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
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2018
Permanent link
View graph of relations
Citation formats


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.


  • Ebola, Twitter, Social Media