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Executive Summary

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 10 months ago




Executive Summary:



    Gatekeeping plays an active role in the media on a variety of levels.  It is there in the beginning when the journalist is trying to decide what story to cover, when the producer is trying to come up with a concept, and when advertisers make decisions based on the audience they want to reach.  Gatekeeping is the process in which information and ideas are refined by gatekeepers.  Gatekeepers make decisions based on what they want the outcome to be, whether it is favorable or non-favorable, biased or non-biased, broadcast or shelved.  Gatekeepers decide what is seen and when and under what conditions.


    Perhaps gatekeeping is most obvious in the broadcast format. Broadcasts (TV and radio) are extremely limited in terms of content.  When given a half hour to cover global news, someone must choose what to air and what to leave out. This person is the gatekeeper.  The problem is is that a few large corporations are swallowing up small and independent stations.  Since these stations are owned by fewer and fewer corporations, the content and context of the news is similar for each station a corporation owns.  This means less news and less alternative news coverage.  Instead of many gatekeepers we have two or three. This leaves an unhealthy amount of power in the hands of a few gatekeepers.


    Gatekeeping in the print world revolves around the editors and what they see fit to publish and not to publish. Beyond having this power, they also have the power of placing stories where they want them, what it is they consider more important news, and how that news is printed. Gatekeeping in the print media travels through a few gatekeepers and then gets distributed to the masses; there is little check on what is being said and not said. Overall, the editor(s) are the main gatekeepers of print media.


    Many felt that the internet would provide an opportunity to escape the shadow of gatekeeping. This optimism, unfortunately, has been falsely conceived. Perhaps the largest gatekeepers online are search engines like Yahoo or Google. They regulate what we see and provide us with information based on popularity over content. Beyond the search engines we see that hyperlinks are also a form of gatekeeping. Hyperlinks provide a trail of gatekeeping frenzies. With each click of a mouse on a hyperlink, we are being routed to a page that the gatekeeper wants you to see.


    In a democratic society, we have freedom of speech and freedom of the press.  The USA is one of a handful of nations who exercise this right of freedom of the press.  The belief that a healthy journalism is directly linked with a democratic society is one that we believe to be true.  In contrast, a socialism and journalism are linked.  A socialist government is in control of the media and uses it to maintain power and control over its people.   Some examples of socialist governments are:  Cuba, Nazi Germany, North Korea, and China.


    Gatekeeping is an inherent function that often goes unnoticed.  We operate as gatekeepers in our daily lives by selecting which people we are more open with than others in conversation, and by choosing who we spend our time with. Gatekeeping also enters the picture when it comes to the human mind - particularly memory. When one considers the vast amount of information that is taken in by people everywhere on a daily basis, it becomes clear very quickly that a person cannot possibly remember more than a handful of things, relative to the amount they have experienced. These filters that exist within the mind are perhaps the ultimate form of gatekeeping, however, we must always remember that when it comes to the media - our primary source of information in the United States - many filters have already been applied. We are only getting information that others intend for us to obtain in the way that they want us to experience it. 



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                                                                                                -Destiny Lewis & the Theorists! Spring 2008





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