Award Date

5-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Journalism and Media Studies

Department

Journalism and Media Studies

First Committee Member

Gary Larson, Chair

Second Committee Member

Julian Kilker

Third Committee Member

Susanna Priest

Graduate Faculty Representative

David Dickens

Number of Pages

86

Abstract

This study uses Gatekeeping Theory and Conversational Analysis to describe how four factors influence news gatekeepers in a small group at one TV station. The four factors include shifting forces, other media, personal experience and pack mentality. They were identified through conversational analysis of pilot data and the research questions are supported in the literature as common influences in news gatekeeping. This study describes how those four elements occur during group conversation.

Analysis of the recorded data collected in five editorial conferences describes how the four factors are expressed by the gatekeepers as they consider events that may become news. The study finds that verbal expression of personal experience carries little weight in influencing discussion. Outside media, on the other hand, is heavily influential. Shifts of force occur easily and regularly as members of the group discard their own support for a perspective of an event and instead support another perspective that has achieved the support of more group members. Finally, group members engage in pack mentality to close the gate.

Keywords

Communication and the arts; Conversation analysis; Conversational analysis; Editorial conference; Gatekeeping; Local mass media; Local television news; Personal experience; Shift of force; Television broadcasting of news; Television journalists

Disciplines

Broadcast and Video Studies | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Journalism Studies | Organizational Communication

Language

English