Democracy, Citizens' Media, and Resistance: A Study of the New River Free Press
A central concern of media scholars such as Ben Bagdikian and Robert McChesney is the undemocratic potential of the U.S. mainstream media system, dominated by a small number of highly consolidated, multinational, corporate media firms. In this context, other scholars, including Chris Atton, John Downing, Stephen Duncombe, Nina Eliasoph, and Clemencia Rodriguez, have argued for the importance of citizens' media, defined as citizen-run, non-profit, independent media projects that may have greater democratic potential. Since the majority of research into citizens' media has focused on media from urban cities, this thesis offers discussion and analysis of a progressive citizen's paper, the New River Free Press, located in a rural, Appalachian community that is home to a large technical, military, state university. After first reviewing major scholarly criticism of mainstream media in a democratic society and characteristics and debates about citizen's media, this thesis uses interviews of key staff members and textual analysis of archived past issues of the New River Free Press to situate the paper in the citizen's media literature. Ultimately, this thesis locates citizens' media as a necessity for democratic societies, suggesting methods of resistance against undemocratic practice and the further consolidation and monopolization of the global media system.
- Masters Theses