Annnd here is a gif of romney playing jenga, if that doesn’t warm their hearts, I don’t know what else will =)
I love Big Bird
I love Big Bird: How Journalists
Tweeted Humor during the 2012
Rachel Reis Mourao, Trevor Diehl
and Krishnan Vasudevan
Do journalists have a sense of humor?
Traditionally, political reporters have restrained their sense of
humor in exchange for adherence to professional norms like
objectivity, balance and a suppression of personal opinion
Studies suggest that journalists express themselves more
freely on Twitter, and also tend to be more transparent and
Twitter format rewards savviness. Reporters have embraced
humor as a form of engaging audiences while reporting the
news (Holton & Lewis, 2011; Lasorsa, 2012; Lasorsa, Lewis &
From Aristophanes to Obama
Although American politics is often characterized by its
solemnity, the use of anecdotes, satires, parodies, cartoons,
and political invective exercise an essential function in
releasing tension by criticizing authorities and challenging the
status quo (Schutz, 1977).
In political communication, increasing acceptance that the lines
between entertainment and information are becoming out-of-
date, giving space to a broader definition of “politically relevant
information” (Williams and Carpini, 2011).
However, Stewart and Colbert are not bound by traditional
“Twitter is the central news source for the
Washington-based political news
establishment. This filter-free new
ecosystem is having a profound impact on
how campaign strategists are deciding to
present their candidates to the media and to
To what degree did journalists used political
humor to tweet about the first 2012 Presidential
RQ1: How are journalists’ professional affiliation and position
(commentator versus reporter) associated with their use of
RQ2. How is the use of humor associated with other forms of
H1. The use of political humor is positively associated with retweets.
H2. The use of political humor is positively associated with mentions.
Content analysis: 4,366 tweets from 430 political
journalists during the first 2012 US presidential
debate (October 3, 2012).
Tweets were coded based on the perception of
the journalist’s attempt at humor:
“Is the journalists trying to be funny?”
Humor positively correlated with retweets
Hypothesis 1 accepted
Humor negatively correlated with:
mentions and hyperlinks
Hypothesis 2 rejected
To what degree did journalists used political humor to
tweet about the first debate?
1) Humor was present across all types of journalists
growing acceptance of the rhetorical device on Twitter,
marking a break with traditional reporting practices.
2) Slightly larger percentage of humorous tweets among
3) Minor differences between non-commentators and
4) One Twitter activity is clearly linked to humor: the
Why is this important?
Journalists have always indulged in humor. Social media simply
elevates the level of transparency, revealing the “sausage-making”
of news work.
Retweeting has become a socially acceptable way to convey, and
perhaps encourage, a rhetorical device not normally associated with
Humor might be a means to effectively challenge or subvert elite
news discourses that have long dominated the field of political