Born in Raleigh (North Carolina), USA, studied journalism at the University of North Carolina and worked as an editor at several newspapers. Se doctoró en Periodismo en la Universidad de Wisconsin (1966). Ph.D. in Journalism at the University of Wisconsin (1966). Docente de la Escuela de Periodismo y Comunicación de Masas de la Universidad de Carolina del Norte, en Chapel Hill, desarrolló, junto a Maxwell McCombs (1938-), la teoría conocida como 'agenda-setting' y con él comenzó la publicación de sus primeros trabajos teóricos ('The Agenda-Setting Functions of the Mass Media', Public Opinion Quarterly , vol. 36, 1972), que fue desarrollado en el libro The Emergence of American Political Issues: The Agenda Setting Function of the Press (1977). Professor of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, developed, along with Maxwell McCombs (1938 -), the theory known as "agenda-setting 'and he started publishing its first theoretical works ('The Agenda-Setting Functions of the Mass Media', Public Opinion Quarterly, vol. 36, 1972), which was developed in the book The Emergence of American Political Issues: The Agenda Setting Function of the Press (1977) .
He is the author, among others, the book Handbook of Reporting Methods (with Maxwell McCombs and David Grey), Boston, 1976, Advanced Reporting: Beyond News Event (with M. McCombs and Gerry Keir), New York, 1986; Communication and Democracy: Exploring the Intellectual Frontiers in Agenda-Setting Theory (with M. McCombs and David Weaver, eds.) Mahwah, NJ, 1997.


The concept of 'agenda setting', on which Shaw theorizes with Maxwell McCombs, concerns the influence of media content have on the concerns of the recipients on their topics of discussion on the management of their interests, etc. . La elaboración de agendas está en la base de la sociología política y es especialmente intensa en las etapas electorales, en las que los políticos, a través de los medios, buscan mantener el interés y el pulso de opinión en torno a los temas que son objeto de su programa. The preparation of agendas is at the core of political sociology and is particularly intense in the electoral stage, where politicians, through the media, to maintain the attention and the pulse of opinion regarding the issues being of your program.
The concept of 'agenda setting', on the other hand, at least as determinations in the public space arising from the contents of the media, had been already suggested by other authors, including Bernard Berelson , Walter Lippmann , etc.
McCombs and Shaw study, through subsequent empirical work, the role the media plays in shaping the effect of 'agenda setting'. The selection of news by the media and the credibility of these acts, no doubt about the framework for establishing the model of political debate.The magnificent selection or foregrounds some issues and reduces or hides the importance of others. The effect of 'gatekeeper' selection to reveal the influence of the environment is not so much belief in their ability, that is, its influence real, as in its power to sort the issues under discussion, which influence the political discussion and decision making. The media not only select the news, but the nest and thereby assessed interest the agenda.

There is also a cognitive effect, socialization of values and perceptions of the political that operates in the long run, in which the media plays a role. For example, greater exposure to media information among young people increases their interest in public affairs.
This is an analysis of the impact area, which has opened up a stream of analysts who come to our days, despite the gaps that show the theoretical premises of McCombs and Shaw in the evaluation of the induction process, by means of values determined by the commercial interests of the issuer or the system to which it serves. But also, having prevailed in its approach to the statements, the theoretical descriptions on checks can mobilize the wealth of scientific concerns raised by the core of the problem: the prescriptive nature of the media.

The progressively greater influence of the media in society and the emergence of media-virtual component as a substitute for the experience of reality, emphasizing the effect agenda, to the extent that audiences are increasingly less time and contact with environments reality, that is, fewer points of contact with other forms of social construction of reality.

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