Crossing the line between news and the business of news: Exploring journalists' use of twitter

Authors: Jukes, S.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/31885/

Journal: Media and Communication

Volume: 7

Issue: 1: Journalism and Social Media: Redistribution of Power?

The normative practices and unwritten rules of Anglo-American journalism that emerged in the late 19th Century have typically drawn a firm dividing line between those who report the news and those who run the business of news. This boundary, often referred to in the West as a 'Chinese Wall', is designed to uphold the independence of journalists from commercial interests or the whims of news proprietors. In traditional mainstream news organisations, the dividing line has often been a physical separation, with newsrooms and advertising departments housed on different floors - never the twain shall meet. But does this separation still exist in today's age of social media and at a time when news revenues are under unprecedented pressure? This paper explores journalists' use of Twitter as a now ubiquitous tool in the newsroom and focuses specifically on the practice of promoting their own stories or 'personal brand'. Are they stepping over a forbidden line and blurring the lines between news and the business? Or is this now viewed as an acceptable practice to promote a news organisation and support its financial viability? This paper explores, through a series of interviews with prominent journalists who tweet on a daily basis, the fine dividing line between dissemination of news and promotion of brand. It draws on a conceptual framework of boundary work (Carlson & Lewis, 2015) to pose the question whether such practice has now become accepted and normalised in today's news ecology. The paper also investigates the attitudes of news managers and editorial policy makers in the United Kingdom. Do they expect their journalists to engage in promotion of their stories through Twitter and to actively promote the organisation's news brand? If so, is this now part of their job description and is their Twitter activity monitored or subject to targets? At a time of digital disruption when what it means to be a journalist is being redefined, is one of the core dividing lines of journalism about to be crossed? Or has it in fact already been crossed and nobody really noticed?

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Authors: Jukes, S.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/31885/

Journal: Media and Communication

Volume: 7

Issue: 1 JournalismandSocialMedia

Pages: 248-258

eISSN: 2183-2439

DOI: 10.17645/mac.v7i1.1772

© 2019 by the author. Anglo-American journalism has typically drawn a firm dividing line between those who report the news and those who run the business of news. This boundary, often referred to in the West as a ‘Chinese Wall’, is designed to uphold the independence of journalists from commercial interests or the whims of news proprietors. But does this separation still exist in today’s age of social media and at a time when news revenues are under unprecedented pressure? This article focuses on Twitter, now a widely used tool in the newsroom, analysing the Twitter output of 10 UK political correspondents during the busy party conference season. It examines how they promote their own stories or ‘personal brand’ and whether they are stepping over a once forbidden line, blurring the boundary between news and the business. The research is complemented by interviews with political correspondents and analysis of editorial codes of practice on the use of social media. It draws on a conceptual framework of boundary work (Carlson & Lewis, 2015) to pose the question whether such practice has now become accepted and normalised. The findings suggest that the 10 political correspondents are highly individualistic in their use of Twitter but all have embraced its use to promote their own work plus that of colleagues both inside their own organisation and those working for rival news outlets. Their acceptance of Twitter as a tool for self-promotion and branding suggests that in this area of reporting the practice has become normalised and the wall has been breached.

This data was imported from Web of Science (Lite):

Authors: Jukes, S.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/31885/

Journal: MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION

Volume: 7

Issue: 1

Pages: 248-258

ISSN: 2183-2439

DOI: 10.17645/mac.v7i1.1772

The data on this page was last updated at 11:59 on June 25, 2019.