Lewis states that journalism is boundary work: ,,a rhetorical excerise of creating, maintaining and reconfiguring distinctions between, for example, professional and amateur, producer and user, or journalist and nonjournalist, with the purpose of constructing and sustaining journalism’s expertise, social authority and public legitimacy’’ (Lewis 2012).
Nowadays guarding those boundaries seems harder than ever before with the rise of members of the public reporting on social media. Jenkins already wrote about journalists scanning blogs on news stories in 2004 (Jenkins 2004), but in 2017 complete news elements are being copied from social media (photos, reactions). This has resulted in fake news appearing on news websites more than once (for example the fake photos that popped up after the hurricane in Sint Maarten). Most people agree that journalists have a clear boundary- protecting task when it comes to these fake elements- that flourishes on social media platforms.
Only thing is, all journalists are on active on these platforms themselves as well. Not only are they active, journalists from the Washington post even report on it. For me the question rises: what does being active in, and even more importantly, reporting on these social media spheres do with the credibility of journalists? How does a public that becomes more and more familiar with fake news view the ‘gatekeepers’ that have to keep out the fake elements but are also active and even reporting on the exact same channels where fake news rises?
Jenkins, Henry. “The cultural logic of media convergence.” International Journal of Cultural Studies 7.1 (2004).
Lewis, Seth. “The tension between professional control and open participation.” Information, Communication & Society 15.6 (2012).