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Gatewatching and News Curation

Journalism, Social Media, and the Public Sphere


Axel Bruns

Gatewatching and News Curation: Journalism, Social Media, and the Public Sphere documents an emerging news media environment that is characterised by an increasingly networked and social structure. In this environment, professional journalists and non-professional news users alike are increasingly cast in the role of gatewatcher and news curator, and sometimes accept these roles with considerable enthusiasm. A growing part of their everyday activities takes place within the spaces operated by the major social media providers, where platform features outside of their control affect how they can post, find, access, share, curate, and otherwise engage with news, rumours, analysis, comments, opinion, and related forms of information.

If in the current social media environment the majority of users are engaged in sharing news; if the networked structure of these platforms means that users observe and learn from each other’s sharing practices; if these practices result in the potential for widespread serendipitous news discovery; and if such news discovery is now overtaking search engines as the major driver of traffic to news sites—then gatewatching and news curation are no longer practiced only by citizen journalists, and it becomes important to fully understand the typical motivations, practices, and consequences of habitual news sharing through social media platforms.

Professional journalism and news media have yet to fully come to terms with these changes. The first wave of citizen media was normalised into professional journalistic practices—but this book argues that what we are observing in the present context instead is the normalisation of professional journalism into social media.

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Table of Contents

table of contents


Chapter 1. Introduction

Coming Up in the News

Platforms of the Social News Media Network

A Study in Precarity

Chapter 2. From Gatekeeping to Gatewatching: The First Wave of Citizen Media

Key Elements of Citizen Journalism

Gatewatching, Not Gatekeeping

Collaborative Online News Production

Unfinished News

The First Wave of Citizen Media

Parasites or Para-Journalists? Citizen Journalism and the Mainstream Media

Embracing the People Formerly Known as the Audience

Protecting the Journalistic Profession through Boundary Work←v | vi→

The Gradual Normalisation of Citizen Journalism Elements

Beyond the First Wave of Citizen Media

Enter Social Media

Chapter 3. #BREAKING: Social News Curation during Acute Events

News Breaks on Twitter

The Dynamics of Breaking News on Social Media

Ad Hoc Emergence

Selective Repetition through Gatewatching

Gatewatching as a Collective and Collaborative Practice

The Structuration of Social News Curation Communities

Social News Curation, Social News Framing

A Cycle of Interaction between Journalistic Reporting and Social Curation

Reintermediating the News: A First Draft of the Present

Chapter 4. Random Acts of Gatewatching: Everyday Newssharing Practices

From Acute Events to Everyday Engagement

Random, Serendipitous, Habitual News Engagement


Motivations for Newssharing

Newssharing Practices

Networks of Newssharing

Newssharing as Performance

Newssharing as a Demotic Practice

From Demotic Newssharing to Habitual News Curation

Personal Curation

Social Recommendations

Topical Clustering

The Emergence of Niche Authorities

Beyond the Political

Demotic. Democratic?

Industry Responses to Habitual Newssharing

Chapter 5. Meet the Audience: How Journalists Adapt to Social Media

Towards the Normalisation of Social Media

Journalistic Uses of Social Media

Promoting Stories

Curating Content←vi | vii→

Personal Branding

Connecting with Sources

Monitoring Developments

Engaging with Audiences

Social Media and Journalistic Disclosure Transparency

Chapter 6. Management and Metrics: The News Industry and Social Media

Standardising Social Media Activities

Addressing Personal Branding

Measuring Audience Engagement

Shaping News Content

From Metrics of Popularity to the Populism of Metrics?

Atomising the News, Deliberately

Mobile News Users, Mobile News Workers

The Normalisation of Journalism

Social Media as Tertiary Spaces for the News

Rethinking Journalistic Ideals

Networking the Spaces for Journalism

Platform Power

Chapter 7. Hybrid News Coverage: Liveblogs

Liveblogs as a Hybrid Format

From Social News Curation to Curated Social Media Content

Liveblogs and Their Audiences

Between Mainstream and Social Media

Liveblogs as Public Journalism?

Liveblogs and Beyond

Situating Liveblogs in the News Ecology

Chapter 8. New(s) Publics in the Public Sphere

Social Media and Everyday Public Debate

Social Media as Third Spaces in a Hybrid Media System

Beyond ‘the’ Public Sphere

Towards Filter Bubbles and Echo Chambers?

Understanding Social Media Publics

Studying the Interplay of Publics

A New Agenda for Public Sphere Research←vii | viii→

Chapter 9. Conclusion: A Social News Media Network

The Journalist as Gatekeeper, Gatewatcher, and Curator

Algorithmically and Communally Curated Flows of News

News and Its Users

An Industry in Transformation

Towards a Social News Media Network

Index←viii | ix→