The Agenda Setting Theory On The Public Agenda

1076 Words Jul 13th, 2016 5 Pages
The history of the agenda-setting theory goes back over 50 years to when it was introduced in a 1972 edition of Public Opinion Quarterly by Drs. Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw. It was first developed as a means of studying the 1968 American presidential election as it relates to the most important issues determined by the news media and the most important issues determined by the 100 residents of Chapel Hill, North Carolina (McCombs & Shaw, 1972). Still relevant today, the agenda setting theory explains the influence of the media agenda on the public agenda. In a comprehensive analysis of the agenda-setting theory, agenda setting includes three levels or psychological processes: basic agenda setting, attribute agenda setting and network agenda setting.

History of Agenda Setting Theory
The media’s power in influencing public opinion has sparked the theory that we now know as agenda setting. In 1922 this concept was first investigated by newspaper columnist Walter Lippman (Wahl-Jorgensen and Hanitzsch, 2009, pp.147). Since then Drs. Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw have coined what we now know as the agenda setting theory. Their research of the 1968 presidential election of the Republican nominee Richard Nixon and the Democratic nominee Hubert Humphrey proved groundbreaking. Before the agenda setting theory, assumptions were that certain behaviors and attitudes were results of the way information was…
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