Police Social Media and Broadcast News: An Investigation into the Impact of Police Use of Facebook on Journalists’ Gatekeeping Role

Jennifer Grygiel, Syracuse University
Suzanne Lysak, Chapman University
Journalism Practice
May 5, 2020

This qualitative study sought to understand how journalists’ gatekeeping role, routines, and practices of communication work have been impacted by police use of social media such as Facebook. Semi-structured topical interviews were conducted with eleven broadcast newsroom staff. Overall, findings suggest that police use of Facebook has made newsroom routines easier in many cases, but it is also leading journalists away from gatekeeping and towards passivity and curation. In addition, findings suggest social media use by official sources is shifting gatekeeping power from journalists to police as departments are now able to gatecrash and circumvent the press.

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