With the rise of social media networks, the user-centered economy has become a trending topic over the last few years. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter show their power and influence in many aspects of people’s social life. Previous research has found that newsroom editors take the audience’s behaviors on social media significantly into their editorial decision-making. This study focuses on digital journalism and examines how the audience on social media influences the process and outcomes of news production. By using both quantitative and qualitative methods, this study finds that mainstream news media are losing the dominance of gatekeeping in terms of news production. Instead, the audience can actively influence the narrative and distribution of news discussions on social media. This study, therefore, provides a new orientation to the traditional gatekeeping theory and deliver insights to the audience on how to avoid misinformation.

Keyword: hashtag journalism, media theory, social network analysis