Old wine in new bottles? Use of twitter by established UK news media during the 2014-15 West African Ebola outbreak

Type Chapter
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Media use in Crisis and Risk Communication: Emergencies, Rumors and Lifesavers
EditorsKlas Backholm, Harald Hornmoen
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing
Chapter6
Pages135-154
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2018
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Abstract

This chapter examines how established media – that is, print, TV and radio sources which pre-existed the popularisation of social media – use social media to disseminate content. Specifically it examines the manner in which three UK media sources – BBC News, The Guardian and the Daily Mail – used Twitter during the 2014-15 Ebola crisis. It asks five key questions concerning: the balance between factual reporting and opinion or comment; the degree to which it shifted attention to specific events within the context of the outbreak; whether the dialogical potential of social media was exploited; the degree to which social media acted as a signpost to more detailed information elsewhere, or existed as independent content; and the degree of media reflexivity. It concludes that established media used this new technology within their existing paradigms for reporting rather than exploiting some of its more innovative characteristics.

Keywords

  • Ebola, Twitter, Social Media