How Black Twitter and Other Social Media Communities Interact with Mainstream News

Freelon, Deen; Lopez, Lori; Clark, Meredith D.; Jackson, Sarah J.

People have been forming communities using digital communication technologies since long before the web as we know it today. Social media are only the latest in a long series of digital forums that have enabled global conversations and connections around nearly any topic imaginable. With its emphasis on public accessibility and real-time content production, Twitter has become a major hub for communities of all types and sizes. The issues and voices of people of color and women have attracted much attention from professional journalists over the past few years. Yet many such individuals have criticized journalists’ portrayals and coverage of issues that are important to them. In response, some participants have assumed the role of news creators and distributors, focusing on their communities’ particular concerns. Understanding these emerging social subcultures will allow more accurate portrayals of diverse communities and yield insights for better journalistic engagement in the digital age.