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Valenced news frames and public support for the EU
Unformatted Document Text:  RUNNING HEAD: Valenced news frames and public support for the EU 18 would provide a better basis for understanding differences and similarities in the coverage. Moreover, inclusion of a number of systemic level factors – such as public opinion about European integration and journalistic culture – as independent variables in a model trying to understand the visibility and framing of political events would be welcomed. Second, our study relies on a homogenous convenience sample. While this may not necessarily render the results from the investigation of the audience reactions to valenced news frames less valid, it is important to note that previous research has identified education as an explanatory variable for understanding support for European integration (e.g., Gabel, 1998; McLaren, 2002). Hence, future studies need pay attention to a more heterogeneous sample to also assess the influence of variables such as education. Third, the experimental news stories utilized in this study were previously broadcast stories on national Dutch news programs which on the one hand adds to external validity of the study, since the stories were in fact broadcast and are therefore realistic. Relying on already broadcast television news is in line with previous studies of framing effects (e.g., Iyengar, 1991; McLeod & Detenber, 1999; Nelson et al., 1997). Nonetheless it should be acknowledged that – strictly speaking – the internal validity is potentially jeopardized by using existing stories, as these news stories may vary in terms of the framing on the event, but may also contain other, unintended variance (see e.g., Slater (1991) and Reeves and Geiger (1994) for a discussion). These shortcomings notwithstanding, our study explored one of the characteristics of news frames that appear to characterize, and perhaps even be conditional for, media effects, namely valence. This is an important addition to the current literature as it may explain why some frames, such as for example the conflict frame, may affect information processing but not automatically lead to opinion change whereas more value-laden frames, such as the ones discussed in this study and studies by Nelson and Oxley (1999), lead to changes in opinion and policy support. The inherent nature of frames may have significant impact on policy support in the realm of politics in a similar fashion as it has been demonstrated in, for example, health communication. Future research needs to further specify the characteristics of frames, the conditions under which different types of effects are likely to emerge, and the robustness/ longevity of these effects.

Authors: De Vreese, Claes. and Boomgaarden, Hajo.
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RUNNING HEAD: Valenced news frames and public support for the EU
18
would provide a better basis for understanding differences and similarities in the coverage.
Moreover, inclusion of a number of systemic level factors – such as public opinion about
European integration and journalistic culture – as independent variables in a model trying to
understand the visibility and framing of political events would be welcomed.
Second, our study relies on a homogenous convenience sample. While this may not
necessarily render the results from the investigation of the audience reactions to valenced
news frames less valid, it is important to note that previous research has identified education
as an explanatory variable for understanding support for European integration (e.g., Gabel,
1998; McLaren, 2002). Hence, future studies need pay attention to a more heterogeneous
sample to also assess the influence of variables such as education.
Third, the experimental news stories utilized in this study were previously broadcast
stories on national Dutch news programs which on the one hand adds to external validity of
the study, since the stories were in fact broadcast and are therefore realistic. Relying on
already broadcast television news is in line with previous studies of framing effects (e.g.,
Iyengar, 1991; McLeod & Detenber, 1999; Nelson et al., 1997). Nonetheless it should be
acknowledged that – strictly speaking – the internal validity is potentially jeopardized by using
existing stories, as these news stories may vary in terms of the framing on the event, but may
also contain other, unintended variance (see e.g., Slater (1991) and Reeves and Geiger
(1994) for a discussion).
These shortcomings notwithstanding, our study explored one of the characteristics of
news frames that appear to characterize, and perhaps even be conditional for, media effects,
namely valence. This is an important addition to the current literature as it may explain why
some frames, such as for example the conflict frame, may affect information processing but
not automatically lead to opinion change whereas more value-laden frames, such as the ones
discussed in this study and studies by Nelson and Oxley (1999), lead to changes in opinion
and policy support. The inherent nature of frames may have significant impact on policy
support in the realm of politics in a similar fashion as it has been demonstrated in, for
example, health communication. Future research needs to further specify the characteristics
of frames, the conditions under which different types of effects are likely to emerge, and the
robustness/ longevity of these effects.


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