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ARTICLE: Journalistic identity is being reforged on Twitter

Untitled by ptdh, licence CC0 1.0

Journalists are reformulating their professional identity on Twitter, writes Ulrika Olausson of Jönköping University. The author analyzed 197 tweets and re-tweets sent by a well-known Swedish journalist and social-media active Niklas Svensson.

According to Olausson, the tweets contain several different identity discourses, some of which are challenging the hegemonic journalistic watchdog-identity. For example, the practice of snapping casual ‘selfies’ with politicians is a step away from the detached and adversarial attitude often associated with journalist-interviewee relations.

On the other hand, some of Svensson’s tweets reinforce the traditional journalistic identity. For example, the audience is asked over what topics a to-be interviewee should be interrogated about – the journalist thus taking on the role of servant to the people.

The manifestation of partially contradictory identities is, to Olausson, a part of the renegotiation process of journalistic identity. Only time will tell into what form the journalistic identity will eventually evolve, and whether Svensson’s tweets are representative of the entire journalistic profession, the author concludes.

The article The reinvented journalist was published by the journal Digital Journalism. It is available online (abstract free).

Picture: Untitled by ptdh, licence CC0 1.0.

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