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Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production

Gatewatching and News Curation: Journalism, Social Media, and the Public Sphere (2017) documents an emerging news media environment that is characterised by an increasingly networked and social structure. In this environment, professional journalists and non-professional news users alike are increasingly cast in the role of gatewatcher and news curator, and sometimes accept these roles with considerable enthusiasm. A growing part of their everyday activities takes place within the spaces operated by the major social media providers, where platform features outside of their control affect how they can post, find, access, share, curate, and otherwise engage with news, rumours, analysis, comments, opinion, and related forms of information.

If in the current social media environment the majority of users are engaged in sharing news; if the networked structure of these platforms means that users observe and learn from each other’s sharing practices; if these practices result in the potential for widespread serendipitous news discovery; and if such news discovery is now overtaking search engines as the major driver of traffic to news sites—then gatewatching and news curation are no longer practiced only by citizen journalists, and it becomes important to fully understand the typical motivations, practices, and consequences of habitual news sharing through social media platforms.

Professional journalism and news media have yet to fully come to terms with these changes. The first wave of citizen media was normalised into professional journalistic practices—but this book argues that what we are observing in the present context instead is the normalisation of professional journalism into social media.

Gatewatching and News Curation is an intelligent, insightful, and indispensable intervention in the debate over social media's impact on journalism. Axel Bruns masterfully charts the rise of new social media infrastructures, the spread of novel audience practises, and the corollary actions and reactions of journalists. He adroitly navigates conflicting trends and tensions that both challenge journalism and point to fresh directions, addressing questions over what journalism is, how it operates and to what purpose. Gatewatching and News Curation is a deep dive into the media at a time when audiences and journalists swim in an ocean of information, with news swirling around at all times of the day, in all shapes and sizes, via all sorts of intermediaries and devices.
— Alfred Hermida, University of British Columbia

Axel Bruns brilliantly captures an under-researched feature of the unfinished communications revolution of our time: the decline of gatekeeping media that once decided for millions of people what was newsworthy, and what was the truth, and the rise of networks of gatewatching platforms that make, discover, share, and dispute news about our world. This is an elegant and uplifting book by a distinguished media scholar whose wise observations and lively conjectures deserve to be widely known, and widely appreciated."
— John Keane, University of Sydney, Author of The Life and Death of Democracy

» read Chapter 1: Introduction (PDF)

Gatewatching and News Curation: Journalism, Social Media, and the Public Sphere was published by Peter Lang, New York, in 2018. The book is available from Amazon and other book stores, and the eBook is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA licence.



Gatewatching and News Curation is the sequel to Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production (2005), which provided the first comprehensive study of the latest wave of online news publications. It investigates the collaborative publishing models of key news Websites ranging from the worldwide Indymedia network to the massively successful technology news site Slashdot and further to the multitude of Weblogs which have emerged in recent years. Building on collaborative approaches borrowed from the open source software development community, gatewatching provides an alternative to gatekeeping and other traditional journalistic models of reporting, and has enabled millions of users around the world to participate in the online news publishing process.

This book documents an extensive study of open news and related sites around the world, including interviews with staff of key sites in order to analyse their inner workings. It investigates the feasibility and the limitations of user community self-policing methods, and the effectiveness of the gatewatching process. It connects this with more recent developments in related areas, such as Weblogs and the Wiki movement, and develops a taxonomy of collaborative online publishing models. Overall, then, it charts the current state of play in the area of online gatewatching, open news, and participatory journalism, and provides the tools to analyse and classify the various forms of online publishing in this field.

It's journalism, Jim, but not as we know it. "Gatewatching," "multiperspectival editing," the "produser." Strange new terms - but as Axel Bruns shows in this impressive account of online news media, the underlying issues remain very much as Herbert Gans described them a generation ago. In a democracy everyone has a right to practice journalism. Users are beginning to shape the oddly named collaborative instruments on the Internet into a new chorus, giving a new voice to democracy. Axel Bruns shows us why and how we all need to learn the tune.
— John Hartley, Queensland University of Technology

Ever wondered why people love to comment on the news? Axel Bruns describes in detail how, in the Internet age, this "gatewatching" passion is changing the media landscape. Are news barons paying notice? Of course not. Will bloggers and open news contributors revolutionize our understanding of news production? You bet they will.
— Geert Lovink, Author of Dark Fiber and My First Recession

» read Chapter 1: Introduction (PDF)
» see the chapter outline for more details

Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production was published by Peter Lang, New York, in 2005. It was a finalist in the Communications Policy Research Award at Fordham University's Donald McGannon Communication Research Center.

The book is available from Amazon and other book stores.