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Modelling contemporary gatekeeping: the rise of individuals, algorithms and platforms in digital news dissemination


Wallace, Julian (2018). Modelling contemporary gatekeeping: the rise of individuals, algorithms and platforms in digital news dissemination. Digital Journalism, 6(3):274-293.

Abstract

Gatekeeping theory struggles to describe the rise of algorithms and users as information selectors in digital spaces. Algorithms and users may co-exist as decision-makers and reach high visibility through decentralised gatekeeping mechanisms. Classic gatekeeping theory is no longer adequate in describing contemporary news selection processes online and recent gatekeeping approaches at theory-building are isolated and have not been synthesised in a coherent gatekeeping theory. This theoretical paper addresses this issue and develops a digital gatekeeping model in three steps. First, four gatekeeper archetypes are identified that differ in access, selection criteria and publication choices. Second, gatekeeping frequently involves platforms on which gatekeepers operate. These platforms either apply gatekeeping mechanisms controlled by a central authority or rely on collaborations between many micro-level interactions to publish news. Third, a digital gatekeeping model is derived to model the four gatekeeper archetypes and their selection processes in relation to platforms employing collaborative gatekeeping mechanisms. This proposed digital gatekeeping model extends previous research on gatekeeping by synthesising classic gatekeeping theory with contemporary approaches and by providing a framework for future research on information control and dissemination.

Abstract

Gatekeeping theory struggles to describe the rise of algorithms and users as information selectors in digital spaces. Algorithms and users may co-exist as decision-makers and reach high visibility through decentralised gatekeeping mechanisms. Classic gatekeeping theory is no longer adequate in describing contemporary news selection processes online and recent gatekeeping approaches at theory-building are isolated and have not been synthesised in a coherent gatekeeping theory. This theoretical paper addresses this issue and develops a digital gatekeeping model in three steps. First, four gatekeeper archetypes are identified that differ in access, selection criteria and publication choices. Second, gatekeeping frequently involves platforms on which gatekeepers operate. These platforms either apply gatekeeping mechanisms controlled by a central authority or rely on collaborations between many micro-level interactions to publish news. Third, a digital gatekeeping model is derived to model the four gatekeeper archetypes and their selection processes in relation to platforms employing collaborative gatekeeping mechanisms. This proposed digital gatekeeping model extends previous research on gatekeeping by synthesising classic gatekeeping theory with contemporary approaches and by providing a framework for future research on information control and dissemination.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Uncontrolled Keywords:algorithms, control, digital, dissemination, gatekeeping, information, news
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:18 Aug 2017 11:04
Last Modified:07 Mar 2018 02:00
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:2167-0811
Additional Information:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article electronically published by Taylor & Francis in Digital Journalism on 13.07.2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21670811.2017.1343648.
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2017.1343648

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