Essay on GateKeping Theory


The concept of Gatekeeping is relevant to many fields but as we are referring to mass-communication here, when it comes to mass-communication the theory of gate keeping is found in many types of mass media including TV shows, News channels, magazines or any kind of news media. Gatekeeping occurs in all of them which though not telecasted but it is existent and also, it is a practical concept where information is channeled and filtered before it reached the outside medium. Without it, actually there would be a lot of problems and chaos in news media. (Stuart, 2012)

Gatekeeping Theory

The concept of Gatekeeping was first coined by Kurt Lewin in 1952 while he was trying to discuss social dynamics and passing of food in a house-hold network and later he could explain clearly about Gatekeeping he could explain it more clearly in Field Theory in Social Science which sums up all his works till date. Gate-keeping can be explained in easy words by taking example of a gate which regulates human traffic, deciding who can go further and who cannot channeling the traffic somehow. From this example, we can conclude that gate keeping is a broad concept but used widely in a daily basis also in terms of news media where each and every piece of news is scanned and checked for deciding if it is eligible to broadcast or print. It gets rejected or accepted after looking at it from different sides like if there is some news about some religious event or mishap which is sensitive to some users or can be chaotic to a certain level. This is currently being seen everywhere in the world right now with news media funneling the news before actually transmitting anything. If the example of a news media is taken into account, the gatekeeper in that scenario would be the Chief Editor of the news company. (Shoemaker, 1984)
To help understand the concept more clearly, let’s take the concept of the movie “Good night and good luck” (2005) where they have taken the background of the channel CBS and an issue regarding the sensitive topic of communism at that time and the head of the show picks the story of an obscure US Air Force crash which wasn’t reported to the public initially and by taking this piece of news and reporting it, they come in trouble with the government and the people who don’t want other people to know about it. After the whole issue gets in the air and trouble strikes on the responsible people in CBS, they stand strong and face it and somehow go through it. So long story short, this movie correctly depicts the process of gate-keeping in a major news channel (I.e., CBS) and also how it is important and can go wrong sometimes and also that it is a process only to be done by a responsible person. The concept of Gatekeeping observed in this movie should be taken into account regarding how to analyze the exact process of channeling the info before using it as you can see the protagonist of the movie in that post rejecting news pieces to be taken into account for further investigation. (National Film Registry Titles, n.d.)
As in the example the discreet process of Gatekeeping can be found very clearly that any kind of data comes under processing it goes through funneling and then whatever remains after funneling can be used or not for the actual news reporting. This process is very choosy, the piece of data is looked onto from many angles, and then it is decided whether it should be used or not. Similarly, in the theory of gate keeping there is a regulator in the process which controls the channeling and also decides which stream of data should go on further and which one shouldn’t. It correctly symbolizes the correct usage and implication of the theory and also wraps an interesting story around it though keeping the environment as serious as possible as they were trying to depict a new media company’s internal cast and processes. The story might be fictional, but the channeling and funneling depicted in the movie are really similar to their actual counterpart.


After detailed discussion of the theory, subject matter, and its related example it is apparently understood about the theory of Gatekeeping in relation to Mass Communication as introduced by Kurt Lewin. The theory matter is easily understandable as it has relevant implications in the present world and media scenario that sensitive news pieces are not telecasted sometimes due to their sensitive nature and also the aftermath of the telecast has to be considered when the general public comes to know about that piece of information, what would happen to everybody. Thus Gatekeeping is an integral part of Mass Media relevant to current scenario.

National Film Registry Titles. (n.d.). Retrieved may 21, 2014, from National Film Preservation Board:
Shoemaker, P. J. (1984). Media treatment of deviant political groups. Journalism Quarterly .
Stuart, S. (2012). The Gatekeeping Function: Distributions of Information in Media and the Real World. The Journal of Politics .


Posted on

March 7, 2018

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