Title page for ETD etd-04212006-115449

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Dunn, Scott Wilson
URN etd-04212006-115449
Title Candidate and Media Agenda Setting in the 2005 Virginia Gubernatorial Election
Degree Master of Arts
Department Communication Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Tedesco, John C. Committee Chair
Denton, Robert E. Jr. Committee Member
Williams, Andrew Paul Committee Member
  • Newspapers
  • Virginia State Politics
  • Agenda Setting
  • Gubernatorial Campaign
  • Content Analysis
  • Media
Date of Defense 2006-04-14
Availability unrestricted
This study content analyzed candidate press releases and newspaper articles from the 2005 Virginia gubernatorial election in order to determine which issues, strategies, and audiences were most salient on candidate and media agendas during the campaign. Monthly cross-lagged correlations were used to measure agenda setting effects between the two major party candidates, among the four newspapers, and between candidates and newspapers. These correlations showed that the candidates maintained consistent issue agendas throughout the campaign but shifted their strategy and audience agendas frequently, while the newspapers generally maintained consistency for all three types of agenda. Many of the cross-lagged correlations indicated that the candidates shared reciprocal influence with the newspapers, but in some cases the candidates set the newspapers’ issue agendas, while the newspapers set the candidates’ audience agendas. The two candidates showed reciprocal influence between their agendas throughout much of the campaign, but Republican Jerry Kilgore set Democrat Tim Kaine’s agenda during some months early in the campaign. The four newspapers studied showed a clear path of influence on issue agendas, with the Richmond Times-Dispatch influencing The Washington Post, which in turn influenced The Roanoke Times, followed by The Virginian-Pilot. Influence between the newspapers’ audience and strategy agendas was mostly reciprocal.
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