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A gatekeeper is a person who controls access to something, for example via a city gate. In the late 20th century the term came into metaphorical use, referring 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. Where this internal gatekeeping role is unwanted, open admissions can externalize it.

Various gatekeeping organizations administer professional certifications to protect clients from fraud and unqualified advice, for example for financial advisers.

A news 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 except for those specializing in the latter.

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. 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.[1]


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.

Employers may use such gatekeeping methods to ensure competence for the job, or to accede to the pressures of organizations that award credentials to require specific credentials.[2][3]

Internet search engines

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.[4]

See also


  1. ^ [1] New York Times: "For Science's Gatekeepers, a Credibility Gap"
  2. ^ [2], "Credentialism is Cruelty"
  3. ^ [3] The British Journal of Social Work, "A Closed Profession?—Recruitment to Social Work "
  4. ^ [4], "Google Bows to Chinese Censorship"