Agenda Setting

February 17, 2010

Welcome to the debut of Dave Costello's blog, the PR Dialoguer.  As a top PR consultant in the U.S., and professor of PR, marketing, and communications for many years, this humble exec hopes to provide insight and commentary about public relations. The focus of the blog is to merge the theoretical with the practical side of the profession with a focus on providing useful analysis and information for high-tech corporations.

 

As I started to formulate and launch a new public affairs campaign today, I began to think about the communications theory known as agenda setting. This theoretical notion that the media has the powerful influence on what becomes news and what doesn't get covered, and how much space or air is given to a particular story or segment, still rings true. This power granted to the "fourth estate" also dictates what is picked up and covered by other media throughout the country, and eventually gets considered by associations, organizations, legislators, and courts. As my pitch to the editor of a leading daily newspaper was being scrutinized and we were debating whether to cover the issue at hand, I began to ponder this theory about agenda setting. "See, I have a relevant, national issue that should be covered, but the editor is likely not to address it."  One person has the gatekeeper power to determine what 200,000 people will learn about-- and discuss at the water cooler during the day and dinner table at night.

 

Dave Costello is the founder and principal of TechSposure, a high-tech PR firm for small and medium businesses. He has also been a professor of communications, marketing, and public relations at Boston University's College of Communications and Emerson College's School of Communications. Dave can be reached at: dave@techsposure.com.

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