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The Hermeneutics of Frames and Framing: An Examination of the Media's Construction of Reality

Frames are organizing principles that are socially shared and persistent over time, and that work symbolically to meaningfully structure the social world. The study of framing has grown over the past decades as mass media has become more and more ubiquitous in society. People rely on media for information and access to local, national, and world events. This reliance on the media is important to address as news stories are essentially narratives and interpretations—By focusing on one aspect of an event and presenting it to an audience, media outlets construct reality. This construction operates by making certain aspects of stories more salient than others. This salience then “frames” an event and provides a reference point for viewers in which all subsequent information is judged upon. This article examines the current literature on framing and examines what techniques and methodologies are used by past and present sociologists and media scholars. Particular attention is given to the hermeneutics of frames, that is, how frames and framing influence individuals to interpret events in various ways. Frames are organizing principles that are socially shared and persistent over time, and that work symbolically to meaningfully structure the social world. The study of framing has grown over the past decades as mass media has become more and more ubiquitous in society. People rely on media for information and access to local, national, and world events. This reliance on the media is important to address as news stories are essentially narratives and interpretations—By focusing on one aspect of an event and presenting it to an audience, media outlets construct reality. This construction operates by making certain aspects of stories more salient than others. This salience then “frames” an event and provides a reference point for viewers in which all subsequent information is judged upon. This article examines the current literature on framing and examines what techniques and methodologies are used by past and present sociologists and media scholars. Particular attention is given to the hermeneutics of frames, that is, how frames and framing influence individuals to interpret events in various ways.

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