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Scholars Review Agenda Setting Theory on Its 50th Anniversary

Scholars have found that agenda setting’s ultimate legacy as a theory relies on whether it still helps people understand the current media environment, and those yet to come.

A team of 14 scholars, including University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Executive Associate Dean Spiro Kiousis, offered their critiques and ideas for future scholarship on the existence of the five-decade theory in “Reflections on a Legacy: Thought from Scholars About Agenda-Setting Past and Future” published in Mass Communication and Society, Volume 25, 2022 – Issue 4.

Spiro Kiousis

According to Kiousis, “In its 50-year history, agenda-setting theory is arguably the most influential theory in the field of mass communication, with a wide-ranging foothold in areas such as political communication, journalism studies, health communication, public relations, financial communication and so forth.”

He offered suggestions for future work including maintaining theoretical clarity as a core issue, emphasizing examination of multiple agendas within the same analysis to better explore the antecedents, processes, and consequences of salience formation and transfer, and considering new contexts for agenda setting.

He adds, “In sum, the notion of agenda setting was founded on the simple idea that news media influence the public importance of issues. This idea has contributed to 50 years of prolific scholarly work. With few signs of declining, it will be interesting to see what a 75th anniversary review brings.”

Posted: July 13, 2022
Category: College News
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