Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Framing and Media

Framing is defined as “the action, method, or process, of constructing making or shaping anything whether material or immaterial”.
 Framing comes from the word frame, which has many definitions. The most pertinent one, in this case, is “to share, one’s thoughts, actions, powers, etc. to a certain purpose” (Frame, 1989, p. 142). 
Framing: refers to how messages are encoded with meaning so that they can be efficiently interpreted in relationship to existing beliefs or ideas. 

Framing and the agenda setting

The media was viewed as having the ability to directly persuade and influence audiences . The audience was viewed as passive, simply allowing the media to inject it with ideas.  Research began with McCombs and Shaw’s  found that if news media paid attention to certain issues then viewers rated those issues as more. This was referred to as agenda-setting. Agenda setting refers to the idea that there is a strong correlation between the emphasis that mass media place on certain issues (e.g., based on relative placement or amount of coverage) and the importance attributed to these issues by mass audiences 

 Framing is often associated with agenda-setting research. Agenda-setting is primarily concerned with the media telling people which stories to think about.   However, framing is  cleared that the news media not only tells people what to think about but also how to think about.   It is based on the assumption that how an issue is characterized in news reports can have an influence on how it is understood by audiences. Framing is often traced back to roots in both psychology and sociology .Framing therefore is both a macrolevel and a microlevel construct (Scheufele, 1999). As a macroconstruct, the term ‘‘framing’’ refers to modes of presentation that journalists and other communicators use to present information in a way that resonates with existing underlying schemas among their audience.Framing an issue in terms of financial risks versus social consequences, for example, has little to do with differences in the mode of presentation.

Views of Framing
Framing can be looked at in two main ways- frame-building and frame-setting .
The term frame-building refers to “the factors that influence the structural qualities of news frames.” Framing is applied to how journalists select stories, facts, etc. News frames are formed through internal factors like occupational constraints of journalists, particularly editorial policies and news values and also through external factors like interactions between journalists and elites . Frames inevitably highlight some issues but downplay others . Journalists frame stories in particular ways in order to get people to either read or view. These important factors influence how a frame is built.

Frame-setting is “the interaction between media frames and individuals’ prior knowledge and dispositions . In particular, the way a story is framed can affect what appears as most important, who the victim appears to, who is to blame, etc..

Framing is a quality of communication that leads others to accept one meaning over another. It is the process by which a communication source defines and constructs an issue or controversy. Because issues are often complicated, and require the processing of a great deal of information from a variety of perspectives, frames provide a shorthand understanding of a situation, by focusing only on those features deemed important by the particular individual involved. Frames are therefore interpretive devices that all people use when making sense of the world around them. They aid us in making the difficult task of processing complex and often cumbersome information about our social world much simpler, by focusing our attention only on certain features that we feel are important. All individuals use frames to aid in deciding where and how we fit into the issue and what, if anything, we can do in response. Just as a picture frame is used to create a border around a painting or photograph to crop out unimportant features of the image, an issue frame is used by individuals to crop out particular features of the issue, and to highlight what they feel is important. 

This process of emphasizing certain features of the issue by cropping or downplaying less prominent features allows the most important information to be filtered out from the large pile of information surrounding the dispute. However, different people see certain dimensions of issues in very different ways. What may be of primary importance to one stakeholder may not be important at all to another. Though framing provides a shorthand filtering of essential information, it also can generate conflicts through differing interpretations of a dispute, and disagreements over the importance of its component parts. 

Language helps us to remember information and acts to transform the way in which we view situations. To use language, people must have thought and reflected on their own interpretive frameworks and those of others. Fairhurst and Sarr (1996) described the following Framing Techniques:
 • Metaphor: To give an idea or program a new meaning by comparing it to something else. 
• Stories (myths and legends): To frame a subject by anecdote in a vivid and memorable way.
 • Traditions (rites, rituals and ceremonies): To pattern and define an organization at regular time increments to confirm and reproduce organizational values. 
• Slogans, jargon and catchphrases: To frame a subject in a memorable and familiar fashion.
 • Artifacts: To illuminate corporate values through physical vestiges (sometimes in a way language cannot). 
• Contrast: To describe a subject in terms of what it is not. 
• Spin: to talk about a concept so as to give it a positive or negative connotation

Framing is a useful tool for analysis, because it allows us to view the particular frames that people use when examining a particular issue. If we come to understand the various frames that individuals use to distinguish important from unimportant information, then we can achieve a better understanding of why people take the positions that they do, and we can learn about how and why people respond as they do when interpreting a particular situation. 
How news media outlets frame stories.
Particularly when dealing with political issues, the media frames things in an episodic way or a thematic . An episodic frame focuses of a single, specific event or issue at hand, whereas a thematic frame places issues and events on a larger, more analytical level. Thematic frames are much less common.  Usually  political and election stories are framed in an episodic way, focusing on winning and losing, using a game or competition schema, emphasizing candidates’ style, and highlighting polls .
In 1991, the gulf war dominated media coverage, pushing Bush’s approval ratings to 90% after the war--the highest rating in American history. A short 12 months later, Bush was defeated at the polls. How could one of the most popular presidents in American history lose a subsequent election? There was no publicised scandal, no political gaffe, no international blunder that could explain Bush’s misfortunes. 

 Media Framing: 
Media framing is the process by which an issue is portrayed in the news media. Media frames provide boundaries around a news story and determine what is and is not newsworthy or notable. Journalists rely on media frames to decide what to include in a story and what to leave out, a process that may be conscious, instinctive or culture-bound. Just as a picture frame may draw attention to certain details and relegate other elements to the background, a media frame may draw a viewer's attention to specific parts of a journalist's news story, de-emphasize other parts, and leave out some aspects completely.

 • Media Framing and Youth: When applied to issues affecting children and youth, the way news is framed-the visuals, symbols, inference and language-can trigger two pictures:(1) one picture is of self-absorbed, potentially violent, amoral teenagers; and (2) the other picture is of inexperienced junior adults experimenting with identity in order to assume their role in the community. This act of framing can predispose policymakers and voters to prioritize the allocation of public resources in different ways. In this case, voters may choose prisons over education and volunteer programs. • Gregory Bateson: Anthropologist who fir

The internet & framing
 With the advent of the internet, people can be exposed to many different frames because of the infinite amount of information available online .  These frames may compete with each other giving a more holistic view of a story or issue .   However, the audience also plays a greater role in selecting media and which frames they are exposed to when using the internet which could result in exposure to similar frames and attitude reinforcement .

Counter framing

Counterframing occurs when the news media alter a previous narrative.  This has been studied recently about the Iraq War .  The news media began framing the war in a positive way,  but its frame became much more negative as time .

The internet website, as an extension of the Nike corporation, is a good example of both the use of framing and counter framing.. So, counterframing and framing happens within mediated channels of discourse; however, they are not restricted to news media and the internet is afffecting the ways in which messages are constructed and consumed . 

Version 1: Rats Bite Infant An infant left sleeping in his crib was bitten repeatedly by rats while his 16- year-old mother went to cash her welfare check. A neighbor responded to the cries of the infant and brought the child to Central Hospital where he was treated and released in his mother’s custody. The mother, Angie Burns of the South End, explained softly, “I was only gone five minutes. I left the door open so my neighbor would hear him if he woke up. I never thought this would happen in the daylight. “ 

Version 2: Rats Bite Infant: Landlord, Tenants Dispute Blame An eight-month-old South End boy was treated and released from Central Hospital yesterday after being bitten by rats while he was sleeping in his crib. Tenants said that repeated requests for extermin-ation had been ignored by the landlord, Henry Brown. Brown claimed that the problem lay with tenants’ improper disposal of garbage. “I spend half my time cleaning up after them. They throw garbage out the window into the back alley and their kids steal the garbage can covers for sliding in the snow.”

 Version 3: Rat Bites Rising in City’s ‘Zone of death” Rats bit eight-month-old Michael Burns five times yesterday as he napped in his crib. Bums is the latest victim of a rat epidemic plaguing inner-city neighborhoods labeled the “Zone of Death.” Health officials say infant mortality rates in these neighborhoods approach those in many third world countries. A Public Health Department spokesperson explained that federal and state cutbacks forced short-staffing at rat control and housing inspection programs. The result, noted Joaquin Nunez, MD, a pediatrician at Central Hospital, is a five-fold increase in rat bites. He added, “The irony is that Michael lives within walking distance of some of the world’s best medical centers.”

 The stories share little beyond the fact that the child was bitten by rats. Each version is shaped or framed by layers of assumptions. To say each version of the story represents a different frame means that each has a distinct definition of the issue, of who is responsible, and of how the issue might be resolved.Source :