Sie sind auf Seite 1von 46

Framing and scripting the IsraelPalestine conflict:

Perspectives from UK and US Newspapers


by Hendrik Bruno Weijenborg
10632360

UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM


AFSTUDEERPROJECT BACHELOR
PROJECT: POLITIEKE COMMUNICATIE EN JOURNALISTIEK: HOT ISSUES
DOCENTEN: L. BOS EN D. TRILLING

WORD COUNT: 7975


DATE: 11/01/2015

Framing and scripting the Israel-Palestine conflict:


Perspectives from UK and US Newspapers
Hendrik Bruno Weijenborg - 10632360
Universiteit van Amsterdam
Afstudeerproject Bachelor
Project: Politieke Communicatie en Journalistiek: Hot Issues
Docenten: L. Bos en D. Trilling

Abstract

This explorative research paper examines how selected Western news mediatwo newspapers, i.e.
The Times and The Timesapplied scripts and frames in online news reporting of the Gaza conflict of
2014. Dominant media frames and scripts were identified through content analysis of 222 online news
articles. Frames and scripts were compared across articles from these media, during a set time period,
to investigate the presence of frames and scripts in news media, and to analyse the role of framing and
scripting on online public discussion. The study revealed the strong presence of scripts and frames
in news items, and demonstrated some differences in the used scripts intensity therein between the
two different media, with The New York Times containing more scripts in articles than The Times.
Results show that both media applied the same frames without significant difference between the
two. The main pattern of framing included the Conflict frame, which together with the Palestinian
vulnerability and power script led to more online discussion among readers of both newspapers.

Introduction

In last summers Gaza war, over 2200 people were killed, of which 72 were Israeli and 66 of those were
soldiers. On the Palestinian side at least 1523 civilians were killed, of which 519 were children, the
remainder of 557 killed were militants (OCHA, 2014). This vast gap in casualties led to a change in
opinion of how Israel defended itself against rocket attacks from Hamas. Western media and public
opinion used to unanimously support Israel in the Israel-Palestine conflict and criticism on Israeli
politics was a sensitive topic (Pijpers, 2011; Barat, 2008).
Globalzation, competition, and the big role of little media have become inescapable facts of the
21st century and shape the way conflicts are presented in the media (Berenger, 2006; Blondheim &
Liebes, 2009; Calhoun, 2004). The way people discuss these conflicts has also changed along with
how news media report. The ability to comment on news has given new possibilities that are often
referred to as digital cafs or Public Sphere 2.0 (Ruiz et al. 2013). Since the public sphere as defined
by Habermas (1964) has expanded on the World Wide Web, people are able to discuss matters on
a global scale (Castells, 2011). As a consequence, regional conflicts are now not limited to a specific
region or country but by means of the Internet it has more impact on everyday lives around the world
(Crang, 2010). Most information and news is currently published on the Internet first, thus reaching
global audiences and adding new dimensions to traditional war reporting (Dimitrova & Neznanski,
2006). To supply the ever news-hungry readers, news outlets frame issues in such a way that it is
targeted at their audience.
The term framing has been used to label similar but different approaches of influencing media coverage
on audiences interpretation of news stories (Scheufele, 1999). Reporting on news (online and offline)
is often the subject of political controversy, due to the potential power of the images it conveys. In this
way the viewing or reading experience may reinforce pre-existing political views. It can help shape
and shift opinions on an issue on which one is poorly informed or has little interest (Graber, 2003).
Not only journalists influence what is in a newspaper article, individuals or parties that get quoted
or are paraphrased also influence what is in the article. These quotes and paraphrases are scripts
incorporated in newspapers articles. Israel or Palestine can use scripts to communicate messages
directly to the reader, without the message being changed or interpreted by a journalist or editor. An
individual or party to a conflict may use a different positioning or script in presenting itself in each of
these arenas (Blondheim & Shifman, 2009). Scripts are quotes or paraphrases in newspaper articles.
By incorporating certain scripts or paraphrasing individuals or parties, a newspaper article can tell

