Framing the Financial Crisis: An unexpected interaction between the government and the press

Kajsa Falasca

Abstract


This study explores the dynamic interaction between government and news media in the frame-building process, the process of shaping journalistic news frames, during the financial crisis that erupted in September 2008. The unexpected as well as event-driven character of the financial crisis is expected to create dynamics that challenge journalists’ dependence on powerful political actors as the national government by opening up the news gate wider to various voices and perspectives. However, the findings of this study indicate unexpected results as the government dominates the frame-building process.
In order to empirically explore the frame-building process, this paper employs framing theory to analyse political actors’ messages and news media coverage. The study employs two sets of data, the first a content analysis of news coverage and the second a content analysis of political messages, during a three month period in Sweden following the eruption of the financial crisis. Overall, the results of this study indicate that powerful political actors’ ability to influence frame-building follows the predictable pattern of indexing also during an unexpected event thus limiting press independence.

Keywords


frame-building, event-driven news, indexing, official dominance, media independence.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15847/obsOBS812014752