A screened window on the world? News framing in United States international coverage

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mass Communications


Pamela J. Shoemaker


News, Framing, International coverage

Subject Categories

International Relations | Journalism Studies | Mass Communication


This study examines U.S. international coverage about 26 countries in 2005 and investigates how country relations between the U.S. and these countries influence the U.S. news media's presentation. The study proposes a comprehensive theoretical model of international news and public opinion. It tests a part of the model, which concentrates on international interaction and news presentation of U.S. international coverage. The study is primarily based on news framing and international news research. Country relations are conceptualized as three dimensions: political interaction, economic interaction and cultural affinity. Media presentation is focused on the use of primary news frames, valence and prominence of U.S. international coverage. The study analyzed 780 news items from five U.S. news media sources: the New York Times , the Washington Post , ABC, CBS and NBC. It finds that three primary news frames, conflict, impact and human interest frames, are present in both newspaper and television coverage. However, the two media have significant differences in how much these news frames are used and how prominently they cover the 26 countries. The conflict and impact frames have inherently negative implications. Using the conflict and impact frame in newspapers leads to more prominent coverage, whereas using the impact frame increases television prominence. Political interaction between the U.S. and the 26 countries positively predicts newspaper prominence; cultural affinity positively predicts television prominence. Television coverage tends to be positive about countries with which the U.S. has close economic relations. An interactive relationship is found between valence and presence of primary news frames in influencing newspaper prominence.


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