Pictures in our heads: Agenda-setting and framing as theories of mass media effects
Leino, Juha (2014)
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Tiedotusoppi - Journalism and Mass Communication
Viestinnän, median ja teatterin yksikkö
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
After the minimal consequences position of media effects had replaced the hypodermic needle model of media effects, it was itself successfully challenged by the general wave of social constructionism that posited that while the mass media indeed influenced audiences to a significant degree, members of audiences were not passive receivers but active participants in an interactive, two-way process. The first approach that successfully refuted the minimal effects model with empirical evidence was agenda-setting theory. Soon after, framing theory joined the foray, showing that the way a news narrative is constructed affects attitudes and beliefs of audiences. Today, these two traditions vie for the position of the dominant paradigm in mass communication studies. In this theory-based thesis, we look at agenda-setting and framing traditions in detail and also discuss attempts to combine them into one unified theoretical framework from the both sides of the table. Also, we discuss briefly whether the two theories are still relevant research paradigms in the new mediascape dominated by the Internet. We conclude the paper by looking at the implications that the two theories have on democracy in the complex media-mediated world that we inhabit today.
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