Work practices and interactions with peers influence how journalists use social media. Matthew Powers, of the University of Washington, and Sandra Vera-Zambrano, of Universidad Iberoamericana, examined journalists’ use of social media in France and United States. They interviewed 60 journalists from Seattle and Toulouse.
Journalists in both countries perform similar routine tasks in social media: gather information, monitor sources, and develop story ideas, for example. Contrary to some previous findings about technological convergence, the research shows that only some technological affordances are adopted in both cases.
National settings influence how journalists use social media, the study states. With its reliance on commercial funding and limited labor protections, American journalism encourages individual reporters to engage with audiences. In France, news organizations are incentivized to reach audiences via social media, while individual journalists tend to focus on engaging with their peers. The use of social media also varies based on editorial position and professional experience.
“Journalistic practices continue to vary in the digital age”, the authors conclude.
The article “How journalists use social media in France and the United States“ was published in New Media & Society and is available online (free abstract).
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