In this study, we examine whether firms that act more socially responsible receive more favorable media coverage, and we consider whether firms use CSR to actively manage their media image. We focus on all news stories about a firm, not just those that report on specific CSR initiatives, and find that more socially responsible firms receive more favorable news reportage overall, i.e., they have a more positive media image. These findings are robust after controlling for potential endogeneity. Further, consistent with firms actively managing their media image, we find a stronger relation between CSR and media favorability when incentives to improve a firm s media image are high, e.g., among firms in sin industries, during periods of low investor sentiment, and prior to seasoned equity offerings. Finally, we find that for firms that demonstrate superior social responsibility and receive more favorable news reporting, there is a significant interaction between social responsibility and media favorability that increases (decreases) a firm s equity valuation (cost of capital). Our results are consistent with the media slanting their reporting in favor of good performing CSR firms. Overall, we contribute to the literature by showing that firms can influence their media coverage through a relatively subtle channel, CSR performance.
Cahan, S. F., Chen, C., Chen, L., & Nguyen, N. H. (2015). Corporate social responsibility and media coverage. Journal of Banking and Finance, 59, 409 - 422. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbankfin.2015.07.004