2004
Volume 41, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1384-6930
  • E-ISSN: 1875-7286

Abstract

Social media and old routines. The role of social media in the TV news coverage of the Arab Spring

Social media and old routines. The role of social media in the TV news coverage of the Arab Spring

This study investigates the use of social media as a source of information for Belgian broadcast journalists covering the Arab Spring in 2011. We conducted a content analysis of the 7 o’clock news on the Flemish public broadcasting channel Eén and its commercial competitor VTM, from January 1st till March 31st. We found that user-generated content from YouTube contributed to 30% of all news items about the Arab Spring, while 8% of the news items referred to social media other than YouTube. Interviews with four foreign news editors confirm the growing importance of social media for newsgathering despite the professional prudence with respect to the veracity of user-generated content. At the same time, however, the increased use and visibility of social media in the foreign news does not seem to affect the dominance of institutional sources, such as major news agencies Reuters and APTN and international media like BBC and CNN. The study concludes that conventional routines and standards of professional gatekeeping shape the use of social media in contemporary journalism.

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2013-09-01
2022-01-20
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