Social media in the newspaper newsroom : the professional use of Facebook and Twitter at Rapport and The Mail & Guardian

Date: November 6, 2012
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In a time of uncertainty for newspapers due in part to dwindling circulation, loss of advertising revenue and declining readership, Internet-based technologies have continued to grow. The unprecedented rise of social media, of which Facebook and Twitter are wellknown examples, has not gone unnoticed by the newspaper community. Despite their initial misgivings about the credibility of the information disseminated on these media, mainstream journalists worldwide have gradually started to adopt social media as professional tools. Social media serve as channels that help to funnel information towards journalists. Some newspaper journalists also use these media to broadcast news and promote their personal brands. The continued use of social media on a professional level will arguably have an impact on the daily routines and cultures within a newsroom. Academic research in this area is limited, especially within the South African context. This study explores whether the professional use of social media, with specific reference to Facebook and Twitter, influences the processes and cultures of news selection and presentation at the South Africa newspapers Rapport and the Mail & Guardian. A newsroom study within a social constructionism paradigm employed a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, including self-administered questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and ethnography. The main findings of this study were that the majority of journalists at Rapport and the Mail & Guardian used Facebook and Twitter actively on a professional level À“ mainly for trend tracking. The newsroom cultures were open and encouraging towards social media use. Journalists were also aware that social media create opportunities for their audiences to challenge the traditional roles of journalists and the realities constructed by the mainstream media. According to the journalists from Rapport and the Mail & Guardian the professional use of social media had not significantly altered their processes of news selection and presentation.

Publisher: Stellenbosch University
Year of Publication: 2012
Download : 15498_social_media_newsroom_jordaan_social_2012.pdf

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