In: Sociológia - Slovak Sociological Review, vol. 45, no. 3
The Agenda-Setting Effect of Focusing Events: A Case Study of the Church Restitutions Issue
Jan Váně - František Kalvas
ISSN 0049-1225 ISSN 1336-8613 (print)
Year, pages: 2013, 290-315
Article type: štúdia
The Agenda-Setting Effect of Focusing Events: A Case Study of the Church Restitutions Issue. We examine the role of media coverage of events in the process of public agenda setting. We define focusing events according to Kingdon (1995) as events that call attention to problems and issues. Scholars have introduced several typologies of media coverage in the long tradition of agenda-setting research. However, no previous work has examined the differing effects of news items exclusively in terms of (a) issues, (b) a focusing event, and (c) both an issue and a respective focusing event. Our research question is: “Does a focusing event strengthen the effect of a news item by setting the personal agendas of members of the public?”
To answer the question, we chose the cognitive portrait research design and used individual data to study the issue (see the Acapulco typology, McCombs 2004) of Church property restitutions in the Czech Republic. Our focusing event is the St. Vitus Cathedral trial. We use data from a weekly panel survey of the events deemed most important by respondents between April and May 2008. We combine these panel data with the results of a content analysis that monitored the total number of news items referring to Church restitutions and the St. Vitus Cathedral trial (Vinopal 2009).
Our results show that the coverage of a focusing event has a significant positive effect on setting the respective issue as a personal agenda, but the coverage of a focusing event is unable to influence the agenda-setting process on its own. A focusing event must be contextualized (i.e., mentioned in the same text as the issue) to affect a recipient’s personal agenda. We suggest carefully distinguishing between the coverage of mere issues and contextualized coverage of a respective focusing event in future agenda-setting research.
Sociológia 2013, Vol. 45 (No. 3: 290-315)
How to cite:
Váně, J., Kalvas, F. 2013. The Agenda-Setting Effect of Focusing Events: A Case Study of the Church Restitutions Issue. In Sociológia - Slovak Sociological Review, vol. 45, no.3, pp. 290-315.
Váně, J., Kalvas, F. (2013). The Agenda-Setting Effect of Focusing Events: A Case Study of the Church Restitutions Issue. Sociológia - Slovak Sociological Review, 45(3), 290-315.
Keywords: focusing event; agenda setting; quantitative-survey; quantitative-content analysis