Who’s the Boss? Setting the Agenda in a Fragmented Media Environment

Kathleen Searles, Glen Smith


Recent work on media choice calls into question the continued influence of traditional news media on the public agenda. We asked whether agenda setting persists either in its traditional form or an alternative form. Coverage of the 2008 American economic collapse provides a unique case as it offers a rare moment of uniform media attention across outlets. We combined a content analysis of news coverage with survey data from the National Annenberg Election Study. Using multivariate time series analysis, we found that the news media respond to issue concerns of viewers and their effects vary by source.


agenda setting, media choice, partisan media, National Annenberg Election Study

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