When new platforms are reshaping the media environment, the practices of doing journalism are changing, too. Yngve Benestad Hågvar, from Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, studies the rhetoric of Facebook journalism.
According to Yngve Benestad Hågvar the news pieces in Facebook are often framed by texts especially formatted to social media.
“This text often deviates from the journalistic norms”, Hågvar says.
He has noticed that when the story travels from an online newspaper to Facebook the framing easily turns to be more subjective and more emotional. The distinction between news and views gets blurred.
In his ongoing research, Hågvar compares NRK (Norwegian government-owned radio and television public broadcasting company) with Dagbladet, which is one of the two large tabloids in Norway. Hågvar classified different rhetorical techniques that were used to gain attention. Using emoticons is common in Facebook as well as wide range of speech acts. Deviating from traditional headlines, it is common practice in Facebook to ask questions. These questions, according to Hågvar, are many times suggesting how the story should be interpreted.
When Oslo Gardemoen airport was closed because of a snowfall in April, Dagbladet in their Facebook page asked if Norway could not cope with snow.
“However, if you read the story, there were very good reasons to close the airport because it would have been dangerous if they didn’t. The online paper did not frame the story that way at all”, Hågvar says.
Hågvar also noticed that subjective views are more legitimate in Facebook than in online newspapers. Emotions, subjective views and leading questions can be found mostly in soft news stories.
“Interesting question is if also hard and important news will be framed more subjectively in Facebook by the journalists. That remains to be seen.”
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