In the digital age of consuming news anytime and anywhere, social media has become an important channel for journalists to collect and report news and engage with consumers.
Since the rise of social media as a “transparent,” “interactive” and “real-time” media source, news networks that encourage journalists to engage with social media develop a positive and accountable relationship with platforms like Twitter and Facebook, according to a 2018 study.
Assistant professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Toledo, Dr. Yanfang Wu conducted the study of 1,063 news journalists. They responded to an online, self-administrated survey to determine whether engaging with social media influences their perception of social media as a tool for accountability or as a threat. Of the respondents, 54.4% were men and 45.6% were women. Ages ranged from 22 to 24.
Social media accountability is the “commitment by journalists to engage others, both journalists and the public, in an open and public discussion of the press practices and performance.”
The perception of social media among journalists has a direct effect on the engagement but not the attitude towards it. Likewise, the engagement within social media platforms has a direct effect on the perception of social media accountability.
Although the relationship between social media accountability and perception of social media as a threat to journalism are negatively associated with one another, the two can still co-exist. For example, journalists can simultaneously believe that social media is a positive tool for reporting and engagement while also believing it is undermining.
Wu, Y. (2018). Social media engagement in the digital age: Accountability or threats. Newspaper Research Journal, 39(3), 287–296. https://doi.org/10.1177/0739532918796236