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Gatekeeping, Gatewatching, Real-Time Feedback: New Challenges for Journalism (SBPJor 2011)

SBPJor 2011

Gatekeeping, Gatewatching, Real-Time Feedback: New Challenges for Journalism

Axel Bruns

full paper (PDF, 125 kB)

How bloggers and other independent online commentators criticise, correct, and otherwise
challenge conventional journalism has been known for years, but has yet to be fully
accepted by journalists; hostilities between the media establishment and the new
generation of citizen journalists continue to flare up from time to time. The old
gatekeeping monopoly of the mass media has been challenged by the new practice of
gatewatching: by individual bloggers and by communities of commentators which may not
report the news first-hand, but curate and evaluate the news and other information
provided by official sources, and thus provide an important service. And this now takes
place ever more rapidly, almost in real time: using the latest social networks, which
disseminate, share, comment, question, and debunk news reports within minutes, and using
additional platforms that enable fast and effective ad hoc collaboration between users.
When hundreds of volunteers can prove within a few days that a German minister has been
guilty of serious plagiarism, when the world first learns of earthquakes and tsunamis via
Twitter – how does journalism manage to keep up?