“Who’s Going to be a Creep Today?” Understanding the Social Media Experiences of Women Broadcast Journalists

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3 Scopus citations


Reports of the online harassment of journalists have continued to increase as more newsrooms place higher emphasis on social media engagement with audiences. However, this harassment is subject to gendered dynamics, as women journalists are most often the target of online abuse, and the attacks themselves are often gender-centric. This study employs a mixed-method approach to explore how gender influences broadcast journalists’ social media interactions with audiences. Qualitative interviews with US broadcast journalists, along with a social media discourse analysis of the journalists’ Twitter pages, reveal the sexist nature of these interactions. Specifically, findings show that women journalists are treated not only as sexual objects, but also as non-serious journalists. In response to this treatment, women journalists adjust their social media strategies by limiting what they post and blocking certain users. This puts women journalists in a difficult position: increase coveted audience engagement and deal with online harassment or block abusive social media users and suffer the career impacts of low audience engagement. Implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSocial Media and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Computer Science Applications


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