Gate Keeping Function As An Indispensable Tool In Print Media (A Case Study Of Newsbreak Newspaper Owerri)

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

Gate Keeping Function As An Indispensable Tool In Print Media (A Case Study Of Newsbreak Newspaper Owerri)


Billions of people on earth create means of varying importance each day, but there is no way to consume it all. The gathering and dissemination of news are distinctly different processes. Gate keeping plays an essential role or part in news gathering and dissemination process because every potential news item cannot be gathered and from among those items gathered, they all cannot be disseminated (Salwen and stacks, 1996). Because this destination, the news gathered and news transmitter possess desperate quantities of power.

I would posit that the man gathering news a century ago was some level also a transmitter. Therefore, he was a gate keeper by another definition which than the gate keeper of today. The current gate keeper determines what goes out to the public or audience and which pass from section to section. Gate keeper may exercise their own preferences (Salwen and stack, 1996).

A news originator simply submits an item into the stream of news flow but it is the gate keeper who then channels of feeds the transmission of the news. Just as the quantity of news is teaching, an immeasurable level, the aggregate of news stream is also increasing rapidly. The news consumer has option of choosing a set of similar or dissimilar.

Table Of Content

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title page
  • Approval page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of contents

Chapter One:


  • 1.1 Background of the study
  • 1.2 Statement of the problem
  • 1.3 Objectives of the study
  • 1.4 Significance of the study
  • 1.5 Research questions
  • 1.6 Scope of the study
  • 1.7 Limitation of the study
  • 1.8 Definition of terms

Chapter Two:

Literature Review

  • 2.1 Source of literature
  • 2.2 Theoretical frame work
  • 2.3 The review of relevant literature
  • 2.3.1 Ethnicity gate keeping in Nigeria
  • 2.3.2 Past theories of gate keeping (1946-1995)
  • 2.3.3 Communication theories
  • 2.3.4 History of gate keeping
  • 2.3.5 The gate keeping model
  • 2.3.6 Gate keeping in the 21st century

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research design
  • 3.2 Population of the study
  • 3.3 Sample size
  • 3.4 Sampling procedure
  • 3.5 Sources of data
  • 3.6 Instrument for data collection
  • 3.7 Validity of instrument
  • 3.8 Administration of the instrument

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation And Analysis

  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Data presentation
  • 4.3 Discussion of findings

Chapter Five:

Summary Of Findings, Conclusion And Recommendations

  • 5.1 Summary of findings
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendations
  • References
  • Appendix
  • Questionnaire

Chapter One


1.1 Background Of The Study

Gate keeping is the process through which information is filtered for dissemination, whether for publication, broadcasting, the internet, or some other mode of communication. The academic theory of gate keeping is found in multiple fields of study, including communication studies, journalism, political science and sociology. It was originally focused on the mass media with its few too many dynamic but now gate keeping theory also addresses face to face communication and the many to many dynamic internets. The Theory was first instituted by social psychologist Kurt Levin in 1843.

It positions the media personal as gate keepers whose actions and inactions meaningfully determine whether a story would be published or not. In his explanation of this gate keeper White (1964:171) emphasized that the editor, by virtue of his position as a gate keeper, discriminate to the public only those events that he the editor considers to be true and wholesome to the society. Gate keeping occurs at all levels of the media structured from a reporter deciding which sources are chosen to include in a story to editors deciding which stories are printed or covered and include media outlets owners and even advertisers. Individuals can also act as gate keepers, deciding what information to include in an email or a blog, for example.

Gate keeping is a process by which information is filtered to the public by the media. Gate keeper checkmate ethics and unlawful materials in news before publication. This process determines and only which information is selected, but also the content and nature of the messages such as news will be”.

  1. In exercising its surveillance function every news medium has a very large number of stories brought to its attention daily reporters, wire services and variety of other sources.
  2. Due to a number of practical considerations, only a limited amount of time or space is available in any medium for its daily presentations of the news to its audience. The remaining space must be devoted to advertising and other content.
  3. Within any news organization there exist a news perspective, a sub-culture that includes a complex set of criteria judging particular news story criteria based on economic needs of the medium, organization policy definitions of newsworthiness, conceptions of the nature of relevant audience, and beliefs about fourth estate obligations of journalists.
  4. This news perspective and its complex criteria are used by editor’s news directors, and other personnel who select a limited number of news stories for presentation to the public and encode them in ways such that the requirements of the medium and the tastes of the audience were met.
  5. Therefore, personnel in the news organization became gate keepers letting some stories pass through the system but keeping others out, thus limiting, controlling, and shaping the public’s knowledge of the totality of actual event occurring in reality.

1.2 Statement Of Research Problems

It is not a hidden fact that government through its agencies and parastatal regulates publications for mass media. This is mostly found in media organization owned by the government. The private media is also at times monitored but the monitoring is not much as obtained in the government media.

Nigeria is a country of diverse ethnic groups. The difference of these ethic groups in Nigeria has proved against unity in diversity. Tribalism in Nigeria is appearance by journalist setters of the society. This can be seen as the unbalance reporters and preference of article by reporters, editors who serve as gatekeepers. The unprofessional reportage and edits by reporters and editors is not for fetched.

