Proximity and Networked News Public: Structural Topic Modeling of Global Twitter Conversations about the 2017 Quebec Mosque Shooting

K. Hazel Kwon, Monica Chadha, Feng Wang


The current study used structural topic modeling to investigate the ways in which news of the 2017 Quebec mosque shooting mobilized global public discourse on Twitter. The resulting globally generated Twitter conversations were divided into 9 relevant topics, the prevalence of which were examined based on geographic and informational proximity to the location of the incident. Tweets posted from locations geographically closer to the shooting location prevalently incorporated individual-oriented and conflict-focused storytelling. Conversely, tweets geographically farther from the incident prevalently featured macro-narratives that pointed to societal implications. This study also explored informational distance, which defines the ability to access to in-depth news sources. Results showed that there were topical differences between journalist/institutional tweets and laymen tweets. This study concludes that proximity influences global conversations related to hate crime news.


mass shooting, anti-Muslim, proximity, networked framing, topic modeling, networked public, hate crime, Twitter, construal level theory

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