ERIC Number: ED366010
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
E-Mail Editors: Gatekeepers or Facilitators?
An exploratory study focused on identifying editing values of a new mass medium, computer discussion groups known as Usenet newsgroups. A Usenet newsgroup is defined as a collection of articles grouped loosely by subject and accessible by nearly anyone with a computer and a modem. At present, most newsgroup users are affiliated with universities, the government, or the computer industry. Questionnaires were sent via e-mail to all current Usenet moderators. Of the 70 moderators who indicated they edited postings, 33 returned completed surveys. Results indicated that: (1) 72.7% of the moderators said that editing was either somewhat important or very important to group members; (2) for the most part, the moderators are not professional editors; (3) editing standards are not generally high; (4) the values of usefulness and "flaming" were influential for the moderators; and (5) the moderators used 75% to 100% of the postings to their newsgroup, with most using nearly all the submissions. Findings suggest that the moderators act more as facilitators than gatekeepers in the usual journalistic sense; and that, if computer communication is indeed a new mass medium, mass communication researchers must consider new models for understanding it. (Contains 2 tables of data and 25 references.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Communication Context; Computer Mediated Communication; USENET
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (76th, Kansas City, MO, August 11-14, 1993).