Reading Twitter in the Newsroom: Web 2.0 and Traditional-Media Reporting of Conflicts

79 Pages Posted: 18 May 2021 Last revised: 30 Aug 2021

See all articles by Sophie Hatte

Sophie Hatte

ENS de Lyon

Etienne Madinier

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 15, 2021

Abstract

User-generated online content changes traditional-media news on conflicts. Online posts by citizen journalists — first-hand witnesses of conflict events — change the extent, tonality, and content of traditional-media reporting of conflicts. Using an exogenous and excludable variation in online posts in Israel and Palestine, driven by internet outages as a result of lightning strikes and technical failures, we show that, when the internet in the conflict zone is not muted by outages, conflict news stories on US TV are more numerous and longer. Text analyses reveal that these stories have higher emotional intensity and focus more on the suffering of civilians and less on the role of US foreign policy or elections. They also cite social media sources more. The results suggest that social-media-driven democratization of the conflict news, i.e., the shift of focus from information provided by war gatekeepers to information from ordinary people, helps the narrative on the side of the conflict that has more civilian casualties.

Keywords: Social Media, Traditional Media, Conflicts, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Twitter

Suggested Citation

Hatte, Sophie and Madinier, Etienne and Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, Reading Twitter in the Newsroom: Web 2.0 and Traditional-Media Reporting of Conflicts (May 15, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3845739 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3845739

Sophie Hatte

ENS de Lyon ( email )

Lyon
France

Etienne Madinier

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya (Contact Author)

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

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