[AEJMC Newspaper and Online News Division list] Is gatekeeping dead?

wendy swanberg swanberg at wisc.edu
Mon Apr 30 10:45:47 CDT 2012


About being thumped in the blogosphere: Online critics are a just a fraction of news consumers. A few weeks back at our journalism ethic conference, it was noted that only 13% use Twitter (not sure if this was US or some other demographic).
Seems to me that Twitter in particular is something of an echo chamber, with users tending to overestimate their importance in the news universe.


Wendy Swanberg
PhD Candidate/Project Assistant
Center for Journalism Ethics
Center for Communication & Democracy
UW-Madison SJMC
swanberg at wisc.edu
608.620.4150 cell






On Apr 30, 2012, at 10:21 AM, Maureen Croteau wrote:

> I recently spoke on this topic at a professional meeting and was thoroughly thumped in the blogosphere for suggesting that the gatekeeper role still has any relevance. In fact, as information and misinformation proliferate, I think it is a vital role. Even though people may have the ability to separate one from the other, no one has the time to do that every day on every topic. The trusted gatekeeper -- whether using print, broadcast or digital media (or all three) -- has an important role to fulfill and "product" to sell.
> 
> I'm afraid that I was viewed as a newspaper dinosaur because of my position. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. With apologies to Marshall McLuhan, in this case the medium is not the message. What matters is trustworthy information  -- whether that gets to citizens by ink or electron is not the issue.
> 
> 
> 
> At 9:19 PM -0400 4/29/12, CARRIE BUCHANAN wrote:
>> Well I for one am really enjoying this thread of conversation, and particularly glad to see the Newspaper Group spark to life in the special mailbox I had set up for this type of email. That is one way to get them out of your Inbox, by the way. direct emails from organizations to a special mailbox, where you can read them when you have time.
>> 
>> Regards to all,
>> Dr. Carrie Buchanan
>> Assistant Professsor
>> Tim Russert Department of Communication & Theatre Arts
>> Faculty Adviser, Campus SPJ Chapter
>> John Carroll University
>> 216-397-3078 office
>> 216-338-3286 cellular
>> http://www.jcu.edu/communications/facultystaff/buchanan.htm
>> http://web.me.com/c.m.buchanan/Carrie_Buchanan/Welcome.html
>> 
>> <PastedGraphic-1 2.tiff>
>> 
>> On Apr 29, 2012, at 9:02 PM, Raleigh Mann wrote:
>> 
>>> I don't know why Professor Jack Zibluk imagines that it is a good idea to use AEJMC in this way, filling our inboxes with an endless chain of opinions about gatekeeping, or any other subject, but to me it's an abuse I prefer not to be subjected to.
>>> 
>>> Raleigh C. Mann
>>> Associate professor emeritus
>>> School of Journalism and Mass Communication
>>> University of North Carolina
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> On Apr 29, 2012, at 7:26 PM, Donica H Mensing wrote:
>>>> To add to Carrie's note, Axel Bruns' concept of "gatewatching" follows along well with this messier and more crowded media field than we've had in the past.
>>>> 
>>>> Today if a news editor chooses not to publish a sensitive name or story, chances are the information will be all over social media before the paper has been printed.
>>>> 
>>>> Conversely, if a story gains enough traction in social media (see Kony2012, Trayvon for the latest examples) it's likely mainstream news editors will then choose to include it in the next news cycle.
>>>> 
>>>> (Gatewatching, by Axel Bruns, 2005, Peter Lang Publishing)
>>>> 
>>>> Donica Mensing
>>>> University of Nevada, Reno
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> On 4/29/12 3:56 PM, "Carrie Brown" <carrielisabrown at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>> Gatekeeping is not dead, but certainly I think we at minimum see a concept that is evolving and in need of new research. There has certainly been some change and expansion in the number and kinds of gatekeepers we have - which now have to include things like Google's algorithms, influential sources who are able to "go direct" to audiences without the media middleman,  social media and more. The Trayvon Martin case is a good example, as this Poynter piece describes:  http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/making-sense-of-news/167660/trayvon-martin-story-a-study-in-the-new-tools-of-media-power-justice/  Newsrooms today are also increasingly guided by web data and analytics, which certainly changes the texture of editorial decision making and doesn't look very similar to the original "Mr. Gates" study, e.g. news meetings in which the number of page views is discussed and trending topics on Google are used as one source of story assignments (as found in recent study I did with Jonat!
>>>> 
>>> han Groves).  Recent research by Alfred Hermida and others looking at NPR's Andy Carvin's use of Twitter to curate news of the Arab spring also finds interesting new patterns in which activists have a higher source profile than institutional elites, which also adds some new nuance to our understanding of modern gatekeeping.
>>>> 
>>>> Personally, I have always liked the framework laid out by Elements of Journalism that proposes thinking of journalists less as gatekeepers than as sensemakers. We may be standing at the gates, but today, the cattle are running all over the field, and part of the role of the journalist is not just to decide "publish or not publish" but rather to help the public understand, to verify and contextualize information that may already be "out there" through a variety of other means.
>>>> 
>>>> On Sun, Apr 29, 2012 at 4:49 PM, John Russial <jrussial at uoregon.edu> wrote:
>>>>   This discussion so far suggests that the classic notion of gatekeeping, as in limiting what got through the news gates, often based on biases or other less-than-noble reasons, never really captured what news organizations actually did.
>>>> 
>>>>  News editors have been curators for a long time--they curated what AP, UPI and other sources dumped on them. City editors too, in their own way. Most of these "gatekeepers" tried to ensure accuracy and fairness, increasingly difficult to do these days with decimated staffs and copy editors considered expendable (the Denver Post, now managed by the Journal Register's new world leadership, to cite one recent example).
>>>> 
>>>> As Dane Claussen points out, a couple of MSM institutions still have that gatekeeping role (as much from the perspective of other institutions who look to them for news judgment than from a sense of limiting what their own audience gets to see.
>>>> 
>>>> The idea that social media and crowd-sourcing somehow make those many gatekeeping functions moot strikes me as more of the "the internet changes everything" myth.
>>>> 
>>>> John Russial
>>>> University of Oregon
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> On Apr 29, 2012, at 11:24 AM, JOHN B ZIBLUK wrote:
>>>> 
>>>> OK colleagues, is the "gatekeeper" model dead?
>>>> I have been engaging in a Facebook discussion with editors at one of my former employers, the New Haven Register, a leader in the new world of community engagement journalism, who say social media and crowd-sourcing has"  blown the fences off"  traditional journalism and that we should abandon even discussing gatekeeping. what do YOU think? Pls discuss.
>>>> I am open to ideas about pursuing this for research possibilities, btw..
>>>> jack
>>>> 
>>>> John B. (Jack) Zibluk, Ph.D.
>>>> Professor
>>>> Arkansas State University
>>>> Department of Journalism
>>>> P.O. Box 1930
>>>> State University, AR 72467
>>>> (H) 870-931-1284 <tel:870-931-1284>
>>>> (W) 870-972-3255 <tel:870-972-3255>
>>>> (cell) 870-219-3328 <tel:870-219-3328>
>>>> 
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> 
> 
> -- 
> Professor Maureen Croteau
> Department Head
> Journalism Department
> University of Connecticut
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