Social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and many other services, have established themselves as part of the networked and increasingly hybrid public sphere, extending and transforming it to allow for and facilitate access to all kinds of content and participants. By their sheer ubiquity, these media contribute to changing media ecologies and open new ways and forms of communications between citizens and their representatives. During election campaigns, political parties and their candidates have a number of ways of seeking to mobilise voters by attracting attention to the parties' issues and top candidates. Many of these involve processes of mediatisation, that is, parties and politicians adapt their practices and messages to formats, deadlines and genres that are journalistically attractive. This study seeks to map and understand intermedial agenda setting between social media and traditional news media by analysing data from both local journalism and the social media activity of local politicians during the 2011 Norwegian local election campaigns. Our findings show that local politicians were active on social media as part of their campaigning, yet there was surprisingly little evidence that social media content travelled to local newspapers and contributed to agenda setting, thereby contradicting findings from other settings stating that social media have become established journalistic sources. We suggest that one explanation may reflect the nature of Norwegian politics and culture in which the distance between journalists, citizens and politicians is proximate.
Journalism Practice Published online: 02 Sep 2014 This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Journalism Practice on 02 Sep 2014, available online