The Agenda Setting Journal | Theory, Practice, Critique

Agenda-setting theory, the most popular theory in mass communication, has expanded to other areas beyond communication including business, history, finance, politics and sports. Dr. Maxwell McCombs (The University of Texas at Austin) and his research partner, Dr. Donald Shaw (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), introduced the theory in 1972. The original article has been cited in more than 6,000 studies. Originally, McCombs and Shaw’s term “agenda setting” showed a correspondence between the order of importance given in the media to issues and the order of significance attached to the same issues by the public and politicians.

While the essence of the definition remains the same, the idea has exploded into an internationally-recognized, maturing and expanding theory. A research tradition focused on the interface of the mass media agenda and the public agenda has been used by scholars/academics, industry professionals and think tanks globally to explain political, economic, historical, social, sociological, psychological, sports-centric, health-related, medicinal, business-oriented, technological and more concepts.

The Agenda Setting Journal: Theory, Practice, Critique focuses on the theoretical developments that continue in agenda setting and how the theory is applied to areas outside of mass communication. The journal also represents the growth and maturity of the communication field as it is also the first and only to-date theory-based journal in the communication discipline.

The Agenda Setting Journal publishes its articles Online First.

ISSN 2452-0063 | E-ISSN 2452-0071
Sample issue: ASJ 1:1
Chris J. Vargo | University of Colorado Boulder, USA | christopher.vargo at
Associate Editor
Annelise Russell | University of Kentucky, USA
Editorial Board
Lindita Camaj | The University of Houston, USA
Salma I. Ghanem | DePaul University, USA
Lei Guo | Boston University, USA
Tom Johnson | The University of Texas at Austin, USA
Maxwell E. McCombs | The University of Texas at Austin, USA
Sharon Meraz | University of Illinois at Chicago, USA
Tania Rosas-Moreno | Loyola University Maryland, USA
Donald L. Shaw | The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
David Weaver | Indiana University Bloomington, USA
Subscription Info
Current issue: 5:1, available as of March 2021

General information about our electronic journals.

Subscription rates

All prices for print + online include postage/handling.

Online-only Print + online
Volume 5 (2021): 2 issues; ca. 200 pp. EUR 158.00 EUR 173.00

Individuals may apply for a special subscription rate of EUR 60.00 (online‑only: EUR 55.00)
Private subscriptions are for personal use only, and must be pre-paid and ordered directly from the publisher.

Available back-volumes

Online-only Print + online
Complete backset
(Vols. 1‒4; 2017‒2020)
8 issues;
800 pp.
EUR 609.00 EUR 668.00
Volume 4 (2020) 2 issues; 200 pp. EUR 158.00 EUR 173.00
Volume 3 (2019) 2 issues; 200 pp. EUR 155.00 EUR 170.00
Volume 2 (2018) 2 issues; 200 pp. EUR 150.00 EUR 165.00
Volume 1 (2017) 2 issues; 200 pp. EUR 146.00 EUR 160.00
IssuesOnline-first articles

Volume 5 (2021)

Volume 4 (2020)

Volume 3 (2019)

Volume 2 (2018)

Volume 1 (2017)

Latest articles

20 January 2022

  • Agendamelding : How Americans Meld Agendas
    Milad Minooie
  • 21 December 2021

  • A world of two agendas : Agenda setting sampling
    Milad Minooie
  • 21 September 2021

  • “If you follow me, I might (mis)lead you” : Following prime ministerial candidates on social networks as a predictor of the public agenda during an election campaign
    Yaron Ariel , Vered Elishar Malka , Dana Weimann Saks Ruth Avidar
  • 14 September 2021

  • What’s in a name? Policy and Media agenda setting
    Annelise Russell Rebecca Eissler
  • 15 June 2021

  • Agenda selfying and agendamelding : Advancing the salience of the self
    Philemon Bantimaroudis
  • 3 March 2021

  • Agenda-setting in a social media age : Exploring new methodological approaches
    Carolina Carazo-Barrantes | ASJ 5:1 (2021) pp. 31–55
  • 2 March 2021

  • The pictures in our heads of certain diseases
    Erkan Yüksel Ali Emre Dingin | ASJ 5:1 (2021) p. 8
  • 18 January 2021

  • Mapping the intermedia agenda setting (IAS) literature : Current trajectories and future directions
    Yan Su Xizhu Xiao | ASJ 5:1 (2021) pp. 56–83
  • 15 January 2021

  • Media vs. candidates and minorities vs. majorities : Who sets the public’s agenda in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary?
    Briana Trifiro Yiyan Zhang | ASJ 5:1 (2021) p. 84
  • 2 September 2020

