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Through the Lens Visual Framing of the Japan Tsunami in U.S., British, and Chinese Online Media Rosellen Downey, Erika Johnson, and Bailey Brewer University.

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Presentation on theme: "Through the Lens Visual Framing of the Japan Tsunami in U.S., British, and Chinese Online Media Rosellen Downey, Erika Johnson, and Bailey Brewer University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Through the Lens Visual Framing of the Japan Tsunami in U.S., British, and Chinese Online Media Rosellen Downey, Erika Johnson, and Bailey Brewer University of Missouri

2 Literature Framing—lack of visual framing research Textual elements studied more often (Matthes, 2009) Visual framing and natural disasters Most on visual framing in war and terrorism Few on natural disasters (Fahmy et al., 2007) Human interest and political power Human interest frames are an emerging area of research (Peng, 2004; Schwalbe, 2008; Wojdynski, 2009) Often, political figures studied more than common man (Grabe & Bucy, 2008)

3 Hypotheses and RQs RQ1: Does geographic location of the news outlet relate to the portrayal of natural disasters? RQ2: Does geographic location of the disaster relate to the portrayal of the disaster? RQa: Do roles of human beings in photos differ between NPR, BBC, and Xinhua online coverage and between Japan and other countries? RQb: Does the nationality of human beings shown in photos differ between NPR, BBC, and Xinhua online coverage and between Japan and other countries? RQc: Does absence or presence of human beings in photos of flooding differ between NPR, BBC, and Xinhua online coverage and between Japan and other countries? RQd: Does the number of people shown in photos differ between NPR, BBC, and Xinhua online coverage and between Japan and other countries? H1: Geographic proximity will be related to disaster portrayal.

4 Variables IVs: IV1: Nation providing coverage IV2: Nation being covered DVs: DV1: Role of people/person in the photo DV2: Nationality of people/person in photo DV3: Presence or absence of people in photos DV4: Number of people in the photo.

5 Sample N = 242 photos From NPR (n = 58), BBC (n = 52), and Xinhua (n = 132) websites March 11-13, 2011 census sample Search term: “Japan tsunami” Images only coded once, no repeats Videos, infographics, and maps not coded

6 Results Sample – Most frequent in China China 54.5% U.S. 24%, Britain 21.5% Japan most frequently covered Most subjects were Japanese People present in 66% of photos

7 Significant Results Nation of coverage and role Nation covered and role Nation of coverage and nationality Nation covered and nationality Nation covered and presence of people Nation covered and number of people

8 Role 44.4% of civil servants were from other countries 56.6% from Japan Britain Few government authorities appearing alone China Predominantly civilian coverage

9 Nationality Dominance of landscape photos Japanese nationality occurred most in Chinese coverage

10 Human Subjects Human subjects outnumbered landscapes

11 Number of People Few photos featuring single individual Mostly appeared in small and large groups

12 Discussion China had most visual coverage Geographic proximity Thus, China dominated coverage of civilians, photos of Japanese subjects, landscape photos Xinhua’s practice of capturing frames from video news Focus on coverage of humans, not landscape But, 1/3 of photos were of landscapes overall

13 References Fahmy, S., Kelly, J. D., & Yung Soo, K. (2007). What Katrina revealed: A visual analysis of the hurricane coverage by news wires and U.S. newspapers. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 84(3), Grabe, M., & Bucy, E. (2008). The struggle for control: Visual framing, news coverage, and image handling of presidential candidates, International Communication Association, Matthes, J. (2009). What’s in a frame? a content analysis of media framing studies in the world’s leading communication journals, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 86(2), Peng, Z. (2004). Picturing china: A content analysis of photo coverage in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. International Communication Association, 1+. Schwalbe, C. B., Silcock, B., & Keith, S. (2008). Visual framing of the early weeks of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq: Applying the master war narrative to electronic and print images. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 52(3), Wojdynski, B. (2009). The interactive newspaper: Online multimedia and the framing of the Iraq War. Conference Papers -- International Communication Association, 1-37.


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