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Framing: Is life as black and white as it seems?

Source: Giphy

A person’s perception of an event is wholly shaped by the frame through which they view it. Nisbet (2011) describes framing as “an unavoidable and natural part of the communication… process.” Through this process two similar events can be portrayed in a completely different light, depending on the frame the news station wants to present. While frames help to simplify an issue, by emphasising a specific dimension of the issue over another, they are typically used by “government officials, expert sources, advocates and industry” to manipulate the views of the audience (Nisbet, 2011).

I’ve made a visual example of framing, wherein the perspective – demonstrated by the differing colours – one takes on an issue alters the overall perspective. When seen without a frame, the image looks complex, however once certain characteristics are emphasised, it becomes all to black and white. This mirrors how the media industry as a whole serves to frame events in a way that aligns with the social and political views of the owners of major news outlets.

Nisbet, M., 2011. How Media Frames Structure Our Political Perceptions. [online] Big Think. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 May 2020].

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