Article | Open Access
Journalist-Twitterers as Political Influencers in Brazil: Narratives and Disputes Towards a New Intermediary Model
Abstract: The ascendency of Jair Bolsonaro to the presidency of Brazil in 2018 put the role of traditional media companies and journalists under the spotlight. Bad news or opinions against his government have been officially treated as fake, inaccurate, or false information. In this context, data show a decrease in news trust and growing news consumption through platforms. According to the 2021 Reuters Institute report on news trust, only 21% of Brazilians trust the press as an institution, with 71% using social media platforms to be informed. As part of a broad and complex crisis of the traditional intermediary model, several journalists appeared in the Brazilian public sphere as influencers on social media platforms such as Twitter. Based on a qualitative perspective, this article aims to research the role of journalists as political influencers and their use of Twitter to express their voices. A sample of 10 journalists with more than 10,000 followers on Twitter, five working for traditional media and five from native digital media, were interviewed in depth. We realized that they use their digital capital in two political directions. On the one hand, as part of a digital strategy promoted by media outlets to gain attention and call the audience, journalists share their spots and comments on daily issues. On the other hand, in a polarized political context, journalists have found Twitter a means to express their voices in a context of increasing violence and restrictions on free expression among this collective.
Keywords: Brazil; freedom of the press; influencers; Jair Bolsonaro; journalists
Issue: Vol 10, No 3 (2022): Journalism, Activism, and Social Media: Exploring the Shifts in Journalistic Roles, Performance, and Interconnectedness
© Luiz Peres-Neto. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.