Effects of news coverage on policy attention and actions: A closer look into the media-policy connection

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Abstract

Studies that examine the media-policy connection often neglect to fully explore the dynamic nature of this association over time. It is suggested that a conceptual framework that separates media effects on policy makers' attention to issues from effects on their actual behavior (or policy actions) may be key for studying the dynamic relationship between information in the media and policy response to this information. Employing this approach to the case of drunk driving between 1978 and 1995, it was found that heightened media attention to the drunk-driving problem at the beginning of the issue-attention cycle (the early 1980s) attracted greater policy attention to this issue and pressured policy makers to generate immediate, short-term solutions to the problem. Yet, once the volume of media attention to this issue started to wane (from the late 1980s onward), policy preferences gradually shifted to long-term solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)422-451+497
JournalCommunication Research
Volume29
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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