• Anibal Santiago

Gatekeepers shape the knowledge of their audience

In the current digital world, information is always accessible and available to you. The internet has closed the gap across the globe and has delivered information to the masses. From the world wide web to social media platforms, data sharing is on overdrive. But what if I was to tell you major media outlets filter the information they share with you? Has your perception been shaped without knowing?

A one-week study was conducted in 1949, following a wire editor for a newspaper with 25 years of journalist experience. Mr. Gate was a middle-aged man that held the power of what stories were shared with his audience. This newspaper circulated throughout approximately 30,000 families in a highly industrialized mid-west city of 100,000 people. Three major categories helped the wire editor filter out all the stories that were given to him by journalists: Crime, Human Interest and Economic News.

According to Mr. Gates, the stories that were published were chosen with the consumer in mind. He claims to know his audience and shapes the decisions around fulfilling their interests. However, only one-tenth of the stories that were submitted get published. The consumers assume that the stories that are covered under the three main categories, are the most important. But they are the most important to Mr. Gates who then assumes the audience would agree. In theory, consumers are paying for the publication but are not truly apart of the vetting process. This supply and demand approach created an unknown bias that still exists in the 21st century.

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