Agenda-Setting Theory Essay



  • Evidence of sexism in various practices worldwide.
  • Underrepresentation of women in education, employment, and leadership in some countries.
  • Explanation of the agenda-setting theory.

Thesis statement: While Amazon and Apple released different reports indicating their efforts to minimize gender disparities in their work settings, the efforts can be classified as public relations exercises aimed at shaping people’s opinions through techniques explained in the agenda-setting theory.

Part 1: Agenda Setting Theory

  1. The meaning of agenda-setting theory
  2. Types of agenda-setting: Public agenda setting -> Discussions in the public domain determine important issues. Media agenda-setting -> Media reports influence stories that are considered crucial. -> Policy agenda-setting- Media and public discussions determine policymakers’ choices.
  3. Core assumptions of the agenda-setting theory: The media shapes people’s perception of social issues instead of informing the audience. The media often emphasizes sensational topics while ignoring current topics (Alvernia University, 2020). As media attention to particular issues intensifies, more people consider the topics as more important than other subjects that the media overlooks.
  4. The psychological aspect of the agenda-setting theory.

People often remember stories publicized in mass media even if they do not affect their lives significantly.

Part 2: Case Analysis
Background information
Case Study 1
Apple released a report indicating that its female employees earned higher wages than men for some roles.
The report was published in response to the U.S. government’s directive that firms with over 250 workers should publicly indicate wage variations between men and women (Griffin, 2018).
Apple reported that its median difference between men’s and women’s salaries was 2% in favor of the latter.
However, the average pay for men in the company was 5% higher than that of women (Griffin, 2018).
Apple also stated its commitment to increasing the number of female employees to diversify its workforce.

Case Study 2
In March 2019, Amazon launched the Amazon Amplify program involving a series of measures for increasing the number of women in its innovation and technology jobs in the United Kingdom (, Inc., 2019).
As a result of the program, Amazon focused on recruiting and retaining more women and encouraging them to pursue career in technology and innovation.
The company also stated its commitment to industry plans for increasing women’s representation in technical fields.

B. Analysis
Case Study 1
Apple focused on highlighting changes it implemented to demonstrate its dedication to alleviating gender disparities.
Based on the agenda-setting theory, stories shared in the media influence people’s perception of important topics.
Apple’s tactics can be classified as effective public relations efforts.
By indicating that women earned higher wages than men for some roles, the company sought to divert people’s attention from other important issues, such as the low number of female workers.

Case Study 2
Amazon’s strategy is related to the agenda-setting theory.
The company describes the Amazon Amplify program as an effective initiative for alleviating gender disparities in its technical sectors in the United Kingdom.
The same way the media promotes certain stories to shape audiences’ perceptions, Amazon’s strategy is a public relations exercise for increasing people’s attention to the Amazon Amplify program while overlooking gender issues in its offices in other countries.

Criticism of the agenda-setting theory using the priming theory.
The framing theory’s analysis of the importance of methods of presenting ideas.
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Alvernia University. (2020). The agenda-setting theory in mass communication. Retrieved from, Inc. (2019). Diversity at Amazon. Retrieved from
Griffin, A. (2018, April 3). Apple reveals gender pay gap figures showing it pays women more on some measures. The Independent. Retrieved from