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A Study of Agenda-Setting Theory in Presidential Debates in Mexico’s 2000 Presidential Campaign
Unformatted Document Text:  18 debate related stories. Since the selected period of coverage occurred around the time of the debates, more debate-specific stories were expected. Of the 146 news stories, 59.2% (n = 86) occurred before the debates, while 22.3% (n = 33) occurred after the debates. Only 18.5% (n = 27) of the stories content analyzed where generated the day of the debates. It is important to clarify, that the newscast corresponding to Hechos for May 26, the day of the second debate, was not available; this may alter the results obtained this day. However, since information was collected for all the other coverage days, this does not impact significantly the results of the overall news coverage. All 27 news stories that were cast the days of the debates were debate-specific. Of the news stories before the debates, 65.9% (n = 64) were debate- specific, and 33.9% (n = 22) debate-related. After the debates, only 7.2% (n = 7) of the stories were debate- specific, and 55.1% (27) of them, were debate-related. 113 news stories were used to tests the agenda setting hypotheses model for this research, since those stories were generated before the debates took place. Hypothesis 1. This hypothesis states that the higher the issue content in the media agenda, the higher the issue content in the debate. This was generally supported by the data in the sample. Issue coverage of the media before the debates corresponded to the issues discussed in the debates themselves. A matrix was developed in order to correlate variables from two different data bases (television coverage and debate content). In this matrix the original data were “compressed” in only eight categories to correlate. Seconds spent either covering or talking about issues (on television and debates) were counted for each issue. Once the total time on television coverage and debates was determined, issues were considered as cases to correlate the two data bases (debate and television

Authors: Mercado, Antonieta., Hellweg, Susan., Dozier, David. and Hofstetter, C..
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18
debate related stories. Since the selected period of coverage
occurred around the time of the debates, more debate-specific
stories were expected. Of the 146 news stories, 59.2% (n = 86)
occurred before the debates, while 22.3% (n = 33) occurred
after the debates. Only 18.5% (n = 27) of the stories content
analyzed where generated the day of the debates. It is
important to clarify, that the newscast corresponding to
Hechos for May 26, the day of the second debate, was not
available; this may alter the results obtained this day.
However, since information was collected for all the other
coverage days, this does not impact significantly the results
of the overall news coverage. All 27 news stories that were
cast the days of the debates were debate-specific. Of the news
stories before the debates, 65.9% (n = 64) were debate-
specific, and 33.9% (n = 22) debate-related. After the
debates, only 7.2% (n = 7) of the stories were debate-
specific, and 55.1% (27) of them, were debate-related. 113
news stories were used to tests the agenda setting hypotheses
model for this research, since those stories were generated
before the debates took place.
Hypothesis 1. This hypothesis states that the higher the
issue content in the media agenda, the higher the issue
content in the debate. This was generally supported by the
data in the sample. Issue coverage of the media before the
debates corresponded to the issues discussed in the debates
themselves.
A matrix was developed in order to correlate variables
from two different data bases (television coverage and debate
content). In this matrix the original data were “compressed”
in only eight categories to correlate. Seconds spent either
covering or talking about issues (on television and debates)
were counted for each issue. Once the total time on television
coverage and debates was determined, issues were considered as
cases to correlate the two data bases (debate and television


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