Thematic Framing: Episodic Vs. Fox News

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Stories are an inherent part of our society and culture. The impact of storytelling is to be seen in all aspects of our life. When stories are very complex and contain large amounts of information they tend to be framed. Framing allows journalists to decide what details to emphasize and which to leave out. Episodic and thematic framing are two of the most common within journalism. Episodic framing focuses on the instant event and usually gives no context about the fundamental issues. On the other hand, thematic framing focuses on the overall view of the incident and provides statistics or other information to help the readers view the event in a deeper frame of reference. On February 26th, 2012 George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch…show more content…
Soon after, a single shot was fired and Martin was found lying dead. Zimmerman admits to killing this young boy but claims it was all for self defense. NBC News is a very liberal news organization in the United States. In contrast, Fox News is a very conservative news organization in the United States. These two news organizations frame both Martin and Zimmerman in two opposite ways. NBC News portrayed Zimmerman as a racist and assumed he was guilty before knowing any facts. NBC writes, “Zimmerman, then 28, was the neighborhood watch captain/"wannabe cop" who racially profiled and ultimately killed Trayvon, an unarmed, hoodie-clad black teenager out on the streets of the gated community Retreat at Twin Lakes simply because he wanted some Skittles” (Lott, Martin-Testimony). NBC produced an article that would grab viewer’s attention because it went along with what society assumed had happened the night of February 26th. Society immediately went straight to race after hearing that Martin was black and Zimmerman was white. Unlike NBC, Fox News portrays Zimmerman as innocent. Their article claims he acted out for…show more content…
Shanto Lyengar- author of Is anyone Responsible states, “framing refers to subtle alterations in the statement or presentation of judgment and choice problems, and the term “framing effects” refers to changes in decision outcomes resulting from these alterations” (Lyengar, 11). When analyzing the Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman case it is altered to fit the narratives Lyngar speaks about. According to “How The Media Frames Political Issues,” episodic news framing is very distinctive from thematic coverage. Episodic framing depicts concrete events that illustrate issues, while thematic framing presents collective or general evidence. By Iyengar’s research he has found that events that have to do with episodic reports were less likely to consider society responsible for the event, on the other hand events that have shown thematic reports were in fact less likely to consider individuals responsible. Episodic frame is portrayed in a good connotation and mainly focuses on public

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