Introduction

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

a story in a particular way, and thus influence how an event is presented through the media to the
public. This type of influence has only been researched by Blondheim and Shifman (2009) and might
yield interesting results in combination with framing, as a script can be part of a particular frame.
Hamas is fully aware that images effectively influence world politics and public opinion, as it is widely
accepted that they use the media to zoom in on Palestinian suffering and the humanitarian crisis for
their own gain (Blondheim & Shifman, 2009). On the other hand, Israel is successful in being the
dominant party in framing the Palestinian people as terrorists (Sheafer & Gabay, 2009; Evans, 2010).
The type of scripts and frames a newspaper article contains affects the reader, and it affects the people
around that reader since he or she will also discuss certain information with the people around him
or her. This discussion does not only take place offline but also at the online comment sections under
newspaper articles. The fact that people are able to select what they read online and are commenting
on it is an indication that people are internalizing information. Since the information is interpreted
and formed into an argument or statement on the topic discussed in the article (Weber, 2013). It is
important that this discussion in the public sphere is investigated. This in order to determine in what
way the media influences people and in what way their commenting behaviour is different when
different scripts and/or frames are applied.
The above leads to the question: Does the way media apply scripts and frame issues about the IsraeliPalestinian conflict have an impact on the engagement of the audience in online public sphere? Until
now, research has focussed on commenting on online forums (Blom et al, 2014), and on the effect of
journalistic content on comments (Weber, 2013). Certain factors can predict the amount of comments,
such as the subject, exclusivity of the subject, negative subjects used and whether or not well-known
people are named (Diakopoulos & Naaman, 2011; Tsagkias, Richardson & Stanyer, 2011; Weerkamp
& de Rijke, 2009). Tsagkias, Weerkamp and de Rijke (2009, 2010) found that the content of news
articles predicts the number of comments. This paper seeks to investigate the effect of factors like
framing and scripting on the amount of comments and replies on online news articles, hereby adding
to Tsagkias, Weerkamp and de Rijkes model. Hereto, newspapers from the United Kingdom and the
United States of America are surveyed, spanning online newspapers and Internet articles archived in
a variety of digital repositories. In the next sections methods and materials are discussed, results are
reported, followed by a conclusion and discussion. But first, a theoretical fundament for the present
study is given.

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Introduction

Theoretical background

Media coverage, and sympathetic coverage in particular, is a pre-requisite for political influence.
Therefore, the struggle to gain access to the media has become an important element in modern
politics (Baum & Potter, 2008; Van Ham, 2003; Wolfsfeld, 1997). This fight takes place on a daily basis
and plays an important role in the international news media. When a conflict gets more attention than
another it means that the parties involved can influence the audience of the media.
Commentary and debate spaces are being the most widely offered participation opportunities in online
newspapers (Domingo et al., 2008). Commenting on the news is the most common form of citizen
participation in contemporary news use (Emmer et al., 2011). Online news websites are important
forums in the public sphere, since these create the opportunity for (inter)active communication that
is easy and accessible for ordinary users. Mass media have the ability to collectively communicate
relevant issues to large audiences and to facilitate the formation of public opinion (Gerhards &
Schfer, 2010). This opens up prospects for the visible and public discursive processing of news issues
by readers. It offers the possibility to investigate the type of frame of an article as independent variable,
and to focus on the effects of framing on the audience. In the present paper it is investigated how the
deployment of frames effects the public discursive processing of news issues by readers.
The topic of this paper is how information can be shaped by means of applying frames or scripts. It is
investigated if there is a difference between the amount of comments when a Conflict, Human-Interest,
Economic Consequences, Morality or Responsibility frame is applied in online news items on the Israeli
Palestine conflict of 2014. But first, it would be interesting to investigate the effect of congruent and
opposing scripts as used by a party to a conflict to presenting itself and as depicted by the online mass
media.
2.1 Scripts
It is necessary to recognise the scripts that are used by both the Israeli and the Palestinian actors within
the news articles. Scripts are quotes or paraphrases by either Palestinians or Israeli actors in newspaper
articles, scripts can be a way to directly communicate a message to the reader of the online newspaper,
thus influencing the opinion forming process of the reader.
Three different types of scripts are important for understanding the coverage of wars: power,
vulnerability and disaster (Blondheim & Shifman, 2009). First, the power script depicts the party as

Theoretical background

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

strong, resilient and destined to win the conflict. In contrast, the vulnerability script incorporates a
state of being susceptible to harm and disaster. This script is often used in asymmetrical conflicts
in which one party has far more (military) power and resources than the other. The disaster script
emphasizes massive destruction and the suffering of helpless victims. This third script is the most
dominant news positioning since WWII.
Generally, Hamas emphasized on the organizations real and potential power during conflicts. This
script functions to boost morale of the suffering citizens (Blondheim & Shifman, 2009). The Israeli
counterpart adopted mixed-scripting of both power and vulnerability (to threat). In recent years,
Hamas has changed its scripting, and added the disaster script, as it serves the world media continuous
loops of dramatic, often heart-rending footage underscoring disaster. Hamas spokesmen, supplement
the disaster script focused on human suffering, with a power scripting (Pintak, 2009; Blondheim &
Shifman, 2009).
In Israeli media, there is great resemblance between official (from the government) and media
scripts. To the international media, Israel wishes to promote its self-image as vulnerable, but their
success in doing so was very limited (Blondheim & Shifman, 2009). International media generally
presented Israel as a powerful entity that uses excessive force against powerless civilians. This mode
of presentation followed the well-known David and Goliath pattern (Liebes, 1992; Palmer, 1997),
in which the Palestinians are positioned as the underdog. In contrast, Hamas promoted the disaster
script along with the power script, by doing so ignoring the fundamental discrepancy between the
two scripts. The positioning of a party has to happen via a newspaper and the way a newspaper
determines whether the script might or might not be incorporated in a newspaper article. Dimitrova
and Strmbck (2005) found The New York Times to report more positively during the Iraq War
than its Swedish counterpart the Dages Nyheter. Not only did it report more positively, The New York
Times also reported more neutral than the Dages Nyheter.
Material used in this research originates from The New York Times and The Times. These newspapers
have different ways of reporting the news. The Times tends to be of more conservative and right-wing
oriented (Khosravinik, 2010), whereas The New York Times possesses a more progressive and liberal
ideology (Gentzkow & Shapiro, 2010; Pan et al., 2010; Puglisi, 2011). There has been no previous
research on the way The New York Times and The Times report on the Israel-Gaza conflict and

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Theoretical background

therefore there is no ground to formulate any concrete expectations on differences between the two.
How scripts are adopted into news reporting in The Times and The New York Times and what possible
differences exist between the two will be investigated using the following hypotheses, based on the
findings of Blondheim & Shifman (2009):
H1a: The Palestinians use the vulnerability script more than the Israelis to emphasise
their victim role in the conflict.
H1b: The Israeli army uses the power script to intimidate the Palestinians and show
dominance in the media.
H1c: The Palestinians use the disaster to emphasize on the massive and indiscriminate
bombing of civilians.

It is also worth researching whether there is any difference between The New York Times and The
Times in the scripts used in their newspaper articles. Therefore the next research question is:
RQ1: To what extent does The Times differ from The New York Times in the scripts that
are included in their articles?
When scripts are present in an article, it is likely that there has been made an editorial choice to use the
script in such a way that it fits the article as a whole. This might strengthen the way an article depicts
a conflict and in what way it might influence the reader of the article. This construct is called framing.
2.2 Frames
Framing differs significantly from the other media effects accessibility-based models; agenda setting
and priming. These models are built on the assumption that people form attitudes based on the
considerations that are most accessible when they make decisions (Hastie & Park, 1986). Framing, is
based on the assumption that how an issue is characterized in news reports can influences the way it is
understood by its audience (Pan & Kosicki, 1993; Tuchman, 1978; Goffman, 1974). The term framing
describes the power of communicating text. By analyzing frames it is possible to elucidate how the
transfer of information can influence human consciousness (Entman, 1993). Entman introduced the
definition: to frame is to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a

Theoretical background

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

communicating text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation,
moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation (p. 52). Much research has been conducted on
news frames, and issue frames in particular. For instance, Cappella and Jamieson (1997) describe news
frames as those rhetorical and stylistic choices, reliably identified in news, that alter the interpretations
of the topics treated and are a consistent part of the news environment. Frames that are often found in
coverage of political campaigns are strategic or game frames (Patterson 1993). Other news frames are,
conflict as defined by Price and Tewksbury (1997) or episodic versus thematic frames as distinguished
by Iyengar (1991).
Semetko and Valkenburg (2000) suggested a number of new frames that are commonly used in
political media reporting. These are: (1) Conflict frame, (2) Human-Interest frame, (3) Economic
Consequences frame, (4) Morality frame and (5) Responsibility frame. These frames have been chosen
due to their relevance to political articles and since these were the most commonly used frames in
political articles (Semetko & Valkenburg, 2000).
The Conflict frame emphasizes the conflict between individuals, institutions and groups with the aim
of capturing the attention of the public. The Human-Interest frame brings an emotional angle or a
human face to the presentation of an issue, problem or an event. This frame refers to an effort to
personalize, dramatize or even emotionalize the news to generate the public attention and to keep
it. The third frame, the Economic consequences frame, reports a problem, issue or an event in terms
of economic consequences on an individual, a group, region or country. The economical impact of
an event is often an important news value and therefor deserves the attention in news reporting.
The Morality frame is about the context of a problem, issue or an event; this is of religious tenets or
moral prescriptions. This frame is used by quoting individuals or groups that have interesting views
on a certain topic that the audience might find interesting. The last frame that is used in political
news reporting is the Responsibility frame. It portrays a problem or issue in such a way to ascribe
responsibility for its cause or solution to either an individual or group or the government.
To investigate whether these newspapers differ in reporting Gaza 2014 events, the following research
questions are formulated:

