Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Christopher H. Sterling
A classic piece of research published more than a half century ago contributed the concept of “gate-keeping” to the understanding of decision making in journalism. For news communication, a gatekeeper is anyone who makes editorial decisions on what news should be published or broadcast to the public. There are usually multiple gatekeepers in all but the smallest news organizations. Gatekeeping decisions help determine the news agenda and thus play a role in agenda setting for news consumers. The term gatekeeping appears to have first been used by social psychologist Kurt Lewin in 1947 research that determined that wives or mothers were the usual decision makers (or gatekeepers) on what made up their families' meals. Three years later, David Manning White published a seminal paper in 1950 applying the concept to journalism. Based on his observation of a newspaper wire service editor (whom he dubbed “Mr. Gates”), White saw that The ...