Framing CSR Fit: How Corporate Social Responsibility Activities are Covered by News Media

Executive Summary

This research provides a basis for understanding how the content of media coverage about CSR activities relates to the fit between these CSR activities and the organizations’ core activities.

In two steps, 513 news articles about organizations’ CSR activities were analyzed. First, an expert review determined the fit between the CSR initiatives presented in the news articles and the core business of the organizations pursuing these initiatives. Second, a quantitative content analysis measured tone and framing of the news articles.

The results reveal that while CSR fit does not influence tone, it does partly impact the framing of the media coverage, as CSR fit leads to a positive framing of organizations and their CSR activities. However, vice versa, CSR misfit does not necessarily lead to a negative representation of organizations and their CSR in the media coverage.

In order to maximally benefit from their CSR activities and achieve optimal media coverage, organizations are advised to not only engage in CSR, but seek to implement initiatives that are well integrated into their core business.

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Publication Date



Public Relations Review


Katharina Lunenberg, Jordy F. Gosselt, Menno D.T. De Jong

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