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Understanding how social media is used as a news source during crisis events


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Dowdell-Baker, J 2013 , 'Understanding how social media is used as a news source during crisis events', Honours thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This study explores how journalistic practice has changed since the introduction of
social media, with particular reference to the way in which social media texts are used
as news sources in traditional media reporting of crisis events. The fast-paced and
emotive nature of crisis events when the need for information is intensified, presented
against the backdrop of a 24-hour news cycle, provides the ideal setting to illustrate
how the immediate information source of social media is changing the way traditional
media tells the news.
The study focuses on two Australian bushfire case studies from Victoria in 2009 and
Tasmania in 2013 for historical examination of the way social media was used in
newspaper articles from The Age and The Mercury in their respective coverage of the
crisis events. These media practices are explored through a content analysis of
newspaper articles reporting on the bushfire events as well as research interviews with
the editors of the two newspapers, to place in context the editorial decisions around
the use of social media in each newspaper’s reportage.
The idea that social media texts are an accepted news source for traditional media
outlets, particularly when reporting on crisis events, is presented in this study, with
additional reference to how journalistic practice will continue to evolve in the future.

Item Type: Thesis - Honours
Authors/Creators:Dowdell-Baker, J
Keywords: social media, journalism, journalistic practice, crisis events, social media texts, news sources
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