  • What to think about : The applicability of agenda-settings in a social media context
    Holly Cowart | ASJ 4:2 (2020) pp. 195–218
  • Deepening the concept of  ‘compelling arguments’ : Linking substantive and affective dimensions of attributes in assessing the effects of climate change news on public opinion
    Hong Tien Vu , Maxwell McCombs , Annelise Russell Paromita Pain | ASJ 4:2 (2020) pp. 219–240
  • When politics intervene in non-political news flow : Trans-regional intermedia agenda-setting between Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan on online air pollution news
    Yiyan Zhang | ASJ 4:2 (2020) pp. 173–194
  • Note from the editor : Online conference
    Chris J. Vargo | ASJ 4:2 (2020) pp. 171–172
  • Guidelines

    (‘Instructions to Authors’)


    Articles should be in English. English spelling and style should be consistently either British or American throughout. If you are not a native user of English, you should have the paper checked by an English language professional.

    When submitting your article, please observe the following:

    Make sure that you submit the final, clean version of the manuscript, together with all accompanying files (figures etc., if submitted separately).
    In addition, provide a list containing all contributors’ full names (first and last), affiliations, and addresses (both postal and e-mail). Telephone and fax numbers are optional.
    Contributions should be maximally 8,000 words in length (including references, an abstract of 100-150 words, and 6-8 keywords).

    In principle The Agenda Setting Journal observes text conventions outlined in the latest edition of the Publication Manual of the APA (hereafter APA). For all editorial problems not specifically addressed below, please refer to APA (see

    Electronic files


    Please take care that you supply all the files, text as well as graphic files, used in the creation of the manuscripts. Also, make sure that you have deleted any previous versions of the manuscript as well any personal comments, corrections, tracks, etc., and check that all files are readable.

    The Agenda Setting Journal offers online submission, please consult these guidelines and the Short Guide to EM for Authors. For editorial correspondence, please contact the editors via e-mail: christopher.vargo at

    File naming conventions:

    When naming your files please use the following conventions: Use the first three characters of the first author’s last name, followed by the proper three character file extension. For example, if that name is Johnson, the respective document file should be named JOH.DOC. Do not use the three character extension except for identifying the file type, as provided by the system (e.g. JOH.DOC is OK, but not JOH.ART, JOH.REV; instead use JOHART.DOC, JOHR1.DOC, etc.). Figures, tables etc. should be named using the appropriate standard extensions, e.g. JOH1.EPS, JOH2.TIF, JOH3.XLS, etc.


    MS Word (PC or Mac) is our preferred submission format; for other formats, please contact our production department (our typesetters can convert most formats). If, for some reason, a different format is required than the one supplied, we will contact you.

    Graphic files:

    Please supply figures as converted to Encapsulated Postscript (EPS) or Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) in addition to the original creation files. (Note that the typesetters cannot make corrections or changes in figures that are supplied as graphics).


    Please use ample margins and 1.5 line spacing.
    Do not use running heads and avoid full justification and ‘stiff’ hyphenation. Examples, quotations, tables, headings etc. should be presented in a clear and consistent way, so that they can be identified and formatted in the style of our journal. References should be given in accordance with our style sheet (‘Instructions to Authors’); font enhancements (such as italics, bold face, caps, small caps, etc.) may be applied directly in the text itself.
    Whatever formatting or style conventions are employed, please be consistent.

    Tables and figures:

    All tables, figures, and trees must fit within the page size as specified below:
    4.5” x 7.5” (≈ 11,5 cm x 19 cm)
    Please be aware that prior to typesetting, the pages will have to be reduced in size; any lettering etc. should be big enough to be legible also after reduction. Suggested font setting for main text: Times (New) Roman 12 pts. For tables and footnotes: Times Roman 10 pts (absolute lowest size: 8 pts).

    Tables and figures should be numbered consecutively and provided with appropriate captions. They should be referred to in the main text as “Table 2”, “Figure 3”, etc. (avoid expressions such as “in the following table: ...” or “See the figure below.”).

    Please indicate the preferred positioning of tables and figures in the text in this way:




    Running heads:

    It is not necessary to provide running heads. For articles with long titles (which in general should be avoided), a shortened version (max. 55 characters), to be used as running head, may be provided on the cover sheet of your contribution.

