The story of social media: Evolving news coverage of social media in American politics, 2006–2021

Lane, Daniel S. ; Overbye-Thompson, Hannah ; Gagrčin, Emilija

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-658935
Document Type: Article
Year of publication Online: 2024
Date: 8 November 2023
The title of a journal, publication series: Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication : JCMC
Volume: 29
Issue number: 1
Page range: 1-14
Place of publication: Oxford
Publishing house: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 1083-6101
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Humanities > Medien- und Kommunikationswissenschaft (Naab 2022-)
Pre-existing license: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Subject: 070 News media, journalism, publishing
Keywords (English): social media , politics , framing , social construction , automated content analysis
Abstract: This article examines how American news media have framed social media as political technologies over time. To do so, we analyzed 16 years of political news stories focusing on social media, published by American newspapers (N = 8,218) and broadcasters (N = 6,064) (2006–2021). Using automated content analysis, we found that coverage of social media in political news stories: (a) increasingly uses anxious, angry, and moral language, (b) is consistently focused on national politicians (vs. non-elite actors), and (c) increasingly emphasizes normatively negative uses (e.g., misinformation) and their remedies (i.e., regulation). In discussing these findings, we consider the ways that these prominent normative representations of social media may shape (and limit) their role in political life.

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