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The conditions under which people accept or reject a message when they are aware of a range of alternatives are fundamental to this process, and are discussed in depth.We then discuss the ways in which such attitudinal shifts facilitate changes at the level of policy.Finally, we discuss the implications for communications and policy and how both the traditional and new media might help in the development of better informed public debate. Handling Editor: Andrew Livingstone, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom *Corresponding author at: Glasgow University Media Group, Adam Smith Building, Bute Gardens, Glasgow G12 8RT, United Kingdom. [email protected] This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
We look at this both at the governmental level, in terms of change through policy action, and at the level of the individual, through commitments to behavioural change.
Through discussions of findings from a range of empirical studies, we illustrate the ways in which the media shape public debate and input into changes in the pattern of beliefs.
Drawing on findings from a range of empirical studies, we look at the impact of media coverage in areas such as disability, climate change and economic development.
Findings across these areas show the way in which the media shape public debate in terms of setting agendas and focusing public interest on particular subjects.
The story is organised around this way of understanding migration, and the different elements of the story such as interviewees, the information quoted, the selection of images and editorial comment, all work to elaborate and legitimise it as a key theme.
In past research we have shown, using this method, that news accounts can and do operate to establish specific ways of understanding (Briant, Philo, & Watson, 2011; Philo, 1996; Philo & Berry, 2004, 2011).
Our method begins by setting out the range of available arguments in public discourse on a specific subject.
We then analyse the news texts to establish which of these appear and how they do so in the flow of news programming and press coverage.
But they are key to the setting of agendas and focusing public interest on particular subjects, which operates to limit the range of arguments and perspectives that inform public debate.
Drawing on a multi-dimensional model of the communications process, this article examines the role of the media in the construction of public belief and attitudes and its relationship to social change.