War on the Web The various frames of the Libyan conflict in French online news


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This paper, which is a part of a larger research project, aims at measuring the diversity of online news in France from a news framing perspective. Its goal is to complete previous quantitative results with a focus on a particular subject: the journalistic treatment of the Libyan Revolution in 2011. More precisely, it provides a lexicometrical analysis of the covering of this uprising against Muammar Gaddafi by French news websites.

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War on the Web The various frames of the Libyan conflict in French online news

  1. 1. War on the WebThe various frames of the Libyan conflict in French online news Emmanuel Marty, University of Nice Nikos Smyrnaios, University of Toulouse Franck Rebillard, University of Paris 3 International Conference on Media and Communication (ICMC) Porto, May 2012
  2. 2. The IPRI project(Internet, Pluralism & Redundancy of Information) Pluralism of journalism is a political and social stake: •Pluralism of opinion depends on diversity of media• Greater multiplicity of sources and more content available online than offline Research questions: Does the multiplicity of sources necessarily lead to pluralism ? Does more content mean more diverse coverage of events ? Research method and theoretical framework: Agenda setting and framing theories (Dearing & Rogers 1992; Entman 1993), Multifaceted analysis of online news through computerized methods
  3. 3. Defining online news agenda Corpus Definition 209 French news websites (portals, aggregators, online media, blogs, pure-players) 11 days period (7-17 March 2011) Articles collection (RSS) 37 569 news headlines (text) With IPRI-NA software Topics Identification  5 481 news topics (agenda variety) Articles Indexing  A topic is an event or a theme thatliris.cnrs.fr/ipri becomes a « news story » once recounted by journalists through differents angles or frames Agenda balance: How many articles per topic ? What distribution between topics ? What differences between sources ?
  4. 4. Diversity & redundancy of online news Libyan conflict Concentration of news production on a few topics (17 topics include  50% of articles) Most productive sources  (portals, aggregators, T V, radio, press) concentrate on the same topics of the dominant agenda
  5. 5. Frames analysis and pluralism in media discourse• Pluralism in online media depends not only on agenda variety but also on frame diversity:« To frame is to select some aspects of a perceived reality and makethem more salient in a communicating text, in such a way as topromote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moralevaluation, and/or treatment recommendation for the itemdescribed » (Entman, 1993)• Identification of different frames inside a single topic: the Libyan conflict• Comprehensive sample of 179 full text articles on this topic on one day (8 March 2011) including 115,975 occurrences (i.e. words) and 9,890 forms (i.e. different words).• Lexicometric analysis of the sample with Iramuteq software that operates textual statistics following the method of hierarchical cluster analysis iramuteq.org
  6. 6. The different media frames on the Libyan conflict Frame 1 focuses on geopolitical stakes of the Libyan conflict in an analytical and  rather critical way towards governments (mainly US and France) Frame 2 reports on diplomatic  negotiations within the UN in a neutral “agency wire” style Frame 3 reports from the Ras  Lanouf battleground in a factual but dramatic “embedded” style
  7. 7. Distribution of frames among sources Frame 1 used by pure players (Alterinfo, Le Post, Agoravox, Le Grand Soir, Bellaciao), blogs and Le Monde daily Frame 2 used by dailies(LeFigaro.fr, LesEchos.fr, LeParisi en.fr), radio & TV (RMC.fr, Europe1.fr, France 24) portals & aggregators (Msn, Orange) Frame 3 used by by TV(TF1/LCI.fr, France2.fr) in articles that accompany video The closer a source is to the center the more footage & by some dailies « normalized » is its discource e.g. portals like (Liberation.fr, LesEchos.fr, JDD.f Yahoo, MSN but also Le Figaro, RTL etc. r)
  8. 8. Panorama of digital outlets of traditional media✓ Digital outlets of traditional media avoid opinion and debate to the benefit of factual and objective reports of diplomatic and military situations✓ Each media imports to the web its discursive specificities: the way it covers news online doesn’t change much compared to its original outlet✓ Television and radio websites provide news with strong reactivity and offer an “emotional thrill” to the audiences, as they do in their traditional outlet✓ Print media recount stories online based on a wide range of sources, with a clear advantage to governments and international organizations✓ Dominance of professional norms such as objectivity & neutrality✓ Great dependency on wire news for real time coverage and international affairs
  9. 9. Panorama of pure players, blogs and portals✓ Pure players and blogs distinguish themselves by focusing on comment and debates about the situation, in a rather polemist approach.✓ They neglect ground report because of the lack of means to carry it out or to buy such wire material✓ Bloggers oppose mainstream journalism. Political commitment and personal opinion are omnipresent in their writings✓ There is a distinction to make between amateur pure players and professional ones. The former lean towards the bloggers type of discourse, the latter towards traditional media✓ Portals and aggregators rely exclusively on wire material and thus reproduce a formatted type of discourse as well as a redundant news agenda
  10. 10. Conclusion1. Online news is simultaneously diverse and redundant from an agendaand from a frame perspective2. This means that the multiplicity of sources provides with differenteditorial, economic and journalistic strategies and methods3. The more redundant sources are those that are heavily dependant onadvertising. Their trafic centered models necessitate a highly productiveand low cost model based on shovelware (wire news, publicrelations, official sources etc.)4. The less redundant sources when it comes both on the topics coveredand on the type of discourse used to frame news are digital natives.Nevertheless these players have small audience (in France) and poormeans in order to develop themselves