This week’s blog discusses how current events are being covered and framed in news stories and the effect of framing. By coincidence, I went to the public talk by the 14th Dalai Lama at the Gwinnett Center on Oct. 8, 2013. Being a person who actually participated in the event, I was even more curious about how local news medias report this event. By introducing the notion of framing last week, I felt surprised and couldn’t believe at first that the news we consume everyday can be processed and framed “in a particular way that influences how readers think of story.” (Converging media, 279) However, it is unavoidable for journalists to fit the story or news into the frame because framing makes writing stories easier and habitually we apply framing in our daily life too, such as framing situations for perception.
I examined two pieces of news sources online. One is from 11 Alive called “The Dalai Lama visits Atlanta.” The other one came from AL.com discussing “Dalai Lama’s visit to Emory University in Atlanta will tangle traffic, spin ideas (photos).” These two news stories used different frames to talk about the same event that the Dalai Lama came to the Gwinnett Center for a talk, which really could lead readers to think differently about the event.
News from 11 Alive focused on the talk that happened yesterday. It covered the content of the Dalai Lama’s lecture, the audiences’ reflection about his talk and domestic issues within America related to his topic of discussion, “faith, love, and compassion”. However, the story on AL.com framed a little bit different from the 11 Alive news. AL.com started with the heavy traffic that may expect to happen for welcoming the Dalai Lama to town and started from there, it discussed the Dalai Lama’s exile from the communist control in 1959, his political belief of Tibet and a Chinese international student’s different experiences with Tibetan stories being told in China and America. The news story touched on lightly about the actual talk given by the Dalai Lama but led it to a broader political spectrum. I personally believe that the news from AL.com was off the track from the original. After I read the story, it made me to think politically and to compare a peaceful and non-violent Dalai Lama with the harsh Chinese government even though in the real talk, the Dalai Lama wasn’t focused on politics at all. As mentioned earlier, what he discussed was about compassion and how it transcends religious boundaries. Good framing is trying to cover news that are closer to the content. Another suggested framing from the Dalai Lama’s example could also be comparing yesterday’s talk with the other talks that he delivered in the past or even his books, such as The Art of Happiness.
The topic changed by using different story frames. From the examples above, the audiences could interpret differently from the stories on the same event that happened. For example, they would shift focus from paying attention on the message of the lecture of the Dalai Lame to the controversial Tibetan political issues. I believe framing stories into what actually happened is closer to the objectivity of news. Framing is subjective and it is decided and applied by different individual journalists. By applying frame focus on actual content of the news could help restore balanced and complete coverage.
I would also like to share the picture from the talk yesterday with my friends and I.