The world is now witnessing successive developments in both technology and democracy in the field of digital media. The situation has now changed, with the audiences no longer receivers but rather effective and active participants in the process of news production. The Internet provides interactive features through social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WhatsApp. Moreover, traditional media now depend on social media for acquiring news and information, in spite of the fact that these platforms may not always be subject to professional and institutional control which the traditional media require in order to invoke professional standards and well-known sources. Due to the fact that mainstream media are progressively using social media as sources of news, previous research has focused on the use of social media in certain situations only, such as, for example, coverage of breaking news especially during major events, elections, or crises. However, little attention is paid to the journalists’ daily routine of monitoring of social media platforms in Egypt. This study aims at examining the selection and use of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WhatsApp by journalists as news sources in daily newspapers in Egypt. It employs both qualitative and quantitative methods to explore the above-mentioned social media platforms as news sources in daily news coverage. The study first integrates intensive interviews with twenty four Egyptian journalists from the three newspapers under study to give an in-depth examination of the use and selection of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WhatsApp as references for their daily news coverage. Interviews examine the impact of social media on the news content that journalists use, investigate whether social media would change the professional traditional newsgathering and sourcing habits in journalism, seek to learn about the extent to which social media would alter these professional ways, and, as well, investigate whether these new practices would be obvious in the traditional Egyptian newspapers. The study further provides a ‘quantitative overview ‘of all the articles that were published between November 2013 and October 2016 in El-Ahram, El-Masry El-Youm and El-Wafd newspapers. Then a content analysis is conducted on a sample of articles selected using a non-probability purposive sampling technique that clearly mentions any of the four social media platforms as news sources. The content analysis examines a sample of 432 issues from printed newspapers which appeared between November 2013 and October 2016. It is found that out of 21,332 news articles, 4,707 news articles are only found mentioning any of the four social media platforms under study as sources for news coverage by journalists. Results show that using social media became a daily routine in the three Egyptian newspapers. Thus, findings support the claim that social media platforms have become an integral part of journalists’ daily news coverage; however, this does not imply that social media has dominated the content of the newspapers studied. Nevertheless, results show that the number of news articles referring to social media as news sources is low (approximately 22.06% out of the total number of the news articles analyzed).


Journalism & Mass Communication Department

Degree Name

MA in Journalism & Mass Communication

Graduation Date


Submission Date

January 2017

First Advisor

Amin, Hussein

Committee Member 1

El-Tarabishi, Maha

Committee Member 2

Allam, Rasha


206 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item


I am very fortunate to have performed my graduate work at the American university in Cairo; therefore I deeply want to thank all of those who had part in my success. First and foremost a heartfelt thanks to my adviser Professor Hussein Amin, my teacher, my inspirer and more closely my father for his continuous support and for guiding me all the way. Moreover, I want to thank my two readers and committee members, Professor Maha El-Tarabishy for she had demonstrated a sincere interest in my work and for her many insightful suggestions, and Dr. Rasha Allam for her valuable feedback and for the wealth of information and experience she shared. I also show gratitude for Nesrine Azmy, secretary of Mass Communication Department. I would like to express the deepest gratitude to my family mom, dad and sister for their support and help. Thank you for your financial support. I remember those long nights when my mother used to sit by my side still awake and never sleeps until I sleep. I remember my sister always encouraging me and showing passion in my thesis topic. Thank you for your great faith in me dad. You told me “this is my dream, please make it come true!” I made it true dad as I promised! I really appreciate my husband’s support and my children’s genuine love who have never complained once I am not there for them most of the times. Thank you husband for both the big and little things you have made for me, thank you for those days when you sat at the computer facilitating work for me. Thank you for being patient, thank you for being always there when I needed you, and thank you for your financial support. Also, I want to acknowledge my mother in law, Amal Salah for her support and assistance in different stages in my thesis. Thank you my dear friend Heba Taher for your support. Many thanks to all the editors and journalists at El-Ahram, El-Masry El-Youm and El-Wafd newspapers for sharing so generously of their time and effort. I would like to extend my deep appreciation to those great institutions. I would like to give special thanks to Salah Fathy, who always had time to help me through my thesis. I also acknowledge Medhat, Library manager at Cairo University for helping me with the statistical work. Last but not least, I am grateful for Mrs. Rifka Nounou for editing my thesis. I would not be who am I today without you all!