Approaching Revolution in the Middle East and the Current Media Landscape : Social Media- and News Agency Material in reporting of the Arab Spring and War in Syria

University essay from Högskolan i Jönköping/HLK, Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap


The Arab spring has been called a social media revolution and social media have been given large importance and significant space in both academic discussions and analysis in the media.

The main focus of this study was to examine whether social media have impacted the news reporting of the conflicts. A sample of articles from four different newspapers was examined, taken randomly from all relevant articles published on the newspapers websites between December 2010 and December 2013. A part of that sample was checked for news agency cable reliance and the entire sample were checked for material from social media. Three newspapers were found to rely heavily on news agency material. The New York Times was the exception, having only 4 percent of articles being based on news agency material. Social media material and quotes were found and were used in the report-ing in different ways, but only in 4 percent of articles. It was mainly used as a way to get protester commentary.

Two of the included newspapers were China Daily and the New York Times. The differences between the respective reporting in these newspapers were also examined in yet an-other subsample consisting of 100 articles from each newspaper. Several differences be-tween the reporting were found, with China Daily for example presenting a framing more in favour of the government of Syria than the New York Times.

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