chapter  8
15 Pages

Shaping the Agenda of Local Daily Newspapers: A Methodology Merging the Agenda Setting and Community Structure Perspectives

WithMaxwell McCombs, Marcus Funk

Over the years, the community structure and agenda-setting research traditions have developed independent, yet complementary, perspectives on the factors influencing news coverage of public issues in local daily newspapers. Community structure research investigates the influence of the local community and specific demographic groups in the community on the degree of emphasis that particular public issues receive in a local newspaper. In contrast to this internal source of influence, a long-standing aspect of agenda-setting research, intermedia agenda setting, emphasizes the external influence of other news media-ranging from the New York Times and the Associated Press to major regional dailies-on the news decisions of local daily newspapers. To invoke a cliche´, the agenda-setting and community structure perspectives are opposite sides of the same coin and should be considered in tandem.