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Agenda Building

Matthew C. Nisbet


Agenda building refers to the process by which news organizations and journalists feature, emphasize, and/or select certain events, issues, or sources to cover over others. Research in the area is closely linked to but distinct from the agenda-setting tradition which examines the connection between the issues portrayed in the news media and the issue priorities of the public ( McCombs 2004 ). Agenda building is also related to work in political science on policy agenda setting , which focuses on how news coverage both reflects and shapes the priorities of government officials, decision-makers, and elites ( Baumgartner & Jones 1993 ; →  Agenda-Setting Effects ). The news agenda is defined as the list of events or issues that are portrayed in coverage at one point in time or across time. Events are discrete occurrences, such as the release of a government report on greenhouse gas emissions or a presidential speech on Iraq. An issue can be a series of related events that are grouped together within a larger category of meaning such as climate change, the environment, the war in Iraq, or foreign policy. Sources include the voices, actors, or groups featured in news coverage such as government officials, environmentalists, or antiwar protestors ( Reese 1991 ; →  News Sources ). The agenda-building literature is characterized by a diversity of theoretical and methodological ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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