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From News Softening to Social News Softening: Comparing Patterns of Political News Coverage on Different (Social) Media Channels in Germany and Switzerland


Klein, Miriam; Magin, Melanie; Riedl, Andreas A; Udris, Linards; Stark, Birgit (2023). From News Softening to Social News Softening: Comparing Patterns of Political News Coverage on Different (Social) Media Channels in Germany and Switzerland. Digital Journalism:1-23.

Abstract

Many news media publish content on social media where it must meet the success factors of algorithmic selection in order to attract attention. One possible strategy for that is news softening. However, it is not clear which characteristics are decisive for news softening on social platforms. To help overcome this research gap, our paper adds a new concept called “social news softening” to the rather traditional news softening concept. We test it empirically, taking the example of the political coverage of German and Swiss (elite, popular) news media on Facebook, still the most important social media platform for news consumption overall, also in these countries. Our results point to platform dependent strategies. Linked/embedded website content (on-site perspective) shows (hardly) any differences to website articles overall, but the softening patterns within Facebook posts (off-site perspective) differ by country. While the German tabloid in particular still increasingly uses traditional news softening characteristics, Swiss popular media more strongly apply social media-specific ones. This illustrates the importance of our concept, which is flexible enough to allow continuous adjustments to the highly dynamic platformization processes.

Abstract

Many news media publish content on social media where it must meet the success factors of algorithmic selection in order to attract attention. One possible strategy for that is news softening. However, it is not clear which characteristics are decisive for news softening on social platforms. To help overcome this research gap, our paper adds a new concept called “social news softening” to the rather traditional news softening concept. We test it empirically, taking the example of the political coverage of German and Swiss (elite, popular) news media on Facebook, still the most important social media platform for news consumption overall, also in these countries. Our results point to platform dependent strategies. Linked/embedded website content (on-site perspective) shows (hardly) any differences to website articles overall, but the softening patterns within Facebook posts (off-site perspective) differ by country. While the German tabloid in particular still increasingly uses traditional news softening characteristics, Swiss popular media more strongly apply social media-specific ones. This illustrates the importance of our concept, which is flexible enough to allow continuous adjustments to the highly dynamic platformization processes.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Communication and Media Research
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute for Research on the Public Sphere and Society
Dewey Decimal Classification:070 News media, journalism & publishing
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Communication
Uncontrolled Keywords:Social media logic; news softening; social news softening; Facebook; political news; quantitative content analysis; Germany; Switzerland
Language:English
Date:23 November 2023
Deposited On:05 Dec 2023 16:31
Last Modified:31 Jan 2024 02:45
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:2167-0811
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2023.2278044
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID170784
  • : Project TitleMedia performance and democracy: An international comparison of Germany, Austria and Switzerland
  • : FunderGerman Research Foundation
  • : Grant ID323375807
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderResearch Unit Media Convergence of the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title