A theory is a way of interpreting or explaining a relationship. In order to intelligently discuss the impact of media on people (the relationship, for example, between TV programming and actions taken by TV viewers), we must put media use in a theoretical context.

For this assignment, you will select the gatekeeping theory common to research on media and society. You will then put together a summary paper that briefly examines this theory and it’s impact. This is not an “essay” paper as much as it is an organized comparison of the theories so that you can understand how they are similar and different, and how they relate to “real world” communication issues.

First, select your theory: Gatekeeping

For this theory:

• Define the theory and the describe communication relationships it claims to explain.

• Identify one or more leading scholars associated with the theory and, perhaps, how they contributed to development of the theory.

• Tell how the theory is operationalized. In other words, present a real or hypothetical situation involving media use by people and describe how the theory works to help explain cause-effect relationships.

• Identify what you believe to be a key advantage of using this theory to explain media/ communication relationships. Identify a key disadvantage. What can the theory explain and not explain?