Agenda setting describes a very powerful influence of the media the ability to tell us what issues are important. Mass Communication plays an important role in our society its purpose is to inform the public about current and past events. Mass communication is defined in “ Mass Media, Mass Culture” as the process whereby professional communicators use technological devices to share messages over great distances to influence large audiences. Within this process the media, which can be a newspaper, a book and television, takes control of the information we see or hear. The media then uses gatekeeping and agenda setting to “control our access to news, information, and entertainment” (Wilson 14). Gatekeeping is a series of checkpoints that the news has to go through before it gets to the public. Through this process many people have to decide whether or not the news is to bee seen or heard. Some gatekeepers might include reporters, writers, and editors. After gatekeeping comes agenda setting.
Agenda Setting as defined in “ Mass Media, Mass Culture” is the process whereby the mass media determine what we think and worry about.
It is a process of placing issues on the policy agenda for public consideration and intervention. In other words the Media influence which issues people think are important for government to address.
News papers set a nations agenda to focus public attention n few key public issue is as immense well documented influence. The news media can set the agenda for public attention to that small group of issues around which public opinion forms.Mass media set the agenda for public opinion by highlighting certain issue.
Due to agenda setting effect over the period of time some issues are emphasised some receive light coverage, and many are seldom or never mentioned. This effects have been found local, national and international level.
This effects are founded by Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw in the 1970s.