Social responsibility theory calls on the American press to serve as watchdog over powerful government and to provide a forum for robust democratic debate. Based on five current case studies, The Publisher-Public Official explores the extent to which politicians who simultaneously serve as newspaper editors or publishers fulfill this ethical duty. The book features interviews with the editors/publishers and with a sample of their readers, and provides results of a survey of readers who were asked whether it is possible to wear two hats and do both jobs effectively and responsibly. Newspaper articles and editorial pages are also examined for possible conflicts of interest in occupying two roles. Veteran newspapermen Don Sneed and Daniel Riffe present an overview and history of the press's role as watchdog, outlining what professional ethical codes say about publishers' political involvement and offering perspective by today's newspaper group executives. Chapters 4 through 8 provide a composite portrait of the five publisher-public officials as seen through their own eyes and their readers' eyes.A final chapter details how extensive the phenomenon of publisher-public official is and offers concluding thoughts to the study. This illuminating work will be particularly useful to journalism professionals and educators, politicians, and political scientists.
The Publisher-Public Official