The Agenda-Setting Function of Television News. Satic and Dynamic Views

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Work data:

Type of work: Article (academic)

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Communication

Abstract:

The present study investigates static and dynamic approaches to agendasetting research by means of cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. The data bases used are weekly surveys on problem awareness of the public regarding 16 issues and a content analysis of the main German television news shows in 1986. Although static analysis of the data reveals nearly no relationship between media coverage and problem awareness, dynamic analysis demonstrates that media coverage caused problem awareness of four prominent issues in 1986 (energy supply, defense, environmental protection, and European politics). Problem awareness, on the other hand, caused media coverage on three issues (pensions, public debt, and public security). Time lags ranked between 1 and 3 weeks. The direction of influence seems to be dependent on the kind of issue and the investigated time interval. In addition, there are significant differences in the type of effects. Although the public generally reacted to media coverage with corresponding increases and declines of problem awareness, the media sometimes reacted to problem awareness by counterbalancing the trend of public opinion.