Reciprocity and the News: The Role of Personal and Social Media Reciprocity in News Creation and Consumption

Avery E. Holton, Mark Coddington, Seth C. Lewis, Homero Gil de Zúñiga


As journalists and audiences increasingly interact via social media spaces online, scholars have begun to explore the varying forms of information and relational exchanges between them. Building on an emerging thread of research that examines the potential role of reciprocity in such encounters, this study examines how reciprocity, as a key ingredient of online communities, might stimulate audiences’ consumption and creation of content, including news content. A national survey finds that, while personal beliefs in reciprocity (perceptions) may predict news consumption, it is reciprocity in practice on social media that is associated with not only news consumption but content creation, both for news and in general. This first-of-its-kind empirical study indicates that scholars may be correct in theorizing a role for reciprocity in the news interaction process, much as in social media and society more broadly.


audience, reciprocity, participatory journalism, engagement, content creation, news, social media

Full Text: