Author(s)

Joy HuertasFollow

Date

7-2016

Department

Communication Studies

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Chair

Carey Martin

Keywords

Agenda Setting, CNN News, Presidential Elections, Social Media, Twitter

Disciplines

Communication Technology and New Media | Mass Communication | Organizational Communication | Social Influence and Political Communication | Social Media

Abstract

Governmental fall downs, electoral outcomes, terrorism propaganda, and climate change awareness are just some of the commonly known results of the effects of news media coverage on the public opinion and society as a whole. For years, researchers have utilized the agenda setting theory as a basis for their studies on the effects of the news media coverage on the public opinion in countless of contexts. The purpose of this study was to analyze the agenda setting effects of a major broadcast news organization but from one of their most influential social media channels, Twitter. CNN’s daily Twitter mentions of the 2016 presidential candidates during three Super Tuesday primaries were analyzed in order to identify functions of agenda setting. In addition, the data was compared to the electoral results, specifically the number of delegates each candidate won during the Super Tuesday primaries. Although the results show a clear first level agenda setting function of CNN's Twitter, they did not show concrete evidence that CNN’s twitter mentions of candidates are directly related to the number of delegates they earned.