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Agenda Setting Effects on Online Users: The analysis of the World Cup coverage and online discussions
Unformatted Document Text:  Z Introduction Agenda setting studies have traditionally examined the relationship between media coverage of issues and the public opinion of the issues. In order to measure public opinion, researchers conducted surveys, adopted existing poll data, or analyzed official documents such as the Congressional Record. Whatever method they relied on, the focus was put on reading the public opinion. As Internet online users have increased dramatically (149 million or 53.6% of the population in U.S.), the application of theories to online users has become noticeably important (Computer Industry Almanac, 2002). In this sense, agenda setting theory also needs to be examined in contexts of online users other than general public, but not many researchers have paid attention in online agenda setting studies. Roberts, Wanta, and Dzwo’s study (2002) is the seminal work that examined agenda setting effect on American Online users. Bichard (2002) found agenda setting effect on online users by analyzing Google newsgroups. These attempts, despite valuable findings, did not consider the causal direction of agenda transmission between media and online users. As a growing number of people participate in online discussions, it is possible that journalists may watch what online users discuss before making news decisions. Therefore, reverse agenda setting – public influencing media – may occur between online media and online users. This study examines agenda setting effects and reverse agenda setting effects on online users. For this study, researchers adopted the 32 teams in 2002 World Cup soccer games as the issues of concern. The World Cup offers an intriguing opportunity for online agenda setting studies for several reasons. First, online users under analysis

Authors: Lee, Jong Hyuk. and Choi, Yun Jung.
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Z
Introduction
Agenda setting studies have traditionally examined the relationship between
media coverage of issues and the public opinion of the issues. In order to measure
public opinion, researchers conducted surveys, adopted existing poll data, or analyzed
official documents such as the Congressional Record. Whatever method they relied on,
the focus was put on reading the public opinion.
As Internet online users have increased dramatically (149 million or 53.6% of the
population in U.S.), the application of theories to online users has become noticeably
important (Computer Industry Almanac, 2002). In this sense, agenda setting theory also
needs to be examined in contexts of online users other than general public, but not many
researchers have paid attention in online agenda setting studies. Roberts, Wanta, and
Dzwo’s study (2002) is the seminal work that examined agenda setting effect on
American Online users. Bichard (2002) found agenda setting effect on online users by
analyzing Google newsgroups. These attempts, despite valuable findings, did not
consider the causal direction of agenda transmission between media and online users.
As a growing number of people participate in online discussions, it is possible that
journalists may watch what online users discuss before making news decisions.
Therefore, reverse agenda setting – public influencing media – may occur between
online media and online users.
This study examines agenda setting effects and reverse agenda setting effects on
online users. For this study, researchers adopted the 32 teams in 2002 World Cup soccer
games as the issues of concern. The World Cup offers an intriguing opportunity for
online agenda setting studies for several reasons. First, online users under analysis


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