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Abstract

This article investigates the complex issue of journalists’ branding and digital identity on Twitter. The challenge for journalists is to meet both one’s own media employer’s and the public’s expectations. Some journalists, designated in this article as “nonrepresentative,” apply a “disclaimer strategy” by mentioning the formula My tweets are my own in their profiles. In this article, we propose to compare the use of Twitter between these journalists and those who do not employ this kind of formula through a content analysis of their tweets. Results reveal four common types of journalists’ branding: corporate branding, professional self-branding, institutional branding, and personal self-branding. We show that nonrepresentative journalists are mainly using Twitter in a professional way. Like representative journalists, they normalize their messages, even if they diffuse more personal life content. These findings suggest that journalists behave as a homogeneous group on Twitter, despite the “disclaimer strategy” they may use.
For Peer Review Only
My tweet
s are (not) my own!
Journal:
Popular Communication
Manuscript ID
Draft
Manuscript Type:
Original Article
Keywords:
Branding, Twitter, disclaimer, journalist, digital identity
URL: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/popcomm Email: popularcommunication@ims.su.se
Popular Communication
For Peer Review Only
1
My tweets are (not) my own! “Normalizing” journalists’ branding and
digital identity on Twitter
This article investigates the complex issue of journalists’ branding and digital identity
on Twitter. The challenge for journalists is to meet both one’s own media employer and
the public’s expectations. Some journalists, designated in this paper as “non-
representative”, apply a “disclaimer strategy” by mentioning the formula My tweets are
my own in their profiles. In this paper, we propose to compare the use of Twitter
between these journalists and those who do not employ this kind of formula through a
content analysis of their tweets. Results reveal four common types of journalists’
branding: corporate branding, professional self-branding, institutional branding, and
personal self-branding. We show that non-representative journalists are mainly using
Twitter in a professional way. Like representative journalists, they normalize their
messages, even if they diffuse more personal life content. These findings suggest that
journalists behave as a homogenous group on Twitter, despite the “disclaimer strategy”
they may use.
Keywords: journalist; branding; Twitter; disclaimer; digital identity
Introduction
The use of social media platforms by journalists and media companies has become significant
and has re-engineered journalism (Bell & Taylor, 2017). On the microblog platform Twitter,
journalists must deal with traditional journalistic norms and practices but on a medium with
its own logic (Hermida, 2010), mostly used to diffuse opinions and to establish interpersonal
communication (Domingo & al., 2008; Ellison & Boyd, 2013; Hermida, 2010; Lasorsa, 2012;
Noguera-Vivo, 2013; Revers, 2014; Singer, 2005). That leads to a major evolution of the
forms of expression by journalists. Beyond professional practices such as diffusion, sharing
and gathering of information (Ellison & Boyd, 2013; Giles & Pitta, 2009), Twitter is
considered as a powerful tool to express views and judgements and to share personal contents
(Lasorsa, Lewis, & Holton, 2012; Mercier & Pignard-Cheynel, 2014; Noguera-Vivo, 2013).
Thus, the use of this social media seems to challenge the existence of a well-structured
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boundary between journalists’ professional digital identity and personal one (Cardon, 2008).
Confronted to multiple and overlapping audiences such as family, relatives and the public
with a high demand of transparency and engagement (Hedman, 2016; Olausson, 2017b;
Revers, 2014)
they are also guided by the imperatives of professional control demanded by
their employer (Marwick & Boyd, 2011). Therefore, it can be difficult for journalists to
evaluate the kind of content they may diffuse (Bossio & Sacco, 2016). Recent research has
approached this issue in terms of journalistic branding (Canter, 2015; Hanusch & Bruns,
2017; Hedman, 2016; Molyneux & Holton, 2015; Molyneux, Holton, & Lewis, 2017;
Olausson, 2017a, 2017b). These studies show that journalists build distinct brands or
identities on social media to try to face institutional and media companies’ norms and to deal
with their personal and private lives. However, there is still a lack of knowledge regarding
journalistic branding on social media. Specifically, little is known about how journalists
different self-presentation strategies may be related to different branding involvements, in
particular in the case of journalistic contents on Twitter.
