This book investigates the relationship of secrecy as a social practice to contemporary media, news cultures and public relations.

Drawing on Georg Simmel’s theorisation of how secrecy produces a ‘second world’ alongside the ‘obvious world’ and creates and reshapes social relations, Anne Cronin argues for close analysis of the PR industry as a powerful vector of secrecy and an examination of its relationship to news cultures. Using case studies and in-depth interviews, as well as recent research in media and cultural studies, sociology, journalism studies and communication studies, the book analyses how PR practices generate a second, shadow world of the media sphere which has a profound impact on the ‘obvious world’. It interrogates both the PR industry’s and news culture’s role in shaping social relations for a digital media landscape, and those initiatives promoting transparency of data and decision-making processes.

An insightful, interdisciplinary approach to debates on media and power, this book will appeal to students of public relations, sociology, media studies, cultural studies and communication studies. It will also be of interest to scholars and practitioners working at the intersections of media, social relations and public trust.