Normative Theory
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Normative Theory

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This presentation discuss how Normative Theory is used to explain the phenomena of mass media.

This presentation discuss how Normative Theory is used to explain the phenomena of mass media.

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  • 1. Presented by: Roddena Kirksey Ariel Foreman Holley Quick
  • 2.
    • Professionalism, a crusade to clean up the media and make it respectable and credible, followed the era of yellow journalism; its objective was to eliminate shoddy and irresponsible content. 
    • Media professionals and social elites used normative theory to answer questions regarding media reform. Social responsibility is the normative theory used in the United States.
    • Social responsibility theory
    Overview Notes:______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • 3.
    • Two opposing viewpoints
      • Radical libertarians (First Amendment absolutists) & Technocratic Control
        • First Amendment absolutists take the idea of “free press” as literal and oppose government regulation.
        • Technocrats do not trust the media and believes in the use of regulators to act in the public interest. 
        • Propaganda and mass society theories are used to justify media regulation. 
    The Origins of Normative Theories of Media Notes:________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • 4.
    • Libertarian theory opposes authoritarian theory, which requires all forms of communication to submit to governing elites.
    • If freed from authoritarian rule individuals would “naturally” follow their conscience, seek truth, engage in public debate, and create better life for themselves and others.
    • John Milton asserted in fair debate good and truthful arguments would always win out over lies and deceit, the self-righting principle. The self-righting principle is fundamental within social responsibility theory.
    • The founding fathers also subscribed to liberal thought.
    • Three fundamental concepts underpinning the founders’ belief in press freedom:
      • Theology
      • Individual rights
      • Attainment of truth
      • At the nation’s founding, the US was one of the first nations to adopt Libertarian principles lined out in the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights.
      • Restrictions on communication:
        • Libel
        • Gag Orders
        • Regulations prohibiting false advertising, child pornography, and offensive language.
        • Laws have been written to restrict communication freedom so that other seemingly equally important rights might be guaranteed.
    The Origin of Libertarian Thought
  • 5.
    • Notes:________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    • The Rise of penny press and yellow journalism.
      • Progressive and populist movements
      • In response against Progressives and Populist, media practitioners solution was known as Marketplace of Ideas.
      • Marketplace Ideas: “The Notion that idea should be put before the public & the public will choose the best marketplace” (Baran & Davis, pg104)
        • Laissez-faire doctrine
        • How the marketplace of ideas work (communication process)
          • Sender + Idea + medium + receiver
          • |__________________________|
          • Feedback
  • 6. Marketplace-of-Ideas Theory
    • Strengths
      • Limits government control.
      • Allows “natural” fluctuations in tastes, ideals, and discourse.
      • Puts trust in the audience
      • Assumes “good” content will ultimately prevail
    • Weakness
      • Mistakenly equates media content with more tangible consumer products
      • Puts too much trust in profit-motivated
      • Ignores the fact that contents is intentionally “brought” is often accompanied by other, sometimes unwanted content
      • Has an overly optimistic view of audiences’ media consumption skills.
      • Mistakenly assumes audiences-not advertiser-is consumer.
      • Definition of “good” is not universal.
  • 7.
    • Notes:__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    • Populist and progressive politicians argument against yellow journalism.
    • Establishment of government commissions to oversee their operation.
      • FRC (Federal Radio Commission)
      • FCC (Federal Communications Commission)
  • 8.
    • Notes:__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    • A call for professionalism in media
      • Professional schools
      • “ The Canons of Journalism”
      • Watchdog
        • Muckrackers
        • Fourth Estate
    • Limitations have been placed on media professionals but the following problems have occurred:
      • 1. Professionals in every field, including journalism, have been reluctant to identify and censure colleagues who violate professional standards.
      • 2. Professional standards can be overly abstract and ambiguous
      • 3. In contrast with medicine and law, media professionalization doesn’t include standards for professional training and Licensing.
      • 4. In contrast with other professions, media practitioners tend to have less independent control their work.
      • 5. In the media industries, violation of professional standards rarely has immediate, directly observable consequences.
  • 9.