This paper seeks to illustrate the complex reality of social media appropriation by
journalists by focusing on two different kinds of journalists’ Twitter profiles: those who
mention their employing company, designated in this paper as “representative” journalists;
and those, designated as “non-representative” journalists, who indicate a My tweets are my
own (or alternative variations) disclaimer, whether they mention their employing company or
not. The goal is to investigate overlaps and differences in terms of tweets’ branding contents,
as one could expect that representative journalists, as ambassadors of their employing media
organization (Hermida, Fletcher, Korell, & Logan, 2012; Larroche, 2013; Mersey, 2009) act
differently compared to non-representative journalists. Furthermore, we aim to contribute to
the existing literature on journalists’ branding by comparing Twitter practices of 30 popular
Belgian, French and Swiss journalists working at different hierarchical levels and in various
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media outlets. We show that four main levels of journalistic branding stand out from the
content analysis of tweets: corporate branding, professional self-branding, institutional
branding, and personal self-branding. We highlight that, in an unexpected way, representative
journalists and non-representative journalists act similarly on Twitter. These findings suggest
that the My tweets are my own disclaimer formula does not perform the expected media
organization detachment role.
Journalists and Twitter: professional and personal uses
With more than 330 million active users per month (Statista, 2018b), Twitter is, in 2018, the
leading micro-blogging site for traditional media outlets and journalists (Revers, 2014;
Hedman, 2016). In 2017, 70% of French journalists spent up two hours a day on social
networks in the framework of their professional activities (Statista, 2018c). Facebook (72%)
and Twitter (69%) are the most popular communication channels among journalists (Statista,
2018a) and they are considered effective tools for sharing and commenting the news
(Hermida, 2010). Scholars have considered professional use of Twitter as an innovative
appropriation as well as a challenge to professional norms. Indeed, social network sites
constitute a new field to expose journalistic standards and ideals (Singer, 2005) and are an
opportunity to renew some professional practices (Mercier & Pignard-Cheynel, 2014)
even
if most contents are said to be normalized to fit traditional ways of news production and
diffusion (Hermida, 2010; Lasorsa, Lewis, & Holton, 2012; Singer, 2005). Social media are
currently integrated into journalists’ professional practices and routines. Various studies in the
United States and in Europe show that journalists are massively present on social media
outlets, particularly on Twitter (Jeanne-Perrier, 2012; Hanusch & Bruns, 2017; Pélissier &
Diallo, 2013). Social interactions with the audience and public participation are some of the
main goals for using social networks (Antheaume, 2013; Neuberger, Vom Hofe, &
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Nuernbergk, 2013). Indeed, engagement with users is considered to be a priority for media
outlets (Mayer, 2011) and is even believed to be a key to the economic sustainability of media
companies (Fallows, 2012), so that to “find, gather, and ‘harvest’ [users’ commenting] efforts
and to stimulate people to contribute is at least as important as producing contents” (Bakker,
2014, p. 598). This engagement results in a change in journalists’ traditional skills and
professional norms. At the same time, scholars have identified challenges that these new uses
pose to professional norms (Singer, 2015). Gatekeeping and gatewatching, which are
considered being shared among journalists and the participatory public, are affected (Bruns,
2011; Hermida, 2010; Lasorsa, 2012), and so is agenda setting, as users “are creating new
topics through hashtags and other mechanisms to promote conversations” (Noguera-Vivo,
2013, p. 95). The presence of the public has an impact on the nature of communication, the
nature of contents and on how these contents are being diffused. It seems that hyperlinking
(e.g., source mentioning in the case of journalists) enhances transparency and accountability
norms (Lasorsa, 2012)
among others. This transparency and openness to the public also
encourages some journalists to provide information about their work-life, share opinions and
even talk about their personal life (Hedman, 2015; Hedman & Djerf-Pierre, 2013; Lasorsa,
2012; Mercier & Pignard-Cheynel, 2014; Noguera-Vivo, 2013), so that they are “deviating
from their role as nonpartisan information providers” (Lasorsa, Lewis, & Holton, 2012, p. 23).
