A3 – Filtering 2008 Presidential Election News on YouTube by Elites and Nonelites: An Examination of the Democratizing Potential of the Internet

DOI: 10.1177/1461444811428899

Citation: Dylko, I. B., Beam, M. A., Landreville, K. D., Geidner, N. G. (2012). Filtering 2008 presidential election news on YouTube by elites and nonelites: An examination of the democratizing potential of the Internet. New Media and Society, 14(5), 832-849.


The goals of this study are to explore several claims about the democratizing potential of the internet and to extend gatekeeping theory into user-generated content (UGC) domain. A quantitative content analysis of the most popular YouTube political news videos during the 2008 US presidential election was conducted to investigate the degree to which nonelites were able to partake in mainstream public discourse. We found that elites dominated first and second filters (news sourcing and news production) in the flow of online news, while nonelites dominated the third filter (news distribution). These results suggest that an update to the traditional gatekeeping model is needed to reflect the realities of today’s user-driven communication environment.

Press Coverage:

The Atlantic (see #7)