Semester of Graduation

May 2022


Master of Mass Communication (MMC)


Mass Communication

Document Type



Digitalization continues to redefine the news ecosystem and boundaries that distinguish traditional news organizations from their nontraditional competitors. However, we still know little about how nontraditional organizations that operate entirely on social media are situated within their news ecosystems. This study examines “Reporter News,” a Facebook page that reports local and breaking news in Shreveport, Louisiana. A traditional journalist used the page to report news independently. In January 2020, he left the page in the care of a team of amateur journalists who contributed content to the page. In the amateurs’ care, the Facebook page has continued to amass a large following, and it now contends with traditional news organizations. This study interviewed six followers of the page and three traditional journalists working in Shreveport to gauge their perceptions of the page’s function, authority and legitimacy. This study also examined the page’s web traffic, livestreams (n=7) and posts (n=170) to further assess the page’s reportage and legitimacy. Eight dominant themes emerged, which collectively demonstrated that study participants utilize the page’s association with a traditional journalist to legitimize the page. Although the page has less authority within the local news ecosystem than traditional news organizations, it is valued as a resource by both traditional journalists and citizens. On a broader scale, this study reveals that nontraditional organizations can derive authority and legitimacy from engaging in participatory news practices.

Committee Chair

Moon, Ruth



Available for download on Monday, January 13, 2025