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Journalistic Twitter branding in the neoliberal labour market

Conference contribution
Authors Jenny Wiik
Ulrika Hedman
Published in Future of Journalism, 10–11 September 2015, Cardiff, UK
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Language en
Keywords Journalism, professionalism, neoliberalism, labour, personal branding, social!media, twitter
Subject categories Media and Communications, Media Studies


Personal branding is nothing new to journalists, but the explosion of opportunities on social media has emphasized the importance of molding everyone’s own trademark. The boundaries between professional and private roles have obviously become blurred, allowing journalists to have a more authentic voice in public than before. Furthermore, the radical development of the social media environment is paralleled by thorough changes of the journalistic labor market. Neoliberal policies in many countries as well as trembling media business models has forced the industry further into relying on the use of temporary workers and network based recruiting. The responsibility for finding career possibilities as well as maintaining a professional community is increasingly moving from the newsroom and the industrial actors to the loose crowd of individual media workers. In this networked labor market social media presence becomes crucial, but how do journalists make use of this? How do they choose to present themselves? This paper addresses this question based on the empirical study of 2,543 Swedish journalists’ Twitter accounts. The material was collected in May 2014, and provides a broad mapping of common features of journalistic branding in social media. The personal presentations in the Twitter account information will be analyzed within the framework of professional theory and current labor market research. The paper aims to contribute to the discussion on shifting boundaries of the journalistic role and the role of social media in this, as well as to the consequences of an increasingly atomized labor market for journalists.

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