NORMALIZING TWITTER: Journalism practice in an emerging communication space

Dominic L. Lasorsa, Seth C. Lewis, Avery E. Holton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

633 Scopus citations


This study examines how mainstream journalists who microblog negotiate their professional norms and practices in a new media format that directly challenges them. Through a content analysis of more than 22,000 of their tweets (postings) on the microblog platform Twitter, this study reveals that the journalists more freely express opinions, a common microblogging practice but one which contests the journalistic norm of objectivity (impartiality and nonpartisanship). To a lesser extent, the journalists also adopted two other norm-related microblogging features: providing accountability and transparency regarding how they conduct their work, and sharing user-generated content with their followers. The journalists working for national newspapers, national television news divisions, and cable news networks were less inclined in their tweets than their counterparts working for less "elite" news outlets, to relinquish their gatekeeping role by sharing their stage with other news gatherers and commentators, or to provide accountability and transparency by providing information about their jobs, engaging in discussions with other tweeters, writing about their personal lives, or linking to external websites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-36
Number of pages18
JournalJournalism Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • Twitter
  • content analysis
  • journalists
  • microblogging
  • norms
  • social media


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