The Arab Spring| Overthrowing the Protest Paradigm? How The New York Times, Global Voices and Twitter Covered the Egyptian Revolution

Summer Harlow, Thomas J. Johnson


With social-media driven protests erupting across the Arab world, this content analysis of Egyptian protest coverage in The New York Times, the Twitter feed of Times reporter Nick Kristof, and the citizen media site Global Voices, examines whether the de-legitimizing “protest paradigm” found in mainstream media is replicated in social media and blogs, and what impact their protest coverage has on their credibility. Results showed that The Times adhered to the paradigm by emphasizing the spectacle, quoting official sources, and de-valuing protesters as reporters maintained an impartial role. In contrast, Global Voices and Kristof’s Twitter feed took different approaches, legitimizing protesters and serving as commentators/analysts, even actors, in the unfolding events. Global Voices also provided more opportunities for reader interactivity.

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