Swiping left for more details : The construction of newsworthiness in the Instagram carousel posts of news organizations



Year of publication 2022
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description While Instagram with its image-centred interface is generally understood to be instrumental in the growth of influencer marketing, its role in the sharing and distribution of news also deserves scrutiny. This is confirmed by recent studies which not only show that the use of Instagram for news consumption has increased significantly in all age groups but also predict that Instagram is on track to overtake Twitter as a news source (Newman et al., 2020). Responding to these trends, news organizations experiment with different types of posts available on Instagram in an effort to distribute news in an engaging way and to attract new audiences. To examine how news is disseminated via Instagram, this paper focuses on a specific type of Instagram posts – Instagram carousels – which allows news organizations to provide a more detailed elaboration of the news. By definition, Instagram carousel posts are sequences of up to ten photos and/or videos that can be viewed by swiping left and are generally accompanied by a caption. Using a dataset of 30 Instagram carousels shared by BBC News, the study adopts a multimodal discourse analytic approach to examine what semiotic resources (and in what sequence) are exploited to construct the newsworthiness (Bednarek & Caple, 2017) of the given news items. The preliminary findings of the analysis show that newsworthiness is constructed in both the visual and the verbal mode; however, the role of the employed visual and linguistic resources in constructing newsworthiness seems to vary with respect to specific news values.
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