Orientation, Need For

The concept of a “need for orientation” (a combination of relevance and uncertainty) was first created and described by Maxwell McCombs and David Weaver in an April 1973 paper titled “Voters' Need for Orientation and Use of Mass Communication,” presented at the annual conference of the International Communication Association in Montreal, Canada. In this paper, they reasoned that every individual feels some need to be familiar with his or her surroundings, to fill in enough detail to orient himself or herself. They asserted that need for orientation (NFO) leads to media use, which in turn leads to agenda-setting effects of media. They speculated that increased relevance and uncertainty were important psychological preconditions for arousal of an NFO based on information-seeking theory, and they devised a ...

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