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How journalists

use Twitter*
Frank Michael Russell, doctoral student!
University of Missouri School of Journalism!
#ISOJ | April 18, 2015
*Journalists, Gatekeeping, and Social Interaction on Twitter:
Differences by Beat and Media Type for Newspaper and Online News
*Journalists, Gatekeeping, and Social Interaction on Twitter:
Differences by Beat and Media Type for Newspaper and Online News
“J-tweeters appear to be normalizing microblogs to fit
into their existing norms and practices but, at the same
time, they appear to be adjusting these professional
norms and practices to the evolving norms and
practices ofTwitter.”!
(Lasorsa, Lewis, & Holton, 2012)
*Journalists, Gatekeeping, and Social Interaction on Twitter:
Differences by Beat and Media Type for Newspaper and Online News
“Twitter presents … the possibility for changes to
journalistic norms—i.e., for journalists to be more open
with opinions, more liberal in sharing their gatekeeping
role …”!
(Lasorsa et al., 2012)
*Journalists, Gatekeeping, and Social Interaction on Twitter:
Differences by Beat and Media Type for Newspaper and Online News
“With the ethics of participation and reciprocity
existing alongside each other, news organizations can
help build stronger communities and further cement
their own roles in those communities.”!
(Lewis, Holton, & Coddington, 2014)
*Journalists, Gatekeeping, and Social Interaction on Twitter:
Differences by Beat and Media Type for Newspaper and Online News
“Journalists were active on

Twitter during a prominent political crisis. … Journalists

often usedTwitter to promote their own work or to
share articles by or interact with colleagues from their
own news organizations.”!
(Russell, Hendricks, Choi, & Stephens, 2015)
*Journalists, Gatekeeping, and Social Interaction on Twitter:
Differences by Beat and Media Type for Newspaper and Online News
“Twitter andWeb content have enabled reporters to
enhance their notoriety and networking within the U.S.
sports media profession.”!
(Kian & Murray, 2014)
*Journalists, Gatekeeping, and Social Interaction on Twitter:
Differences by Beat and Media Type for Newspaper and Online News
Business “journalists embrace the concept of social
media more than they enact the practices.”!
(Lariscy,Avery, Sweetser, & Howes, 2009)
*Journalists, Gatekeeping, and Social Interaction on Twitter: 

Differences by Beat and Media Type for Newspaper and Online News
“Innovation is the key to the viability of news media in
the digital age, as demonstrated by both long- and
short-term patterns.”!
(Pavlik, 2013)
Prestige
Newspapers
Metro
Newspapers
Entrepreneurial
Websites
Public

Affairs
Sports
Business/

Technology
The study
• Coders categorized retweets and @mentions as
“same news outlet,” “other news media,” “official
information source,” “public,” “unclear,” and “none.”!
• They also noted whether journalists added their own
text to retweets.!
• Sample of tweets (n = 900) collected during one-
month period (May 9 to June 7, 2014).
Differences by beat
• Sports journalists were most active on Twitter,
followed by public affairs, business/tech journalists.!
• Public-affairs journalists seemed more careful in their
Twitter use, more likely to RT other news media.!
• Sports journalists more likely to engage with the
public, less likely to RT other news media.!
• Business/tech journalists’ tweets were more likely to
include @mentions of official information sources.
Differences by media type
• Fewer differences were found by media type than by
beat.!
• Online-only journalists were somewhat more active
on Twitter than prestige newspaper journalists. Both
groups were far more active than metro newspaper
journalists.!
• Overall, journalists were more similar than different
in how they used the RT and @mention functions of
Twitter.
Thank you!
@fmrussell

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Russell

  • 1. How journalists
 use Twitter* Frank Michael Russell, doctoral student! University of Missouri School of Journalism! #ISOJ | April 18, 2015
  • 2. *Journalists, Gatekeeping, and Social Interaction on Twitter: Differences by Beat and Media Type for Newspaper and Online News
  • 3. *Journalists, Gatekeeping, and Social Interaction on Twitter: Differences by Beat and Media Type for Newspaper and Online News “J-tweeters appear to be normalizing microblogs to fit into their existing norms and practices but, at the same time, they appear to be adjusting these professional norms and practices to the evolving norms and practices ofTwitter.”! (Lasorsa, Lewis, & Holton, 2012)
  • 4. *Journalists, Gatekeeping, and Social Interaction on Twitter: Differences by Beat and Media Type for Newspaper and Online News “Twitter presents … the possibility for changes to journalistic norms—i.e., for journalists to be more open with opinions, more liberal in sharing their gatekeeping role …”! (Lasorsa et al., 2012)
  • 5. *Journalists, Gatekeeping, and Social Interaction on Twitter: Differences by Beat and Media Type for Newspaper and Online News “With the ethics of participation and reciprocity existing alongside each other, news organizations can help build stronger communities and further cement their own roles in those communities.”! (Lewis, Holton, & Coddington, 2014)
  • 6. *Journalists, Gatekeeping, and Social Interaction on Twitter: Differences by Beat and Media Type for Newspaper and Online News “Journalists were active on
 Twitter during a prominent political crisis. … Journalists
 often usedTwitter to promote their own work or to share articles by or interact with colleagues from their own news organizations.”! (Russell, Hendricks, Choi, & Stephens, 2015)
  • 7. *Journalists, Gatekeeping, and Social Interaction on Twitter: Differences by Beat and Media Type for Newspaper and Online News “Twitter andWeb content have enabled reporters to enhance their notoriety and networking within the U.S. sports media profession.”! (Kian & Murray, 2014)
  • 8. *Journalists, Gatekeeping, and Social Interaction on Twitter: Differences by Beat and Media Type for Newspaper and Online News Business “journalists embrace the concept of social media more than they enact the practices.”! (Lariscy,Avery, Sweetser, & Howes, 2009)
  • 9. *Journalists, Gatekeeping, and Social Interaction on Twitter: 
 Differences by Beat and Media Type for Newspaper and Online News “Innovation is the key to the viability of news media in the digital age, as demonstrated by both long- and short-term patterns.”! (Pavlik, 2013)
  • 11. The study • Coders categorized retweets and @mentions as “same news outlet,” “other news media,” “official information source,” “public,” “unclear,” and “none.”! • They also noted whether journalists added their own text to retweets.! • Sample of tweets (n = 900) collected during one- month period (May 9 to June 7, 2014).
  • 12. Differences by beat • Sports journalists were most active on Twitter, followed by public affairs, business/tech journalists.! • Public-affairs journalists seemed more careful in their Twitter use, more likely to RT other news media.! • Sports journalists more likely to engage with the public, less likely to RT other news media.! • Business/tech journalists’ tweets were more likely to include @mentions of official information sources.
  • 13. Differences by media type • Fewer differences were found by media type than by beat.! • Online-only journalists were somewhat more active on Twitter than prestige newspaper journalists. Both groups were far more active than metro newspaper journalists.! • Overall, journalists were more similar than different in how they used the RT and @mention functions of Twitter.