Revisiting the Gatekeeping Model: Gatekeeping Factors in European Wireless Media Markets

Revisiting the Gatekeeping Model: Gatekeeping Factors in European Wireless Media Markets

Vassiliki Cossiavelou (University of the Aegean - SOC/CI, Greece) and Philemon Bantimaroudis (University of the Aegean - SOC/CI, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/jitn.2009092803
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Mediation in news industries has received significant attention by researchers for more than half a century. Gatekeepers decide which information should be delivered to different audiences. The Shoemaker/ReeseGatekeeping Model identifies five different filters of content processing: individual influences, professional routines, the organization, extra-media influences and ideology. Journalism practices, intra-organization and extra-media-related procedures and strategic alliances, including culture and ideology, add more complexity in the contemporary globalized media landscape. Gatekeeping is being processed through out all the above mentioned pillars. ICT technologies related to the media have influenced the interactivity among the pillars and wireless technologies have influenced the digital media landscape. The European Union has experienced dramatic changes in its regulation environment and spectrum resources allocation. In this article, the authors examine the impact of wireless technology on gatekeeping practices in the context of EU news markets.
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The Gatekeeping Literature

The “Mr. Gates” study focused on the news filtering criteria of the individual – the editor. Editors exercise a great deal of power in deciding what constitutes news. Manning described his editor’s decisions as “highly subjective.” One-third of the rejected news items were discarded because the editor decided they were not suited for publication, while the other two-thirds were rejected because of limited newspaper space (White, 1950, p. 386). In that case study, the editor rejected 90% of the wire news that reached him, demonstrating the degree of authority a newspaper editor exercises on what news should become public. Similar studies examining the role of individual news editors displayed similar results (Cohen, 2002; Dimitrova, Connolly-Ahern, Williams, & Paul, 2003; Hollifield, Kosicki, & Becker, 2001; Peterson, 1981; Plaisance, & Skewes, 2003; Singer, 1997; Snider, 1967; Wanta & Craft, 2004). Those initial gatekeeping studies emphasized the ability of the individual gatekeeper to shape news content. Later works, however, demonstrated that gatekeeping is a complex process involving different actors and practices. According to Dimitrova et al. (2003), “some practices that reduce uncertainty in making news decisions include: accepting the news definition of opinion leaders within a newsroom or on a particular beat; adopting of a group consensus through daily professional interaction; keying on output of a reference institution, such as the AP or The New York Times; accepting key sources’ definition of news; and using attitudes and values of reference groups other than those in the newsroom” (p. 402). Researchers realized that individual gatekeeping decisions should be examined in the context of institutional as well as cultural environments. Thus, the gatekeeping research tradition encompassed research questions and hypotheses superseding the narrow cycle of the individuals.

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