Re-Visiting an Old Friend: Updating “The Soviet Communist” Chapter of “Four Theories of The Press” to Empower 21st-Century Media Professionals

Steve Urbanski 1 *

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What is perplexing about Four Theories of the Press (Siebert, Peterson & Schramm, 1956) is that it is difficult to situate the western media within any of the theories or examples. Ideally, it would be wonderful if American media systems conformed to the Libertarian or the Social Responsibility theories. Of the four – Authoritarian, Libertarian, Social Responsibility, and Soviet/Communist – the middle pair, Libertarian and Social Responsibility, most-idealize the objectives of media systems in a free, democratic society, and, at times, western media systems do embody some attributes of the two. In the spirit of John Nerone’s and his seven contributors 1995 update of Four Theories, this research aims to continue this academic conversation by further expanding one dimension of Four Theories – the challenge to modernize Marxist theory and bring it into the daily process of media management and practice as a way to energize media managers and professionals in the 21st century. The hermeneutical methodology of this analysis will draw from contemporary philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer’s (1975) assertion that individual understanding is key to making sense of the ever-changing broader perspectives that arguably create larger truths.


Four Theories Marxism philosophy value alienation journalism media.


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Article Type: Research Article

Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 8, Issue 3, July 2018, pp. 181-192

Published Online: 15 Jul 2018

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