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Transitional media vs. normative theories : Schramm, Altschull, and China
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by C Huang
Wilbur Schramm’s “Soviet” communist model and J. Herbert Altschull’s “Marxist” approach have been widely used as general theoretical frameworks to examine press systems in the Marxist world in general and China in particular. Though a growing literature suggested significant changes in Chinese journalism in the past 2 decades, very few studies have sent a direct challenge to the 2 models’ theoretical wisdom through the Chinese case. This article finds neither of the 2 models is sufficient in conceptualizing the Chinese case because of Chinese news media’s transitional nature and the 2 models’ inner theoretical flaws as normative press theories. Furthermore, realizing the growing conflict between normative media theories and accelerated post-Cold War global media transformation, the author suggests using a transitional media approach to revisit the traditional normative media approach and calls for a more systematic study of the transitional phenomenon of global media systems.