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  2. SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY #Ferguson strategic messaging Would using Twitter in a time of crisis alter journalists’ norms and practices and affect the approach used by activists?
  3. SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY Local journalists Job roles • Objectivity • Autonomy • Immediacy • Analysis • Watchdogs Journalists on Twitter • Share info & breaking news • Engage in conversations • Express opinions
  4. SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY Local activists Communication tactics • Informational (facts) • Symbolic (protests) • Organizing (face-to-face) • Litigious (petitions, lawsuits) • Civil disobedience (trespass, illegal) • Emotional (appeals, evocative) • Dialogic (conversations)
  5. SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY Message frames Criticism/support • Police • Protestors/activists • City • Society • Media Additional • Call to action • Conversation • Neutral/factual info
  6. SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY General Twitter practices No differences • Original tweets v. retweets • Use of hashtags • Favorites & retweets Frequent hashtags • #Ferguson • #MikeBrown • #STL • #FergusonSolidarity • #JusticeforMike
  7. SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY Message strategies Journalists Activists Informational 78.3% 50% Emotional 12.4% 43.1% Symbolic 1.2% 5.0% Organizing 1.2% 5.0%
  8. SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY Message frames Journalists Activists Factual info 63.8% 30% Conversations 20.6% 11.2% Opinion 8.4% 41.5% Call to action 2.3% 6.5% Other 4.9% 10.8%
  9. SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY Takeaways • Journalists & activists used message strategies & frames in ways consistent with established practices • Focus on information- sharing • Lack of reflection
  10. SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY Further research • Retweet & favorite patterns of Ferguson tweets • Journalists & activists: Information-sharing • Activists: Self-expression
  11. SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY Questions @amberhinsley

Editor's Notes

  1. How journalists and activists used Twitter to disseminate information about the events in Ferguson How their tactics varied in the week following Brown’s death Shared gatekeeping space How were they helping to make meaning via Twitter of the events in Ferguson
  2. Local journalists & activists: comparable analysis of people connected to the area More than half of all journalists use social media – enact their job roles – see utility Crises Journalists rely on professional routines Public relies on news workers to help them make sense of the unfolding unrest Continuous presence at scene=importance & drama of event Research on all types of journalists Breaking with objectivity norm during crisis to express opinion helps validate journalists as truth-tellers in eyes of public Cover crises in predictable ways: chaos, confrontations, arrests – social order Reinforce status quo – focus on conflict, not larger issues Would local journalists act in the same way when the crisis was in their community?
  3. Ferguson activists: unique bc not part of organized group in days after Brown’s death Activist individuals: Community members, clergy, politicians No central strategic communication strategy Social systems created confrontational relationships between minorities and law enforcement limited opportunities for education, employment and advancement in minority populations across the country Content analysis of tweets from activists & journalists based on these communication strategies Did activists rely on these known strategies? How were they communicated on Twitter? How did activists & journalists use Twitter as a communication tool? Did local journalists use some of these same tactics?
  4. Looked at primary message frame in each tweet Journalists & activists: different vested interests, would frames be different? Would their shared connection to the area contribute to similar ways of talking about the situation? Pilot study: 10 local journalists & activists who produced ## tweets in week following Brown’s death Total tweets: About 4,000 This study: About 700
  5. More likely to use original tweets v RTs Recognized public’s desire for new information Similar numbers in use of HTs Contributing to developing narratives about Ferguson Consistent use: Certain ones became dominant & set agenda for how story would trend on Twitter Similar numbers in tweets being favorited/RT’d by others Averages: two groups’ tweets resonated with other users Likely helped spread familiarity with particular hashtags Hashtags: 60% of tweets used them Looked at first and second HTs Similar understanding of common Twitter practice Level playing field: approach to message strategies and framing those messages
  6. Statistically significant differences Coded for multiple strategies within each tweet Both groups acting as gatekeepers to provide info Journalists more likely to do so – rely on professional standards & uphold status quo in crisis Activists: providing info helps shape Ferguson narrative Activists desire to influence others=more present use of emotional message tactics Activists: symbolic & organizing strategies Aligns with practices of more established advocacy organizations Both groups: Message tactics closely aligned with expected practices for both
  7. Collapsed original 14 frames into these 5 Statistically significant differences Activists used Twitter to voice range of opinions & issue calls to action Challenge current conditions & promote change Journalists: far less likely to do those things Conversations & objective reporting Mostly real-time tweets of events in Ferguson (law & order) Some coverage of larger issues of inequality
  8. Journalists & activists constructed Twitter messages in expected ways How they understood they should act Info sharing: instantaneity (Papacharissi & de Fatima Oliveira) Live-tweeting events Incomplete narrative—purely reactionary No time to process & reflect: Journalists & activists rely on routines of their work to guide comm practices Used relative safety of roles in crafting messages & framing Ferguson narrative
  9. Which types of tweets from journalists & activists were most likely to get RT’d & favorited? RTs & favorites=what resonates with the public RTs & favorites as indicators of media use motivations Information Self-expression Social interaction Call to action Most often: informational tweets Powerful audience motivation to learn more about the turmoil re: Brown’s death Activists: audience’s desire to learn what activists had to say about the crisis in Ferguson Audience not as likely to RT or favorite calls to action Not as likely to RT or favorite emotional appeals – fine line between opinion and emotional statements Twitter messages from journalists and activists that fit the dominant expectations of each group appear to be more resonant with the public Some evidence of public’s cognitive difference bet RT/favoriting certain types of message strategies Activists’ symbolic messages (protest participation) more likely to get favorited than RT’d Equivalent of support? Hopefully present this research at conference this summer