Gatekeeping Analysis of The Asian Magazine: A Case Study

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Virginia Tech

As one of the most enduring theories in communication, gatekeeping suggests that stories have to move from one gate to another gate before being published. During this process, some stories are selected, while others are rejected. Previous studies heavily focus on traditional news media and explore the influence of internal and external forces on story selection. Very few studies, however, look at gatekeeping in new areas of technology. This case study extends this literature into social media. It looks at how editors at The Asian Magazine (TAM) select stories for its WeChat public account. Interviews with editors identify news values and news categories that these gatekeepers think are important. Results of the WeChat content analysis between May and August 2014 indicate that TAM editors do not strictly rely on established news values to select WeChat stories. News categories better predict story decisions. Examining which WeChat items generate the most reader engagement gives evidence of how well news content matches what attracts readers online. News category priorities closely match what readers want to read.

gatekeeping, news values, news categories, reader preference, WeChat