In other words, journalists’ use of social media is not strictly professional (Jeanne-Perrier,
2012; Jeanne-Perrier, Smyrnaios, & Noci, 2015).
The scientific literature about use of social media by journalists therefore suggests
some evident conflicts on one hand between a logic of professional control and transparency
(or openness) to the public (Francoeur, 2013; Lasorsa, 2012; Revers, 2014) and on the other
hand between the professional expectations of media organisations and the motivations of
some journalists who wish to talk freely (Jeanne-Perrier, Smyrnaios, & Noci, 2015).
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Journalists’ digital identity on social media
This
ambiguous tension between professional and personal use of social media leads us to the
issue of digital identity. As stated above, journalists have to find a way to introduce
themselves that respects both the professional and the personal parts of their identity. Past and
recent studies on digital identity and self-representation on social media have underlined how
struggling can this be for users, depending on which social media they use (Cardon, 2008),
and whom they address. According to Lough, Molyneux and Holton (2017), “each social
media platform offers its own properties and affordances, and so the more groups or contexts
the user interacts with on social media, the more fronts that person must curate and present”
(Lough, Molyneux, & Holton, 2017, p. 3). Social network sites offer specific visibility
policies to users, so that they can show or hide certain aspects of their personality (Mercier,
2013). Digital identity on social media can thus be defined as the sum of three interrelated
features. The “declarative” identity (Georges, 2009, p. 172) corresponds to the profile
information indicated by users, which is visible to the audience (profile picture, name,
profession...etc.). The “acting” identity corresponds to the collection of publications and
requests by the user, and the “calculated” identity refers to the number of relations,
subscribers, followers, etc. Another way of defining social media digital identity is to take
into account all the contributions of individuals (Mimeche, Fallery, & Rodhain, 2014) or
considering the sum of all traces of an individual on the 2.0 Web (Merzeau, 2013). Generally,
the majority of researchers indicate that the social construction of an identity is made of a
balance between public and private aspects (Papacharissi, 2012).
When it comes to defining the (digital) identity of journalists, it is important to
remember its complex and permanent changing nature. According to Pélissier (2002),
journalists’ traditional activities evolve continuously, integrating more and more commercial
and technical aspects, which means that their professional identity is shared with other
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professions. Then, professional boundaries are unstable, as journalists today have to face
internal and external pressures coming mainly from time and economical imponderables.
The question of their profession’s legitimacy and their professional norms is more
than ever a major concern on social network sites. Participation and content management,
self-presentation and visibility issues are some of the issues related to the appropriation and
use of social media sites that journalists have to deal with. Moreover, given the multiple
expectations of multiple audiences they have to meet (the public and their employing
organizations), as stated above, managing the digital identity on social media is a very
complex task for journalists.
Journalists’ branding practices on Twitter
In a relatively new set of studies, scholars focusing on the self-representation of journalists
and the representation of their employers on social media outlets have considered their
commercial or motivation oriented message contents as branding (Bossio & Sacco, 2016;
Canter, 2015; Hanusch & Bruns, 2017; Lough, Molyneux, & Holton, 2017; Molyneux,
Holton, & Lewis, 2017; Olausson, 2017a, 2017b). This concept is originally a marketing tool,
which can be generally defined as promoting and differentiating a commercial entity for
customers’ attraction and loyalty (Aaker, 2003). Individuals can however also be considered
as brands (Bendisch, Larsen, & Trueman, 2007). Journalists seek to promote different brand
levels: individual, institutional and organizational (Molyneux, Holton, & Lewis, 2017).
