Framing___Scheufele__final_version_

Framing___Scheufele__final_version_ - Encyclopedia of...

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Encyclopedia of Communication / Framing Effects 1 FRAMING (3,000 words) by Dietram A. Scheufele Professor School of Journalism & Mass Communication and Department of Life Sciences Communication University of Wisconsin, Madison 821 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53726 Phone: 608.263.3074, Fax: 608.262.1361 Email: scheufele@wisc.edu Chapter prepared for Wolfgang Donsbach (Ed.) The International Encyclopedia of Communication Blackwell Publishing January 31, 2007 Key words: framing, media frames, audience frames, schema
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Encyclopedia of Communication / Framing Effects 2 FRAMING There is not one single commonly accepted definition of framing in the field of communication. In fact, political communication scholars have offered a variety of conceptual and operational approaches to framing that all differ with respect to their underlying assumptions, the way they define frames and framing, their operational definitions, and very often also the criterion variables. Previous framing research can be classified based on its level of analysis and the specific process of framing that various studies have focused on. In particular, Scheufele (1999) differentiated media frames and audience frames . Based on these two broader concepts, he distinguished four processes that classify areas of framing research and outline the links among them: frame building , frame setting , individual- level effects of framing , and journalists as audiences for frames . Media Frames vs. Audience frames Media frames are defined as “a central organizing idea or story line that provides meaning to an unfolding strip of events” (Gamson & Modigliani, 1987, p. 143). Media frames are important tools for journalists to reduce complexity and convey issues, such as welfare reform or stem cell research, in a way that allows audiences to make sense of them with limited amounts of prior information. For journalists, framing is therefore a means of presenting information in a format that fits the modalities and constraints of the medium they are writing or producing news content for and that also makes it possible for audiences to make sense of the information and integrate it into their existing cognitive schema. Some view news frames as tools of spin and manipulation. And frames can certainly be used to manipulate the interpretation of messages by audiences. But it is
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Encyclopedia of Communication / Framing Effects 3 important to note in this context that for most journalists framing is a tool that allows them to reduce complexity of issues and present them in a way that is easily accessible to wide cross-sections of the audience. Or as Tuchman (1978) says, “[t]he news frame organizes everyday reality and … is part and parcel of everyday reality . .., [it] is an essential feature of news” (p. 193). Media frames serve as working routines for journalists that allow them to quickly identify and classify information and “to package it for efficient relay to their audiences” (Gitlin, 1980, p. 7).
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This note was uploaded on 01/18/2009 for the course COMM 4200 taught by Professor Shanahan,j. during the Spring '08 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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Framing___Scheufele__final_version_ - Encyclopedia of...

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