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Agenda Setting Newspaper Analysis

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The history of the agenda setting roles was first highlighted by several events analyzers who realized that people rely on the media to make decisions regarding politics. The first agenda setting theory is created by Maxwell Mc Combs and Donald Shaw in 1972. The theory explains the relationship between the rate at which the media cover a story and the degree the people think that the story is valuable this bond is taking place repeatedly. Agenda setting occur mostly because the media choose what they want to air. News outlets act as security of information and make decisions on what to present and what to leave out (international agenda setting conference).

Scientific characteristics portrayed in the- agenda setting theory have five processes; explanation of data, prediction of the future events, the relative simplicity to testing, is the hypothesis testable and finally the practical utility. The theory has done a recommendable job in explaining the behavior of the people. It assists to help, analyze age, gender, race and class of people. Agenda setting has a vital role of predicting what will happen in the future. The theory tries to explain the behavior of the public in response to the media. According to the theory the hypothesized agenda-setting role of media is accountable for the closely perfect relationship amid media and the public issues.

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They use a concept known as back-to-the-basics approach to media which leads to a prediction. A cause-effect relationship between the public and the media is evident. In short, the media can predict how the public will react to a certain issue from on the way they have reacted on other issues on different occasions (glasser & salmon)I have chosen the New York Times in the New York region sector where Nadia Sussman has published an article on April 25, 2011 called ‘After School in Brooklyn, West African Girls Share Memories of a Painful Ritual’. According to the agenda theory there are five steps.  The first one being explanation of data.

In this article Nadia clearly writes the information from the very start and organizes it in a chronological manner. She starts by telling us how four girls born in West African countries gather in class and one eight year old decides to share her story. In the tale she explains how one of her neighbors’ back at home, tricks her into going to hospital. There she is tied down to the bed and they mutilate her genitals. She becomes sick to appoint that she comes close to death but, luckily she escapes death by a whisker. After recovering the family holds a party in her honor.

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Now in high school in sophomore and belongs to a group of West African girls who have undergone mutilation. Another nineteen year old lady tells how she underwent forced mutilation before she moved to United States. She also tells how her parents planned for her six year old to be cut when she visited them over the holidays. According to their cultures mutilation is also referred to as circumcision and a sign of purity. So, the reader is given all the information for clear understanding.

The next step in the agenda setting theory is prediction of the future events. In the article we are told there is a an organization called Sauti Yetu Center for African Women and Families which works towards eradicating the act of female genital mutilation. Their main focus will be the women in the United States who have undergone the cut. They will be looking at their bodily and emotional needs. 

Relative simplicity of the story is the third step. In this stage one should look at the story and go through it carefully then, analyze it. Is the story understandable, captivating, and well planned and cover all aspects of the article? The article should be understandable in that, when someone one reads he or she should be able to get the story without ease. For the story to be understood, it has to be written in an orderly manner or even in a chronological manner basing it on how the events took place.

The article should be captivating this can be achieved by use of pictures and clips. The article has covered the major concerning the theory like the reason why the Africans practiced genital mutilation of girls and others like what is currently happening concerning the practice. More and more people each and every day are standing firm against the act, to an extent that it has been banned and even become crime in many countries.

Hypothesis is tested by looking at the statement and analyzing it whether there are questions that one can ask themselves when they take a glance at the statement,’ After School in Brooklyn, West African Girls Share Memories of a Painful Ritual’. Many questions can be generated from this statement like: which memories? Which rituals? Why West African girls?

The last step is practical utility where the article says that in some countries female genital mutilation was banned in 1996 in the United States and it is a crime to mutilate a person by using force. There is a bill that is trying to be passed in parliament where the women are not supposed to travel out of the country to undergo female genital mutilation.

The media knows that female genital mutilation is a critical issue and it has many opponents. The act has been banned in the United States. The impacts of mutilation are detrimental to the health of women on short term and long term basis. Therefore the media knows that the public will be interested in reading this article because for one this is not the first time the issue of mutilation has been discussed.

The agenda of this article is the immorality of the act of genital mutilation. In mutilating woman is a woman there are some things that happen to her of which there is nothing positive. First, the pride and dignity of a woman is taken. All the women interviewed wanted their identities to be hidden. That is prove that they are not proud of what happened to them. Some of the physical effects of female genital mutilation are prolonged bleeding, painful menstruation, and complications during birth.

The public set the agenda of the newspaper because the articles that are published in the paper are the issues done by the people. Therefore without the people there would be no newspapers because they will be having nothing to write. The media publishes articles that will captivate the public. The owner of the New York Times is The New York Times Company.

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