JCM 200 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Social Responsibility, Walter Lippmann, John Dewey
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● Can journalism provide what democracy needs?
○ Two arguments:
■ Walter Lippmann: people are too limited .. it is beyond the ability of the
press to help the public (can journalists act as a mirror or watchdog?)
■ John Dewey: democracy is more about conversation that it is about
information (can journalists promote marketplace of ideas, create convo,
and generate empathy?)
● Must journalism provide what democracy needs?
○ Social responsibility theory
■ What happens when the press does not perform those functions?
■ Hutchins Commission: free press in danger
● In danger of what?
● What was to blame?
● “Behave, or else!”
■ Gave rise to the idea of journalism as a profession
● Along with freedoms come (public) responsibilities
○ Media should
■ Provide truthful, comprehensive and intelligent account of the days events
in a context which gives them meaning
■ Serve as a forum for the exchange of comment and criticism
■ Project a representative picture of the constituent groups in the society
■ Present and clarify the goals and values of the society
■ Provide full access to the day’s intelligence
○ Freedom and responsibility:
■ The press is important to democracy
■ Performs necessary functions
■ Has to be free to perform those functions
■ But if we say it must perform them, then how free is it really?
● Journalism plays an important role in democratic self-governance
○ Performs functions related to information dissemination, accountability,
representation, deliberation and conflict resolution
○ The mirror, watchdog and marketplace metaphors are common ways of
describing those functions
● Journalism must be free to perform those functions
The History of Social Media
● Social media- web-based services that allow individuals to construct a public or semi-
public profile, articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection and view
and transverse their list of connections and/or those made by others within the system
● Identity function, articulate function and navigate function
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