Researchers Petter Bae Brandtzaeg & María Ángeles Chaparro Domínguez researched how younger and older journalists gather news on social media. The study was conducted in Norway, a country particularly suited to this research because of its high level of social media penetration. The context of this empirical work could, therefore, provide researchers with insights into the direction in which social media use in journalism is evolving.
Recent studies have examined how professional journalists use social media at work. However, we know little about the differences between younger and older journalists’ use of social media for newsgathering. The researchers conducted 16 in-depth interviews comparing eight young journalists (median age = 24) with eight older journalists (median age = 50) in Norway.
The younger journalists reported using multiple social media platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, to collect politically significant information, news observations, sources and comments. By comparison, the older journalists reported relying heavily on elite sources on Twitter. This reluctance to use a variety of social media platforms may limit older journalists’ exposure to a variety of news sources.
As a result, younger journalists seem to follow a more multi-perspectival approach to social media and may be more innovative in their newsgathering. Hence, younger journalists may be exposed to more diverse types of news sources than older journalists. Together, the findings indicate a generational gap in ‘networked publics’ concerning how younger and older journalists approach newsgathering in social media.
Download the research here