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Gatewatching and News Curation

Journalism, Social Media, and the Public Sphere

Series:

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.

Gatewatching and News Curation is an intelligent, insightful, and indispensable intervention in the debate over social media’s impact on journalism. Axel Bruns masterfully charts the rise of new social media infrastructures, the spread of novel audience practises, and the corollary actions and reactions of journalists. He adroitly navigates conflicting trends and tensions that both challenge journalism and point to fresh directions, addressing questions over what journalism is, how it operates and to what purpose. Gatewatching and News Curation is a deep dive into the media at a time when audiences and journalists swim in an ocean of information, with news swirling around at all times of the day, in all shapes and sizes, via all sorts of intermediaries and devices.”—Alfred Hermida, University of British Columbia

“Axel Bruns brilliantly captures an under-researched feature of the unfinished communications revolution of our time: the decline of gatekeeping media that once decided for millions of people what was newsworthy, and what was the truth, and the rise of networks of gatewatching platforms that make, discover, share, and dispute news about our world. This is an elegant and uplifting book by a distinguished media scholar whose wise observations and lively conjectures deserve to be widely known, and widely appreciated.”—John Keane, University of Sydney; Author of The Life and Death of Democracy