Hello Reddit, Goodbye Fairfax

First, let’s count the biggest gatekeepers of industrial media in Australia. I can count two (Fairfax Media and the Murdoch empire). Two gatekeepers who control information and decide what it is that the people of Australia need to see. The metaphor of ‘gates’ refers to the publishing technologies controlled by media organisations. Gatekeepers police these gates to ensure that only suitable information is transferred through to their audience (Bruns 2003). News corporations tend to view their readers as passive, however, could this be why news readership is failing across the globe (Saba 2009)?

The rise of blogging has shaken up mainstream news and created chaos for industrial media. Revenue has plunged from industrial media due to the competition from citizen journalism on the internet (Saba 2009). Citizen journalism provides news as a process (Bruns 2009). The news item remains in beta which means that it is evolving and continually being updated. Use of traditional media is slowing down, while traffic to sites such as Reddit has been steadily increasing over time (Alexa 2014).

Think of a Reddit as a news platform; it is a gatewatcher which allows users to act as the main filters. There is an original thread, however the story of this thread can be seen in the comments  which have developed over time. Coverage of topics remain unfinished, inviting user participation in a more conversational mode of information production (Bruns 2009). Gatewatchers have the ability to create ad-hoc, decentralised and crowdsourced content, which is not possible with gatekeeper journalism (Bruns 2009).

An example is the reporting of the Boston bombings which was reported much faster on Reddit than by industrial media outlets such as Fairfax Media (Ungerleider 2013). There are issues with this, however, such as false information being distributed and interpreted as fact. Though, on Reddit an article’s visibility is determined democratically by the users which usually irons out these issues due to the number of people looking at the content (Virasoro, Leonard & Weal 2011).  This democratic voting may also lead to a fairer representation of global news (Virasoro, Leonard & Weal 2011). Reddit is a platform that not only gets the news out faster but also allows the users to choose what is most important. That’s pretty hard to beat.


Alexa 2014, How Popular is reddit.com?, Alexa: Competitive Intelligence, viewed 18 September 2014, <http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/reddit.com>.

Bruns, A 2003, ‘Gatewatching, not gatekeeping: collaborative online news’, Media International Australia Incorporating Culture & Policy, no. 107, pp. 31-44, viewed 18 September 2014, <http://eprints.qut.edu.au/189/1/Bruns_Gatewatching.PDF>.

Bruns, A 2009, ‘New blogs and citizen journalism: new directions for e-journalism’, in Prasad, Kiran (Ed.) e-Journalism: New Media and News Media, BR Publishing, Delhi, India, pp. 101-126, viewed 19 September 2014, <http://eprints.qut.edu.au/32539/>.

Saba, J 2009, ‘Specifics on newspapers from ‘State of News Media’ report’, Editor & Publisher, 16 March, viewed 18 September 2014, <http://www.editorandpublisher.com/PrintArticle/Specifics-on-Newspapers-from-State-of-News-Media-Report>.

Ungerleider, N 2013, ‘How Reddit became a hub of the crowdsourced Boston Marathon bombing investigation’, Fast Company, 19 April, 19 September 2014, < http://www.fastcompany.com/3008466/tech-forecast/how-reddit-became-hub-crowdsourced-boston-marathon-bombing-investigation>.

Virasoro, D, Leonard, P & Weal, M 2011, ‘An analysis of social news websites’, in Proceedings of the ACM WebSci Conference 2011, Koblenz, Germany, 14-17 June, viewed 18 September 2014, <http://www.websci11.org/fileadmin/websci/Posters/167_paper.pdf>.


5 thoughts on “Hello Reddit, Goodbye Fairfax

  1. Great to see someone focused on Gatekeeping this week. Yours is the only post I have seen to do this. You have done a good job linking Reddit to the this weeks subject and explaining how its format is competing against news corporations.
    Perhaps you could have commented on the effects of citizens being in charge of the content on Reddit, as the information is not always credible and can lead to anxiety if false information is perceived to be real. Reddit defiantly has its advantages, but also its disadvantages, which could also be explored in that final paragraph. I look forward to reading future posts.

  2. A very readable post. You tie this weeks concepts together nicely, and easily illustrate to the reader how and why these things are happening, specifically between Reddit and the legacy medium users. I would like to see content used outside of the lecture. Keep up the good work.

  3. This was a really great read with a lot of interesting and relevant sources. Reddit was a great example of a modern gatekeeper and tying it in with the Boston bombings emphasised your point very well. I noticed a few grammatical errors, but other than that, great job!

  4. Great post, I enjoy the way you express yourself 🙂
    You mentioned that Reddit reported much faster than Fairfax in the case of the Boston Bombings which is true and the democratic up/down-voting of content could definitely lead to a less biased presentation of news. You mentioned something about controversy spurring on Reddit as a sight and that was ultimately the downfall of Reddit in that case because they blamed innocent people for the bombings and had such an influence Barack Obama mentioned Reddit, Alongside twitter as jumping to assume things and getting overexcited, pretty much.
    I know it’s really hard to write these and keep it in the word-limit so I doubt that would have all fitted for the blog. It could be a counter-argument though, considering that that is less likely to happen at Fairfax where the Gates are Kept, so to speak.
    Really enjoyed your blog 🙂

  5. Great post, I like that way you have used academic references throughout your blog, however I think it could be really effective if you were to link to these resources for the audience to do further research. I really liked the example you gave of Reddit as I gave a similar one in my blog for this week, your right, it is a gatewatcher which allows users to act as the main filters. However as you mentioned about the Boston bombings although information was readily available it wasn’t all true, Reddit, had to issue a public apology to innocent parties who were harmed by the eager community whose speculation and got out of hand following the bombings. The popular social media site stated “though started with noble intentions, some of the activity on Reddit fueled online witch hunts and dangerous speculation which spiralled into very negative consequences for innocent parties”. This issue would have had a damaging impact on the sites authenticity reputation leading many individuals to turn to legacy media, although I agree that it does have the ability to get the news out faster and allows the users to choose what is most important!

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