© 2018

Citizens at the Gates

Twitter, Networked Publics, and the Transformation of American Journalism

  • Engages with timely, highly illustrative real-world case studies

  • Cuts ably across fields, drawing from literature and theory across communications, media sociology, and journalism

  • Serve as a snapshot of a historic moment in journalism that many will want to revisit


About this book


Drawing insights from nearly a decade of mixed-method research, Stephen R. Barnard analyzes Twitter’s role in the transformation of American journalism. As the work of media professionals grows increasingly hybrid, Twitter has become an essential space where information is shared, reporting methods tested, and power contested. In addition to spelling opportunity for citizen media activism, the normalization of digital communication adds new channels of influence for traditional thought leaders, posing notable challenges for the future of journalism and democracy. In his analyses of Twitter practices around newsworthy events—including the Boston Marathon bombing, protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and the election of Donald Trump—Barnard brings together conceptual and theoretical lenses from multiple academic disciplines, bridging sociology, journalism, communication, media studies, science and technology studies, and political science. 


activism social media public opinion gatekeeping processes media professionals digital media digital journalism digital activism digital ethnography social network analysis citizen journalists social change networked journalism political activism

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologySt. Lawrence UniversityCanton, NYUSA

About the authors

Stephen R. Barnard is Assistant Professor of Sociology at St. Lawrence University, USA. 

Bibliographic information


“Citizens at the Gates makes a compelling case that Twitter is transforming and mixing American journalism and political activism in new ways. Drawing on his sophisticated command of Bourdieusian field theory, Stephen Barnard offers an original analysis of the complex interweaving of technological affordances and socially structured practices. This is an impressive book and an indispensable guide to making sense of the contemporary media landscape.” (Rodney Benson, Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University, USA)

“No one doubts journalism is changing profoundly, but how is its transformation related to broader shifts in the social world? Only an approach rooted in social theory can answer that question. Stephen Barnard’s exciting new book is one of the first to pursue it, offering a convincing account of how media sources such as Twitter are acquiring influence in journalistic practice and changing journalistic values. Essential reading for those curious about where journalism is heading.” (Nick Couldry, Professor of Media, Communications and Social Theory, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK)