You are here

Journalism and Society

Journalism and Society

First Edition

March 2013 | 256 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
"Every serious student of journalism should read this book... Denis McQuail has succeeded in producing a work of scholarship that shows what journalists do and what they should do."
- Stephen Coleman, University of Leeds

"For a half century we have spoken earnestly of journalism's responsibility to society instead of to business and government. Now this concept is given sophistication unmatched, by the best scholar of media theory of his generation."
- Clifford Christians, University of Illinois

"The grand old man of communication theory presents an overarching social theory of journalism that goes beyond the usual Anglo-American focus."
- Jo Bardoel, University of Amsterdam (ASCoR) and Nijmegen

"This book deals with the eternal question of how journalism is linked to society... I cannot think of a better staple food for students of journalism at all levels."
- Kaarle Nordenstreng, University of Tampere

This is a major new statement on the role of journalism in democracy from one of media and communication's leading thinkers. Denis McQuail leads the reader through a systematic exploration of how and why journalism and society have become so inextricably entwined and - as importantly - what this relationship should be like. It is a strong re-statement of the fundamental values that journalism aspires to. Written for students, this book:
  • Makes the theory accessible and relevant
  • Teaches the importance of journalism to power and politics
  • Explores the status and future of journalism as a profession
  • Outlines the impact and consequences of the digital
  • Reveals journalism as it is, but also as it should be
  • Takes each chapter further with guided reading list and free online journal articles.

This textbook is the perfect answer to the how and why of journalism. It is crucial reading for any student of media studies, communication studies and journalism.

Origins of Journalism
The Journalism-Society Link: Levels of Analysis and Theoretical Perspectives
The Main Concerns of Social Theory of Journalism
Diversity and Diversification of Journalism
Journalism and Changing Technology: Implications for Society
Defining Journalism and the News Today
The Press as an Institution
The 'Power of the Press'
What Society Expects from Journalism
The Self-Image of the Social Role of the Press
Conclusions: Questions to Be Addressed
Defining Journalistic Responsibility
Publication and the Public Interest
The Foundations of Journalistic Obligation
Free Press Theory
Journalism as Meeting Essential Needs of Society
The Press as Fourth Estate
The Idea of a 'Public Sphere'
Social Responsibility Theory
Critical Theory
Minority Media Theory; Democratic-Participant Theory
New Movements in Journalism
Internet News Theory
Looking for a Structure in Social Theory of the Press
Basic Publication Values in the Public Interest
Truth as a Principle
Freedom as a Principle
Equality, Diversity and Solidarity as Principles
Order and Cohesion as Principles for Journalism
Alternative Approaches
On Journalism as a Profession: A Unifying Approach
Does Journalism have its Own 'Ideology'?
The Occupational Roles of Journalism
Conflicts and Mixed Expectations
Demand versus Supply of News
Changing Goals and Types of Journalism
If Not a Profession, at Least a 'Public Occupation'
The Main Roles or Functions of the Press
The Monitor and Messenger Role Characterized
Objectivity as a Guiding Principle
Limitations to Objectivity
Degrees of Purpose and Activity in Objective News Journalism
Tensions Internal to the Monitorial Role
The Monitorial Role and State Power
The Monitorial Role and Democracy
Sources of Bias in the Monitorial Role
'Media Logic' and 'Mediatisation' Effects on Monitoring
What Is a Media System?
Influences from Social Structure on Media Systems
Political Factors
Economic Factors
Social Cultural Influences
Media System Influences on Journalism
Influences at the Level of Organisation
The Question of Press Effects on Society
Informational Effects of News
Persuasion Influences via News
Effects on Behaviour in Society - Individual and Collective
In Overview: Primary Determinants of the 'Power of the Press'
The Main Issues of Regulation and Accountability
Journalistic Responsibility
The Accountability of Journalism
Lines of Accountability of Journalism
Forms of Governance and Accountability Applied to Journalism
Mechanisms of Accountability: External
Mechanisms of Accountability: Internal
Informal and 'Illegitimate' Mechanisms of Control/Accountability
Three Frames of Accountability Relationship
Accountability in Overview
The Potential of the Internet and Other New Media
Problematic Aspects of Media Change
Initial Signs of Change
The Internet: Liberating Promise Unfulfilled?
Effects of Media Change on Journalism Itself
The Future of the Press Institution
The Journalism-Society Relationship
The Question of Trust
Consequences for the Public Sphere
In Overview
A Frame of Reference for Journalism and Society
Normative Contexts and Choices: Different Levels of Application
Journalism in an Information Society
The Main Normative Issues of Journalism and Society in Review
Towards a Universal Normative Theory of Journalism?
The Consequences of Ongoing Changes in Media Technology and Structure for Normative Relations between Journalism and Society
What Can Be Done? Reflections on the Chances for Better Journalism
Last Word
Appendix: Selectde Documents Relating to Righrs and Obligations of News Media

