Everyone approaches the media, and journalism in general, with a pre-conception of what it is and what it should do. Five of the primary paradigms that I've come across are:
- Fourth Estate - The idea that a newspaper's purpose to be a powerful force for good. Keeping a watchful eye on those dastardly politicians and being a voice for the powerless.
- Pre-history - This paradigm is where the concept of "paper of record" would come from. Basically having the newspaper be a chronicler of the day's events and topics.
- Community Dialogue - This is the idea that the newspaper is the method for a diverse and geographically distant public to be aware of what's happening with each other.
- Community Resource - "News that you can use" is another way to describe this paradigm. The goals is to help a person live their life better and be as relevant as possible to their daily life.
- Strictly Business - Supply and demand. People want news/sports/weather/etc, we'll provide it...but for a cost.