Sunday, July 25, 2010

Agenda-setting what you believe

Media is meant to be sensational, offering those stories and versions of events that we “apparently” want to see and read. Why? … ROI… it’s business. And sadly it works because we have been conditioned to expect the sensational. Media students would have learnt, early on, the 12 elements of what makes any story newsworthy and the holier than thou gatekeepers that dictate to us what is news. Newsworthy elements include: consonance, conflict, visual appeal and emotion. What about those stories that don’t make it to mainstream media simply because they’re not perceived to be newsworthy?

Another important aspect to bear in mind is objectivity…. a fallacy if you asking me. Francois Nel contends that journalists act merely as channels of information… relaying “facts” that are true, but (and I quote) … “that this process occurs objectively, is not”.

And here I just have to add the concept of “agenda-setting”. Why? “…because the media can influence what people think (and talk) about. That is called the power of agenda-setting” according to Mr Nel. Ultimately dictating to us what we should think and believe. Because what? We’re not able to do this for ourselves of course.

I’m not saying that we should not read newspapers or place a huge question mark behind every story. I’m saying that this should be done with due care and some detachment. Particularly where mainstream media is concerned. I’m saying that too often we simply swallow whole anything printed in black and white or coming from a reputable newsroom or broadcasting station. I’m saying that we should not believe everything we see and read, thereby not allowing anybody to dictate to you what to think and believe this is what life is all about.

What you see and read is but another person’s (just like you) version of “truth”. Question what you are fed. Consult as many sources as you can on a topic or idea and be bold enough to think for yourself. Alternatively, don’t bother and allow agenda-setting to think for you. Or hey, don’t even believe anything I’ve told you. Afterall, it’s just my subjective point of view.



  1. Nice thoughts! The entire article deals with “reader’s discretion” or in simple words what a reader should believe and what he should not.
    Just adding a point here there is another aspect to the story which is you rightly said as business.
    As a saying goes “Good thoughts good virtues and only good news hardly finds buyers”
    So rather than readers choice of reading it’s the what will hold the interest of readers is more important
    News are packaged in such a way that that they sell doesn’t matter if its half truth

  2. mean what we see and read is actually what we want ... ito holding our interest??

    Just also thinking.... There certainly are great journalists out there and a shame that the not so great ones too easliy cast the shadow... Media is meant to fulfill a very important role of informing people of whats happening around them - too often all sorts of barriers and influences sway this role

  3. Ties in nice with our lecture.

  4. I definatly agree with you.You have defined it very well sister.Most of the news and information are manipulated, and that's were one should not believe everything being said and written Because there's always a half truth in it.