Twitter’s influence on news judgment: An experiment among journalists

Saga Journals

United States

Category Editorial research

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Overview

The literature suggests that journalists give a substantial amount of attention to Twitter and use the platform widely, but the impact of that use on news judgment has not been assessed. We hypothesize that Twitter affects journalists’ news judgment, impacting coverage decisions. To test this, we conducted an online survey experiment on working US journalists (N?=?212). We find that journalists who use Twitter less in their work discount news they see on the platform, potentially causing them to dismiss information that many of their colleagues identify as newsworthy. Our results also indicate that the routinization of Twitter into news production affects news judgment – for journalists who incorporate Twitter into their reporting routines, and those with fewer years of experience, Twitter has become so normalized that tweets were deemed equally newsworthy as headlines appearing to be from the AP wire. This may have negative implications, such as pack journalism, but we also see positives, as Twitter may conduit a wider array of voices into the mainstream news agenda. Twitter plays a key role in journalistic practices including, as we demonstrate here, influencing journalists’ news judgment. Twitter’s growing centrality in the news process warrants greater scrutiny from journalists and scholars.

Methodology

An online survey experiment on working US journalists (N?=?212).

Reach of Media Related to the Research

national media digital

Type of Media Related to the Research

Cross-media