For journalists and newsrooms, Twitter has emerged as a respected source of information. But what are the main factors that affect its diffusion, adoption and speed of implementation in newsroom?
In order to understand how Twitter is being used and its benefits to reporters and their newspapers, Alecia Swasy, journalism professor at the Washington and Lee University, conducted a study of four U.S. metropolitan newspapers: the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Dallas Morning News, the Denver Post and the Tampa Bay Times, drawing on the diffusion of innovation theory. The researcher interviewed 50 journalists of four newspapers.
More than half of journalists said they adopted Twitter because they first observed others using it. The most important communication channel in the adoption of Twitter in newsrooms was the influence of colleagues.
A challenge facing journalists using Twitter was navigating the line between their personal and professional lives. “I was watching a baseball game and the pitcher for the Rangers was in the 9th inning and it was a perfect game,” one journalist said. “He gave up a hit. I used the F-word multiple times. I heard from a boss the next day. It wasn’t a finger-wagging. It was more of a gentle hand on the shoulder and a reminder of that probably wasn’t the best idea. He handled it very well.”
The researcher found that journalists needed to feel the support of senior management if they were going to feel brave enough to experiment with Twitter. Part of that was the culture of the newsroom. Quotas did not seem to work. Some at the Dallas Morning News viewed social media as just another task to check off the “to do” list, even guessing at numbers on the monthly reports to their bosses.
Journalists appeared to respond better to their self-imposed goals, such as the friendly competition to see who could gain the most followers. Ultimately, journalists embraced Twitter because it provides instant gratification from followers, allowing them to share stories with a broader, global audience.
To read the full text of the study: http://bit.ly/2j02K3x
Swasy, A. (2016). A little birdie told Me: Factors that influence the diffusion of Twitter in newsrooms. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 60(4), 643-656.