Platforms, Journalists and Their Digital Selves

Based on face-to-face, in-depth interviews with 31 Chilean journalists from national TV, radio, print, and online media, this study explores how news professionals negotiate their identities and media use on Twitter and Instagram. The results suggest that, overall, they use Twitter and Instagram to stay informed, report the news, engage in branding activities, and interact with their audiences, expanding the scope of their work to include new professional roles and allow for the emergence of different but not mutually exclusive digital selves. Important nuances are found based on the platform used and the journalists’ perceptions of which practices are valid and relevant. Specifically, three analytical approaches to digital selves were identified. While we found strong patterns of a reinterpretation of journalistic practices through the normalization of some traditional functions, which are represented by the “adapted” approach, we also found clear elements of redefinition of journalistic work represented by the “redefiner” approach. The journalists who embrace this orientation disrupt traditional norms, merging their different selves on both platforms and using their accounts to target specific audiences. We also identified an approach close to individuals who resist the idea of mixing their professional work with social media practices, remaining “skeptical” to changes.

Mellado, C., & Alfaro, A. (2020). Digital Journalism, 8(10). Download text.