Barbara Pfetsch, from Freie University in Berlin, opened the parallel session called ‘Agenda setting and agenda building: New perspectives’.
She talked about the role of mass media in the online experience and explained that communication networks on the internet offer an essential opportunity for political outsiders “to gain salience in public debate”. Media agenda is usually influenced by 'political actors'. Scandals are always considered "hot topics" and and nobody wants to lose them, as well, important political debates or election days are also relevant topics. Her study involved the US and Germany and showed that in the first country the traditional media “remains the most important” way to communicate each other. On the other hand, in Germany the internet and blogs are the most used media.
Raymond Harder, from University of Antwerp, was the second speaker to talk about the media agenda. “Is twitter setting the agenda?” he asked, and then he answered “yes! Journalists use Twitter to identify current hot topics or the last news”, he explained. In his study, Raymond looks at shifting practices in political news coverage. He collected data to compare tradition media like television, newspapers, radio or news magazines, to digital and social media, like news websites and twitter. During his research, he identified 1896 news items and only 393 were news stories. On twitter most 1505 were jokes and criticism. As he mentioned, twitter is the social network that can anticipate the events and news that later become great stories. Raymond argued that the tweets can also be news and finished with some open questions: How mass media deals with information that is disseminated via twitter? In other words, Can journalists trust in the news that appear on this social network? “We never know it”, he finished.