Implications of Twitter Use in Professional Journalism

Topics: Twitter, Mass media, Journalism Pages: 7 (2177 words) Published: December 16, 2012

Tweeting the News:
Implications of Twitter Use in Professional Journalism
Ashley Sullivan
University of Texas at Austin

This literature review examines the existing research on twitter usage by professional journalists. It draws upon both the positive and negative effects of the incorporation of Twitter in the field of journalism in order to determine if its use is worth the potential risks that it poses. This research paper recognizes the interaction between Twitter and Journalism core principles and job functions and notes in what ways they coincide and disagree with each other. The findings of this litrerature review piece together the different variables that are affected by twitter usage to create a holistic overview that gives new insight into whether use of social media like Twitter is something that will preserve the future of professional journalism or prove to be detrimental, or both.

The use of twitter in the world of professional journalism has become commonplace. It is practically a necessity for modern-day journalist to be active on twitter. Every major news organization has a twitter page and journalists use their own twitter accounts as digital platforms. Some of the elite media outlets have twitter followings that are almost as large as their newspaper circulations or television viewership (Farhi 2009). Anyone can be on twitter, and anyone can “tweet” news or information, but the adoption of Twitter by professional journalists is an entirely different situation with its own set of implications. Journalism is built on principles that most journalists take seriously and base their work upon. However, if the adoption and use of social media sites like Twitter begin to negate those principles, it could be detrimental to the future of journalism. Mainstream journalists who use Twitter to microblog negotiate their professional norms and practices in a new media format that directly challenges them (Lasorsa, Lewis & Holton 2011). In order to be true to it’s core purpose, journalism must abide by and carry out the principles and regulations that govern it. As with any new modification to an existing system, the synthesis of social media and journalism elicits changes to basic job functions (Clayfield 2011). Essentially, it boils down to the question of whether or not twitter usage in journalism is mostly beneficial or if the risks counteract the benefits. It’s hard to say which is true because twitter is a relatively new resource for journalism and twitter patterns are likely to evolve as the application evolves. TWEETING THE NEWS 4 But whether deemed beneficial or not, journalism has to continue evolving in order to adapt or it won’t survive. When used constructively, twitter can be a very useful tool for journalists. However the principles of journalism are in place for a reason and when social media usage impedes upon them, it lowers standards in the field and jeopardizes the reliability of the news that’s consumed on a day-to-day basis. RESEARCH QUESTION

This research paper sets out to determine what exactly are the effects of journalist’s adoption of Twitter as a norm and what are the implications of using the social media site as a journalistic tool. There are many different aspects of journalism that can be affected by the use of Twitter. As mentioned before, the principles of journalism are subject to question...
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