Exploring the Ideological Nature of Journalists' Social Networks on Twitter and Associations with News Story Content

Peer Reviewed Computer Science Conference
Publication date: 
08/2017
Authors: 
John Wihbey
Kenny Joseph
Thalita Coleman
David Lazer
Exploring the Ideological Nature of Journalists' Social Networks on Twitter and Associations with News Story Content

The present work proposes the use of social media as a tool for better understanding the relationship between a journalists' social network and the content they produce. Specifically, we ask: what is the relationship between the idealogical leaning of a journalist's social network on Twitter and the news content he or she produces? Using a novel dataset linking over 500,000 news articles produced by 1,000 jornalists at 25 different news outlets, we show a modest correlation between the ideologies of who a journalist follows on Twitter and the content he or she produces. This research can provide the basis for greater self-reflection among media members about how they source their stories and how their own practice may be colored by their online networks. For researchers, the findings furnish a novel and important step in better understanding the construction of media stories and the mechanics of how ideology can play a role in shaping public information.

Publications by type

Journal Article