JOURNALISTS AND TWITTER: WHAT ARE TURKISH JOURNALISTS SAYING ONLINE

TitleJOURNALISTS AND TWITTER: WHAT ARE TURKISH JOURNALISTS SAYING ONLINE
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Akdenizli, B.
Affiliation (1st Author)Yeditepe University, Associate Professor
Section or WGJournalism Research and Education Section
DateThurs 27 June
Slot CodeJRE T1b
Slot Code (Keyword)JRE T1b
Time of Session9:00-10:30
RoomHG10
Session TitleHybridization of Media, Twitter and Political Implications Theme II: Innovations in Journalism
Submission ID5177
Abstract

The introduction of new communication technologies has raised questions about how existing media practices and media work are changing as a result (Lievrow 2002). Audio, visual, and digital innovations have contributed to the changing way journalists think and practice their profession (Lasorsa, Lewis & Holton, 2011). Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are transforming journalists from gatekeepers of information into information sharers in public spaces. Many journalists use Twitter in Turkey to publicize their work, as well as to engage in debate and banter. A recent newspaper article in Turkey focusing on issues confronting journalists in this new social media space drew attention to how the practice of journalism was being transformed, the ethical obligations of journalists using Twitter, and how Twitter posed to be a murky territory for journalists, and that self monitoring should be key when it comes to tweeting. This study builds on Lasorsa, Lewis & Holton’s (2011) work and on a more recent study by The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ), How Mainstream Media Outlets Use Twitter (2012), and focuses on the behavior of Turkish journalists on Twitter. It aims to explore what kind of information Turkish journalist share online and how, if and how they engage with fellow users, and how their overall Twitter practice influences and in some cases redefines their role as professional journalists. To answer these research questions a list of the 50 most followed Turkish journalists was compiled from Twit Turk (twitturk.com), a Turkish twitter network project that compiles and aggregates together Turkish twitter users, and also categorizes and tags twitter users according to their profession. The sample derived for this study from Twit Turk includes each journalist’s number of followers as of February 2012. Journalists tweets were coded for the primary purpose of the tweet (such as convey information, seek information or convey opinion), topic of the tweet, the newsmakers of the tweet, if it is a “retweet” or not, if it is “in reply to” or not, if the tweet contains an external link or not. Journalist tweets were also compared to the news agenda of the mainstream media through data offered by MTM Media Monitoring Center to see if the same stories were promoted online. Overall this study aims to discover how journalists in Turkey are using Twitter and what it means for a journalist to tweet. On a larger scale this study aims to offer insight into transformations in the practice of journalism in the particular case of Turkey, a country with an appetite for development and growth albeit its questionable and notorious track record of freedom of expression and violations in the media. A country where freedom of the press (a recent report by Reporters without Borders refers to Turkey as the world’s biggest prison for journalists) and chronic self regulation of journalists have been long standing issues of concern.

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