Dan Caspi offers a comprehensive introduction to the Israeli mass media and a fresh theoretical look at the role and function of a free press in a democratic society. Two major issues underlie this study, patterned after the pioneering work of Morris Janowitz on the community press in the United States: relations between social and communications systems and reciprocal relations among various mass media.Caspi's primary concern is to determine whether the recent flourishing of a local press, in the form of weekly tabloids sold or distributed free throughout their respective cities, reflects and in turn contributes to a process of social and political decentralization. The Israeli audience thirsts for information. The nationwide mass media, developed in the shadow of a centralist political system, is rigid and inflexible, downplaying the news value of local events and attending only to Israel's acutely felt security and economic problems. Hence, there is a burgeoning of over a hundred local newspapers to fill the need for a more intimate press.Contents: "Media Decentralization in a Centralized System: Some General Trends and a Communication Model"; "The Daily Press in Israel"; "The Development of the Local Press"; "Institutional Characteristics"; "Personnel Characteristics"; "Functional Characteristics"; "The Struggle between the Local and Nationwide Press"; "The Inception of the Local Press in Four Major Cities: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Beersheba"; "Public Support"; "Political Approaches."