Sharing Knowledge and “Microbubbles”: Epistemic Communities and Insularity in US Political Journalism

Nikki Usher, Yee Man Margaret Ng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the peer-to-peer dynamics of Washington political journalists as Communities of Practice (CoPs) to better understand how journalists connect to and learn from each other and establish conventional knowledge. We employ inductive computational analysis that combines social network analysis of journalists’ Twitter interactions with a qualitative, thematic analysis of journalists’ work histories, organizational affiliations, and self-descriptions to identify nine major clusters of Beltway journalists. Among these are an elite/legacy community, a television producer community inclusive of Fox producers, and CNN, as its own self-referential community. Findings suggest Washington journalists may be operating in even smaller, more insular microbubbles than previously thought, raising additional concerns about vulnerability to groupthink and blind spots.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSocial Media and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • Communities of Practice
  • epistemic communities
  • media elites
  • political journalism
  • social network analysis
  • Twitter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Computer Science Applications


Dive into the research topics of 'Sharing Knowledge and “Microbubbles”: Epistemic Communities and Insularity in US Political Journalism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this