    Emphasis and foreign words:

    Use italics for words in languages other than English as well as for emphasis.
    Boldface should be used only for highlighting words within italicized stretches and for headings.
    Please refrain from the use of FULL CAPS (except for focal stress and abbreviations). Using SMALL CAPS is sometimes a viable option.
    Do not use underlining except when conventionally required in your field of research. (It is OK to use underlining for highlighting within examples as an alternative to boldface).
    For conventionally used terms or expressions (e.g., ‘context of situation’), please use single quotes; these may also be used as ‘scare quotes’ to focus attention on a particular word or expression. For glosses and directly quoted forms and expressions, always use double quotes.

    Sections and headings:

    Articles should be conveniently divided into sections and, if necessary, subsections. If you do not use electronic styling, please mark section headings as follows:

    Level 1 = bold italics, one line space before, section number flush left. Text starts immediately below.
    Level 2 = italics, one line space before, section number flush left. Text starts immediately below.
    Level 3ff = italics, one line space before, section number flush left. Headings end with a full stop, with the text following on the same line.

    Numbering should be in Arabic numerals (no Roman numbers for footnotes either!). Do not use italics for numbering; use full stops between numbers and after the last number, thus:

    Section 1. ...
    Section 2.3.1. ....


    In-text quotations should be given in double quotation marks.
    Quotations longer than three lines should be indented left and right, without quotation marks, followed by the appropriate reference to the source on a separate line (left adjusted). Such long quotations should be set off from the main text by a line of space above and below.


    Should not be indented. If numbered, please number as follows:
    1. .....................
    (or a. .......................)
    2. .....................
    (or b. .......................)
    Lists that run on with the main text may be numbered using parentheses:
    (1).............., (2)............., etc.

    Examples and glosses:

    Examples should be numbered with Arabic numerals in parentheses, thus: (1) ...; (2) ...; etc..
    Examples in languages other than English should be in italics; an approximate translation should be provided. Between the original and the translation lines, a line with glosses (and in cases of more ‘exotic’ languages, a line containing a morphemic breakdown) may be added. Such interlinear information is given without punctuation or highlighting. For the abbreviations in the interlinear gloss, CAPS may be used; these will be converted to small caps by our typesetters in the final formatting.
    For glossing (where applicable), use the Leipzig Glossing Rules ( Use small caps, not full caps for category labels:, not green~ATT-M.PL.


    Notes should be kept to a minimum. Note indicators in the text should appear at the end of sentences or phrases, and follow the respective punctuation marks.

    Funding information:

    Funding information should be provided if funding was received through a grant for the research that is discussed in the article, including funder name and grant number, in a separate section called "Funding information" before (an Acknowledgment section and) the References.


    Acknowledgments (other than funding information, see above) should be added in a separate, unnumbered section entitled "Acknowledgments", placed before the References.


    The Agenda Setting Journal uses the author-date referencing style for in-text citations. Examples: Setton and Guo (2009) show...; as found in Roy (2000a, 2000b); in several publications (e.g. Morris 2008; Roberts 1997; Wadensjö et al. 2007). When indicating page numbers, a colon followed by a space separates the year from the page number(s). Examples: (Gile 2009: 5; Roy 2000a: 15-16; Setton & Guo 2009: 212).

    The REFERENCES section should list all (and only) references cited in the main text. References should be listed first alphabetically and then chronologically. It is essentialthat the references be formatted to the specifications given in these guidelines.


    Book (Monograph)

    Shanahan, J., & Morgan, M. (1999). Television and its viewers: Cultivation theory and research. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

    Edited volume

    Bryant, J. & Zillman D. (Eds.) (2000). Media effects: Advances in theory and research.  Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Article in book

    Bandura, A. (2002). Social cognitive theory of mass communication. In J. Bryant & D. Zillman (Eds.), Media effects: Advances in theory and research. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 121-153.

    Article in journal

    Boczhowski, P. J. (2009). Rethinking hard and soft news production: From common ground to divergent paths. Journal of Communication, 59, 98-116.

    Unpublished thesis

    Lee, N. Y. (2013). Effects of two different motivations on agenda-setting: NFO, motivated reasoning, and the second level of agenda setting. PhD dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin.

    Electronic source

    Rosenthal, A. (2014). Announcing NYT Opinion. The New York Times June 4,2012. (accessed 28 March 2016).

    For other cases (and for further guidelines), please consult APA (see


    Why submit to The Agenda Setting Journal?

    Authors are invited to submit their contribution through the journal’s online submission and manuscript tracking site. Please consult the guidelines and the Short Guide to EM for Authors before you submit your paper.

    If you are not able to submit online, or for any other editorial correspondence, please contact the editor by e-mail: christopher.vargo at


    Communication Studies

    Communication Studies

    Main BIC Subject

    CFG: Semantics, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis

    Main BISAC Subject

    LAN004000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies