June 27, 2015
Question #1: Think about the concept of gatekeeping, the media, and the internet. How do you use the internet to bypass mass mediated forms of news and information? What do you think the future of gatekeeping looks like? Is it truly obsolete? Why or why not?
Question #2: Consider the idea of social responsibility theory and the media. Do you think the media adhere to these prescriptions? Why or why not?
Question 1: I remember the concept of the media being “gatekeepers” in my undergraduate work and thought then, as I do now, that while it works in theory, it can be very hard in practice. In the traditional news media sense, it requires journalists to have some sense of what they don’t know, to pursue and go after a story, lead or problem to shed light on the issue or concern. This can be challenging for news outlets that are either resource or talent strapped.
Adding on to these is the complexity of confidential informants and people willing to “whistleblow” or “come forward.” I do believe that the Internet has broken down, or reduced, the barriers to information and those individuals, with or without good intentions, can use the platform; see Edward Snowden’s release of classified information. Generally, I use the Internet to bypass media by connecting with friends or colleagues that either have had time to research the subject matter, or I conduct my own online search to verify and validate. Having worked for internal auditors, I generally follow their mantra of, “trust, but verify.”
Overall, I think the future of gatekeeping can really only be leveraged by national governments, and even then, only in a limited fashion. With countries like China and North Korea, both in the minority of nations but having populations that are sheltered from the outside world, I’m not sure information of any kind can be permanently hidden or withheld from a population or community.
Question 2: The idea of social responsibility wasn’t new to me prior to this lecture, but the extension of the concept to the media was new. I think that it’s possible for the media to adhere to it, but it can be society’s’ desires and interests that alter or impact a media’s choices to either be responsible or irresponsible with their news and information. Generally, I think that the larger media, while tempted to be “first to market” with news or information, does try to verify the news they are reporting, before they report it as fact.
However, in emergency moments or times of crisis, this can foregone in an effort or spirit to “inform the viewers.” Honestly, I’ve gotten most of my “breaking news” from my Facebook feed or from Twitter. I learned of the very recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage from this channel. I monitored most of the trending topics until I caught the new NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (which in and of itself could have been a gatekeeper, social responsibility news story this week) later in the evening.
Gatekeeper, MMC6400, Social Media, Web Theory,