This two most cardinal agent of gate keeping in mass media have deviated from being neutral to tribalism reporters and editors. In an event to be covered by a reporter, the beautiful side of a reporter’s tribe is always over reported and the ugly side under reported.

This ugly trend is also found in the life as an editor of a media house. The case is different in reporting tribe of other people where ugly trend is over reported and beautiful ones under reported all the name of gate keeping. Some newspapers and magazine houses in the Northern part of the country publish more news and happenings that has to do with their geographic location, thereby living southerners in the north “strangers in their father’s land”. It has become a reoccurring incident that southerners are slaughtered like fowl in the north and gate keeping either form the government or editors in charge of mass media.

1.3 Objectives Of The Study

The objectives of the study include:

  1. To ascertain whether gate keepers are performing their gate keeping function in its fullness in National news brake newspapers.
  2. To determine if National newspaper encourages their gate keeper so as to uplift fairness and objectivity in carrying out their duty.
  3. To ascertain whether National news break newspaper gate keeper have any influence on news publication.
  4. To find out whether National news break newspaper have capable hands as gate keepers.

1.4 Significance Of The Study

Particularly, this study will assist people’s views on the indispensability of gate keepers of National news break newspaper in taking decision on what will be published and what the audience will read. This study will draw the attention of government to the abuses mated out to journalists of National news break newspaper who are gate keepers in the course of their duty which makes them to abdicate.

Journalists are every day guest to the state security services (333). In other words to protect their losses, punish their source or the made public a confidential and secret information which is of great public interest. This study will draw the attention of national news breaks newspaper to properly sensitize their gate keepers so as to restore the confidence and the trust the public has on them, most especially those that have shifted from neutral gate keepers to tribalistic gate keepers.

1.5 Research Questions

In this study, an attempt will be sufficiently made to answer the following questions.

  1. Has the gate keeping been practiced in its fullness at National news break newspaper?
  2. Does National news break newspaper encourage their gate keeper through regular sensitization and education on the importance of fairness and balance in news judgment?
  3. Can reporters act as gate keeper in National news break newspaper and their function?

1.6 Scope Of The Study

The scope of this study is limited to only accessing the impact of gate keepers in National news breaks newspaper Owerri. It does not cover other areas of the states print media. It only discusses the important of gate keeping and that is what this study wants to investigate. The study gets information through questionnaires administered to the workers, due to time and financial constraints likely to be experienced during data collection.

1.7 Limitation Of The Study

Inadequate funds of our nation’s economy are very that finance became study due to lack of funds to get some places. Time constraints that is, inadequate time to carry out research on this study is really a problem.

1.8 Operational Definition Of Terms

In this study, certain key words will be explained:


Newsbreak is a newspaper house in Imo State, Owerri which publishes news and other publications.

Gate keeping:

It is the process through which information is filtered for dissemination, whether for publication, broadcasting, the intensity, or some other mode of communication.


Something is very important, essential and necessary which may not be done without.


A device or implement used for a particular task.

Print media:

This is made up of the newspaper, magazines, journals, books in fact any printed material and it is the process of passing information on through them.

Chapter Five

Summary Of Findings, Conclusion And Recommendation

5.1 Summary Of Findings

Gatekeeping helps in the quality of news published, it helps to checkmate when any unlawful and unethical material will be published. It also helps to prevent anything that could cause societal unrest.

Government interference undermines the efficiency of the gatekeeping therefore, for them to be fair, objective and accurate, they are meant to operate and discharge their duties freely without any form of influence all through with concomitant responsibility.

5.2 Conclusion

Conclusively, gatekeeping function as an indispensable tool in National Newsbreak newspaper, my case study has helped to ensure that rules, policies and procedures of deciding what the audience will read are being followed to enable the practitioners to uphold the ethics of the profession which entails fairness and objectivity in news reporting and publishing. Gatekeeping is the life blood of every news contents and should be carefully handled by professionals. Gatekeeping occurs at all levels of the media structure from a reporters deciding which sources are stories are printed or covered, and includes media outlet owners and even advertisers. The essence of gatekeeping is to flog out errors of facts, logic, omission and grammar. In media contents or news report bearing in mind the ethics that governs the profession journalism, photography.

5.3 Recommendations

Having discussed the findings surrounding the research work of which we have come to establish the facts that the position outweighs the aim of enhancing the contribution. Gatekeeping makes positively towards the achievement of business objectives.

  1. It is recommended that print media should employ the services of professional gatekeepers. This will ensure that the newspaper policies and procedures are observed, while operations are carried out according to set down rules, this will make it possible to achieve efficiency.
  2. It is also recommended that print media should review periodically the news decisions criteria for selecting news made by the gatekeepers so as to know when they are being unethical and bias. This will ensure that loopholes in the office are taken care of as soon as they are noticed so as to uphold the trust the public have on them.
  3. I do recommend that the print media should put an effective supervision to ensure that the activities of the gatekeepers are constantly motivated.

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