Who sets the agenda

A post on Salvi.com gave me pause for thought.  The gist of the post was the relative reaction time of the print and online mediums. Online breaks the news and it takes a day for print to catch up.

He uses Charles Taylor as an example.

Today, the newspapers have dutifully mentioned that a probable war criminal is missing: “Liberia’s former leader vanishes days before extradition,” alerts the Guardian. And then I flip to the BBC site, once again. “Charles Taylor caught in Nigeria.”

This made me think less about the speed aspect but more about the agenda setting.  How much does the hysteresis of the print process mean that faster mediums will define the news agenda. 

Does it appear in the papers because it’s newsworthy or because it appeared online first?

Editorially the Taylor story is a no brainer; of course it’s going to go up. But it made me think that there may still be an issue in the power of a single medium (and evangelical though I am about it not that reliable a medium) to set the agenda. 

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