Four Theories of the Press, Newspaper, Magazine & Book Anatomy and Space 

Four Theories of the Press, Newspaper, Magazine and Book Anatomy and Space. The Four Theories of the Press are Authoritarian Theory, Libertarian Theory, Social Responsibility Theory, Communist Soviet Theory, Authoritarian Theory.

Four Theories of the Press

The Four Theories of the Press book was introduced by Schramm, Siebert, and Peterson in 1956. This book explains the four types of the press; for example, Authoritarian Theory, Libertarian Theory, Social Responsibility Theory, Communist Soviet Theory.

The Four Theories of the Press are:

  1. Authoritarian Theory
  2. Libertarian Theory
  3. Social Responsibility Theory
  4. Communist Soviet Theory
    1. Authoritarian Theory

The press and communication system is controlled by the government nominated authority or agency. Press is responsible for explaining to society what is actually the government want to know the society. Press confirm the truth of the news provided by the government.

The government have the right to filter any news published by the press.

If any news goes against the laws, the press license will pull back by the government.


2. Libertarian Theory

Libertarian theory is also part of the normative theories of mass communication. The press is absolutely free to disseminate any news that is ethical to publish. Actually, newspapers play a role as the watchdog of society.

John Milter was the pioneer of the libertarian concept of mass communication that started end of 1700, developed in the US and Europe in 1900.  According to the Libertarian concept, the human a rational individual to know the truth.

For example,

  • The press must free from the government.
  • Press not depend on the government and free to speak.
  • Press controlled by journalist and media.
    3. Social Responsibility Theory

Social responsibility theory allows the press to publish news without taking permission from the government, but at the same time, they need to liaise with society. So, social responsibility theory lies between libertarian and authoritarian theory. It frees the media from the government but controlled by the society people.

Assumption of this theory- the power of monopoly media effect from Libertarian theory.

From this theory-  that have ownership of the media, they will decide what they should expose to the audience.

4. Communist Soviet Theory

The government controls the press and communication system to serve the benefits of the people.

  • Developed from authoritarian theory- opposed the libertarian theory
  • Press as a tool for the government. Owned by government
  • Information and ideas decided by the government will be delivered to the society through an official medium
What Is Newspaper?

Newspaper is a daily publication that includes local and international news, advertisement, cartoon and sports events.

Newspaper Anatomy

Example of a Malaysian Newspaper Anatomy

Four Theories of the Press- Malaysian Newspaper Anatomy
Newspaper Space


Front Page  Most newsworthy stories (local, national, and international) are placed.
Local Section News about where you live is located.
National News about national information
International News about international information
Business stories about businesses (money, investing, and the stock market.
Sports stories about high school, semi-professional, and professional stories
Entertainment Features stories about book, movie, and play reviews, upcoming entertainment events.
Opinions & Editorials. This is where editors publish their columns and where people can read Letters to the Editor.
Advertisement Printed notice of something for sale paid for by the advertiser.
What Is Magazine?

Magazines are periodical publication  ( weekly or monthly). It usually includes the essay, stories, poem also articles.

Magazines Anatomy

Four Theories of the Press, Newspaper, Magazine and Book Anatomy and Space 

Magazine Space
Cover Story refer to a story in a magazine whose subject matter appears on its front cover.
Editorial Magazine editorials give opinions on important contemporary social, political, economic, or legal issues and intend to persuade readers to agree to a particular perspective.
Features Feature stories are articles that have human interest and focus on particular people, places and events.
Columns opinion pieces represent the strong, informed and focused opinion of the writer on an issue of relevance
Reviews critical assessment, factual information like film, drama, musical productions or a newly published book
What Is a Book?

Books are written publication, printed and combined in a few Booklet. It is the most traditional tools to keep the record of information in written and image form.

Books Anatomy

Four Theories of the Press, Newspaper, Magazine and Book Anatomy and Space 

Books Space

PRELIM half-title
TEXTS New chapter
 Different Types of Content in Newspaper
  1. NEWS: News is a facts report ( including fact), new and interesting to attract people to reading and listening
  2. FEATURE: Feature is writing or essay including information, explanation or storytelling about the issue based on the real facts.
  3. EDITORIAL: This space specialized for editorial or chief editor. They will discuss the current issues and express their personal opinion.
  4. COLUMNIST: This space specialized for economist/politician) for discuss the issues permanently in the newspaper.
  5. READERS: For question, criticize and opinion
  6. Advertisement
  7. Cartoon
Four Category of Readers
  • Read newspaper for more than 2 hours.
  • Read front page, editorial and columnist.
  • Assume newspaper content more complete than television.

Read newspaper more than 1 minute to 16 minutes.

  • Read less than 15 minutes.
  • Just scan the information
  • Apathetic readers are less interested to read the newspaper because they always assume the newspaper didn’t have information and not interesting.


  1. Distribute the Information– Current issues such as sports/ crime/entertainment/ Conflict
  2. Education- Educated people formally and informally.
  3. As References– As references for teaching and learning because of the credibility and Trusted sources.
  1. Medium of Express the Opinion: For example, people can use newspaper space as a tool to express their opinion and problem to the government.

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