International News and Advanced Information Technology?

Changing the Institutional Domination Paradigm?


In a recent critique of American politics and journalism, sociologist Herbert J. Gans emphasizes the importance of analyzing news according to the defining structural elements of the media. “Journalistic work,” says Gans, “is almost always performed under difficult conditions of one kind or another, and most of the important imperfections … reside in the structures of the news media.”1 We share this perspective and use it as our point of departure for the development of a news gatekeeping model.2 There are several useful but incomplete gatekeeping models found throughout the political communication research literature. Each model tends to emphasize important aspects of news selection and production processes while underutilizing alternative factors. Developing a more complete news gatekeeping model would contribute to the development of more sophisticated political communication theory. With that objective in mind, we present the basic outline of a multigated news gatekeeping model and apply it to a preliminary analysis of media coverage of the war in Iraq.


News Medium Political Communication Television News Global Citizenship News Organization 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Herbert J. Gans, Deciding What’s News: A Study of CBC Evening News, NBC Nightly News, Newsweek, and Time, 1st ed. (New York: Pantheon Books, 1979), p. 45.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    W. Breed, “Social Control in the Newsroom,” Social Forces, Vol. 33, (May 1955), Mark Fishman, Manufacturing the News (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1980).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Ben Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly, 5th ed. (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1997);Google Scholar
  4. Doug Underwood, When MBAs Rule the Newsroom: How the Marketers and Managers Are Reshaping Today’s Media (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993);Google Scholar
  5. Robert Waterman McChesney, Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious Times (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999).Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    Leon V. Sigal, Reporters and Officials: The Organization and Politics of Newsmaking (Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath, 1973);Google Scholar
  7. Timothy E. Cook, Governing with the News: The News Media as a Political Institution, Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998); Gans, Deciding What’s News: A Study of CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, Newsweek, and Time; W. Lance Bennett, “Toward a Theory of Press-State Relations in the United States.,” Journal of Communication, Vol. 40, No. 2 (1990).Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    Bruce A. Bimber, Information and American Democracy: Technology in the Evolution of Political Power, Communication, Society, and Politics (Cambridge, U.K., New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Steven Livingston, “Transparency and the News Media,” in Finel Bernard and Kristin Lord, eds., Power and Conflict in the Age of Transparency (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2002);Google Scholar
  10. Philip M. Seib, Going Live: Getting the News Right in Real-Time, Online World (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefields, 2001);Google Scholar
  11. Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, Warp Speed: America in the Age of Mixed Media (New York: Century Foundation Press, 1999);Google Scholar
  12. Johanna Neuman, Lights, Camera, War: Is Media Technology Driving International Politics? 1st ed. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996).Google Scholar
  13. 7.
    Michael Schudson makes a similar point concerning the relationship between technology and the creation of mass circulation newspapers in the nineteenth century. Newspapers invested in the creation of technology that would expand production and lower costs. As Schudson notes, “Indeed, it may be more accurate to say that the penny press introduced steam power to American journalism than to say that steam brought forth the penny press,” Michael Schudson, Discovering the News: A Social History of American Newspapers (New York: Basic Books, 1978), p. 33.Google Scholar
  14. 11.
    Joseph Turow, Breaking up America: Advertisers and the New Media World (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 12.
    Sigal, Reporters and Officials: The Organization and Politics of Newsmaking; Gans, Deciding Whats News: A Study of CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, Newsweek, and Time; Bennett, “Toward a Theory of Press-State Relations in the United States”; Daniel C. Hallin, “The American News Media: A Critical Theory Perspective,” in J. Forester, ed., Critical Theory and Public Life, (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1985);Google Scholar
  16. Daniel C. Hallin, The “Uncensored War”: The Media and Vietnam (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986).Google Scholar
  17. 13.
    Gerald J. Baldasty, The Commercialization of News in the Nineteenth Century (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1992);Google Scholar
  18. M.X. Delli Carpini and B.A. Williams, “Let Us Infotain You: Politics in the New Media Environment,” in W. Lance Bennett and Robert M. Entman, eds., Mediated Politics: Communication and the Future of Democracy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001);Google Scholar
  19. Neil Hickey, “Money Lust: How Pressure for Profit Is Perverting Journalism,” in Columbia journalism Review (Columbia Journalism Review, July/August 1998); Underwood, When MBAs Rule the Newsroom: How the Marketers and Managers Are Reshaping Todays Media. Other systems of organizing eras of media and communication can be found in Bimber, Information and American Democracy: Technology in the Evolution of Political Power Chap. 1. There is no clear point of demar-cation between these two foci, and indeed they clearly overlap. One model does not necessarily replace another. Instead, it is a matter of shifting emphasis.Google Scholar
  20. 14.
    T.E. Patterson, Doing Well and Doing Good: How Soft News and Critical Journalism Are Shrinking the News Audience and Weakening Democracy—and What News Outlets Can Do About It [online pdf] (2000 [cited]); available from Scholar
  21. 21.
    Something similar to this occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s regarding terrorism news. At a time when, according to several statistical sources, the actual number of terrorist events was on the decline around the world, the number of U.S. media stories about terrorism rose. See Steven Livingston, The Terrorism Spectacle (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1994).Google Scholar
  22. 24.
    Daniel J. Boorstin, The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America (New York: Harper and Row, 1961), p.11.Google Scholar
  23. 25.
    Roger W. Cobb and Charles D. Elder, Participation in American Politics: The Dynamics of Agenda-Building, 2nd ed. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983).Google Scholar
  24. 26.
    John W. Kingdon, Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies, 2nd ed. (New York: HarperCollins College Publishers, 1995);Google Scholar
  25. Frank R. Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones, Agendas and Instability in American Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993);Google Scholar
  26. Thomas A. Birkland, After Disaster: Agenda Setting, Public Policy, and Focusing Events, American Governance and Public Policy (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 1997).Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Regina G. Lawrence, The Politics of Force: Media and the Construction of Police Brutality (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000).Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Steven Livingston and Todd Eachus, “American Network Coverage of Genocide in Rwanda in the Context of General Trends in International News,” in Susanne Schmeidl and Howard Adelman, eds., Early Warning and Early Response (New York: Columbia lnternational Affairs online, 1998);Google Scholar
  29. Steven Livingston, “Beyond the CNN Effect: The Media-Foreign Policy Dynamic,” in Pippa Norris, ed., Politics and the Press: The News Media and Their Influences (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1997).Google Scholar
  30. 35.
    Stuart Ewen, Pr!A Social History of Spin (New York: Basic Books, 1996), p. 48.Google Scholar
  31. 38.
    W. Lance Bennett, News: The Politics of Illusion, 5th ed., Longman Classics in Political Science (New York: Longman, 2003).Google Scholar
  32. 44.
    John J. Fialka, Hotel Warriors: Covering the Gulf War, Woodrow Wilson Center Special Studies (Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press; distributed by the Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Philip Seib 2005

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations