The Quality of Tweets and the Adoption of Journalistic Norms

Results of a Large-Scale Content Analysis


The article explores how German news organizations and journalists use Twitter in comparison to non-journalistic users. We conducted a content analysis of the communication on the topic of government surveillance. All tweets were analyzed to explore three journalistic norms: (1) impartiality, (2) the gatekeeping role of journalistic outlets, and (3) accountability. The results showed that tweets from journalistic sources differed in aspects of all three analyzed journalistic norms from those of non-journalistic sources, who only in some cases adopted journalistic norms. Media accounts did not greatly diverge from their gatekeeping role, mostly retweeting other media accounts, while spokespersons retweeted citizens, media, and other spokespersons equally. Non-journalistic sources, on the other hand, seem to adhere to aspects of the norm of accountability significantly more than journalists on Twitter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication Studies and Media ResearchLMU MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.Department for Computer Science and applied Cognitive ScienceUniversity of Duisburg-EssenDuisburgGermany

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