Reporting War in 140 Characters: How Journalists Used Twitter During the 2014 Gaza–Israel Conflict

Ori Tenenboim


Because Twitter may facilitate interconnectedness among diverse actors—elite and nonelite, inside and outside of a given national community—it can potentially challenge traditional war journalism that has typically been elite-oriented and nationally oriented. The present study examined this potential during the 2014 Gaza–Israel conflict. Based on a content analysis of Twitter messages by Israeli and international journalists, the study suggests that in wartime journalists on Twitter may have agency that can manifest in retweeting critical messages—not necessarily in the language of their national community—and conversing with people outside official power circles. However, institutional, cultural, and national forces still seem dominant, as particularly reflected in messages by journalists who are members of one of the conflicting parties. “Mr. Gates” on Twitter may have more agency than he had decades ago, but seems constrained by virtual national boundaries. By showing the extent of journalists’ agency and constraints, the study advances our understanding of war journalism in the digital age.


conflict, gatekeeping, Gaza, indexing, Israel, sources, Twitter, war

Full Text: