Al Jazeera Arabic and Al Jazeera English websites: Agenda-setting as a means to comparatively analyze online news stories
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This study seeks to investigate similarities or differences in the content of news stories published on Al Jazeera Arabic (AJA) and Al Jazeera English (AJE) websites. Guided by agenda-setting theory 2,400 online news stories were analyzed. Findings indicate that on fewer than 8% of the time do AJA and AJE display the same news story on their websites. Since Al Jazeera’s target audience differs depending on the language, the study argues that AJA and AJE set the agenda for two sets of news consumers. This is fairly significant as Al Jazeera seeks to play a greater role in news dissemination to a global audience. Al Jazeera deliberately seeks to highlight a certain news item, such as the almost daily coverage of the crisis between Qatar and four other Arab countries in the summer of 2017, thereby actively engaging in agenda-setting. Findings also indicate that AJA publishes more news stories pertaining to the Arab world than AJE. AJA’s coverage of the African and South American continents is relatively low compared to the Arab region, thereby directing audience’s attention to events and issues closer to Al Jazeera’s home base of Qatar. The study also argues that news consumers play a significant role in determining the news items displayed by news outlets.