Framing a Perspective: The Complex World of TV News

by TarikA on March 31, 2014 - 11:02am

In an article written for the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media titled “U.S. TV News and Communicative Architecture: Between Manufacturing Consent and Mediating Democracy” (2013), authors Simon Cottle and Julian Matthews attempt to dig in to the world of television news and analyze the principles, values and underlying rules present within the profession. By doing so, Cottle and Matthews focus their attention on what they describe as “communicative structures”, which are universally found in the production of TV news. These structures are equivocally termed “communicative frames”, though the authors clearly state that their interpretation of the term is different than others widely used in academic research. (For Cottle and Matthews, the concept of “framing” is being analyzed solely within the context of television news and not any other form of news production).

Throughout the rest of the journal article, Cottle and Matthews go on to explain and compare (by contrast) the different types of widely used communicative frames utilized during news broadcasts. Using scripts directly taken from previous American news broadcasts, the authors highlight many communicative frames, including: the classic “reporting” frame, which aims at simply delivering a concise, short update on a news story; the “dominant” frame, which focuses on conveying a news story that is dominated by a single news source (i.e. senator, businessman, etc.); and the “exposé/investigation” frame, wherein a news story is reported in the interest of servicing the and informing the public on an issue, similar to a public watchdog.

These and many other frames are discussed at length in the journal article, with examples and analysis of corresponding news stories provided. All of this, according to Cottle and Matthews, is in the interest of revealing just how complex the communicative structure of television news is and the greater importance that it should be accredited within the field of journalism study. Moreover, the journal article hints at the importance and significance in understanding the procedural elements of television news, as the medium holds a great deal of influence and power on those who depend on information from it. 



Cottle, S., & Matthews, J. (2013). U.S. TV News and Communicative Architecture: Between Manufacturing Consent and Mediating Democracy. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 57 (4), 562-578. 

About the author