It takes two to tango when it comes to agenda building, the results of a new study show. Anne C. Kroon and Toni G. L. A. van der Meer of the University of Amsterdam, studied the causal relation between organizational and news media agendas. They used a time-series analyses to investigate 17 000 press releases and 74 000 news articles concerning six U.K.-based organizations.
Researchers divide agenda building into two phases: news discovery phase and news-gathering phase. They tracked both the transfer of mentions about the organization and the sentiment of the texts.
The transfer of object salience and affective attributes is not simply a unidirectional phenomenon, the authors found.
On the first level of agenda building, news and organizational agendas are intertwined. They influence each other reciprocally, with organizations taking the lead more often. The second-level analysis of affective attributes shows that only two organizations were successful in setting the tone of the news agenda. Looking at the same relation the other way around, broadsheet newspapers affected the sentiment of an organizational agenda only once.
Organizational sources are more influential in the news discovery phase compared with the news-gathering phase, the researchers conclude.
The article “Who Takes the Lead?” was published in Communication Research and is available on the publisher’s website (open access).
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