Newsworthiness and Network Gatekeeping on Twitter: The Role of Social Deviance

Nicholas Diakopoulos, Arkaitz Zubiaga

ICWSM. 2014.

Publishers of news information are keen to amplify the reach of their content by making it as re-sharable as possible on social media. In this work we study the relationship between the concept of social deviance and the re-sharing of news headlines by network gatekeepers on Twitter. Do network gatekeepers have the same predilection for selecting socially deviant news items as professionals? Through a study of 8,000 news items across 8 major news outlets in the U.S. we predominately find that network gatekeepers re-share news items more often when they reference socially deviant events. At the same time we find and discuss exceptions for two outlets, suggesting a more complex picture where newsworthiness for networked gatekeepers may be moderated by other effects such as topicality or varying motivations and relationships with their audience.

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