Individual branding refers to one’s self-promotion, as for instance when journalists talk about
their professional achievements. Institutional branding makes reference to the promotion of
the profession of journalism in general whereas organizational branding applies to the media
employer. Indeed, according to scientific research, journalists on social media are believed to
act as sort of ambassadors 2.0 of the media companies for which they work (Hermida & al.,
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2012; Larroche, 2013; Lough, Molyneux, & Holton, 2017; Mersey, 2009). Thus, it is a matter
of professional legitimacy (Jauréguiberry, 2011; Wiik, 2010). In addition, journalists also tend
to act on their own behalf or as an individual brand in order to promote themselves (Mercier,
2013; Noguera-Vivo, 2013), which encourages them to seek relationships with the public (and
their recognition) (Granjon & Denouël, 2010; Honneth, 2005). Given the competitive context
of the media landscape and the crisis of employment in the journalism sector, the need of
personalization has increased (Cottan-Nir & Lehman-Wilzig, 2018; Nessmann, 2009).
These studies have analysed journalists’ branding phenomenon from different
perspectives, but always considering social media as solid popular communication tools for
enhancing personal and/or professional brands (Arruda & Dixson, 2007; Artwick, 2013;
Hedman, 2015; Neuberger, Vom Hofe, & Nuernbergk, 2014; Peters, 1997). In most studies,
both brands are interrelated. A recent study by Hanusch and Bruns (2017), based on the
analysis of more than 4,000 Australian journalists’ Twitter profiles, revealed for instance that
“journalists brand themselves mostly through professional attributes, such as their job title or
the name of their employer, but a significant number also mix these with personal attributes
related to their private lives” (p. 11).
To try to overcome tensions with their media employers, some journalists may create a
private and a professional social media account (Bossio & Sacco, 2016). Indeed, many
examples of reputational damages to media organizations because of journalists’ Tweets have
been outlined since this popular communication tool has been adopted by journalists (Mercier,
2013; Millette, 2013). When using Twitter, a rather popular strategy for gaining autonomy
and avoiding issues with their employers consists in managing a single account, but indicating
disclaimer formulas such as My tweets are my own or my Twitter account is personal
(Fincham, 2015; Hanusch & Bruns, 2017). In general, the use of disclaimers in Twitter
profiles is controversial. Some companies and public relations managers suggest it is useful
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and recommend it or impose it, some argue it is unnecessary and even potentially harmful, as
“it can engender a false sense of security”
1
, because using a disclaimer does not guard against
legal liability. However, in the particular case of journalism, disclaimers are considered as
being part of ethical ‘best practices’ with regard to private opinions (Fincham, 2015 p. 174).
As far as we know, there has been no study focusing on journalists’ personal
expression forms of interacting and publishing under this kind of “regulatory principle” [our
translation] (Mercier, 2013, p.173). In this paper, we propose to fill this knowledge gap by
analysing uses of Twitter by journalists and distinguishing two main categories of journalists,
on the basis of their profile information: representative
journalists and non-representative
journalists. We define representative journalists as those who explicitly choose to mention
their media company in their profile information. This refers to the idea that journalists are
expected to behave exclusively in a professional way on social media (Whitehouse, 2010)
and, that as “celebrities” and human brands (Thomson, 2006), they are associated to their
media employer through an endorsement contract (Jayawardane, 2011; Zamudio, 2016). Non-
representative journalists are those who seem to distance themselves from their employer by
stating a formula such as My tweets are my own in their Twitter profile.
We therefore address two research questions: (RQ1) What part of their professional
and personal identity do the representative and non-representative journalists brand on
Twitter? and (RQ2) to what extent can the differences be linked to the two different kinds of
journalists’ profiles?
