What's New about Whatsapp for News? A Mixed-Method Study on News Outlets' Strategies for Using WhatsApp [in press]

K. Boczek, L. Koppers
2019
Recent reports show that users increasingly use smartphone messenger applications such as WhatsApp for news. Media outlets have started to provide news via WhatsApp in addition to other platforms. In journalism scholarship, the routines of messenger app journalism are still little understood. Building on the Diffusions of Innovations theory, this paper explores whether newsrooms treat WhatsApp similar to other social media, which they have used for a longer period of time, or whether they have
more » ... whether they have developed new practices that respect WhatsApp's roots in mobile and interpersonal communication. Focusing on Germany as a case study and drawing on an analysis of 3745 messages sent to WhatsApp channels of news outlets and on an online survey of journalists working with social media (N=111), this study shows that journalists utilize the innovative possibilities of WhatsApp for news to a varying degree. While some characteristics of mobile communication are considered in news outlets' strategies, engagement with the audience is often neglected. The results highlight the challenges for relational innovations in the editorial process.
doi:10.5445/ir/1000100848 fatcat:uegtl7fmozgkbeyj6wa42fnfde