Readings on Media, Public Opinion, and Policymaking
The role of the news media in defining the important issues of the day, also known as the agenda-setting influence of mass communication, has received widespread attention over the past 20 years. Since the publication of McCombs and Shaw's seminal empirical study, more than one hundred journal articles and monographs have appeared. This collection exemplifies the major phases of research on agenda-setting: tests of the basic hypothesis, contingent conditions affecting the strength of this influence, the natural history of public issues, mass media influence on public policy, and the role of external sources from the president to public relations staffs on the news agenda.
Table of Contents
Contents: Part I:The Public Agenda. W. Lippmann, Public Opinion. M. McCombs, D. Shaw, The Agenda-Setting Function of Mass Media. A. Downs, Up and Down With Ecology: The "Issue-Attention Cycle." G.R. Funkhouser, The Issues of the Sixties: An Exploratory Study in the Dynamics of Public Opinion. Part II:Measuring Agenda-Setting Effects. J. McLeod, L.B. Becker, J.E. Byrnes, Another Look at the Agenda-Setting Function of the Press. M. Benton, P.J. Frazier, The Agenda-Setting Function of the Mass Media at Three Levels of "Information Holding." M.T. Gordon, L. Heath, The News Business, Crime, and Fear. K.A. Smith, Newspaper Coverage and Public Concern About Community Issues. S. Iyengar, M.E. Peters, D.R. Kinder, Experimental Demonstrations of the "Not-So-Minimal" Consequences of Television News Programs. Part III:The Agenda-Setting Process. J.P. Winter, C.H. Eyal, Agenda-Setting for the Civil Rights Issue. P. Palmgreen, P. Clarke, Agenda-Setting With Local and National Issues. L.E. Atwood, A.B. Sohn, H. Sohn, Daily Newspaper Contributions to Community Discussion. K. Schoenbach, Agenda-Setting Effects of Print and Television in West Germany. D.H. Weaver, Political Issues and Voter Need for Orientation. D.B. Hill, Viewer Characteristics and Agenda-Setting by Television News. Part IV:Shaping Public Policy Agendas. W.L. Rivers, The Media as Shadow Government. B. Nelson, Making an Issue of Child Abuse. D.L. Protess, F.L. Cook, T.R. Curtin, M.T. Gordon, D.R. Leff, M.E. McCombs, P. Miller, The Impact of Investigative Reporting on Public Opinion and Policymaking: Targeting Toxic Waste. F.L. Cook, W.G. Skogan, Convergent and Divergent Voice Models of the Rise and Fall of Policy Issues. Part V:The Media Agenda. J.V. Turk, Public Relations' Influence on the News. S. Gilberg, C. Eyal, M. McCombs, D. Nicholas, The State of the Union Address and the Press Agenda. D.C. Whitney, L.B. Becker, "Keeping the Gates" for Gatekeepers: The Effects of Wire News. S.D. Reese, L.H. Danielian, Intermedia Influence and the Drug Issue: Converging on Cocaine. W. Williams, Jr., M. Shapiro, C. Cutbirth, The Impact of Campaign Agendas on Perceptions of Issues. Part VI:New Approaches to Agenda-Setting. O. Gandy, Beyond Agenda-Setting. G.E. Lang, K. Lang, Watergate: An Exploration of the Agenda-Building Process. G. Burd, A Critique of Two Decades of Agenda-Setting Research.
"...a well-crafted and useful addition to the literature about agenda setting. Its broad perspective will help students and hopefully others to conceptualize agenda setting as a recursive and complex societal process, not as an isolated hypothesis about media effects."