Agenda Setting: Readings on Media, Public Opinion, and Policymaking

Agenda Setting: Readings on Media, Public Opinion, and Policymaking

Agenda Setting: Readings on Media, Public Opinion, and Policymaking

Agenda Setting: Readings on Media, Public Opinion, and Policymaking

Synopsis

The role of the news media in defining the important issues of the day, also known as the agenda-setting influence of mass communication, has received widespread attention over the past 20 years. Since the publication of McCombs and Shaw's seminal empirical study, more than one hundred journal articles and monographs have appeared. This collection exemplifies the major phases of research on agenda-setting: tests of the basic hypothesis, contingent conditions affecting the strength of this influence, the natural history of public issues, mass media influence on public policy, and the role of external sources from the president to public relations staffs on the news agenda.

Excerpt

The agenda-setting influence of the news media has attracted considerable attention in recent years. Although the idea now has considerable popular currency, the scholarly literature spelling out the precise details of how and to what extent the news media shape our pictures of the world is scattered in a great variety of journals and books. One purpose of this anthology is to make a broad sample of this rich literature accessible to advanced undergraduates and to beginning graduate students. More than two dozen selections advance this goal. Our second goal is to present an orderly introduction and overview to a research literature that now includes several hundred items. To advance this second goal -- and to avoid the morass of repetitious citations and summaries that are inevitable in any collection of articles on the same subject -- many of the selections in this anthology have been edited. Portions of the text and many, if not all, the footnotes and references have been omitted in order to guide the reader quickly through the selection to its principal points.

Finally, in order to secure both goals, an extensive bibliography is included at the end of this anthology. This set of citations is a major contribution in its own right. Although not everything ever published on the agenda-setting role of the news media is listed here, the vast majority of the journal articles and books reporting empirical results are included. Coupled with the selections included in this anthology, readers are presented with the opportunity for an extensive exploration of the agenda-setting influence of the news media.

Maxwell McCombs David Protess . . .

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