Professor Stoycheff on Setting a Non-Agenda


I recently sat down with Wayne State University Professor, Elizabeth Stoycheff, Ph.D.

Professor Stoycheff teaches journalistic reporting and new media in courses like News Reporting, Journalistic Grammar and Style, and other courses for undergraduate students.

I interviewed Professor Stoycheff on one of her recent research projects.

Professor Stoycheff’s research “focuses on the role of new media in shaping international public opinion about democracy, media censorship, and press freedom.”

The research project that we spoke about is titled, “Setting a Non-Agenda.” It deals with the theory of how the media is thought to set the agenda of what the public thinks about, especially important issues; the agenda setting theory. This research project focuses on the non-important issues, like celebrity news, that the media focuses on and how it impacts society.

The study was conducted across three universities, which makes the study sounder because it gets a larger range of participants. The three universities are Louisiana State University, Ohio State University, and Wayne State University. The study was conducted all online, and here at Wayne State University they utilized the student participation system, SONA.

The project is currently under the peer review process. They have conducted all their research and gathered all their data, and submitted it for consideration in the leading journal in the field of communication. The project been accepted to the International Communication Association Conference where Elizabeth Stoycheff, Ph.D will be presenting this project in May in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

There is nothing currently published and won’t be published in full in the conference proceeding, but she says that anyone interested can email her at and she will be “happy to provide . . .contacts and copy of the manuscript.”


4 thoughts on “Professor Stoycheff on Setting a Non-Agenda

  1. This study sounds really interesting. The idea of applying such a huge theory, the Agenda Setting Theory, to the smaller concept of non-important issues is not something I would have considered previously. I would have liked to have been able to read a little bit more of information about the actual study (what it was measuring, the methods used, its main concept, and results). Although, the video clips did end up containing a great deal of information surrounding the main points of the study.

    It seems like we normally see this theory being utilizing with big news, such as Presidential elections and the public’s opinions surrounding major conflicts/world issues. However, studies conducted by other researchers seem to be in agreement with Professor Stoycheff.

    A blog post covering these ideas explains some new definitions of a more modern form of agenda setting using Whitney Houston’s death as an example. On the eve of her passing the Grammy’s were held, however Mitt Romney also won Maine GOP caucuses that day. The heavy media coverage of Houston’s death heavily over shadowed that of Romney’s win. The blogger even points out the imbalance in social media coverage between the two news stories.In their research article about agenda setting, Rogers and Dearing wrote, “What is an agenda? It is a list of issues and events that are viewed at a point in time as ranked in a hierarchy of importance.”

    I would be interested to review the results of Professor Stoycheff’s study, considering news corporations have to provide coverage on what the public wants to see, which seems to be more pop culture and celebrity news instead of world news.


  2. Cecil,

    I remember taking a class and agenda setting theory was one of the weeks discussions and how it is becoming such a big part of mainstream journalism. I like how Dr. Stoycheff expanded her research on this specific theory and it should be interesting to see those results. Based on my understanding, her focus was on gaining an sense of the role irrelevant news plays in society, such as sporting news and celebrity news, and if I was to state my theory I think it is very obvious, the tabloids and irrelevant news like sports, celebrities, or anything that does not have to do with hard news should not be exploited as much as it is because lets be honest no matter how slow a day it was, a celebrity having a baby should not be the front cover of any real news source. These specific topics have their own place in media and they are always second to real hard news, that’s what’s happening now, not only domestically but internationally as well. I would have liked to get a different question in the second clip only because you wrote what she said for the most part so asking her something like, “what her perception of the theory is and how its overall impact affects society” that way we at least get in to the mind of someone who ran all these surveys and studies and knows some what, what the public is thinking. If you look at this agenda-setting theory article, it goes deep in to how specific news stories were covered and what they truly wanted to be perceived as.

    Article Link:


  3. Very interesting post. People over time have believed that the media have been setting an agenda on certain things, I didn’t know that there are studies about it. You have a good title on your post. It is short and it gets directly to the point, and I like the color that you chose for the font. Your link is good I like how it is in the middle of your paragraph and is not an distraction from the reading. Your videos are strong and clear, with very good sound. The only problem that I have with the videos is the lack of head room. I noticed that her head is slightly cut off while you were filming her, but other than that it was a very good post. Very strong writing, and you provided her email which is another good thing. There’s an article that I found on the Internet tilted, “Agenda Setting Research” by the International Agenda Setting Conference, provided charts and models on exactly what your post is about. (Link provided below) Very good work.


  4. Well, as it relates to the Media setting agendas …this is basically framing peoples views and opinions. I would love to hear even understand this research further. What I will say from my own knowledge is the media often pretty much always sets the stage for the world. The Media tells us who to love, what is right and wrong, the Media even challenges our own personal beliefs sacred or other. I find that this research is an eye-opening report on the fact that the Media is and has been the voice of reason, that voice inside of my head.


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