Media Democracy

Getting Past the Gatekeepers

When we were brainstorming ideas for this issue, one word kept coming up: access.

It’s simple, really. Journalists require access to information so we can do our jobs properly. Members of the media need to access documents and sources in order to make our discoveries and analyses available to the public.

It is our job to equip our readership with timely and pertinent information about the world that surrounds us. As an informed public is a fundamental pillar of democracy, its functioning and flourishing are dependent on the flow of information—but this requires access to make it happen.

Unfortunately, it’s common knowledge in the industry that, in practice, the media system manifests itself as a series of filters, and members of the press act as proverbial ‘gatekeepers,’ controlling what gets passed along and what gets held back.

Journalists are required to strip away spin, deconstruct jargon and probe their way towards the real facts. We work through the filters on a daily basis in this constant effort to provide the truth—or, at the very least, the most accurate picture we can paint.

When we get information, our job is to analyze it, make sense of it and pass it on in a clear, quick and accurate manner. That’s our responsibility, and we recognize that we are directly integrated into this system—we can critique other media sources for filtering the news all we like, but ultimately we are one of the filters, too.

In this issue, we hope to give you a better idea of how the news gets from us to you and the things that go on in between, to provide a more holistic perspective on the difficulties and impediments we face when putting things to print.

This also serves as a reminder that there are more options than ever before. You can choose what you read, what you watch and which sources you trust to give you your news. The monumental shift that the journalism industry has undergone in the past decade means more than just figures about ad revenue and subscription numbers.

It also means that you can—and should—take a more active role in your news consumption than ever before. Hopefully the information in this insert helps you make an informed choice. Democracy depends on it.