@Todayin1963: Commemorative journalism, digital collective remembering, and the March on Washington

Brendan R. Watson, Michelle Simin Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study uses content analysis and social network analysis methods to examine the process of collective remembering during National Public Radio's (NPR) novel use of Twitter to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Specifically, this study explores the extent to which NPR's coverage followed “conventionalized” patterns of traditional news coverage, including the “protest paradigm,” which obscure the specific civil rights demands at the heart of the march. Twitter's social network data also make it possible to visualize and examine the users’ active participation in collective remembering, and whether that participation changes which aspects of the coverage—and the march—are ultimately most salient for collective memory retrieval. However, the “most influential” Twitter accounts in the network that developed around the @todayin1963 coverage that this study focuses on are among those institutions and individuals who have traditionally had more cultural authority over collective memory. Thus, the data end up challenging the extent to which Twitter has altered those power structures that determine whose memories of important historic events dominate, and whose do not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1010-1029
Number of pages20
JournalJournalism Studies
Volume17
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 16 2016

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Keywords

  • March on Washington
  • NPR
  • Twitter
  • collective memory
  • commemorative journalism
  • protest paradigm

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