Media & Society I. Agenda Setting Theory and News Production Research. News is created and packaged in a variety of ways and by a variety of people. (Traditional journalists, bloggers, etc ).
Agenda Setting Theory
News Production Research
Two basic assumptions underlie most research on agenda-setting:
“In agenda-setting:choosing and displaying news, editors, newsroom staff, and broadcasters play an important part in shaping political reality. Readers learn not only about a given issue, but also how much importance to attach to that issue from the amount of information in a news story and its position. In reflecting what candidates are saying during a campaign, the mass media may well determine the important issues—that is, the media may set the “agenda” of the campaign.”
Foreign-Born, Muslim, narratives that convey “otherness”
Obama doesn’t believe in capitalism or notions of individual success/American exceptionalism
Obama has ruined/couldn’t save the economy.
(according to Pew Research on the campaign)
So, the news doesn’t necessarily say Obama was born outside America- but by raising the issue, by giving it air time- they implicitly give it legitimacy and make it part of the conversation.
By giving equal time to both sides, they imply both sides are equally valid. This is partially because of objectivity rituals.
Doubts about his career at Bain Capital
Wealthy elitist, Not good with people, flip-flopper, lacks charisma/makes gaffes, unfeeling capitalist
(according to Pew Research on the Campaign)
So- Agenda Setting- not what to think but what to think about.
Okay….so what is the impact of this?
What gets left out?
Sandy pushes all other stories off agenda?
Briggert Waters Act on flood protection strongly impacts NYC, but almost no one even knew it existed or was passed.
Meanwhile….what DID New Yorkers know?
Why are certain stories told? How does the format of news impact what stories are told?
Within the Sandy narrative, what stories are not told?
-news cycle, program format, narrative templates
Restrictions of the medium (Florida icicles)
Use of wire service
Personalization, Dramatization, Fragmentation and Normalization
*News values = currency, prominence, unusual, etc.
*Social background of the editors
Conclusion: News tends to reflect the world view of editors
Can you think of examples of this?