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ISOJ 2012

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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 of Missouri
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)
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.
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.
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
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

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Downey

  • 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), 546-561.  Grabe, M., & Bucy, E. (2008). The struggle for control: Visual framing, news coverage, and image handling of presidential candidates, 1992-2004. International Communication Association, 1-42.  Matthes, J. (2009). What’s in a frame? a content analysis of media framing studies in the world’s leading communication journals, 1990-2005. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 86(2), 349-367.  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), 448-465.  Wojdynski, B. (2009). The interactive newspaper: Online multimedia and the framing of the Iraq War. Conference Papers -- International Communication Association, 1-37.