Michael L. Barthel, Ruth Moon, and William Mari. (March 5, 2015). Who Retweets Whom? How Digital and Legacy Journalists Interact on Twitter. Tow Center for Digital Journalism. Tow/Knight Report 030520151. 21 pp. New York, New York.
“The digital environment would seem to offer exciting new opportunities for both competition and collaboration. Twitter, in particular, has served as a platform for journalists to gain visibility, credibility, and prestige independent of existing organizations, as well as to collaborate in newsgathering and production. Twitter provides new affordances and constraints that govern different patterns of interaction than seen in print journalism. Twitter abounds with examples of reporters publicizing their newsgathering in real time, showing not only what information they consider important, but also where the information comes from. Digital journalists in particular might be expected to thrive in a professional environment where first-line newsgathering and news distribution occurs, in whole or in part, online. But these longstanding divisions between traditional and digital journalists seem to persist. Research has found that while digital journalists link to both online and traditional content, those from traditional news organizations tend to limit their links to stories from other traditional news organizations. Is this pattern replicated on Twitter? Do digital and traditional journalists mainly retweet information from their own parts of the media landscape? If we see robust connections between traditional and digital journalists, we could conclude that Twitter has helped to lower professional barriers and has opened up traditional journalists to the validity of their online colleagues’ work. But if we see few connections, it would indicate that differences in prestige and awareness persist, even as the barriers to the free flow of information have been reduced.”