The two following hypotheses are formulated: (H1)
representative
journalists tend to
act according to their professional identity; (H2) non-representative journalists tend to act
according to their personal identity. This leads to four operational sub-hypotheses: (H1a)
representative journalists tend to diffuse more corporate branding related tweets than non-
1
Stuart B. (2014, March 3). Why you should drop your Twitter disclaimer. Retrieved from
https://www.ragan.com/why-you-should-drop-your-twitter-disclaimer/
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representative journalists; (H1b) representative journalists tend to diffuse more professional
self-branding related tweets than non-representative journalists; (H2a) non-representative
journalists tend to diffuse more institutional branding related tweets than representative
journalists; and (H2b) non-representative journalists tend to diffuse more personal self-
branding related tweets than representative journalists.
Method
We based our research on a quantitative and qualitative content analysis of the 2014 Twitter
messages of 30 French-speaking journalists based in Belgium, France and Switzerland. The
rationale for a focus on journalists' profiles from these three countries is that they share: (a) a
common language; (b) similar media systems (Hallin & Mancini, 2004); and (c) a French-
speaking tradition of journalistic practices and norms favouring “opinion journalism” (Davier,
2009; Woltersdorff, 2001). These elements suggest the existence of a francophone journalist
(Bonin & al., 2017).
Data selection took place in several stages. Firstly, we looked for journalists’ accounts
on Twitter through the analytic web tool Followerwonk, by entering the keywords "journalist
+ Switzerland", "journalist + Belgium" and "journalist + France". The search results yielded
respectively 320 accounts, 4,700 accounts and 3300 accounts. The list was then refined to
search for profiles that mention one of the following formulas: My tweets are my own; Twitter
account is personal; Views are my own, and their equivalents in French Mes tweets
n’engagent que moi; Compte perso; Tweets perso. We carried out a second refining to ensure
a heterogeneity in the functions held by journalists . At the end, we selected 30 popular (mean
number of followers = 31,015) and active non-representative (n = 15) and representative (n =
15) journalists working as Editors-in-chief, managing editors and journalists. The types of
media outlets they work for are also diverse (public and private television, public and private
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radio, print and web media, news magazine and press agencies) and hold high market reach in
their respective countries. This sample is non-representative, but we argue that it is qualitative
in the sense that it represents profiles which might have a high interest in promoting their
profession, employer or personal brand on Twitter.
Two units of analysis were considered for the research. The first unit is the profile data
of each journalist, which includes a profile image and structured data (number of followers
and number of followings). The second unit is the individual tweet. We used Nvivo to capture
the structured data of profiles and the 2014 tweets of each journalist (n = 24,076). The profile
image and the background illustration of each journalist were manually captured, via
screenshots.
A reduced sample of the last 100 tweets diffused by the journalists
if there were that
many
was analysed qualitatively (n = 2,906). This represents approximately 28% of the total
tweets diffused by all journalists in 2014. Each tweet was manually coded. Mutually exclusive
codes are issued from studies outlined in the review of the literature and also inferred from the
analysis. We coded each tweet according to whether it consisted in corporate branding,
institutional branding, professional self-branding, or personal self-branding (regarding these
four categories, see the authors quoted above). The following variables are defined: corporate
branding contents consist in (a) promoting one’s own media; (b) retrieving news from one’s
own media; (c) incentives for participation to one’s own media; and (d) work life messages
(e.g., comment of a photo taken in the tv-studio). Institutional branding related tweets include
(e) commenting on other media or other journalists’ news; (f) retrieving information from
other media or journalists; (g) retrieving information from other sources; (h) commenting
about other media; and (i) promoting other media or other journalist. Professional self-
branding variable corresponds to (j) professional self-promotion messages (e.g., promotion of
own program, selfie with a guest, retweet of a message that talks about the journalist).
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Personal self-branding includes all messages that are related to (k) the personal life of
journalists (e.g., commenting and sharing private photos). The data analysis was conducted
with SPSS, to compare the mean number of tweets related to each category.
