Social media is an important tool for journalists in their work. Does the use change depending on the age of the journalist? Petter Bae Brandtzaeg of Sintef Digital and Marían Ángeles Chaparro Domínguez of Universidad Internacional de La Rioja, studied how Norwegian journalists use social media for newsgathering. They did in-depth interviews and compared practices of eight younger and eight older journalists.
The researchers found a generational gap in using social media for newsgathering. Based on the results, younger journalists seem to get a more varied range of influences using social media.
The younger journalists (median age 24) reported using social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and sometimes even Tinder, to find news observations,, political information sources and comments. Older journalists (median age 50) relied much more on elite sources on Twitter. The younger participants mainly saw Twitter as a channel for a few, where journalists talk to other journalists.
The younger journalists seem to reach new ‘networked publics’ not available or known to the older journalists interviewed, the authors state. They seemed to “better leverage the affordances of various social media platforms”, they conclude.
The article “A Gap in Networked Publics?” was published in Nordicom Review and is freely available online (open access).
Picture: Network by Quinn Dombrowski, license CC BY-SA 2.0