    • Throughout WWII and during the anti-communist agitation that followed, there was pressure for greater government regulation of media.
    • The Hutchins Commission on Freedom of the Press was established in 1942. Members consisted of leaders from many areas of society, including academics, politicians, and heads of social groups.
      • The members where divided in 2 views:
        • Libertarian views
        • View that some form of press regulation was necessary
    • Chicago School
      • Envisioned modern cities as “Great Communities” composed of hundreds of small groups
    • Pluralistic Groups
      • In a Great Community, the various segments defined by specific unifying characteristics
    • The Chicago School believe that with unregulated mass media, the small, weak, pluralistic groups would be neglected
    • Social Responsibility Theory of the Press: the need for an independent press that scrutinized other social institutions and provides objective, accurate news reports
    Social Responsibility Theory of the Press: A Postwar Compromise
  • 10.
    • The first major test of social responsibility theory occurred during the 1950s with the rise of anti-communist sentiments at the time of the Cold War.
    • Joseph McCarthy successfully used propaganda techniques to draw national attention to himself and to stimulate widespread public hatred and suspicion of people whom he linked, most often inaccurately, to communism.
      • This illustrates how difficult it can be for journalists to adhere to social responsibility theory in crisis situations.
      • Once journalists began to doubt McCarthy, his popularity was so great that it was risky to oppose him.
    The Cold War Tests Social Responsibility Theory
    • Notes:_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • 11.
    • Strengths
    • 1. Values media freedom
    • 2. Is consistent with US media traditions
    • 3. Values individuals
    • 4. Precludes government control of
    • media
    Strengths and Weaknesses
      • Weaknesses
    • Is overly optimistic about media’s willingness to meet responsibilities
    • Is overly optimistic about individuals’ ethics and rationality
    • Ignores need for reasonable control of media
    • Ignores dilemmas posed by conflicting freedoms
    • Strengths
    • 1. Values media responsibility
    • 2. Values audience responsibility
    • 3. Limits government intrusion in media operation
    • 4. Allows reasonable government control of media
    • 5. Values diversity and pluralism
    • 6. Aids the “powerless”
    • 7. Appeals to the best instincts of media practitioners and audiences
    • 8. Is consistent with US legal tradition
    Libertarianism Social Responsibility Theory
      • Weaknesses
    • Is overly optimistic about media’s willingness to meet responsibilities
    • Is overly optimistic about individual responsibility
    • Underestimates power of profit motivation and competition
    • Legitimizes status quo
  • 12.
    • Bloggers’ Code of Ethics Preamble
      • “ Responsible bloggers should recognize that they are publishing words publicly, and therefore have certain ethical obligations to their readers, the people they write about, and society in general…Integrity it the cornerstone of credibility. Bloggers who adopt this code of principles and these standards of practice not only practice ethical publishing, but convey to their readers that they can be trusted.”
    • A Bloggers Code of Ethics
    • 1. Be Honest and Fair
    • Bloggers should be honest and fair in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
    • 2. Minimize Harm
    • Ethical bloggers treat sources and subjects as human beings deserving of respect.
    • 3. Be Accountable
    • Bloggers should admit mistake and correct them promptly.
    Professionalism for Cyberjournalists
    • Notes:_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • 13.
    • Developmental media theory: A normative theory calling for government and media to work in partnership to ensure that media assist in the planned beneficial development of the country
    • Democratic-participant theory: A normative theory advocating media support for cultural pluralism at a grassroots level
    • Western concept: A normative theory combining aspects of Libertarianism and social responsibility theory
    • Development concept: A normative theory describing systems in which government and media work in concert to ensure that the media aid the planned, beneficial development of a given nation
    • Revolutionary concept: A normative theory describing a system in which media are used in the service of revolution
    • Authoritarian concept: A normative theory advocating the complete domination of media by a government for the purpose of forcing those media to serve the government
    • Communism concept: A normative theory advocating the complete domination of media by a Communist government for the purpose of forcing those media to serve the Communist Party
    • Transitional media approach: A less category based, more flexible approach to evaluating media systems than traditional normative theory
    Other Normative Theories
  • 14.
    • Notes:________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • 15. Baran, Stanley J., & Davis, Dennis K. (2008). Mass Communication Theory. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing.