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Framing Public Discussion of Gay Civil Unions
Unformatted Document Text:  Framing Public Discussion 4 Scheufele, 1999) note that it has followed a bifurcated path. One line of research emphasizes a sociological conception of framing and applies it to the production of news discourse; it sets about the task of examining various media frames as they are applied to particular issues (e.g., Tuchman, 1978; Gitlin, 1980; Gamson & Lasch, 1983; Gamson & Modigliani, 1987, 1989; Pan & Kosicki, 1993). A second line of research emphasizes a psychological conception of framing, and focuses on individual patterns of information processing and opinion formation. This latter research tends to be experimental in nature, focusing on some particular aspect of news coverage (for instance, adoption of a “human interest” frame or a “strategy” frame in reporting the news), and tracing the influence of alternatively framed news stories on individual cognitions and attitudes (e.g., Iyengar, 1987, 1991; Cappella & Jamieson, 1996, 1997; Nelson, Clawson, & Oxley, 1997; Price, Tewksbury & Powers, 1997; Druckman, 2001; Brewer, 2002). Experiments have commonly manipulated frames through experimentally prepared news stories or through survey questions worded to highlight certain issue-frames (e.g., Kinder & Sanders, 1990; Jacoby, 2000). In either case, the manipulations are found to bias subjects’ information processing, often resulting in consequential differences in issue judgments and opinions. There is, then, a disjuncture in the study of framing processes. The sociology of news gathering, hewing rather closely to the constructionist model, views frames as emergent from a series of social and cooperative (largely organizational) practices. In contrast, psychologically- oriented studies of framing effects examine only isolated, cognitive responses to media messages. Experiments typically allow only for limited forms of socially negotiated meaning – equating it essentially with individual variations in message comprehension. Indeed, the experimental research often implicitly construes audience members as passively subject to invidious influence, in the form of having their decisions unknowingly “framed” by alternative experimental

Authors: Price, Vincent., Nir, Lilach. and Cappella, Joseph.
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Framing Public Discussion
4
Scheufele, 1999) note that it has followed a bifurcated path. One line of research emphasizes a
sociological conception of framing and applies it to the production of news discourse; it sets
about the task of examining various media frames as they are applied to particular issues (e.g.,
Tuchman, 1978; Gitlin, 1980; Gamson & Lasch, 1983; Gamson & Modigliani, 1987, 1989; Pan
& Kosicki, 1993). A second line of research emphasizes a psychological conception of framing,
and focuses on individual patterns of information processing and opinion formation. This latter
research tends to be experimental in nature, focusing on some particular aspect of news coverage
(for instance, adoption of a “human interest” frame or a “strategy” frame in reporting the news),
and tracing the influence of alternatively framed news stories on individual cognitions and
attitudes (e.g., Iyengar, 1987, 1991; Cappella & Jamieson, 1996, 1997; Nelson, Clawson, &
Oxley, 1997; Price, Tewksbury & Powers, 1997; Druckman, 2001; Brewer, 2002). Experiments
have commonly manipulated frames through experimentally prepared news stories or through
survey questions worded to highlight certain issue-frames (e.g., Kinder & Sanders, 1990; Jacoby,
2000). In either case, the manipulations are found to bias subjects’ information processing, often
resulting in consequential differences in issue judgments and opinions.
There is, then, a disjuncture in the study of framing processes. The sociology of news
gathering, hewing rather closely to the constructionist model, views frames as emergent from a
series of social and cooperative (largely organizational) practices. In contrast, psychologically-
oriented studies of framing effects examine only isolated, cognitive responses to media messages.
Experiments typically allow only for limited forms of socially negotiated meaning – equating it
essentially with individual variations in message comprehension. Indeed, the experimental
research often implicitly construes audience members as passively subject to invidious influence,
in the form of having their decisions unknowingly “framed” by alternative experimental


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