Television advertising and Agenda setting theory

The idea of the agenda setting theory came from over thirty years ago, when scholar’s Max McCombes and Donald Shaw researched the topic extensively.   Looking at how stories from the media, entertainment and advertising, make an impact on people through influence and agenda setting.

The media, entertainment and advertising agenda’s can influence people in what to think about, what to focus on and what we do (Griffith & McCombes 2014).

According to Tynan (2017, p. 170), the process of agenda setting can be determined “in the creation of the story.”  It includes the considerations of selection, omission, priming and framing (Dyring, 2016).  What is the message that is needed to get across and how will it influence and be perceived by the audience in reality, (Bainbridge, 2017, p. 20)?

It is common example of agenda setting and advertising is during the time of a political election campaign.  Where politicians set a agenda of what they are about, articulate how they want to be perceived by the audiences and what they stand for.  Their entire advertising agenda is focused on that.  Which effectively can have potential to shape and influences the audiences opinions in what they want them to believe, hear, do or think about.

One of the America’s president Donald Trump agenda’s he set, which was highlighted through his advertising during his political campaign was he wanted to ‘make America strong, wealthy and great again,’ (Guardian staff 2017).

“Most journalists are message producers, not communicators,” Max McCombes 


Bainbridge, J., Goc, N., & Tynan, L. (2015) Media and journalism new approaches to theory and practice.  Melbourne, Vic.

Dyring, C. (2016).  Media influence – agenda-setting function theory.  Retrieved from YouTube,

Griffith, E. (2014).  Max McCombes on Agenda-setting theory, Retrieved from A first look at communication theory,

Guardian staff. (2017). Trump’s 100 day rally: president launches attack on failing media.  Retrieved from The Guardian,

McCombes, M. (2014).  Max McCombes on Agenda-setting theory, Retrieved from A first look at communication theory,



Film and Sexism

Equal opportunity for women in the film industry has been an ongoing issue every year.  As last year’s statistics show both onscreen and behind the scene of film, there is inequality between female and male roles (Lauzen, 2017).

Lauzen (2017a, pp. 5) and Lauzen (2017, pp. 1).

There were a lack of female roles in the cast of the recently released war movie Dunkirk (Truitt, 2017), which raised some controversial discussions (Cooke 2017).

Dunkirk men
Gorden, 2017

The movie about a momentous historic war event which occurred, where around 340,000 men on the beaches were evacuated during World War II.  Where in actual fact back then, there were very little female military on the front line battle field (Vespa, 2017).

Dunkirk image
Vespa, 2017

Recent protests have been calling for the need of equality, diversity and more female roles in film (Berger 2015).  “We were frustrated because there wasn’t the roles for us,” Nicole Kidman said, at the recent Emmy awards ceremony.

Image taken from the set of the TV Series ‘Big Little Lies’, with Nicole Kidnam (right) and Reece Witherspoon (middle) and Shailene Woodley (left), (The Sydney Morning Herald, 2017).

Big name celebrities such as Nicole Kidman, Reece Witherspoon’s and Shailene Woodley joined together to produce an award winning TV series, which directly enables more roles for women on screen.

‘There wasn’t the roles for us’: Nicole Kidman’s push for equality on screen, (Singer, 2017).



Bainbridge, J., Goc, N., & Tynan, L. (2015). Media and journalism new approaches to theory and practice. Melbourne, Vic.