Results
Research questions asked whether there are overlaps and differences between professional
and personal related tweets contents diffused by representative journalists and non-
representative journalists, and if these can be linked to the two different kinds of profiles. To
address these research questions, and in order to get a first general impression of the overall
activity of both groups of journalists on Twitter, we analysed differences in mean numbers of
tweets (original tweets and retweets) in 2014, as well as respective number of followers and
followings. The results show that in 2014, representative journalists tweeted on average about
831 messages. They posted on average 379 original tweets and 452 retweets. Non-
representative journalists tweeted an average number of 774 messages, among these 529
original tweets and 245 retweets. Representative journalists have many more followers than
the non-representative journalists (respectively 48,745 and 13,285 on average), which is quite
expected, as representative journalists accounts could be interpreted as mainly professional.
They also follow fewer individuals (respectively 922 followings and 1,287 followings on
average). However, the differences between both groups for these indicators are not
significant according to the independent samples t-test (p < 0.05), suggesting that
representative and non-representative journalists’ activity on Twitter is quite similar.
[Table 1 near here]
Results from the qualitative content analysis of journalists’ tweets show slightly
different branding attitudes between both groups of journalists. As table 1 shows, the mean
number of institutional branding related tweets of representative journalists (33 tweets) is
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barely higher than that of non-representative journalists (30 tweets). The difference is
however bigger for tweets consisting in retrieving information from other source (average of
10.13 tweets for
representative
journalists and 5.00 for non-representative journalists).
Regarding corporate branding related tweets, results show that representative journalists
tweeted on average 30.0 messages, while non-representative journalists tweeted on average
22.73 messages. For both types of journalists, the majority of messages consist in retrieving
news from one’s own media. In particular, the difference regarding the mean number of
tweets consisting in promoting of one’s own media is large (9.33 vs. 4.73). Professional self-
branding tweets concern about 13 messages of representative journalists, and 8 messages of
non-representative journalists. A more substantial difference can be pointed out regarding the
average number of personal self-branding tweets of both kinds of journalists. Representativ
e
ones sent an average of 17 tweets while non-representative ones sent about 29 personal
messages. Again, these results reflect minor differences in terms of branding attitudes of both
groups of journalists, except for personal self-branding. They tend to confirm hypotheses H1a,
H1b and H2b, and to reject hypothesis H2a indicating that non-representative journalists tend
to diffuse more institutional branding related tweets than representative journalists. As a
consequence, hypothesis H1 tends to be accepted, while H2 tends to be partially rejected.
However, these differences are not statistically significant (p < 0.05) for any of the four (self-)
branding types variables, according to the independent samples t-test conducted (t = 0.204, df
= 28, p = 0.840; t = 0.839, df = 28, p = 0.409; t = 0.723, df = 28, p = 0.475; t = -1.644, df = 28,
p = 0.665).
Representative journalists and non-representative journalists tend to act mostly
according to their professional identity. Nevertheless, there is a relatively high difference in
the average number of tweets related to professional self-branding, suggesting that journalists
showing a clear engagement to their media employers give their Twitter accounts a more
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professional orientation than journalists mentioning an employer disclaimer. While we
expected non-representative journalists to present themselves mostly according to their
personal identity, it seems that disclaimers allow then to simply share a few more personal
related tweets than representative journalists.
Summary and discussion
This study has examined the social media appropriation by journalists and related
implications for managing their professional and personal digital identities. Using the
analytical framework of branding, we aimed to study whether contents diffused by journalists
could be different, specifically when disclaimers are indicated on their Twitter profiles. In line
with previous research, we showed that journalists tend to act professionally on Twitter,
promoting institutional, corporate, and professional self-branding contents. The results of the
analysis of this microblogging platform uses by representative journalists and non-
representative journalists outline that both groups seem to behave as a relatively homogenous
group. Non-representative journalists are using Twitter in a much more professional way than
expected, even if they tend to diffuse more personal life contents than representative
journalists. Just like representative journalists, they follow traditional journalistic norms and
standards, normalizing their content (Lasorsa, 2012) but by using the formula My tweets are
my own, they also allow themselves to act as individual persons, in accordance with both
facets of their digital identity (professional and personal). We argue that this strategy fits into
the journalistic 2.0 practices, which are more largely embedded in an information ecosystem
characterized by a “networked production of news” (Lotan et al., 2011, p.1378), in which
different actors contribute to the co-construction of news.
