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Four Theories of the Press Siebert, Peterson and Schramm

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1 Four Theories of the Press Siebert, Peterson and Schramm
Frederick S Siebert, Theodore Peterson and Wilbur Schramm, Four Theories of the Press. Urbana, University of Ilinois Press, (Originally published in 1956

2 The Theories Authoritarian Libertarian Social Responsibility
Soviet Communist

3 Authoritarian Developed in the 16th and 17th centuries
Absolute power of the monarchy (truth) Press supports monarchy Press must be licensed Can’t criticize monarchy

4 Libertarian Began during the Enlightenment (Milton, Locke, Mills): Rationalism and Natural Rights Time of the Founding Fathers Press informs, entertains and sells Press helps discover the truth – the free marketplace of ideas Anyone can publish Can’t defame or be obscene Checks government

5 Soviet Communism From Marx, Lenin and Stalin
Press contributes to success of the state Only legal party members can publish Government has “influence” over the press Can’t criticize party

6 Social Responsibility
How our press is suppose to operate Don’t have a free marketplace, so press must be responsible or forced to be Everyone should have access to press (letters, opinions) Controlled by community opinion, ethics Can’t violate people’s rights Press can be free and be combrehensive and objective

7 Hutchins Commission ’47 Power of chains Lack of social responsibility
Need for truthful, comprehensive, intelligent account of day’s events Need to be a forum for comment, criticism Need to be representative (minorities) Need to challenge society’s goals and values

8 Goals of Social Responsibility
Journalism school needed to train reporters Journalists need to be free from obligations and influence Opinion pages Local control of content (especially with chains) Ombudsmen to be readers’ advocates

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