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Study: Market Logic Trumps Quality Logic in News Selection and Sharing

A new study has found that high-quality news is not rewarded on social media in terms of shares, likes, and other reactions. Poor-quality news (e.g., inaccurate news and sensational news) performed better than high-quality news on social media.

The findings by Jieun Shin, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Media Production, Management, and Technology assistant professor, University of Oregon Journalism Professor Seth Lewis and Michigan State University Advertising and Public Relations Professor Kjerstin Thorson are featured in “Does High-Quality News Attract Engagement on Social Media? Mediatization, Media Logic, and the Contrasting Values That Shape News Sharing, Liking, and Commenting on Facebook” published in New Media & Society on Feb. 7.

According to the authors, “Investigating what kind of news tends to be selected and reproduced on social media gives a sense of the media environment we are in and hints at the future direction of news. Thus, this article examined how the value of high-quality news is reflected in news activities such as shares, likes, and comments on social media.”

They add, “This study shows that both consumers and journalists are good at predicting what will be popular on social media. This strong concept of “shareworthiness” leads to a widespread phenomenon of what we argue to be the social-mediatization of news. Journalists and the public alike adapt to the institutionalized rules of social media that optimize metrics. These findings altogether suggest that social media logic can pose a threat to the democratic functions of news by potentially intruding on the normative logic of news.”

Posted: February 7, 2024
Category: College News
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