Akhbar bin Puteh
Dr Mariah Muda
Faculty of Communication & Media
By reviewing a scholarly journal of your choice, discuss how the
theory/theories in it being used.
“Agenda Setting and Agenda Melding In An Age of Horizontal and Vertical Media: A New Theoretical Lens for Virtual Brand Communities” journal was written by Maththew W. Ragas and Marilyn S. Roberts. The article was published in Journalism and Mass Communications Quarterly: Spring 2009.
This study tests agenda–setting theory and the agenda-melding hypothesis in the context of brand actors and virtual brand communities. The aggregate attribute agendas of brand-controlled communications, news, media content, and a virtual brand community are analyzed. The results indicate a positive relationship between the brand agenda and brand community agenda, and an unexpected negative relationship between the media agenda and brand community agenda. In terms of agenda melding, the data indicate that the brand community, when divided by various demographic measures into subgroups, reflects attribute agendas that remain similar to the aggregate brand community agenda.
Many studies have established that there is a degree of audience learning from the mass media, especially of new issues entering the news. But recent studies show an agenda-setting effect at deeper levels beyond broad news categories. Audiences also absorb the attributes of news—the frames and slants in the way news is presented—and this suggests that while the mass media do not tell us what to think, the mass media do have considerable power to tell us how to think about topics, with implications for social policy. Beyond these two levels of agenda setting, however, is something more significant—agenda melding.
According to the authors, agenda melding focuses “on the personal agendas of individuals vis-a-vis their community and group affiliations. The agenda melding hypothesis posits when individuals join groups, they ‘meld’ their individual agendas with the agendas of the group. Groups and community represent a “collected agenda of issues” and “one joins a group by adopting an agenda.” While agenda melding marks a departure from traditional agenda setting, the transfer of salience remains at its theoretical core and provides parsimony.
The goal of the study by Ragas and Roberts is to evaluate some of the assumptions put forth by the initial agenda-melding literature. Specifically, this study explores the transfer of brand attribute saliency among an aggregate media agenda, aggregate brand agenda, aggregate brand community agenda and its subgroups.
By using Muniz and O’Guinn studies, Brand Community was defined by the authors as “specialized, non-geographically bound community based on a structured set of social relations among admirers of a brand.” According to them also, brand consumption could bring individuals together to form “a consciousness of kind.”
While the concept of brand community is new to the agenda-setting literature, the concept of community and the study of community public opinion has long been a subject of the tradition. The public agenda in agenda-setting research has been described as the perceived community agenda. Agenda-setting literature is filled with discussions of community issues and agendas and the consensus-building role of the media. However, community has traditionally been defined as a geographically-based construct, while a virtual brand community is non-geographically based and forms around a brand, not a particular place.
This study contributes to agenda-setting theory and the agenda melding hypothesis in several ways. First, it demonstrates another area within mass communications scholarship in which the...
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