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Evolving Role of Newspaper Journalists in Breaking News
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Social media and online interactivity have transformed how journalists report and write about breaking news. The news cycle now consists of second-by-second updates of breaking news, rather than the day-to-day pattern seen before the emergence of the Internet. Greater competition from citizens and other media sources, along with a crisis in the economics of news, have triggered a debate regarding the future of journalism. To address these issues, I conducted a case study in which I compared newspaper coverage of the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 in Littleton, Colorado to newspaper coverage of “The Dark Knight Rises” theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado in 2012. I interviewed journalists at The Denver Post newspaper about their roles in the events and conducted a discourse analysis of their responses. I found that there has been a shift in the role of traditional newspaper journalists in breaking news, but that they have maintained their professional identity by using social media as tools to continue their traditional style of reporting.