Media and agenda setting: Effects on the public, interest group leaders, policy makers, and policy

Fay Lomax Cook, Tom R. Tyler, Edward G. Goetz, Margaret T. Gordon, David Protess, Donna R. Leff, Harvey L. Molotch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using an experimental design built around a single media event, the authors explored the impact of the media upon the general public, policy makers, interest group leaders, and public policy. The results suggested that the media influenced views about issue importance among the general public and government policy makers. The study suggests, however, that it was not this change in public opinion which led to subsequent policy changes. Instead, policy change resulted from collaboration between journalists and government staff members.An earlier version of this paper was given by Cook at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management, Washington, D.C., October 24, 1981. The authors wish to acknowledge Professor Carl S. Smith for his assistance during several stages of this project, and also Frederica O'Connor, Harry Ross, Steve Brooks, Lance Selfa, and Lee Sustar for many hours spent interviewing policy elites. We also wish to thank Thomas D. Cook for his insightful comments and advice on a previous draft of this paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-35
Number of pages20
JournalPublic Opinion Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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