Agenda–setting, opinion leadership, and the world of Web logs

Aaron Delwiche

Abstract



More than 350 studies have explored the agenda setting hypothesis, but most of this research assumes a clear distinction between reporters and their readers. Web logs erode this distinction, facilitating participatory media behavior on the part of audiences (Blood, 2003). The activities of journalistically focused web log authors give us new ways to understand and measure the agenda setting process. While previous researchers have explored issue salience by focusing on audience recall and public opinion, web logs invite us to consider hyperlinks as behavioral indicators of an issue’s perceived importance. This paper tracks news stories most often linked to by web log authors in 2003, comparing the results to stories favored by traditional media. Arguing that web log authors construct an alternative agenda within the admittedly limited realm of the blogosphere, I note that their focus has shifted from technology to broader political issues. My findings support Chaffee and Metzger’s (2001) prediction that “the key problem for agenda-setting theory will change from what issues the media tell people to think about to what issues people tell the media they want to think about” (375).


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v10i12.1300



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