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3.0 AGENDA SETTING THEORY.

3.1 Definition of agenda setting theory.


The Agenda-Setting Theory says the media (mainly the news media) arent
always successful at telling us what to think, but they are quite successful at
telling us what to think about. Maxwell McCombs and Donald L. Shaw, 1972.
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McCombs and Shaw do not say that simple agreement with the media changed
voting behavior. They simply demonstrated that the media can set the agenda for
what we talk and think about.
Media agenda setting theory posits a relationship between the relative emphasis
given by the media to various topics and the degree of salience these topics have
for the general public (Ader 1995:300). Peoples or readers will be influenced
from the topic that been set up by the media. Media will affect every topic of
conversation in a society with a foundation or conversation topic for their
discussion.
Bernard Cohen noted that although the media cant tell people what to think, they
are stunningly successful in telling them what to think about.
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Media always have
something to bring us into a conversation. Day by day, there will always some
topics or agenda that been persuade by media to the public and it is going well in
penetrating peoples minds.
According to Public Relations Strategy by Sandra Oliver, Agenda Setting Theory
suggests that media content that people read, see, and listen to sets the agenda for
societys discussion and interaction.
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1
Donald E. Shaw and Maxwell E. McCombs, The Emergence of American Political Issues: The Agenda Setting
Function of the Press (St. Paul, MN: West, 1977).
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Bernard C. Cohen, The Press and Foreign Policy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 1963).
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Oliver S, Public Relations Strategy (Kogan Page Ltd, NY 2001)
Agenda-setting theory of media effects is indebted to this research tradition for its
starting point: an initial focus on peoples needs. Much research testing of the
theory has focused on the citizens need for orientation during a political
campaign. But the theory itself is designedly open to other personal and social
needs of the individual that could signal the appearance of the agenda-setting
phenomenon.
That is to say, agenda-setting researchers recognize that psychological and social
attributes of voters determine their political use of the media. Such use in turn is
expected to lead to the appearance of the agenda-setting effect regarding political
issues. But not just any of the myriad human traits, psychological or social, are
expected to set off the agenda-setting process.
These antecedent factors are most likely to be found among the various
gratifications sought from the print and broadcast media, among the ideology uses
people make of these media, and among the human needs satisfied by individual
experience with the media.
It can be summarize that agenda setting theory is the concept on how media
penetrate the society minds based on their topics or ideas. They trigger our mind
to think and relating all those ideas and topics that they provide to make up some
issues.
3.2 Levels of agenda setting theory
3.2.1 First Level:
McCombs et al. (1998) demonstrated that agenda-setting research at the
second level deals with the influence of attribute salience, whereas the
first level agenda-setting illustrates the influence of issue salience.
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Balmas and Sheafer (2010) argued that the focus at the first level agenda-
setting which emphasizes medias role in telling us what to think about

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McCombs, M. E.; Llamas, J. P., Lopez-Excobar, E., & Rey, F. (1998). "Candidate's images in Spanish elections:
Second-level agenda-setting effects". Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 74 (4): 703-717.
is shifted to medias function of telling us how to think about at the
second level agenda-setting.
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Mostly studied by researchers, media uses objects or issues to influence
the people what people should think about. The researches set the global
think on certain issues.
For example, about the Iraqs war. Those Western media reports to the
world about the violence committed by the people there, the rebellion was
going on and the war broke out. However, they rarely report on violence
committed by the united states, the atrocities committed there, and
repression against the people of iraq. Media trying to pervert thought that
people think that the iraq war guilt on himself.
3.2.2 Second level:
Media focuses on the characters of issues how people should think about.
How would people interpret the idea and digest it.
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Agenda setting theory used in political advertisement, campaigns,
business, news, and public relations.
The main concept associated with the agenda setting theory is gate
keeping. Gate keeping controls over the selection of content discussed in
the media. Public cares mostly about the product of a media gate keeping.
It is especially editors media itself is a gatekeeper. News media decides
what events to admit through media gates on ground of
newsworthiness.



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Balmas, M; Sheafer, T (June 2010). "Candidate Image in Election Campaigns: Attribute Agenda Setting, Affective
Priming, and Voting Intentions". International journal of public opinion research 22 (2): 204-229.
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http://www.utwente.nl/cw/theorieenoverzicht/Levels%20of%20theories/macro/Agenda-setting%20theory.doc/
For example: News comes from various sources, editors choose what
should appear and what should not that is why they are called as
gatekeepers. Some news are not essential to be published to the society as
maybe contains some information that restricted by the government or etc.
3.2.3 Priming
Activity of the media in proposing the values and standards by which
objects of the media attention can be judged. Medias content will provide
a lot of time and space to certain issues, making it more vivid.
To say in simple words, Media is giving utmost importance to a news so
that it gives people the impression that is the most important information.
This is done every day the particular news is carried as a heading or
covered everyday for months. Headlines, Special news features,
discussions, expert opinions are used. Media primes news by repeating the
news and giving it more importance E.g. Nuclear deal, cancer awareness,
war and etc.
2.2.4 Framing
Framing is a process of selective control.
Two Meanings
Way in which news content is typically shaped and contextualized
within same frame of reference.
Audience adopts the frames of reference and to see the world in a
similar way. It is how people attach importance to news and perceive it
context within which an issue is viewed.
Framing talks about how people attach importance to certain news for
example in case of attack, defeat, win and loss, how the media frames the
news such that people perceive it in a different way.
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We can take India and Pakistan war for example; same happening is
framed in different ways in both the countries. Every media in both
countries tends to penetrate their citizen itself by setting the topic and
agenda that will reflect their country in the right side of the war. So, on
which media you view your perception will difference your own
perception.

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http://communicationtheory.org/agenda-setting-theory/