Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Art and Design

First Advisor

Lisa Fontaine


There has been much discussion within the areas of media effects and journalism that has been focused on the issue of framing. Framing occurs when journalists employ various tactics in order to connect to their audience and enhance the understanding of a certain topic or event. These tactics include using particular grammar and vocabulary within the text that sets the tone for the story. The tactics can also include choosing particular visual imagery to engage the reader, although this is rarely discussed within media research. Graphic design research, which includes the study of iconography, semiotics and social semiotics, has determined that images carry vast amounts of information and meaning. This suggests that images can also lead to the promotion of a particular frame. When the frame of the image does not support the frame of the text the audience can receive a confusing or even contradicting message. This study combines media-framing research with that of graphic design in order to determine ways that visual framing can best be identified and analyzed. The result is a categorizing tool that informs the journalist how an image can play a part in the framing of a subject and emphasizes the importance of the decision concerning which image should accompany the text. This categorizing tool, which is proposed in the form of a brochure, guides the journalist through the process of identifying and rating the presence of visual framing components in order to determine whether or not an image is appropriate for the text. This process would be valuable when choosing images prior to print, or as a way of reflecting on how images have been used in past coverage.


Copyright Owner

Michael Onffroy Shelley



Date Available


File Format


File Size

94 pages