July 13, 1998

Framing the News

Frames Associated with Messages

Frames Associated with Messages

As with story trigger, the interconnectedness of message and frame reveal some clear associations. Optimistic messages are likely to be paired with frames of on-going trends (23%) or points of agreement (12%). As one might expect, nearly four-in-ten messages with a protective tone (38%) are associated with stories framed around uncovering wrongdoing and injustice.

Four out of ten messages of distrust are also likely to be associated with stories framed around uncovering wrongdoing and injustice. A similar percentage (39%) of messages sympathetic to the little guy occur in frames of in-depth profiles. This might suggest that journalists tend to choose profiles that are either about someone up against the odds or a powerful figure who treats others unjustly.

Again, some of these associations may be natural. What matters, though, is whether journalists realize their tendencies and how it might influence the way they choose to select stories, and report them.