Dr Svenja Ottovordemgentschenfelde

Dr Svenja Ottovordemgentschenfelde

PhD Alumni

Department of Media and Communications

About me

Research Topic

Every tweet has its story: Influences, practices and perceived outcomes of political journalists’ Twitter engagement

Since Twitter became one of the key social media platforms in the news industry, journalists have been under pressure by news organizations, peers, competitors and even the public to use it to break news, disseminate content, source stories and engage their audiences with an unprecedented immediacy. While none of these are genuinely novel elements in the news cycle, Twitter as a medium now enables professional journalists to pursue these activities in a broader variety of ways and under profoundly different conditions than ever before.

While a growing body of research has addressed typologies of journalists’ tweeting practices, we know little about the links between their underlying strategies of engagement and actual behaviour on the platform. Svenja’s study explores the relationship between the internal and external forces that shape the conditions, degree and breadth of political journalists’ engagement and subjective experiences with Twitter. If journalists are now often challenged to think beyond their traditional occupational tasks, what are the outcomes (both actual and perceived) of journalists’ efforts on Twitter, and how do these shape future engagement? The study employs a mixed methods approach that combines a quantitative content analysis of the Twitter profile pages and timelines of political journalists who work for the 25 largest commercial newspapers and top three cable news channels in the United States, with in-depth expert interviews.

Supervisors: Dr. Bart Cammaerts and Dr. Ellen Helsper


Svenja holds a BA in International Cultural and Business Studies from the University of Passau, Germany, and an MSc in Politics and Communication from the LSE. Before starting her PhD, Svenja worked for the California-based start-up Wildfire Interactive, which was acquired by Google in mid-2012. She recently spent three months as a Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Communications and New Media at the National University of Singapore, and is a Fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University in New York.

Svenja also works as a researcher for the Parenting for a Digital Futureproject, which is funded by the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning initiative as part of the Connected Learning Research Network (CLRN), and she is the editor of the Parenting for a Digital Future blog.

From 2012 – 2015, Svenja received a doctoral training studentship from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).


Ottovordemgentschenfelde, S. (2016). ‘Organizational, professional, personal’: An exploratory study of political journalists and their hybrid brand on Twitter. Journalism, 1–17. http://doi.org/10.1177/1464884916657524

Ottovordemgentschenfelde, S. (2014). Reconfiguring practices, identities and ideologies: Towards understanding professionalism in an age of post-industrial journalism. In L. Kramp, N. Carpentier, A. Hepp, I. Tomanic Trivundza, H. Nieminen, R. Kunelius, … R. Kilborn (Eds.), Everyday media agency in Europe (pp. 163–176). Edition Lumiere.

Livingstone, S., Marsh, J., Plowman, L., Ottovordemgentschenfelde, S., & Fletcher-Watson, B. (2014). Young children (0-8) and digital technology. A qualitative exploratory study - National Reoprt - UK. Luxembourg.