Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Reporting, the Agenda, and the Public Mind

Geraldo Rivera made his name with a NYC TV report on Willowbrook:

In 2007, a Fort Worth station reports on "To Catch a Predator" (see Graber, p. 153).


See Radio-TV-Internet Code of Ethics

Anthony Downs, "The Issue-Attention Cycle," The Public Interest 28 (Summer 1972): 38-50.

  • The pre-problem stage. Some undesirable social condition exists but has not yet caught much public attention.
  • Alarmed discovery and euphoric enthusiasm. As a result of dramatic events or for other reasons, the public suddenly becomes both aware of and alarmed about a particular problem. There is euphoric enthusiasm about society's ability to "solve this problem."
  • Realizing the cost of significant progress. The third stage consists of a gradually spreading realization that the cost of "solving" the problem is very high.
  • Gradual decline of intense public interest. The previous stage shades into the fourth stage: a gradual drop in the intensity of public interest.
  • The post-problem stage. The public moves on, but new institutions, programs, and policies may be in place.

A Pew survey of political knowledge.


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