Gatekeeping is the process through which information is monitored and controlled, it is filtered continuously and censored by an overseeing regulatory body. This is how the world received its information for a long time- through neatly packaged articles and news reels, all filtered for our entertainment and education… (and manipulation, some might argue). Professional journalism standards saw the news delivered in certain ways. We accepted the news as it was given to us, we were not part of the conversation but that was okay.
This was a “one-to-one mode” communication. This when journalists were respected and important.
Fast-forwarding several years…
Gatewatching is where the audience joins the conversation, are directly involved in the information flow and content creation, they are known as prosumers- the users are actually the filters themselves, they assist in the sorting process. This is a “many-to-many mode” communication- everyone creates and contributes. There are millions of people watching the flow of content, helping to filter and manage the flow effectively. Helping improve any issues that arises, there is no need for a gate keeper in this model of communication.
Axel Bruns is Professor in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology. He has researched the impacts of the changing dynamics of introducing a gatewatching society and move away from traditional journalism standards and practices.
He has noted how the new systems “relies less on first hand investigative research and the ability to compose succinct new stories, and more on information searches and retrieval skills especially in online environment”, the notion of having the tight-knit packages are gone, users want as much content as they can so they are able to filter themselves, using their own search terms and key words. He continues to say “Conducted on a far more ad hoc, decentralised and crowdsourced basis than had been possible for gatekeeper journalism…Citizen journalism provides news-as-process: a continuing and necessarily unfinished coverage of topics and events inviting user participation aiming what can be described as ‘deliberative journalism’.
The new wave of journalism, through citizens, has taken the world by storm, using such platforms as Twitter and Reddit to create content and report news to the greater society. This is why the ability to sort through and filter one’s own content has become a valuable skill with the introduction of gatewatching systems.
This leaves the question: are journalism students going to be out of a job, before they even get one?