Agenda-Setting (Communication Concepts) by James W. Dearing

By James W. Dearing

What's the significant social challenge within the information this day? Who made it so vital? Social concerns which are widely known at the media schedule frequently call for consciousness at the public schedule, and in flip stream speedy up the coverage time table, growing coverage alterations. in keeping with examine of up to date social concerns that experience hit the headlines - together with the battle on medications, drink-driving, the Exxon Valdez oil spillage, AIDS and the Ethiopian famine - this publication offers very important theoretical and useful insights into the agenda-setting strategy and its function in effecting social switch.

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Trumbo (1995) a rgues that if one conceptualizes an active media audience, then the typical agenda-setting perspective that issue salience and "t hinking about" an issue are the same thing is misleading because decid ing about the importance of an issue is inherently evaluative. In his longitudinal study of the issue of global warming. Trumbo (1995) conceptualizes and operationalizes an Extreme Concern Index (ECI) to measure the public agenda. Although the answers to MIP questions can readily be llscd for cross-sectional h ierarchy studies, it is difficult to operationalize a longit udinal study using the public's answers to MIP questions because such answers will only exist for issues that have persisted as major issues for a long time.

They conducted longitudinal research on the issue of nuclear power and compared results with the issues of pesticides, tobacco, transportation safety, urban affairs, drug abuse, child abuse, and alcohol abuse. The collection and analysis of longitudinal data allowed Baumgartner and Jones (1993) to view society as an "issue processor" that functions to consider, debate, and sometimes institutionalize responses to conditions that we perceive as social problems. ~ Our critique of agenda·setting research (Rogers & Dea ring, 1988) recommended a strategy of disaggregation in future studies to unmask the human beh av ior change processes that are involved.

Summary In this chapter, we explored issue-hierarchy studies-investigations of all of the main issues on the public agenda at a certain pOint in time. , health care refo rm or international trade) on the public agenda over time or through experimental research with individuals. Research evidence summa rized in this chapter showed that often the media agenda sets the public agenda, although the empirica l support for this relationship is fa r from overwhelming. A variety of types of public agenda~setting research support the media agenda-public agenda relationship: McCombs-Shaw-type cross-sectional investigations, over~ lime studies, and laboratory experiments in which actual newscasts are altered by splicing in additiona l television news coverage for an issue.

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