Berger, L. (2017).  Quote of the day: Reece Witherspoon says women should pay 50% of the roles on screen, Retrieved from Indiewire,

Cooke, C. (2017). [Twitter post] Retrieved from

Gorden, S.  (Photographer). (2107).  Dunkirk image. [Photograph]. Retrieved from

Jones, D., & Pringle, J. (2015).  Unmanageable inequalities: sexism in the film industry.  Journal of The Sociological Review, Retrieved from

Lauzen, M. (2017).  The Celluloid Ceiling:  Behind -the-scenes employment of women on the top 100, 250, and 500 films of 2016.  Retrieved from

Lauzen, M. (2017a).  Boxed in 2016-17: Women on screen and behind the scenes in television.  Retrieved from Center for the study of women in television & Film,  San Diego State University,

Singer, M. (2017).  There wasn’t the roles for us’: Nicole Kidman’s push for equality on screen,  The Sydney Morning Herald.  Retrieved from

Truitt, B. (2017).  Review: Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ examines WWII heroism up close, Retrieved from USA Today,

Vespa, M. (2017).  USA Today: ‘Dunkirk’s’ limited number of roles for women and minorities ‘May rub some the wrong way’.   Retrieved from Townhall,

Social media and Ethical uncertainty

The social media network was created to connect mass audiences of professional and personal people from any background, worldwide via a public online forum using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

To enable, instant communication between users, entertainment and a place to source world wide information including breaking news in various forms of text, designs, layouts, videos, audio files, imagery and links to websites (Banbridge, Beasley and Tynan, 2015, pp. 75).  These are all positive highlights to social media, however, there are a few negative points associated to social media.  For example, where the ethical uncertainty can be questioned.

The dissemination of information determining if something follows a moral values and standard.    There is always that level of uncertainty if the account or post is a true representative of what it said it is.  Be aware of criminal activity, unethical dealings, sites and posts (NC State University, 2017).

Further to that, it is important to ‘stay smart online’ To have self awareness and protect personal privacy and disclosure of confidential information online (Australian Government, 2017).  To prevent someone using the particulars to create a false account or post and do not except friend request from people unknown.

Ensure that information on social networks is only shared with people, organisations, known to be authentic (NC State University, 2017).  That information is sourced from already well established, reputable and credible sources found on social media.  For example, education facilities, government, media outlets.



Bainbridge, J., Goc, N., & Tynan, L. (2015) Media and journalism new approaches to theory and practice.  Melbourne, Vic.

Australian Government, (2017).  Socialising online.  Retrieved from

NC State University, (2017).  Legal and ethical implications.  Retrieved from

Hard News vs Soft News: Which is better?

With a criteria of topic, timeliness and how the news is presented, can make a determination of which is ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ news, (Yang, 2005).  However, to make a conclusion of which is better?  That is relative to various variables, circumstances, values, influences, personal preferences, modern ideals and trends.

Hard news is often breaking news delivered with timeliness, highlighting ‘the public’s right to know’.  Distinguished by topics including politics, war, law, social justice, welfare, environment, conflict, disasters, health, economics, science, technology, (Bainbridge, Goc, Tynan, 2015, pp. xxiv).  The ‘serious’ hard news people need to know as it affects their everyday life.  For example there has been a scientific breakthrough advancing medicine, or the local hospital suddenly closes down because of a disease outbreak. Or the local school where lots of children are in attendance, had a crazy man there with a gun occurring right now.

Soft news provides entertainment and information, is a human interest feature story covering topics such as lifestyle, events, celebrities, sport, arts, entertainment news and infotainment segments, (Bainbridge, Goc, Tynan, 2015, pp. xxvii).  Soft news through media does not expose anything untoward such as a scandal, unlawful acts.  Soft news includes the entertainment values of the quirky, funny, weird, outrageous, popular, informative stories to it’s viewers.  It can be presented differently, through a relaxed style of reporting using visual aids including magazines, video’s, news features.

Hard news and Soft news, you can not have one with out the other and you need both in everyday life.  Neither is ‘better’ though seen more as equally important.


Bainbridge, J., Goc, N., & Tynan, L. (2015). Media and journalism new approaches to theory and practice.  Melbourne, Vic

Yang, Y.  (2005). Hard news vs. soft news: A content analysis of networking evening newscasts during breaking news coverage.  Journal American Psychological Association, 6th Edition.  University of Nevada, Reno.  ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.  Retrieved from