Chapter 30 agenda-setting theory

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1

Agenda-setting hypothesis

mass media have ability to transfer the salience of issues on their news agenda to the public agenda

2

A theory whose time had come

Back-to-the-basics approach to mass comm. research
-contrasted selective exposure and limited effects
-predicts cause-and-effect relationship between media content and voter perception
- must show match between the medi's agenda and the publics agenda later on

3

Media agenda

Pattern of news coverage across major print and broadcast media, measured by prominence and length of stories

4

Public agenda

most important public issues, measured by public opinion surveys

5

What causes what?

Mcombs and Shaws findings were imprssive but equivocal
correlation cant equal causation
true test of agenda-setting hypothesis must show that public priorities lag behind media agenda

6

What causes what?(continued)

Yale researchers established cause and effect chain through experimental design
- viewers who saw media agendas that focused on pollution and defense elevated those issues on their own lists of concerns

7

Who sets the Agenda for the agenda setters

New's editors as "gate keepers" of political dialogue
- candidates and politicians as ultimate source
- current thinking: crucial role of public relations
professionals working for government agencies, corporations, and interest groups
*75% of what reaches an editors desk never see;s the public
example: west wing
interest aggressions- clusters of people who demand center stage for their one, overriding concern
-creates events that the media will cover

8

Index of curiosity

people willing to let media shape thinking when a high need for orientation exists
-high relevance
-uncertainty

9

Framing

Selection of a restricted number of thematically related attributes when a particular issue is discussed
-Media supplies a context/ a way to view the issues
-media not only set an agenda but also transfer the salience of specific attributes

10

Two levels of agenda setting

level 1: issue salience(prioritizing some topics over others)
Level 2: framing an issue's attributes


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