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Case of the #UTShooter: The public working with, for, and around the news media

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Communication scholars have examined what motivates people to seek out news and information through various platforms, most recently analyzsing how and why social network sites (SNSs) such as Twitter have become important in the formation and dissemination of news. This study seeks to build on such emerging research, using multiple methods to elucidate motivations for public engagement in the news process on Twitter and the resulting content. Against the backdrop of the 2010 shooting at the University of Texas at Austin, this study reveals novel motivations for public engagement in the news process via the social network site Twitter while also hinting that such engagement may not always be considered journalism. The findings encourage new avenues of communication and news media research while suggesting updates to current definitions of journalism.
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Keywords: SNS; Twitter; citizen journalism; participatory journalism; uses and gratifications

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Texas at Austin

Publication date: October 30, 2012

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