan Price, a CEO who pledged to “solve income inequality” by restructuring salaries in his company. Findings suggest that CSR anchored a process of double branding in which the CEO promoted himself and journalists reaffirmed their news philosophy. Price’s warm embrace by journalists across the political spectrum demonstrates a collaborative process of “celebrification”. Price created a transferable persona that appealed, through a mixture of political targeting and strategic ambiguity, to diverse audiences. Journalists elevated this persona by serving pseudo-criticism and showing identification. The story thus provided corporate media with the opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to “responsible capitalism”.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournalism
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • CEO
  • Celebrity
  • corporate social responsibility
  • interviews
  • strategic ambiguity

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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