A gatekeeper is defined as someone who controls access to something. It also refers to individuals who decide whether a given message will be distributed by a mass medium.

Gatekeeping Roles

Gatekeepers serve several different purposes such as academic admissions, financial advising, and news editing. Academic admissions plays a vital role in every student's life. They look at qualifications such as test scores, race, social class, grades, family connections, and even athletic ability. Perhaps one of the most important kind of gatekeeper is one who provides financial advice. In order to reduce fraud and unqualified advice, various certifications for financial advisers exist. Another type of gatekeeper is a news editor. An editor picks out what stories would be most informative and popular. For example, a presidential resignation would be on the front page of a newspaper rather than a celebrity break-up in most cases.

Network television gatekeeping

Television gatekeeping has a variety of responsibilities such as the coordination of activities, control of money, management and personnel, and the application of authority. A gatekeeper in this field decides what subject and when the subject airs on TV. They also have control over what television programs actually air on their broadcast.

Academic Peer Review

Peer Review is a practice widely used by specialized journals that publish articles reporting new research, new discoveries, or new analyses in a specific academic field or area of focus. Journal editors ask one or more subject matter experts deemed to be "peers" of an article's author or authors to assess an article's suitability for publication in the journal. The intent of peer review is to determine that articles submitted for publication relate to the subject matter charter of the journal and comply with standards of format, tone, and style.

Notwithstanding the fact that the intent of peer review is to insure suitability and editorial quality, issues of preference or exclusion of articles are raised from time to time relating to the intellectual prejudices, career rivalries, or other biases of the journal editors or peer reviewers. [ [] New York Times: "For Science's Gatekeepers, a Credibility Gap"]


Credentialing is the practice of evidencing suitability for engaging in a profession or for employability through documentation of demonstrated competency or experience, completion of education or training, or other criteria as specified by a credentialing authority. The documentation provided by the authority are known as "credentials", and may be in the form of a license, certificate of competency, a diploma, a teaching credential, a board certification, or a similar document. Credentialism refers to the practice of relying on credentials to prove the suitability of a professional person or a skilled employee to be assigned the responsibilities of professional engagement or employment.

To the extent that employers may specify credentials that are more than needed for an employment position, or accede to the pressures of organizations that award credentials to require specific credentials, the inappropriate or unnecessary requirement for credentials may be a form of gatekeeping. [ [], "Credentialism is Cruelty"] [ [] The British Journal of Social Work, "A Closed Profession?—Recruitment to Social Work"]

Internet Search Engines

Internet search engines such as Google, Yahoo! Search, and others can give the illusion that they are conducting broad, unencumbered searches for the information as specified by the user. However, search engines can be instructed, openly or internally, to modify or redirect a searches, or to exclude qualifying items from the search results. The search engine serves as an instrument for a gatekeeper, who may be the search engine provider, an influential search engine customer, or a government.

Internet search engines in China have openly been restricted at the command of the Chinese government to exclude search terms that the government disapproves of. [ [], "Google Bows to Chinese Censorship"]

Gatekeeping risks

Accountants, analysts, and credit rating agencies function as gatekeepers to financial markets by providing information on investment products to investors. Accountants have been accused not only of being aware of accounting irregularities but even of aiding and abetting the violators. Enron's auditor, Arthur Andersen, is suspected of putting higher emphasis on carrying out its more profitable consultancy work for the company than on confirming that the company's accounts were in order. The number of households investing in stock and mutual funds increased over the past ten years. This means that more market participants depends on information provided by financial gatekeepers. In response to these concerns, the U.S. Government enacted the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. This act strongly regulated the accounting industry by two ways. It requires chief executive officers of public companies to certify the reliability of their companies financial statements. It also increases penalties for corporate fraud.

ee also

*Principal-agent problem


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