Jane Johnston

agenda-setting theory Agenda-setting theory centres on how the mass media selects and prioritises news. In turn, people look to the media for indications of where they should focus their attention and what issues are priorities, based on the emphasis the media gives (or does not give) issues. While personal beliefs, one-to-one discussions and peer groups also influence public opinion, the agenda-setting theory focuses on the role of the mass media in the process. Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw devised the theory based on a study of the United States Federal election (1972). McCombs (2004: 1) notes, ‘The ability to influence the salience of topics on the public agenda has come to be called the agenda-setting ...

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