Macro vs. Micro-Level Media Framing Analysis

Beyond showing the types of questions media framing analyses can investigate, Entman and Iyengar’s models also demonstrate the importance of a systematic approach in doing so. There are several reasons why a systematic approach to media analysis is important. First, it helps us move beyond generalizations and vague statements such as “I like that article” or “Not sure I agree with what they’re saying,” by helping us tease out the specific factors that led us to those conclusions; we can point to specific examples that influence our interpretation. Second, a systematic approach allows for an apples-to-apples comparison across news coverage of a specific topic. Third, as we will discuss in the second lesson, systematically analyzing media coverage helps inform our public relations lens, by telling us what we need to know in terms of news that could affect our organization and how we should respond.

So, while we can apply Entman and Iyengar’s specific rubrics for analyzing news—identifying the problem, solution, responsible party, and moral judgment, as well as determining if an article is episodic or thematic—it is also informative to take a step back and ask how these principles can be applied in our own daily analysis of news coverage. To keep it simple, I like to think about framing analysis happening at the macro level and micro level.

Next Page: Macro-level Analysis