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The power of vertical media to set the agenda and the power of horizontal media to moderate or amplify the results

Dr. Shaw, Kenan professor emeritus of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his research partner, Dr. Max McCombs, retired professor of journalism at the University of Texas, conceived the agenda-setting theory during a study conducted about issues in the 1968 presidential election.

The study, often known as "the Chapel Hill study," documented a strong correlation between the beliefs of Chapel Hill residents as to what the important election issues were and what the local and national news media reported to be the most important issues. Together, Shaw and McCombs were honored last year by the World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR) with the 2011 Helen Dinerman award for scholarship for their paradigm shifting work "in how we think about the media and public opinion." (

It is a pleasure and thrill to have this opportunity to interact with Dr. Shaw and discuss agenda-setting theory in relation to our work in agriculture, natural resources, and the life and human sciences. For more information, contact any of the Research SIG leadership members: Jason Ellis –; Courtney Meyers –; or Karen Cannon –

Here is Donald Shaw's homepage:

If interested, see the 2006 paper "Vertical Versus Horizontal Media: Using Agenda-setting Audience Agenda-melding to Create Public Information Strategies."

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This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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