A newspaper being printed

Why legacy media brands still matter in the UK鈥檚 鈥榮ocial media election鈥

For decades, the front pages of newspapers have documented iconic campaign moments. Now, many think that the internet (particularly social media platforms) is where an election is won or lost. Some have even dubbed this year鈥檚 general election the 鈥淭ikTok election鈥.

It is true that the nature of campaigning has changed, and newspaper and broadcaster reach has waned. But legacy media brands still drive much of the political conversation around elections and beyond, though analysing their continuing reach and influence is .

News organisations are facing varying challenges related to their enduring influence, reputation and reach among audiences. Media companies that can draw on deeper pockets and resilient brand loyalties are best positioned to withstand such difficulties.

But media consumption is not a zero-sum game. Suggestions that established news providers are rapidly declining in the face of the digital media ascendancy are unfounded. Around half of UK adults may say they , but that does not mean they have no need for traditional media.

Digital platforms such as social media apps are not, themselves, publishers (a distinction that has enabled tech companies to avoid statutory regulation). They operate, via the user’s feed, as gatekeepers to information often hosted elsewhere.

The Sun, Daily Mail and other legacy news providers are brands that exist both on and offline (rather than merely as printed or broadcast entities). If we remember this, their enduring value becomes clearer. In April, the Sun and the Daily Mail, along with the Mirror and the Guardian, . The BBC had an even larger audience of 37.8 million on its apps and websites alone.

Many people using social media for news deliberately access legacy media, by  of interest to cultivate their news feed. Other access is incidental, but  – three-quarters of online legacy news content is accessed via  such as social media, search and mobile aggregators.

And to the extent that influencers are the predominant source for news on platforms like , it is fundamentally the work of professional journalism which provides the material upon which their commentary is based.


For the full article co-written by Professor David Deacon and Professor Dominic Wring visit .


Notes for editors

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