As I may or may not have said I am a student getting my second degree in Communications (I’m a Senior, YEAH!) and I plan to use it for Public Relations, but this is not about me. Well, not 100% anyway.
Tonight, for my class in the morning, I did a reading titled Seven Models of Framing: Implications for Public Relations by Kirk Hallahan (a professor at Colorado State University). The article discusses seven frames that helps a successful public relations professional to make sure that the relationship between an organization (business) and the public (other businesses, the surrounding community, even the employees).
He writes that in his research he found that the following are the most important:
- Situations: “Framing of situations provides structure for examining communication”
- Attributes: “Characteristics of objects and people are accentuated…”
- Choices: “Posing alternatives decisions in either negative (loss) or positive (gain) terms can bias choices in situations involving uncertainty.”
- Actions: “…the probability that a person will act to attain a desired goal is influenced by whether alternatives are stated in positive or negative terms”
- Issues: “Social problems and disputes can be explained in alternative terms by different parties who vie for their preferred definition a problem or situation to prevail.”
- Responsibility: “Individuals tend to attribute cause of events to either internal or external factors, based on levels of stability and control…People attribute causes to personal actions rather then systemic problems in society.”
- News: “Media reports use familiar, culturally resonating themes to relay information about events. Sources vie for their preferred framing to be featured…”
Now, I would go in to the particulars, but I think it would be better explained by the professional Mr. Hallahan. I will say that I agree with the theories that he uses in his writing. Behind every good “spin” (as they are called) is a lot of work that some people do not understand. There is an assumption that you just take a story and spin it to sound all good and leave the negative out. All stories have a good and a bad, it is not about being manipulative and disregarding of everyone else but it is about making sure that the good is all things can always be seen, beyond and along with the bad.
Read Professor Hallahan’s paper, it is pretty amazing.