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Using gatekeeping theory as a conceptual framework, this study examines social media’s influence on American sports journalists’ perception of gatekeeping, particularly sports journalists who cover elite sports. Seventy-seven print sports journalists covering professional sports were asked if their definition of gatekeeper has changed since they began using social media for news-gathering purposes. Thirty-six participants did not think their definition of gatekeeper had changed. The 26 respondents who did think it had changed were asked to explain how. Responses were coded into 1 of the 5 categories in Shoemaker and Reese’s Hierarchy of Influences model—individual, media routines, organization, extramedia, and ideological. Results suggest that for practitioners who do believe there has been a change, they see social media as changing their day-in, day-out job routines, as opposed to extramedia influences.
Reed is a graduate student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC. Hansen, her former advisor, is with the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.