Every serious student of journalism should read this book. Combining sophisticated analysis with an accessible writing style, Denis McQuail has succeeded in producing a work of scholarship that shows what journalists do and what they should do.
Stephen Coleman
Professor of Political Communication, Institute of Communications Studies, University of Leeds

This luminous book sets a new standard for the textbook genre. Brilliant in contents, crystal-clear precision where every sentence counts, rigorous with ideas, it teaches the world mind. For a half century we have spoken earnestly of journalism's responsibility to society instead of to business and government. Now this concept is given sophistication unmatched, by the best scholar of media theory of his generation.
Clifford Christians
University of Illinois

This is going to be a must-read in journalism and communication classes. McQuail quality as we know it.
Christina Holtz-Bacha
University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

Journalism, as a profession, evolves, becoming increasingly complex and diverse. Especially now we need to be reminded where it came from, how it works, and where it stands in society. Denis McQuail provides the indispensable gateway.
Mark Deuze
University of Amsterdam

At a time when the journalistic profession is fundamentally challenged by technological transformations and new business models, Denis McQuail reminds us of the continuing social and political relevance of journalism in and for democratic societies. The grand old man of communication theory presents an overarching social theory of journalism that goes beyond the usual Anglo-American focus and develops a truly global scope, reflecting both his own previous work as well as that of many others. The master of synthesis offers an excellent overview of the position and mission of journalism in an information society that opens up the field of journalism and journalism studies for both students and scholars.
Jo Bardoel
Professor of Journalism and Media, University of Amsterdam (ASCoR) and Nijmegen, the Netherlands

In Journalism and Society Denis McQuail is at his best. He presents a very insightful revision of the sociological reflection on journalism and society, discussing the important implications of the new communication technologies for journalism of the 21st century. The declared aim of the book is to identify and describe the principles of journalism most widely recognized. McQuail goes well beyond, providing sound theoretical foundations of a new sociological paradigm of public communication in deeply transformed media and information environments. At the same time the book is a firm guide in the understanding of the principles of a profession that is a core activity of modern societies. A must-read book for students, academics and journalists.
Gianpietro Mazzoleni
Professor of Sociology of Communication, University of Milan, Italy

This book deals with the eternal question of how journalism is linked to society. Its nine chapters cover all pertinent aspects of journalism, including its freedom and responsibility, as well as issues such as the power of the press and the future of the press as an institution in the age of internet. All this is done with an analytical insight of the encyclopedic authority behind Mass Communication Theory. Also, pedagogically it is an exemplary textbook with each chapter including boxes to summarize the points, a conclusion to wind up, and selected further readings to support homework. I cannot think of a better staple food for students of journalism at all levels.
Kaarle Nordenstreng
Professor Emeritus of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Tampere, Finland

Good overview over basic conditionings for media and journalism (on a general basis)
Students get insight into various approaches for analyzing media structures and conduct

Mr Stefan Gadringer
Department of Communication Studies, University of Salzburg
December 14, 2015

Excellent resource for level 5 students researching and investigating the symbiotic relationship between the press and public figures.

Mrs Rachael Cox
School of Media, Gloucestershire University
September 9, 2015

This is an essential book for journalism students. It deepens the understanding of journalism's role, responsibilities and challenges in contemporary societies.

Dr Nelson Ribeiro
Faculty of Humanities, Catholic Portguese University
March 4, 2015

Excellent overview of the socialogy of the media

Mr Paul Lashmar
School of Arts, Brunel University
March 2, 2014

An extremely valuable addition to the literature on journalism, and up to the authors usual high standards.

Professor Julian Petley
School of Arts, Brunel University
November 4, 2013

A sound text to deepen students' understanding of journalism in context and its wider responsibilities.

Ms Mary Williams
School of Social Historical and Literary Studies, Portsmouth University
October 3, 2013

A great up to date sociological approach to news and journalism

Dr Kenneth Murphy
School of Media, Dublin Institute of Technology
July 15, 2013

This will always be a classic text for the study of journalism, the society it is meant to be informing and reporting on, and the complex relationships between the two. No matter how complex the issues that are raised in the discussions, they are presented in way that is so accessible for students or practitioners that no journalism library is complete without the latest edition.

Miss Angela Birchall
School of Media, Music & Performance, Salford University
June 19, 2013

this book is essential to the course i am going to teach and has good aspects for student journalists

Miss Rachael Rodgers
Digital media , Doncaster College
June 15, 2013

For instructors

Please select a format:

Select a Purchasing Option

ISBN: 9781446266809

ISBN: 9781446266793

SAGE Knowledge is the premier social sciences platform for SAGE and CQ Press book, reference and video content.

The platform allows researchers to cross-search and seamlessly access a wide breadth of must-have SAGE book and reference content from one source.