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Still an Agenda Setter: Traditional News Media and Public Opinion During the Transition From Low to High Choice Media Environments

Journal article
Authors Monika Djerf-Pierre
Adam Shehata
Published in Journal of Communication
ISSN 0021-9916
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Language en
Links onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111...
Keywords agenda setting, media effects, public opinion, high-choice, media environment, selective exposure, minimal effects
Subject categories Media and Communications

Abstract

This study analyzes whether the agenda-setting influence of traditional news media has become weaker over time—a key argument in the “new era of minimal effects” controversy. Based on media content and public opinion data collected in Sweden over a period of 23 years (1992–2014), we analyze both aggregate and individual-level agenda-setting effects on public opinion concerning 12 different political issues. Taken together, we find very little evidence that the traditional news media has become less influential as agenda setters. Rather, citizens appear as responsive to issue signals from the collective media agenda today as during the low-choice era. We discuss these findings in terms of cross-national differences in media systems and opportunity structures for selective exposure.

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