What is the major social problem in the news today? Who made it so important? Social issues that are widely recognized on the media agenda often demand attention on the public agenda, and in turn move quickly up the policy agenda, creating policy changes. Based on research of contemporary social issues that have hit the headlines - including the war on drugs, drink-driving, the Exxon Valdez oil spillage, AIDS and the Ethiopian famine - this book provides important theoretical and practical insights into the agenda-setting process and its role in effecting social change.

Studying the Agenda-Setting Process

Studying the agenda-setting process

The biggest obstacles that bedevil the transition from [public consciousness to working through social problems] relate to what is sometimes referred to as the “agenda-setting” function of the press.

Daniel Yankelovich (1991, p. 86)

Institutions are often the children of agenda access, and the means through which short periods of attention affect outcomes and government policies for decades.

Frank R. Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones (1993, p. 84)

The main theme of this book is a broadening of scholarly research on the agenda-setting process in recent years from hierarchy studies to include investigations of a single issue (or a small interacting number of issues), either studied over time in a sociological approach or studied experimentally in a psychological approach. This paradigmatic change ...

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