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The Electronic Journal of Communication /
La Revue Electronique de Communication


Electronic Journal of Communication
Special Issue
News Framing in a New Media Age

How frames emerge in public discourses and how frames affect individuals, groups, and public opinion are the topics of a great deal of scholarship in mass communication and political communication. In general, this scholarship focuses on the role that news stories play as a conduit of frames, which are thought to be co-constructed by news personnel and news organizations, and by advocates, politicians, and other elites who have access to, or cultivate access with, news personnel and news organizations. Audience members are generally seen as having a subservient role in the framing process, particularly when the 'audience' is broadly conceived to include individuals, public opinion, and advocacy groups. This is not to diminish the important role that frames play in enabling individuals to understand, converse about, and express attitudes toward, topics and issues. Nor is it to diminish the ability of advocacy groups to mobilize existing members, or reach potential new members, wi th internally generated frames that are communicated through channels other than the mainstream news media. But, by and large, mass communication and political communication researchers have an enduring interest in understanding the content and effects of frames that become public through news stories. Research shows that these frames affect the thoughts and opinions of individuals, drive public opinion, and shape discourses (both internal and external) of advocacy groups.

The hypermedia, interactive, and/or networking aspects of the World Wide Web appear to offer new ways to theorize and empirically examine the framing process. This special issue of EJC invites scholarship that explores framing in the new media environment. Theoretical integration essays that pose hypotheses and directions for future research are welcomed, as are empirical articles that examine content and/or effects of frames in the new media environment. The following questions provide guidance about the topics of interest to this special issue. Inquiries about other possible topics are also welcomed.

Do the hypermedia, interactive, and/or networking aspects of the Web-based news sites of mainstream newspapers, newsmagazines, local television and radio stations, and broadcast networks engender a broader range of actors to frame policy issues and/or events of public importance, as compared to their old media counterparts?

To what extent, and on which issues or topics, do non-mainstream Web-based news environments, particularly Web logs (or blogs), take a leading role in shaping stories covered within the mainstream news media? To what extent, and on which topics or issues, do blogs and other Web-based news environments critique how well, or how poorly, mainstream news media cover policy issues and events of public importance? How do the mainstream news media frame the coverage and critiques of non-mainstream Web-based news environments? Do these different systems hold each other accountable to professional and/or democratic norms, as some have suggested?

How, and to what effect, have politicians and advocacy groups created Web-based environments to wage campaigns? What frames are at the heart of these campaigns? To what extent, and with what frames, do the mainstream news media, including their news sites, cover these Web-based campaigns?

Do news sites of mainstream news media, or do non-mainstream Web-based news environments, offer digital tools that allow audience members to communicate their own frames to wider audiences? Does this sort of framing re-engage members of the public who are alienated from the mainstream media and/or political life in general?

Does the Web extend the potential of lower circulation opinion magazines to shape framing within the mainstream news media?

Does the Web extend the influence of media monitoring organizations (such as the Media Research Center or the Center for Media and Public Affairs) to hold the mainstream news media accountable to professional and/or democratic norms?

What role do Web-only political magazines (e.g., Slate or Salon) play in setting the agenda for mainstream news media?

The special issue is scheduled for publication in Fall 2008. Deadline for completed manuscripts is Tuesday, July 1, 2007. Submissions can be either electronic (.doc or .rtf format only, please) or hard copies (four copies and a detachable cover page with author's contact information). All submissions must conform to the specifications of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th Ed.

Hard copy submissions should be sent to:

Paul D'Angelo
Special Issue Editor, EJC
Department of Communication Studies
Kendall Hall 237
The College of New Jersey
P.O. Box 7718
Ewing, NJ 08628

For inquiries and email submissions:
--Phone/voicemail: 609-771-2480
--Email submissions to (Place author's contact information in an email to the editor only, not on the title page of the submission.)