In a previous post I introduced work we have been doing here at the CCI to contribute to an understanding of the way in which social media are portrayed as political tools in traditional media outlets. In this post I provided a broad overview of a preliminary qualitative study of 56 articles from Australian newspapers (mostly) that discussed social media and politics between 2008 and 2013, and gave an overview of how these articles compared and contrasted new and traditional media tools as means of political engagement. In this post I will go further into how the newspaper articles we analysed reported on different user groups.
One of the subgroups of themes we identified in our content analysis of newspaper articles that reported on the use of new media as political tools was user groups. We noticed there were nuances between the ways in which the articles discussed how and by whom these tools were employed in the context of political practices. Most of the articles we analysed focused on the use of social media by politicians, some analysed their use by citizens as tools for political engagement, and others discussed how journalists employed social media as means of political news reporting.
Out of the total 56 articles we analysed, 19 referred only to politicians and how they use social media, 2 discussed just how the public engage with social media as political tools, and 1 mentioned only journalists as users of social media for political reporting. 3 articles referred to all three user groups, 11 articles mentioned politicians and the public, 2 mentioned politicians and journalists, and 2 mentioned the public and journalists.