State of play : the gatekeeping of micro-documentaries
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The micro-documentary is a digital subgenre emerging from the overlap of longform documentary film, broadcast news, home video, advertising, and photojournalism. Despite technological advancements that have made video production and publication tools more accessible and less expensive, a wide spectrum of gatekeeping forces affect micro-documentaries in a variety of production contexts, including broadcast, web journalism, agency-driven commercial work, direct-to-client commercial work, self-publishing and film festivals. Through semi-structured interviews with six microdocumentary theorists and fifteen micro-documentary producers, this study uncovered an extensive (but by no means exhaustive) catalogue of gatekeeping forces affecting microdocumentary production at five levels of analysis: individual, routine, organizational, social institutional and social systems. After the analysis of twenty-one interviews, five phenomena emerged as primary findings: the existence of unacknowledged gatekeeping forces, the erosion of the auteur mentality, the value of qualitative returns, "share-ability" as a guiding production principle, and the decorporealization of gatekeeping online. This study offers practical and theoretical value by mapping gatekeeping forces reported by micro-documentarians and examining the relevance of an established journalistic theory to an emerging subgenre. In addition, this study could also establish a foundation for future study of micro-documentaries.