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Article

Gatekeepers as Safekeepers—Mapping Audiences’ Attitudes towards News Media’s Editorial Oversight Functions during the COVID-19 Crisis

1
Department of Communication and Culture, BI Norwegian Business School, 0484 Oslo, Norway
2
Kantar, 0187 Oslo, Norway
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Simón Peña-Fernández, Ainara Larrondo-Ureta and Koldobika Meso-Ayerdi
Journal. Media. 2022, 3(1), 182-197; https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia3010014
Received: 20 January 2022 / Revised: 22 February 2022 / Accepted: 23 February 2022 / Published: 2 March 2022
This study investigates people’s attitudes towards news media’s role as gatekeepers during the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, this concerns news media’s quality control and the selection of the most important news about the pandemic, as well as the provision of useful information and knowledge about the virus and its implications. Challenging research that has questioned the very idea of journalistic gatekeeping in hybrid media systems, we set out to explore people’s attitudes towards news media’s gatekeeper functions during a crisis, when the need for reliable and relevant information is extraordinarily high and the information environment is flooded with disinformation. In this situation, news media gatekeepers could serve as safekeepers that protect the population. Based on a national survey in Norway (N = 1024), a country characterized by high levels of trust in social institutions, including the national press, the study finds that people were generally supportive of news media’s gatekeeper functions amid the pandemic. However, there were noteworthy demographic differences. Older people, women, and those who were more highly educated showed more positive attitudes towards news media’s gatekeeping. Moreover, we found lower support for news media’s gatekeeping in the group who trusted alternative, right-wing news media. View Full-Text
Keywords: audiences; journalism; gatekeeper; news media; infodemic; COVID-19 pandemic; coronavirus; crisis; alternative media audiences; journalism; gatekeeper; news media; infodemic; COVID-19 pandemic; coronavirus; crisis; alternative media
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MDPI and ACS Style

Olsen, R.K.; Solvoll, M.K.; Futsæter, K.-A. Gatekeepers as Safekeepers—Mapping Audiences’ Attitudes towards News Media’s Editorial Oversight Functions during the COVID-19 Crisis. Journal. Media. 2022, 3, 182-197. https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia3010014

AMA Style

Olsen RK, Solvoll MK, Futsæter K-A. Gatekeepers as Safekeepers—Mapping Audiences’ Attitudes towards News Media’s Editorial Oversight Functions during the COVID-19 Crisis. Journalism and Media. 2022; 3(1):182-197. https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia3010014

Chicago/Turabian Style

Olsen, Ragnhild K., Mona K. Solvoll, and Knut-Arne Futsæter. 2022. "Gatekeepers as Safekeepers—Mapping Audiences’ Attitudes towards News Media’s Editorial Oversight Functions during the COVID-19 Crisis" Journalism and Media 3, no. 1: 182-197. https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia3010014

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