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Agenda Setting Theory


Agenda Setting Theory Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw Agenda-setting hypothesis - what causes what? The mass media have the ability to transfer the salience of issues ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Agenda Setting Theory

Agenda Setting Theory
  • Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw

Agenda-setting hypothesis - what causes what?
  • The mass media have the ability to transfer the
    salience of issues on their news agenda to the
    public agenda.
  • i.e. We judge as important what the media judges
    as important.
  • Two types of agendas
  • Media agendas pattern of news coverage across
    major print and broadcast media as measured by
    the prominence and length of stories
  • Public agendas The most important public issues
    as measured by public opinion surveys.
  • Who is most affected by the media agenda? -
    Those individuals who have an index of curiosity
    ( need for orientation ) are motivated to let the
    media shape their views.
  • (Example if I am an animal lover, stories on
    animal abuse catches my attention.)

Framing Transferring the Salience of Attributes
  • The media arent very successful in telling us
    what to think, but they are stunningly successful
    in telling us what to think about.
  • Framing the selection, emphasis, exclusion and
    elaboration of the news content by the media
  • i.e. the media tells us what is important and is
    selective in reporting only the content dealing
    with the selective points of the content.
  • Example John F. Kennedy was continually reported
    on as youthful vigor but his extramarital
    affairs were hidden by the press corps.
  • Current thought is The media may not only tell
    us what to
  • think about, they
    also may tell us how and what
  • to think about it, and
    perhaps even what to do
  • about it.

Educational Video Agenda Setting Theory
How Does Agenda Setting Theory Work?
  • Perception Model
  • Source Prof. Frank Brettschneider, University
    Höhenheim, Germany

Behavioral Effect of the News Media
  • Research has shown connections between media
    agendas and opinion.
  • Interesting behaviors can be predicted after
    certain media priorities.
  • Examples a reduction in travel by air and an
    increase in flight insurance after reports of
    airplane crashes.
  • Professional sports benefit from media
  • Scheduling games during prime time
  • Players are idolized
  • Numbers of games increase
  • Monies paid to the professional sports
    organizations (NBA, AFC, etc) has grown
    exponentially providing an agenda for a
    business plan

Who Sets the Agenda for the Agenda Setters?
  • A handful of news editors are gatekeepers of
    political dialogue
  • Operations chiefs of Associated Press
  • The New York Times
  • The Washington Post
  • Time
  • Newsweek
  • ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox and MSNBC
  • Candidates and Office Holders themselves
  • Interest aggregations - clusters of individuals
    who demand center stage
  • Compelling news events that cannot be ignored

New Media Does it Shape Agendas, Opinions and
  • Online reading of newspapers vs. print newspapers
  • Print readers retained more content
  • Selection of issues are more important to
    individuals and align them to a prioritized
  • New technologies create a more personalized
    information environment that curtails larger
    flows of public information
  • Age differences create preferential media choices
  • Young adults deem late-night comedians and the
    parodies may determine importance of issues in
    the media

Questions to ponder
  • 1. If the media arent telling you what to think,
    why is their ability to tell you what to think
    about so important?
  • 2. What dominant set of attributes could you use
    to frame an individuals point of view? Example
    What attributes of a teacher could a student use
    to frame how the teacher is perceived by the
    student? Why might this be important in teacher
  • Is there a recent issue that reporters and
    commentators are talking about that you may not
    care about? Do you think you still may not care
    about it two or three months from now?

  • Griffin, E. A. A First Look at Communication
    Theory. 2012.
  • McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
  • Educational Video Agenda Setting Theory.
    Accessed 11.12.11 http//communication-theory
  • Media Tenor Website. Accessed 11/12/11.