Agenda Setting Theory

1173 Words5 Pages
“Through the ongoing interaction of theorizing and empirical research consistent with the scientific method, agenda-setting theory has evolved from a tightly focused perspective to a broad theory. Initially, the focus was on the way media affect the public’s view of which issues are important. Later the theory broadened to encompass five distinct aspects of public life: basic and attribute agenda-setting effects, the psychology of these processes, and the consequences of these effects for opinions and behavior. The participation of scholars worldwide has been central to the continuing productivity of the theory” (Maxwell McCombs).
Agenda Setting Theory started in Walter Lippmann’s 1922 book, Public Opinion. Lippmann explains the correlation between world events and the images in the mind of the public. His ideas led to the theory created by McCombs and Shaw: “Donald Shaw, Maxwell McComb, and their colleagues claim that media depictions can affect how people think about the news, help organize the world of experience, and are stunningly successful in telling us what to think about. In other words, agenda setting establishes salient issues or images in the mind of the public” (Littlejohn and Foss, 341). There was another scholar named G. Ray Funkhouser who was doing a relative study around the same time as Shaw and McCombs. At the same academic conference, all three of them showed their findings. After his article was published he didn’t continue with his research and didn’t formally name this theory, so he has been denied credit for creating this theory.
Agenda setting occurs when the media is selective in how they report news. There are so many different news outlets and each one is always making choices about what t...

... middle of paper ...

... point blame) toward the violence on television (fictional) rather than the real violence being shown on news programs or documentaries. “Another argument is that the very idea of media agenda setting is the result of conservative ideology and paranoia” (Freeman, 4).

Works Cited

Freeland, Amber M. "An Overview of Agenda Setting Theory in Mass Communications. "An Overview of Agenda Setting Theory in Mass Communications. University of North Texas, 12 Nov. 2012. Web. 29 Nov. 2013.

Lewin, Kurt Z. "All About Theories for Communication." Communication Theory RSS. N.p., 2010. Web. 29 Nov. 2013.

Littlejohn, Stephen W., and Karen A. Foss. "Chaptert 10 The Media." Theories of Human Communication. 10th ed. Long Grove, IL: Waveland, 2011. N. pag. Print.

McCombs, Maxwell. "Journalism Studies." A Look at Agenda-setting: Past, Present and Future 6 (2005): n. pag. Print.
Open Document