Zoe Hill, Nick Thompson


Presentation: 9:00-10:15 a.m., Kennedy Union Ballroom



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Normative role in a democratic society is an evolving facet of the journalism profession that is rooted in the democratic and philosophic traditions of Western culture. Normative theory simply seeks to define the roles journalism plays in society while analyzing the complexities of the impact those roles have through the lens of philosophical traditions, political systems, and media systems. While seeking to update and expand upon the "Four Theories of the Press" laid out by Siebert et al. (1956), Christians et al. (2009) enunciated four roles of journalism to be scrutinized by these means: the monitorial role, the facilitative role, the radical role, and the collaborative role (p. 133). Analogous to the three branches of government, the four normative roles of journalism help identify and explain how media interacts with the government, audiences, and the society at large. As the landscape of the journalism profession changes over time with the advent of new technologies, government structures, societal values, political motives, and economic trends, the roles of journalism and how scholars analyze them too have shifted and propose new possibilities to answer the question, “what is and what should be the media’s role in a democratic society?” (Christians et al., 2009, p. vii).

Publication Date


Project Designation

Course Project 202310 COM 531 02

Primary Advisor

Chad Painter

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium, College of Arts and Sciences

Institutional Learning Goals

Scholarship; Critical Evaluation of Our Times

Media’s Role in a Democratic Society: A Systematic Review of Normative Role