On one hand, even if this context challenges traditional norms, it also gives rise to
unique opportunities to renew these norms by enabling new practices and insights for the
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profession (Olausson, 2017a). For instance, as our study shows, journalists retrieve
information from other media outlets, other journalists and other diverse sources, which can
be interpreted as a share of their gatekeeping role (Lasorsa, Lewis & Holton, 2012). Tweets
concerning work life and personal or private messages are indicators of accountability and
transparency norms (Lasorsa, Lewis & Holton, 2012), and may reinforce the relationship with
the audience (Revers, 2014) towards a more symmetric two-way communication (Grunig &
Hunt, 1984).
By relaying news on social media, journalists are also meant to attract new audiences
(Asur, Huberman, Szabo, & Wang, 2011), and this has a positive impact on the media
company brand. Furthermore, “the changing business model and challenging job market make
it increasingly critical that journalists know how to ‘maintain and market’ their social media
identity” (Finchan, 2015, p. 174). Media companies can benefit from significant value
creation from perceived personal brand value of journalists (Bendisch, Larsen & Trueman,
2013), which implies that managing one’s personal social media identity is also essential for
present and future employments (Glaser, 2009). On Twitter, journalists with many followers
are meant to contribute positively (Agrawal & Kamakura, 1995) to the reputation of their
(future) media employer.
But on the other hand, by behaviours (Birkigt & Stadler, 1986) such as commenting
news and sharing their personal opinions, journalists expose their employers to reputation
damages. At the beginning of this paper, we assumed that some journalists show a willingness
to self-regulate uses of social media by applying a “disclaimer strategy.” But the most salient
result of our research tends to indicate that this strategy is not really clear, in terms of the type
of content that is diffused. By sharing a vast majority of normalized contents on Twitter,
journalists may try to intentionally avoid bias and contents that could be parented to tacit
approvals (Fincham, 2015). To complete our results, we examined the profile indications of
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the 15 non-representative journalists in 2018, and we found that for half of them, the
disclaimer was not present anymore. Without having the ambition to generalize this finding,
and without overinterpreting it, we suggest that this could mean that (1) journalists are well
aware of the “non-legal” value of disclaimers (Shear, 2015), and that they may consider these
unnecessary as they practice social-media self-regulation, and/or (2) this could also be the
consequence of media companies’ imperatives, which aim to increasingly regulate the ethical
use of social media by establishing charters and guidelines (Fincham, 2015) which specify
that journalists are supposed to act as representatives of their employers (Whitehouse, 2010).
On social media, journalists cannot stop being journalists.
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Table 1. Mean number of tweets by representative and non-representative journalists per type
of category.
Variable Category Type of journalist
Representative
(n=15)
Non-representative
(n=15)
Type of
content
Corporate
branding
Promoting of one’s own media 9.33 4.73
Retrieving news from one’s own media
18.6 16.47
Incentive for participation to one’s
own media
0.07 0.27
Work life message 1.93 1.27
Total 30.0 22.73
Professional
self-branding
Self-promotion 12.67 8.13
Institutional
branding
Commenting on other media or other
journalists’ news
3.27 4.93
Retrieving information from other
media or other journalist
18.53 20.60
Retrieving information from other
source
10.13 5.00
Commenting about other media 0.27 0.40
Promotion of other media or other
journalist
0.73 0.27
Total 32.93 31.20
Personal
self-branding
Private message 17.13 29.53
Other 4.33 5.07
Independent samples t-test results are not significant for both groups of journalists (p<0.05).
Page 20 of 20
URL: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/popcomm Email: popularcommunication@ims.su.se
Popular Communication
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