Agenda-setting Theory is a theory that is alive and well in modern day public relations, just about any modern-day PR practitioner would be hard-pressed not to agree that agenda setting is a risk –and if approached properly, in my opinion, an asset.
During the formation of the theory, Max McCombs and Don Shaw argued that media content sets the agenda for public discussion. As the theory has matured and others have added to it, it has become clear that the media through either sheer coverage, second- level agenda- setting effects –such as the airing of opinions of opinion-leaders, or by conveying sentiments related to a story or set of stories.
An emphasis that I like to make when discussing this theory is the opportunity is may present to a practitioner. While one can not get ahead of a story all the time, a skilled and informed practitioner can curve ahead of a message and formulate a message that is shaped in a way that may fall into the fold of the news cycle in a positive light.