Twitter Makes It Worse: Political Journalists, Gendered Echo Chambers, and the Amplification of Gender Bias

Usher, Nikki; Holcomb, Jesse; Littman, Justin
The International Journal of Press/Politics

Given both the historical legacy and the contemporary awareness about gender inequity in journalism and politics as well as the increasing importance of Twitter in political communication, this article considers whether the platform makes some of the existing gender bias against women in political journalism even worse. Using a framework that characterizes journalists’ Twitter behavior in terms of the dimensions of their peer-to-peer relationships and a comprehensive sample of permanently credentialed journalists for the U.S. Congress, substantial evidence of gender bias beyond existing inequities emerges. Most alarming is that male journalists amplify and engage male peers almost exclusively, while female journalists tend to engage most with each other. The significant support for claims of gender asymmetry as well as evidence of gender silos are findings that not only underscore the importance of further research but also suggest overarching consequences for the structure of contemporary political communication.