The 2017 state of journalism on Twitter

The 2017 state of journalism on Twitter

Since the first tweet went over a decade ago, Twitter has become a universally known brand, and more importantly, a tool that has become an essential communications tool to millions across the globe.

The platform has been credited with giving a voice to people in closed societies, inciting revolution, opening dialogues on tough issues and being used by world leaders to get their unfiltered messages out to supporters and critics alike. With all these different conversations and news-making events happening on one platform, it’s no wonder that some of Twitter’s heaviest users are journalists.  

In our recently released journalism survey, an overwhelming 96 percent of respondents said not only that they use Twitter on a weekly basis but 90 percent plan to spend either more or the same amount of time on the platform in the coming year.

As mentioned in our last analysis of this data in 2013, Twitter listed as a risk factor on their IPO 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". No one has yet stepped up to and knock Twitter off their perch and perhaps no one can. In 2017, Twitter seems to be more relevant than ever.

With all that in mind, let's take a closer look at the state of journalism on Twitter in 2017.

The 10 most followed journalists on Twitter

This top 10 has some notable changes from 2013, mostly the inclusion of some journalists in India.

Maybe to no one’s surprise, CNN’s Anderson Cooper remains on top.


1. Anderson Cooper: 9,346,090
2. Rachel Maddow: 7,494,414
3. Rajdeep Sardesai: 6,161,696
4. Barkha Dutt: 6,148,426
5. Bill Simmons: 5,858,741
6. Michael Wilbon: 4,406,942
7. Stephen A. Smith: 3,357,883
8. Nina Garcia: 3,298,785
9. Rahul Kanwal: 3,256,225
10. Erin Andrews: 3,018,477



Media outlets with the most tweeting journalists

This list features the almost exact same members as in 2013 with the Washington Post joining the list and pushing out the Financial Times.

Perhaps there’s something to this “focusing on digital” business after all.  


1. Associated Press: 893
2. The Wall Street Journal: 823
3. The New York Times: 811
4. Bloomberg News: 739
5. Reuters: 656
6. CNN: 631
7. BBC: 494
8. Washington Post: 433
9. The Guardian: 391
10. Los Angeles Times: 352




Media outlets with the most collective followers

In addition to the sheer number of followers for each outlet, The Washington Post has broken in again!

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). 

Some of you may also wonder if splitting up NBC News/MSNBC or Fox News/Fox Sports is fair so we’ll let you know that if they were combined, NBC would rank 1st and Fox 8th, making room for the The Guardian to come in at 9th, and NDTV 10th.


1. CNN: 38,788,890
2. ESPN: 26,508,381
3. NBC News: 21,665,659
4. The New York Times: 21,356,485
5. MSNBC: 19,941,900
6. Washington Post: 15,254,510
7. ABC News: 14,887,369
8. BBC: 14,597,350
9. Fox News: 12,261,150
10. Fox Sports: 9,214,125




Most followed journalists who created their Twitter account in the past year

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 since July 1st, 2016 and have quickly built an audience. 


1. Chris Sutton
83,540 (7/22/2016)
2. Carl Bernstein
62,704 (7/20/2016)
3. Louis Raphael
12,146 (8/11/2016)
4. Mychal Thompson
10,656 (9/7/2016)
5. Dylan Howard
9,778 (9/12/2016)
6. Cokie Roberts
9,712 (7/13/16)
7. Jesse Myerson
5,579 (11/7/16)
8. Terry Baker
5,282 (9/24/16)
9. Jane Pauley
3,606 (10/6/16)
10. Dan Moyane
2,680 (8/5/16)

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 Journalist on Social Media and Best Use of Social Media for News & Media.

Journalists -- are you still loving Twitter? Share your thoughts with us on...you guessed it! Twitter!

Andrew Mercier is the Editorial Director of Muck Rack. He is responsible for the growth, maintenance, and engagement of Muck Rack’s constantly-growing journalism community. 

Header photo via Pixabay, graphs courtesy of Muck Rack

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