The social journalist: Embracing the social media life or creating a new digital divide?

Ulrika Hedman, Monika Djerf-Pierre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

183 Citations (Scopus)


The ongoing social media hype puts pressure on journalists to be active in social media 24/7. In this process professional values and journalistic norms are put to the test and not all journalists are equally keen to embrace the “social media life”. So far, few studies have examined the differences between categories of journalists when it comes to social media use. Based on a representative large-N survey of Swedish journalists conducted in 2011/2012, this paper examines journalists’ professional and personal use of social media. The study analyzes the level, purpose and evaluation of usage among different categories of journalists. The broad finding is that there are three main categories of users: “skeptical shunners”, “pragmatic conformists” and “enthusiastic activists”. Furthermore, there exists a professional digital divide between the “skeptical shunners” on one side and the “enthusiastic activists” on the other. The differences in social media use are mainly associated with journalists’ age and type of work but also with professional attitudes towards audience adaptation and branding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368-385
Number of pages18
JournalDigital Journalism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Digital divide
  • Journalism practice
  • Journalists
  • Media life
  • Personal branding
  • Professional identity
  • Professional values
  • Social media

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