Tweets reveal news readership patterns around the world

Tweeting News Articles: Readership and News Section in Europe and the Americas

From SAGE Open

For many international news followers, having a cup of coffee while reading the morning newspaper has turned into scrolling a Twitter feed to catch up on important news as it happens throughout the day. In this article researchers used data collected from Twitter to study readers’ news preferences across the globe and discovered that different countries have stronger preference towards different types of articles – American and British readers are more drawn to opinion and world news, Spaniards to local and national news, Brazilians to sports and arts, and Germans to politics and economy.

Authors conducted the study by monitoring tweeted news links from eight of the largest national newspapers in the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Brazil, and Germany over two weeks in 2012. Researchers found not only that social media helps to demonstrate readership patterns, but also that through social media the readers themselves play an active role in determining the popularity of different news stories.

 

 

Abstract

In this article we investigate the impact of social media readership to the editorial profile of newspapers. We analyze tweets containing links to news articles from eight of the largest national newspapers in the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Brazil, and Germany. The data collection follows the first two weeks of October 2012 and includes 2,842,699 tweets with links to news articles. Twitter-shortened links were resolved using a three-pass routine and assigned to 1 of the 21 newspaper sections. We found the concentration of links to news articles posted by top users to be lower than reported in the literature and the strategy of relaying headlines on Twitter via automatic news aggregators (feeds) to be inefficient. The results of this investigation show which sections of a newspaper are the most and least read by readers in different parts of the world, with German readers placing greater emphasis on Politics and Economy; Brazilians on Sports and Arts; Spaniards on Local and National news; Britons and Americans on Opinion and World news. We also found that German and Spanish readers are more likely to read multiple national newspapers, while British readers more often resort to foreign sources of news. The results confirm that feedback to news items from a large user base is pivotal for the replication of content and that newspapers and news items can be clustered according to the editorial profile and principles of newsworthiness inherited from legacy media. The results of this investigation shed light onto the networked architecture of journalism that increasingly depends on readership agency.


Read this research for free

Article details
Marco Toledo Bastos and Gabriela Zago
Tweeting News Articles: Readership and News Sections in Europe and the Americas
SAGE Open July-September 2013 3: 2158244013502496, first published on September 25, 2013 doi:10.1177/2158244013502496

 

 

     
This entry was posted in Communication & Media, SAGE Insight and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.