2013: A year in Twitter journalism

Dec 30, 2013

From Edward Snowden's big reveal to the Boston bombings, social media has become an established part of how news spreads and increasingly how it is sourced. In Twitter's S-1 filing prior to its IPO, the company listed a risk factor that "influential users, such as world leaders, government officials, celebrities, athletes, journalists, sports teams, media outlets and brands or certain age demographics conclude that an alternative product or service is more relevant" (emphasis added). We've seen no sign of that happening.

Muck Rack's community of journalists has grown to nearly 20,000 spread over the world. This year, the Muck Rack team analyzed these journalists, their organizations and how some of the newest members of the social journalism community have embraced their Twitter handles and engaged audiences worldwide. 

The most followed journalists on Twitter

This list probably won't surprise you, except that we couldn't fit George Stephanopoulos's full name onto our graph. The best way to get millions of followers for a journalist is to get some serious airtime. 

Most followed journalists on Twitter 2013

  1. Anderson Cooper: 4,613,769
  2. Piers Morgan: 3,889,204
  3. Rachel Maddow: 2,793,462
  4. Adam Schefter: 2,604,054
  5. Larry King: 2,463,758
  6. Bill Simmons: 2,395,816
  7. Chris Hardwick: 2,093,199
  8. Erin Andrews: 2,041,755
  9. George Stephanopoulos: 1,913,970
  10. Dr. Sanjay Gupta: 1,756,331

Media outlets with the most tweeting journalists

This year the New York Times took the top spot for the most journalists on Twitter (it was second last year). Reuters grew their number of tweeting journalists the most by more than doubling.

Media Outlets with most journalists on Twitter

  1. New York Times: 502
  2. Reuters: 496
  3. Associated Press: 482
  4. Wall Street Journal: 418
  5. Bloomberg News: 392
  6. LA Times : 339
  7. Guardian: 293
  8. BBC: 256
  9. CNN: 244
  10. Financial Times: 184


Media outlets with the most collective followers

We added up all of the followers of all of the journalists at each media outlet (excluding the following of the media outlets' brand accounts like @CNN). CNN held the top spot from last year. ESPN impressively moved up from 6th place last year to 2nd place this year.

Collective following of journalists by media outlet

  1. CNN: 18,219,432
  2. ESPN: 10,920,743
  3. New York Times: 10,359,464
  4. ABC News: 8,126,836
  5. NBC News: 6,275,320
  6. MSNBC: 5,585,028
  7. Guardian: 5,583,053
  8. Fox News: 4,977,543
  9. BBC: 3,771,413
  10. Yahoo! News: 3,600,181


Most followed journalists who created their Twitter account in 2013

When it comes to having a large following, it's no secret that it helps to have been on Twitter for a while. So we'd like to give a special shout out to the journalists who've joined Twitter this year and have quickly built an audience.

Most followed journalists with accounts created in 2013

  1. Melissa Lee: 19,104 (5/8/2013)
  2. Anna Breslaw: 12,366 (1/14/2013)
  3. Lionel Barber: 11,960 (1/7/2013)
  4. Howie Carr: 9,853 (4/24/2013)
  5. Thomas Fessy : 3,304 (3/14/2013)
  6. Vanessa K. Bush: 3,049 (3/24/2013)
  7. Julie Durda: 2,796 (4/4/2013)
  8. Michael Kitchen: 2,552 (3/27/2013)
  9. Russ Parsons: 2,523 (2/12/2013)
  10. Siobhan Gorman: 2,020 (7/9/2013)

If you're not yet on Muck Rack, create your journalist portfolio today.

For additional social media glory, be sure to enter the Shorty Awards (which we also run) categories Best News Twitter Account and Best Use of Social Media for News. The category for Best Journalist on Social Media will open in early January. Tim Pool won that destinction at the last Shortys and has since become a producer at Vice.

We'd like to thank Sree Sreenivasan who had the original idea to analyze this data in his CNET column last year, and Rob Shapiro and Joe Geoghan from the Muck Rack team who worked on this project.

Happy New Year!

About the author

Gregory Galant is the cofounder and CEO of Muck Rack, a digital PR and journalism platform. Th…

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