Notes for digital journalism: Agenda setting

Notes from December 5, 2017

  • Classic question: “What is the most important issue facing the UK today?”
  • The power of media to present certain images, ideas and concepts to the public
  • Importance of agenda setting:
    • Public’s need for orientation
    • Repitition of message
    • Focusing on public attention
    • Framing: supplying context, organizing principals shared socially
  • Important questions:
    • Who sets the public agenda?
      • Media, government, one’s own environment, one’s own experiences
    • Who sets the media agenda?
      • The media (self fulfilling), government
        • Spin doctor: PR people who try to spin the story their way
  • Media setting agenda: 
    • Helps form opinions
    • Priming opinions (emphasis on particular issues)
    • Shaping opinion (emphasis on particular views)
  • Media is gatekeeping by setting agenda
  • Majority of media gatekeepers practice middle-class consensus politics that affects their news agenda decisions
  • The Overton Window of Political Possibilities
    • In a given public policy area only a relatively narrow range of potential policies will be viewed as political possibilities
    • This “window” of political acceptable options is primarily defined not by what politicians prefer but rather by what they believe they can support and still win re-election
    • In general, then, the window shifts to include different policy options not when ideas change among politicians, but when ideas change in the society that elects them