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Four Theories of the Press: The Authoritarian, Libertarian, Social Responsibility and Soviet Communist Concepts of What the Press Should Be and Do (Illini Books) [Paperback]

Fred S. Siebert , Theodore Peterson , Wilbur Schramm
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 1, 1963 0252724216 978-0252724213 1st Paperback Edition

Presented here are four major theories behind the functioning of the world's presses: (1) the Authoritarian theory, which developed in the late Renaissance and was based on the idea that truth is the product of a few wise men; (2) the Libertarian theory, which arose from the works of men like Milton, Locke, Mill, and Jefferson and avowed that the search for truth is one of man's natural rights; (3) the Social Responsibility theory of the modern day: equal radio and television time for political candidates, the obligations of the newspaper in a one-paper town, etc.; (4) the Soviet Communist theory, an expanded and more positive version of the old Authoritarian theory.


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Four Theories of the Press: The Authoritarian, Libertarian, Social Responsibility and Soviet Communist Concepts of What the Press Should Be and Do (Illini Books) + The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America + Page One: Inside The New York Times and the Future of Journalism (Participant Media Guide)
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

 

Fred S. Siebert is Director of the School of Journalism and Communications at the University of Illinois. Theodore Peterson is Associate Professor of Journalism and Communications at the University of Illinois. Wilbur Schramm, former Dean of the Communications Division of the University of Illinois, is Professor of Journalism and Communications at Stanford University.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; 1st Paperback Edition edition (October 1, 1963)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252724216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252724213
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #579,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A timepiece reinvented in the Web era June 11, 2009
Format:Paperback
"Four Theories of the Press" has, for years, been required reading for senior journalism students in most American universities. For many students, it is the only time journalism "ethics" was presented in the classroom even though the book is not about ethics. It is about four classic theories of the way mass media presents information to consumers. To summarize the four theories Siebert says:

-- The authoritarian system is owned by the state, which controls mass media. This is practiced around the globe in places like North Korea and Iraq.

-- The libertarian theory is essentially to journalism what laissez faire is to economics -- complete freedom of expression and ideas with no controls. This is essentially the World Wide Web.

-- The Soviet system is, like the authoritarian system, state-owned. The difference is the Soviet system regulates its own content. With the death of the USSR and its satellites two decades ago, the remaining users include Cuba and some African countries.

-- The social responsibility model was the American press beginning in the postwar period where muckraking and media investigation of wrongdoing was practiced to make the population wiser and to help improve society. This model existed in major media outlets up until about the time of the Internet. Now, with newspapers dying everywhere and electronic media competing not only with entertainment, cable outlets and the Internet, this theory is dust.

Today, the mainstream American press doesn't adhere to any of these theories. The social responsibility model requires resources most American media outlets no longer can afford including the resource that it can alienate its few remaining advertisers that pay the bills.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative and helpul for class on Media Theory November 26, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It helped with an assignment in Media Theory class. I got it very quick--no delay at all. It explained the theories clearly.
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