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Framing in the Media: Definition, Problems, and Comparison of Frames

Framing: Definition and Concept

Society has evolved to develop and improve all kinds of power and social management technologies over the past century. Framing techniques have created new opportunities for this issue, increasing the influence of information on society through mass communication. Often people do not have time to think, analyze and decide for a long time. In such a case, the way data is shown and how the question or sentence is formulated are meaningful. The same statement can be presented both negatively and positively. The simplest example is a glass that someone thinks is partly empty but almost full for others. However, if the debate about glass is no more than a philosophical discussion, the same effect of framing in the media can have serious consequences. To better understand the essence of this phenomenon, it is necessary to explain the definition of framing and its foremost properties.

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In the context of communication, the term refers to how a specific event is presented in the media, the degree of importance reporters attach to it, the amount of attention it receives, or its ‘prominence,’ among other topics. Journalists constantly use framing to make the news sound more dramatic and thus attract the audience’s attention to a particular event. Moreover, they often use the method of characteristic text presentation and select pictures to illustrate the facts so that the message becomes even more transparent and more engaging. The primary term of the method does not yet have a universally accepted definition. However, Western researchers agree that one of the most immeasurable is Robert Entman’s explanation. According to him, ‘to frame’ means ‘to select some aspects of perceived reality and make them more salient in a communicative text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and treatment recommendation for the item described (Entman, 1993).’ Therefore, it can be argued that the frame is the surrounding reality as it is presented by the press, political parties, or any sources of data.

This method allows to influence the perception of information by the audience and its memorization and can lead to a change in people’s minds in the right direction. Through the use of specific expressions and turns of phrase, unique vocabulary, metaphors, examples, visual images, and cultural arguments, it is possible to set the desired mood and enhance information receptivity. It is also important to say that the media use various methods of framing, and in order to understand the specifics, it is necessary to analyze the way the same material is presented in different sources.

Causes and Context of the Problem

In today’s world, where people use technology, smartphones, and GPS devices, there is a problem that everyone can get lost in the wild. This situation is highly stressful and can still be affected by factors such as fog, which can impair road visibility or extensive vegetation.

The reason that it is possible to get lost is walking, during which personalities immerse themselves in their own thoughts (Piccirillo, 2017). In such situations, it is necessary to recognize that people can not completely turn off their feelings. They constantly need to evaluate the location and follow the guidelines.

Many types of regions are easy to navigate, but other types can challenge even the best explorer. Vapid and unusual landscapes without distant landmarks can get tired of traveling. Do not leave the house without a GPS device, map, and compass for these unpleasant landscapes. It is critical to remark that a common reason for people getting lost in the woods is that they sometimes walk the paths paved by large animals (Piccirillo, 2017). As a rule, people without training cannot distinguish the exact route, so their chosen course can end quickly. The most significant problem for tourists is darkness because it can mislead even experienced travelers. Therefore, people do not need to look for adventures after the onset of darkness but should stay in place.

Comparison and Contrast of Frames

It is worth starting with the interpretation and presentation of basic information about the missing person. For example, ABC News uses the phrase ‘lost and found’ to immediately focus on the problem being solved. They also indicate that ‘the boy was found after the incident’ and his age; that is, the stress is placed on the gender and the fact he was young to emphasize the danger. Frames such as ‘the clock were ticking’ are used to dramatize the event. The use of such an expression increases the audience’s tension and reinforces the positive effect that everything was quickly resolved. On the other hand, Fox News employs similar techniques by pointing out that ‘the child is safe at home after he disappeared in Lincoln today’ pictures to draw attention are also used. This frame focuses more on the consequences and on the fact that the lost one is entirely protected.

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The interpretation of websites is slightly different, and other frames are applied. For example, the Boston Globe adopts the phrase ‘five-year old,’ that is, the emphasis is precisely on the child’s age, with no consideration of gender (Sennott, 2021). Such a frame is used to emphasize that the child is very young, which means that the level of danger is very high. At the same time, pictures are not used to reinforce attention (Waugh, 2021). Lincoln’s Squirrel, in turn, writes that ‘the hiker found the five-year-old lost in the woods,’ it emphasized more specifically the rescuer than the missing person.

ABC News provided information about a tourist who found the boy in a positive context. They also described his concern because the tourist was trying to support the child and was with him until help arrived. At the same time, with the photos of the found boy and his rescuer, the news showed clippings from the search, thus creating a more dramatic effect. Fox News focused on the boy’s safety and showed footage from an ambulance. The news emphasizes that the authorities are satisfied that the child is already safe and want to find a tourist to express their gratitude. Thus, Fox news focused more on the reaction of the police and presented the help of medics.

It is worth mentioning that the Boston Globe indicates the exact time when the tourist called the support service, and the news did not report the accurate time. However, the Boston Globe points out that the tourist has already been thanked. Thus, this edition of the newspaper provides more detailed and updated information (Sennott, 2021). Additionally, unlike the news, the newspaper did not exhibit photos, emphasizing that the primary importance was on details. The Lincoln Squirrel also registered the time of the tourist’s call and recorded the child’s gender for the accuracy of the information. The resource focuses on the reasons for the boy’s disappearance and the search. Thus, they want to highlight the exciting and dangerous moments of this process. The Lincoln Squirrel also indicates that although the boy was scared, he was not injured (Waugh, 2021). All sources show the authorities’ efforts to find the child. Moreover, this news has a social character in the framework because its coverage implies a problem that occurred in a public institution and almost led to negative consequences.


Entman, R. (1993) Framing: Toward clarification of a fractured paradigm. Journal of Communication, 43 (4), 51-58.

Piccirillo, A. (2017). Getting lost in a familiar wood: A brief encounter with a wild place. Appalachia, 68 (1), 1–8.

Sennott, A. (2021). Missing 5-year-old child found by hiker in Lincoln. The Boston Globe. Web.

Waugh, A. (2021). Five-year-old lost in woods is found by hiker. The Lincoln Squirrel. Web.

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