Crises, rumours and reposts: Journalists’ social media content gathering and verification practices in breaking news situations

Klas Backholm, Julian Ausserhofer, Elsebeth Frey, Anna Grøndahl Larsen, Harald Hornmoen, Joachim Högväg, Gudrun Reimerth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Socialmedia (SoMe) platforms provide potentially important information for newsjournalists during everyday work and in crisis-related contexts. The aims ofthis study were (a) to map central journalistic challenges and emergingpractices related to using SoMe for collecting and validating newsworthycontent; and (b) to investigate how practices may contribute to a user-friendlydesign of a web-based SoMe content validation toolset. Interviews were carriedout with 22 journalists from three European countries. Information aboutjournalistic work tasks was also collected during a crisis training scenario (N= 5). Results showed that participants experienced challenges with filteringand estimating trustworthiness of SoMe content. These challenges were especiallydue to the vast overall amount of information, and the need to monitor severalplatforms simultaneously. To support improved situational awareness injournalistic work during crises, a userfriendly tool should provide contentsearch results representing several media formats and gathered from a diversityof platforms, presented in easy-to-approach visualizations. The finaldecision-making about content and source trustworthiness should, however,remain as a manual journalistic task, as the sample would not trust anautomated estimation based on tool algorithms.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)67–76
JournalMedia and Communication
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • crisis

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