Watchers of the gate

Mass media is built around the concept of gatekeeping, which is the process of selecting and filtering news and deciding on whether or not to allow them to the published or broadcasted. Already the field of journalism has so many obstacles that don’t allow them to publish the truth of a news story, in a world of spin doctors, press releases and the limitations of time and resources. Shouldn’t we be able to hear all of the truthful news, not just what some company is deciding to feed us? Gatekeeping is especially seen in topics like the war where WikiLeaks is condemned for ‘exposing too much truth’ and certain events in Pakistan not receiving any coverage in America.

Online information offers an alternative to gatekeeping; this alternative is gatewatching. Gatewatching allows the audience to decide and curate prevalent stories. A prime example of this is Reddit, where users upvote or downvote content, determining popularity and what is seen. With these websites there is information everywhere, it is endless, and it’s up to the user to figure out what information they want in this decentralised process.

Information is far from scarce on the internet which is why the quality of the information becomes more valuable than scarcity. Though when information is not following, scarce information is valuable. Even with the internet the value of scarce information is still seen. In 2006 two miners were trapped in Beaconsfield mine, their story was sold channel nine for allegedly $2.6 million. Nowhere else could information of this story be found, making it scarce and hence valuable.

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4 comments

  1. Companies and media organisations will always try to maintain control or at least have an influence on the information that we receive from news broadcasters. Not that this is a good thing, because it isnt. This is where websites like Twitter come in handy, while organisations still try and have a level of control over the information we receive Twitter and web sites such as Slashdot allow users to access information outside of these controlled sources. While this is great as individuals are able to choose the space from which they source information, like you said when information is scarce it is valuable, another example could be the recent shootings in PNG- http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/australian-man-shot-in-png-20100515-v54j.html The only place where I found I could access information about this story when it first broke was media companies.

  2. I completely agree with you, most information on the internet has very little value. There are always multiple sources depicting the same story (although there may be variations), there is only value if your the only revealing the information that why the miners were pain millions because it was scarce information hence valuable information. Although the internet may not provide valuable information is enables us to decide what we see, read and determine information, allowing us to question anything an everything, we become our own gate watchers. Tv only provides us with gatekeepers which limits our information access

  3. I completely agree. So many times I’ve seen some obscure article pop up on my news feed about a very real issue and think “why the hell did I not hear about this?!” I think a lot of audiences are becoming sick of the selective censorship of industrial media and are voicing this frustration through switching to alternate media sources. Information credibility is everything in this new online collective journalism. It may just be as simple as a massive aggregating website of self-written news posts from bloggers, that have ratings (like on Ebay) that say how accurate they have been in the past? Information is valuable, and information that is reliable, even more so.

  4. The issue of gatekeeping in the media is one that is gaining momentum in recent years. News is determined according to a set of values, news outlets choose the news that they think the public wants. So many major stories and events that have occurred particularly in developing countries do not get any coverage in mainstream media. I feel that gatekeeping is going to far and it’s pushing people to alternative media. You cannot even comment on a news article online without it being ‘moderated’ before it is published. I remember I commented on an article from a UK newspaper questioning whether they had an agreement or endorsement with a particular media personality that they were writing daily stories on, no surprise time after time it did not get published. Which made me think my suspicions must be right.

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