The Power of Information Networks: New Directions for Agenda Setting, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Power of Information Networks

New Directions for Agenda Setting, 1st Edition

Edited by Lei Guo, Maxwell McCombs


236 pages | 27 B/W Illus.

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The news media have significant influence on the formation of public opinion. Called the agenda-setting role of the media, this influence occurs at three levels. Focusing public attention on a select few issues or other topics at any moment is level one. Emphasizing specific attributes of those issues or topics is level two. The Power of Information Networks: The Third Level of Agenda Setting introduces the newest perspective on this influence. While levels one and two are concerned with the salience of discrete individual elements, the third level offers a more comprehensive and nuanced perspective to explain media effects in this evolving media landscape: the ability of the news media to determine how the public associates the various elements in these media messages to create an integrated picture of public affairs. This is the first book to detail the theoretical foundations, methodological approaches, and international empirical evidence for this new perspective. Cutting-edge communication analytics such as network analysis, Big Data and data visualization techniques are used to examine these third-level effects. Diverse applications of the theory are documented in political communication, public relations, health communication, and social media research.

The Power of Information Networks will interest scholars, students and practitioners concerned with the media and their social and cultural effects.


"Far from being outdated, Agenda Setting theory continues to help explain much of what we experience in a hyper-connected world. Guo and McCombs not only demonstrate that networks deepen the Agenda Setting effect, but also offer a multitude of novel perspectives from other scholars on this exciting new direction in media study."Harlen Makemson, Elon University

"This innovative book is a valuable and original addition to the voluminous literature on agenda setting. It includes chapters on the theoretical and methodological foundations of this third level of agenda-setting research by two former students of Maxwell McCombs, as well as case studies using this new approach in political communication and public relations by a wide range of scholars from the U.S. and other countries. It is essential and thought-provoking reading for those interested in agenda-setting research."—David H. Weaver, Indiana University

Table of Contents

Part 1: A Broader Perspective on Agenda Setting: Theoretical and Methodological Foundations 1. A Theoretical Explication of the Network Agenda Setting Model: Current Status and Future Directions Lei Guo 2. Semantic Network Analysis, Mind Mapping and Visualization: A Methodological Exploration of the Network Agenda Setting Model Lei Guo 3. Mapping the Contours of the Third Level of Agenda Setting: Uniplex, Duplex, and Multiplex Associations Craig E. Carroll Part 2: International Studies of the Network Agenda Setting Model A. Public Affairs & Political Communication 4. Exploring the Network Agenda Setting Model with Big Social Data Chris J. Vargo and Lei Guo 5. An Expanded Perspective on Network Agenda Setting Between Traditional Media and Twitter Political Discussion Groups in "Everyday Political Talk" Sharon Meraz 6. Role of Tech Bloggers in the Flow of Information Nirit Weiss-Blatt 7. From Compelling Arguments to Compelling Associations at the Third Level of Agenda Setting Magdalena Saldaña & Alberto Ardevol-Abreu 8. Journalistic Role Performance and the Networked Media Agenda: A Comparison between the United States and Chile Lea Hellmueller & Claudia Mellado 9. An Issue Attention Cycle Analysis of the Network Agenda Setting Model: A Case Study of the Nuclear Issue in South Korea Jisu Kim & Young Min 10. News Coverage of the Iraq War: An International Comparison of Network Attribute Agendas University of Texas International Journalism Research Coalition B. Strategic Communication & Public Relations 11. Implications of Third-Level Agenda Building for Public Relations and Strategic Communication Spiro Kiousis & Matt Ragas 12. Third Level of Agenda Building and Agenda Setting during a Corporate Crisis Michael Etter & Anne Vestergaard 13. Corporate Agenda Setting at the Third Level: Comparing Networks of Attributes in Corporate Press Releases and Media Coverage Laura Illia, Philemon Bantimaroudis & Katia Meggiorin 14. Attributes of a Cultural/Consumer Product: Oregon Wine Lisa M. Weidman Part 3: Summing up 15. Explorers and Surveyors on the New Agenda-Setting Frontier Lei Guo and Maxwell Mccombs

About the Editors

Lei Guo is an assistant professor in the Emerging Media Studies Division of the College of Communication at Boston University. Guo’s research focuses mainly on agenda-setting theory, alternative media, and international communication.

Maxwell McCombs is the Jesse H. Jones Centennial Chair in Communication Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin and has been a visiting professor annually at the University of Navarra in Spain since 1994. Professor McCombs is internationally recognized for his research on the agenda-setting role of mass communication, and the influence of the media on the focus of public attention.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Global Information, Politics and Society

International communication encompasses everything from one-to-one cross-cultural interactions to the global reach of the internet. The Routledge Studies in Global Information, Politics and Society celebrates – and embraces – this depth and breadth. To completely understand communication, it must be studied in concert with many factors, since, most often, it is the foundational principle on which other subjects rest. This series provides a publishing space for scholarship in the expansive, yet intersecting, categories of communication and information processes and other disciplines.

Routledge Studies in Global Information, Politics and Society would like to publish work that educates readers about the complexities of international communication. We are especially interested in three areas: 1) research that focuses on empirical support for theoretical and conceptual development in communication and information processes, 2) research that is historically grounded and temporally expansive, and 3) research that is comparative and explores the world in both geopolitical and non-geopolitical categories. We welcome individual and co-authored manuscripts, as well as edited volumes.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies