For the past two weeks I have been here, at the National Library of Ireland, looking up archives of the newspapers from 1987. I’ve been focusing on the headlines, Editorials and Letters to the Editor in each paper (so far the Irish Times, Irish Independent and Cork Examiner). This is to focus on where framing occurs in the papers, and does this reflect the Budget. The time period is the Budget week. The archives to these papers is on microfilm. This is supposedly nice and easy to use, but the contraptions they have in the Archives often run of their own accord, rendering the viewer helpless in their viewing. Or else they fail to catch the end of the film and start running, potentially destroying the film itself. Or you as the viewer fail to install the film correctly, which leads to all sorts of problems.
So far you’d think it’s fairly straightforward, but of course nothing ever runs totally smoothly. On the first day, with the 1987 Irish Times, I must have chosen a faulty machine (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it) and I’m pretty sure I got a full knot in the microfilm. This is extraordinarily difficult to do, due to the mechanics of the micro film design. I was standing and re-assembling the thing about five times in total, most probably annoying everyone around me. That’s another thing that I noticed about the National Library. It was fairly full most days. So my idiocy was plain for all to see. The next day I saw that my machine was OUT OF ORDER. And I wasn’t the only one who had problems. Another day, an elderly gentleman from Clare was having issues. At this stage I had figured out how to use another machine so I was listening to my iRiver and working away when the LIBRARY WORKER asked me to help with installation. Immediately I noticed that it was the dodgey machine and pointed out that fact. After being (somewhat haughtily) assured that the machine was fine, we all attempted to install the microfilm with no success. You do meet some interesting characters there though. A very nice man with a lot of nose hair congratulated me on the notes I was taking. No joke, there does seem to be a nice “community feel” to the place. I think I need to get out more >_<
Song of the day! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XKLdLet6Pk
The last thing under the “umbrella” of framing is priming. To be honest, I didn’t know much about this until my supervisor brought it up as a potential category to look up. It’s not wholly different from framing or agenda-setting.
The concept of priming is based on the assumption that people don’t carefully weigh all possible aspects of a situation or problem when making decisions. Rather, people employ mental shortcuts when making up their minds. Every memory is stored as a node, and every node is related to another node by semantic paths. Nodes that are strongly connected to each other form a mental schema, an interpretative framework or a belief system. When an external stimulus, for instance a news headline, activates a node in this network, the entire schema gets activated and will serve as shortcut for making a decision. The more prominent the issue is in the media, the greater is its accessibility in a person’s memory.
Song of the day! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWj0HWSunbA
Having explained what agenda-setting is, framing comes next. Framing is very similar to agenda-setting, but it comes from different theoretical roots. Framing involves dividing news stories into separate categories (frames) and these can then be categorized in order of salience (importance). By analysing all seven Irish newspapers for the Budget weeks of 1987 and 2009, I can divide the stories frame by frame. From this information I can determine if an “agenda” was present or not.
Song of the day! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUNui4OSyJA&feature=related
Now is as good a time as any to explain what this term is. Since I am looking at how the Irish media reacted to the 1987 and 2009 Budgets in terms of framing, I’ll probably be using such terms throughout this blog, so a brief summary is in order. Agenda-setting and framing are very similar, and indeed, related theories. Of course I initially had confused them, and used the terms interchangeably but in reality, they are separate.
Agenda-setting came before framing did and has different roots. In short, agenda-setting is about how the media prioritize certain stories and screen out others. These stories are organised in terms of salience, which roughly means order of importance, but it goes beyond that. It has to be identifiable with the audience watching or reading the stories, as well as fitting the “agenda” of whoever is organising the stories. This also means that the editor or media “gatekeeper” is central to what is being broadcast. It’s not an easy theory to prove, because obviously, not being an editor, I don’t have access to this sort of information, and journalists and media communicators in general seem to find problems wit this theory. Of course it doesn’t apply to them! Regardless, there is a lot of academic information on this theory, and it is an interesting way or studying how the media works.
Song of the day! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOh4B7zPx70
News today of Dio’s passing soured academic events somewhat, but I now have all the random and sketchy doodles in one book now. One small step at a time 🙂
Song of the day! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riwxbh_n_WM RIP Dio 😦
Had my second meeting with my coordinator today. Was more of a general banter about the thesis. The next goal is for some point in early June. I can hopefully have two or three pages of bullet points concerning Chapter 2 of the dissertation (I use the terms “thesis” and “dissertation” interchangeably throughout this blog!). This chapter is the Lit. Review, or the “review of literature”. I have had it in my head that I will dislike this chapter intensely. Having had the coordinator explain what is contained in this chapter further (I didn’t do one for my last thesis as it was not required), this preconception has not diminished at all.
To continue the negative buzz, I have very painful sinusitis and three big assignments (for other modules) to do in the next three weeks. Fun fun. But at least the thesis is still “all systems go”. And plus, my supervisor (teehee, now I can use that term rather than “coordinator”! 😀 ) says that the Lit. Review will be one of the biggest chapters, so it will be pretty kewl if I could get that done as early as possible.
Better make a plan of what to do next in the next few days… Much as I want to get smashed, the aul sinuses will be keeping me in for the next few days anyway.
Song of the day! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDZFf0pm0SE