Sourcing and framing

Every article is framed, whether you like it or not. Journalists choose who to talk to and who not to talk to in articles which causes frames.

Since frames are unavoidable, journalists shouldn’t concern themselves with with whether or not their article is framed. The better question: is a frame transparent, so readers don’t feel deceived, and is the frame done effectively? Any educated reader knows to seek out multiple viewpoints on an issue, so reading both “Smell of money” and “Bad air” adds different perspectives on the same issue. Both articles are framed effectively, but, on their own, they do not give the complete picture.

“Ya’ll smell that? That’s the smell of money”

Bryan Mealer frames the beginning of the story from his family’s point of view. He openly talks about his own perspective on oil booms and then launches into stories from others involved in oil booms, giving his own commentary on those stories. Mealer also uses official sources in his story, including the University of Texas. I like the use of “I” as it adds transparency to his reporting process, and, although he didn’t interview or write about everyone who was involved in oil booms, at least his writing style was honest. The frame in the piece clearly demonstrated he was writing from his own experiences and observations of big oil in Texas.

There only photo in the piece was of an oil truck rolling down a Texas highway. The photo shows the pervasiveness of oil in Texas.

“Big oil, bad air”

It’s worth mentioning that the framing in this article is done by three different news agencies, meaning many different perspectives went into creating this piece. The story begins with a personal lede, focusing on a how oil and gas booms affect a couple’s health. The story then uses “official statistics” frames, citing researched facts, and talks to scientists, another “official” source. After reading “Smell of money” I feel like I have a more complete understanding of the oil and gas boom story in Texas. These two stories alone, though, do not give the whole story of big oil in Texas.

The photos in “Big oil” give a distinctly anti-oil feel, predominantly using photos of people suffering from the environmental issues and big, ugly oil flames burning into the blue sky.


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