What is the gatekeeping model?

Posted on February 22, 2012


What is the gatekeeping model?

 Gate keeping is defined as an aspect of communication theory in which experts, oreditors,serve as content filters of mass mediated communication for others in deciding what is more or less important and what  D.H. White, who in 1950 wrote that journalists operate as gatekeepers of news and information for society” (Pavlik and McIntosh 76).  “This theory is related to the mass media and organizations. In the mass media the focus is on the organizational structure of newsrooms and events. Gatekeeping is also an important in organizations, since employees and management are using ways of influence.” (University of Twente).


            The assumptions of the media gate keeping model are very negative within today’s society. This is because we know that we don’t receive all of the information for everything that is in the news today. Television is by far the most corrupt form of media in today’s world. Americans know that we are only told what the media or government wants us to know. One good example of this is the media coverage on the War in Iraq. There has been evidence proven that there have been things going on in Iraq that the government does not want for the American people to find out about. I would say that in this case the American Government is the gate-keeper in this situation even though the Communication 101 Textbook describes a gate-keeper as “Someone who is in a position to pass on or discard information (Communication 101 Textbook pg. 37)”. At http://www.worldnewsstand.net/03/John_Kaminski/26.htm , a writer named John Kaminski tells some of his accounts as a journalists and what the government and media channels allow to be released to the public. An example from his account sums up why there are media gate-keepers he says, “Most journalists have never told the truth about politics; they are only allowed to say what their bosses will allow them to say. And almost always, if the newspaper or TV station is a big one, their bosses won’t let them tell the truth about practically anything”. Another good website at http://dsonline.computer.org/portal/site/dsonline/menuitem.6dd2a408dbe4a94be487e0606bcd45f3/index.jsp?&pName=dso_level1_article&TheCat=&path=dsonline/0507&file=o7003.xml& describes more about gate-keepers and their jobs to keep information from


The media gate-keeping model assumes, according to the text, that “experts, or editors, serve as … filters of mediated content for others, deciding what is more or less important” (p. 76). An essay on the relationship between gate keeping and the mass media can be found on http://www.colorado.edu/pwr/courses/wrtg1150-001/lisa/position.html. In 1957, the research done by Westley and MacLean produced the basis for media gate keeping, when they suggested “the electronic transmission model’s direct path from media to the audience was supplemented by an interpersonal network of friends, family, and coworkers” (p. 76). Some suggest that even search engines can be considered to be gatekeepers, which is the focus of this article: https://email.rutgers.edu/pipermail/scils_phd/2006-March/001017.html.  According to the University of Twente, media gate keeping “show[s] that decision making is based on principles of news values, organizational routines, input structure and common sense”  (University).  This shows that media gate keeping is a valid practice, which depends on much more than one’s own personal opinion on a matter. Media gate keeping is crucial in getting the right news out to the masses.

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