Rob Bailey







Citizen journalist or citizen agitator? Establishing Twitter in Medway's public sphere

On 20 February 2014, Medway Council in Kent became the first local authority in the UK to formally establish a bloggers' bench. It offered citizen journalists the fillip of official recognition and equality of access to full council meetings alongside the professional local media. It was also a precursor to the Local Audit and Accountability Act (2014), the government's tool for opening regional democracy to a 'new wave of local scrutiny' by bloggers and other 'armchair auditors'. This preliminary study examines how effectively - and willingly - these bloggers executed the fourth estate role that was expected of them through a content analysis of the first three months of their council coverage.

Keywords: Twitter, citizen journalism, democracy, regional newspapers, blogging


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Note on the contributor

Rob Bailey is lecturer in Reporting and Writing at the Centre for Journalism at the University of Kent. He previously worked as a reporter, chief reporter and news editor for the Kent Messenger Group. His research interests are in political engagement, the future of the regional press and hyperlocal citizen journalism. Contact: R.Bailey@kent.ac.uk