The European Union – From Agenda Setting and Media Frames to Citizens’ Conversations
Agenda setting and framing have been shown to affect public opinion on a variety of topics through accessibility and interpretation schemas. Since most of the citizens lack a direct experience in European matters, media might be a key dimension in determining how citizens approach issues related to the European Union. Therefore, this study examines the effects of agenda setting and framing of European subjects on citizens’ interest and interpersonal conversations agenda. The research is based on a comparative analysis between two corpus of articles published between 1-31 March, 2013 and 25 April-25 May, 2014 on the two main online news portals in Romania (ziare.com and hotnews.ro), and 39 in-depth interviews. The findings show that citizens rely on national media for information about the EU; thus, through agenda setting and framing effects, media provide a solid base for debate as well as interpersonal discussion parameters. However, citizens’ concern about EU topics is relatively low and their involvement is driven by a national or personal relevance of the topic.
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