Journalists at major media houses in South Africa use Twitter as a journalistic tool for crowd sourcing, breaking news events, live blogging and to balance, check and cultivate sources. This paper analyses the use of the social network platform by the top 500 South African journalists. The findings suggest that pluralism and openness are important characteristics of the South African Twitter network. Although two strong sub-networks can be detected, we conclude that they give structure to the network and enhance the role of journalists in public debates and democratic decision-making. This is shown in the analysis of three trending news topics related to politics and crime. The last trending topic of the study questions the process of the individualization of journalism through Twitter. The paper concludes by confronting its generic findings from the perspectives and opinions of leading journalists and editors.

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