How to Start Your NewsFrames Media Exploration

If you're new to NewsFrames and media analysis, starting out with a NewsFrames Media Exploration is a great way to get your feet wet and discover some of the basic principles behind the creation of certain NewsFrames stories.

As a beginning exercise, a Media Exploration is also an opportunity to discover something new about the way the media frames certain topics and for you to develop questions that may guide you towards interesting insights. Media Explorations also help you determine if an idea “has legs” and is either worth exploring more or doesn’t have enough data to support conclusions.

Here's how to get started:

Exploration Checklist

  1. Choose an Interesting Topic
  2. Begin Media Cloud Query
  3. Observe the Data
  4. Share Your Ideas with a NewsFrames Lead

  1. Choosing an Interesting Topic

Think of something that you are familiar with, and that you would be curious to analyze more in detail.

When you have decided on your broad topic, brainstorm possible key terms associated with it.

  1. Begin Media Cloud Query

Hint #1 – Don’t be afraid of running multiple searches and changing your key terms as you keep exploring. Play around with the parameters of your search to see what comes up: synonyms, time periods, media sources etc.

Hint #2 – See an interesting word in your word cloud? Click on it! When you do, a new word cloud with that term will populate.

Hint #3 – Save the searches that interest you the most into your NewsFrames project and download the .csv files

**For more information about how to use media analysis tools, please take a look at the following link:

  1. Observe the Data

Think of the general themes that you are seeing in the different searches you are doing. Ask yourself:

  • Is there a pattern? Something that is repeated across the searches?
  • Is there a word that surprises you to see or not to see in the word clouds?
  • What do you think this means?
  • What questions do these observations bring to you?

Hint – Jot down your general ideas about those searches so that you don’t forget them.

  1. Share Your Ideas with a NewsFrames Lead

If you decide to stop here, then we hope that this initial exploration has piqued your interest in media analysis.

If you want to continue, your ideas might have the potential to become a great story. Check in with an NewsFrames Lead to talk about the next steps!