The Framing Theory

In my Senior Seminar Class, everyone was given a different communication theory to research and then discuss in class. My theory was The Framing Theory.

It sounds pretty simple to understand and it is!

The framing theory in regards to communication is seen by many scholars as an extension of the agenda setting theory, which states that the media doesn’t tell us what to think, but rather what to think about. (Lane, 2001) However, the framing theory is more focused. Baran and Davis (2009) explains that the framing theory “examines the idea about how people use expectations to make sense of everyday life,” (p.35). “The basis of framing theory is that the media focuses attention on certain events and then places them within a field of meaning,” (University of Twente) This field of meaning can have an effect on the audience’s beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors by connecting a particular meaning or interpretation on an issue.

For example, when a journalist selects a topic that he or she is going to write about, they are inevitability drawing the audience’s attention to a particular topic, which is the original concept behind the agenda setting theory. However, the way or the frame in which the information is presented to the audience is also decided by the media practitioners or the gatekeepers. The framing theory refers to not only how the audience is influenced and interprets what is presented to them by the media, but also refers to the media’s ability to persuade its audiences to accept one meaning of a concept over another. (University of Twente)


Baran, S. J. & Davis, D. K. (2009). Mass communication theory: foundations, ferment, and future (5th edition). Boston, M.A.:Wadsworth cengage learning.

Lane, D. (2001). Agenda Setting Theory. Retrieved from Honors: Communication Capstone Spring 2001 Theory Workbook, online website:

University of Twente. (2004). Framing. Retrieved from


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