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Theoretical background

RQ2: What are the frames used in both The Times and The New York Times newspaper
articles?
RQ2.a: What is or are the predominantly used frame(s) in The New York Times
newspaper articles?
RQ2.b: What is or are the predominantly used frame(s) in The Times newspaper
articles?
2.3 The effect of frames on citizen participation
There is much variety in citizen comment strategy among online news mass media. Some media only
allow comments on blogs, columns and forums, or have a variable comment moderation strategy,
based on the sensitivity of the news topic (e.g. Le Monde and The Times). Whereas other online
newspapers like The Guardian, USA Today, De Volkskrant, and de Tijd provide extensive comment
features. Those media allow readers comments on many -if not all- articles, especially on those
articles that are displayed on the front Web page or on the first sub-section Web page. The Guardian
also has a separate section, Comment is Free, which collects all the opinion and comment material
produced for the Guardian. This allows reader comments on all opinion and comment material. Some
online mass media (e.g. The Guardian, USA Today) enable the audience to recommend comments it
finds interesting (Doming et al, 2008). The number of user-supplied comments on a news article may
be indicative of its importance, interestingness, or impact.
Former research has explored different aspects of the comment space dynamics. Recently various
prediction tasks and correlation studies have been conducted in online media. Kaltenbrunner et al.
(2007) measured community response time in terms of comment activity on Slashdot stories, and
discovered regular temporal patterns in commenting behaviour. Their research failed to identify
whether these patterns had anything to do with the moment of publishing and the consecutives amount
of time needed to read the article and comment on it. Lee and Salamatian (2008) demonstrated
that the amount of comments in a discussion thread is inversely proportional to its lifespan after
experimenting with clustering threads for two online discussion forums, and for a social networking
site. A critical note is that three very different forums were researched and therefore display very
different commenting behaviour and thus cannot be compared directly with one another. Tsagkias,
Weerkamp and de Rijke (2009) investigated if comment volume of news articles could be predicted
prior to publication using five feature sets (surface, cumulative, textual, semantic, and real-world).

10

Theoretical background

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

They reported on their individual and combined performance on two classification tasks: Classify
articles according to whether they will (i) generate comments, and (ii) receive few or many comments.
Textual and semantic features proved to be strong performers, and the combination of all features led
to more robust classification. In a subsequent study by Tsagkias, Weerkamp and de Rijke (2010) the
focus was on online news articles plus the comments they generate. The results showed that prediction
of the long-term comment volume is possible with small error after 10 source-hours observation.
No studies have been published that concern the amount of comments generated by online news
articles and the influence of framing thereon, some aspects and influences of framing effects have
been studied. Nor were there any studies other than Blondheim & Shifman (2009) that have been
conducted on scripts or their subsequent effects. Research conducted on news frames and their
resonance in public conversation and opinion has shown that frames are negotiated and contested
in peoples discussions, and that their frames also come from other sources than media (i.e.
popular wisdom and experiential knowledge) (Gamson, 1992; Zhou & Moy, 2006). On the basis of
extensive interviews and focus group discussions, Gamson (1992) identified contending frames in his
respondents conversations: dominant frames evoked by government and critical frames derived from
respondents as an articulation of experimental knowledge, popular wisdom and media discourse.
Iyengar (1991) found that episodic frames in television news make viewers less likely to hold public
officials accountable for certain problems and also less likely to hold them responsible for alleviating
it. Recent experimental studies on the effect of frame effects on cognitive, affective and behavioural
variables have not accumulated similar evidence as to whether frames do affect variables of the
audience in the public sphere (for a review see Vliegenthart and van Zoonen, 2011). Lecheler (2010),
did test news framing effects over time and found that especially for individuals with moderate levels
of political knowledge, attitude changes resulting from exposure to news material were persistent over
a period of at least two weeks. Price et al. (2005) investigated how discussion in three types of groups
(conservative, liberal, and mixed ideological) developed after subjects were exposed to different
frames of gay and lesbian partnerships. The study demonstrated that the effect of a particular frame
appeared to be contingent on the ideological make-up of the group. The results from this study suggest
there is only a moderate influence of frames. Although research has demonstrated that certain news
factors have an effect on the amount of comments by the audience (Weber, 2013), current research on
frame-effects has not yet produced a thorough understanding of whether and how particular frames
influence individuals and their behaviour in certain circumstances, under particular conditions. It is
largely unknown what the influence is of framing on online citizen participation, and to be specific on

