Agenda setting is the transfer of salience from the media to the public, meaning the media influences how important the public finds an issue (Yioutas & Segvic, 2003).
The media gives repeated attention to an issue, causing an increase in the public salience of that issue.
Running head: AGENDA SETTING AND THE PUBLIC RELATIONS INDUSTRY An Examination of Agenda Setting Theory and Its Importance in the Public Relations Industry Jamie Baird Pennsylvania State University Abstract This paper assesses how the media influences what issues are most prevalent on the public agenda through the examination of the agenda setting theory.
The history and development of agenda setting are discussed, as well as why this theory is important in the public relations industry today.
Rogers and Dearing named these in a 1988 review of agenda setting research as policy agenda setting, media agenda setting and public agenda setting (Denham, 2010).
Policy agenda setting considers how the news media has the ability to influence legislative policy.
For example, when the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal broke in 1998, the media was so preoccupied with issue that it took over a year for the New York Times to publish an issue without Lewinsky’s named being mentioned in any articles (Yioutas & Segvic, 2003).
This naturally led to the entire country being wrapped up in the scandal, a prime example of first-level agenda setting.
This concept is formally known as the agenda setting theory; a term first coined by professors Maxwell Mc Combs and Donald Shaw in 1972.
Agenda setting continues to evolve into a key theory in the communications field today.