Departmental Papers (ASC)

Document Type

Book Chapter

Date of this Version


Publication Source

Strategies for Media Reform

Start Page


Last Page



Most Americans learn in school that an independent press is necessary for democratic self-governance, but rarely do we stop to reflect on what this means. How did we as a society determine media’s primary democratic role? How did we decide upon media institutions’ obligations to the public? In short, how was the relationship between the state, the public, and media constructed? And how has this relationship changed over time? Such inquiries require historical analyses, a retracing of policy trajectories, ideas, and discourses to moments before received assumptions about media’s normative role took on an air of inevitability.

This paper draws from archival materials to reflect on past struggles to change the American media system, with the aim to help inform future trajectories for media reform.

Embargo Date




Date Posted: 29 November 2016