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Theoretical background

11

public discursive processing of news issues. Online discussion consists of the number of comments
divided by the number of reactions as proposed by Ksiazek, Peer and Lessard (2014). This results in
a ratio of Replies that indicates amount of discussion present in the comment section under online
newspaper articles.
RQ3: Do the used scripts and frames in The Times and The New York Times have an
effect on online discussion?
RQ3a: Do the used scripts in The Times and The New York Times have an effect
on online discussion?
RQ3b: Do the frames in The Times and The New York Times have an effect on
online discussion?

12

Theoretical background

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Method

In order to answer the proposed research question and test the hypotheses, online newspaper articles
were analyzed. The analysis is done via a quantitative content analysis. This is a method commonly
used for research on mass communication (Lombard, Snyder-Duch & Bracken, 2002). Berelson
(1952) proposed that quantitative content analysis is the best method for obtaining latent and manifest
content from large quantities of newspaper articles. Present research looks at used frames and scripts,
and on the other hand at the level of discussion in the comment sections when provided under the
newspaper articles.
The articles used in this research were all posted online on the websites of The Times and The New
York Times between the first of July and the end of September 2014. Both American and British
newspapers paid a lot of attention on the Gaza conflict. Different media have accused one another
of biased news reporting and not showing the full picture of the conflict, some even going as far
as accusing media of picking sides on the conflict (Plunkett, 2014). The Gaza conflict is a part of a
conflict that has been going on for decades between Israel and Palestine. Since this conflict has ignited
the discussion on the Gaza conflict and rekindled the discussion on the conflict between Israel and
Palestine as a whole it is expected that online comments and reactions would be abundant. The cause
of the recent conflict was the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenage boys by Hamas. Initially
Hamas denied the allegations. Later an exiled Hamas leader acknowledged their involvement in the
murder of the teenagers (Hopkins, 2014).
3.1 Sample
The sample of newspaper articles consists of The New York Times from the United States and The
Times from the United Kingdom. These newspapers were selected due to their high standard of
quality and high number of subscribers, resulting in high chances of people commenting and reacting.
Another very strict requirement that these newspapers met was the ability to access the entire online
database. However, this was not the case with a lot of newspapers that were as suiting or perhaps more
suitable as comparison between the two chosen newspapers. The New York Times and The Times
both contained online news articles about the Gaza conflict and in the set time period.
The sample universe consisted of all online articles published by both The New York Times and
The Times between the first of July and the thirtieth of September this year (2014) on the Gaza
conflict. Both The Times and The New York Times the websites newspaper articles databases were

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Method

13

independently searched for the search queries Gaza and Israel. The results of these search queries
were downloaded. Since many articles shared both search terms used, duplicate articles were removed
from the dataset. Subsequently, an application was used to sift through the data looking for articles
containing either Palest* OR Gaza OR Israel. Articles that contained less than eleven of either of
words were deleted from the sample. The Times and The New York Times were in part selected for
their extensive comment functions, therefore articles were not selected on the basis of the presence of
comments in the newspaper article. This resulted in a sample of 235 articles from The Times and 387
articles from The New York Times that were coded and used for analysis. Using an online randomizer
for each newspaper 150 articles were selected, of these 150 online articles 39 were not relevant. This
resulted by chance in 111 online newspaper articles per newspaper. The comment sections of online
newspaper articles were the units of analysis. Both the sampling-units and registration-units were
made up of the newspaper articles on the Gaza conflict, including images that came with the articles.
The context-unit was the content of the newspaper article, the only information used by the coders
was explicitly found in the article and included in the analysis. Previous knowledge of the subject was
not taken into account when interpreting the content of the newspaper articles.
3.2 Measurements
3.2.1 Scripts
To measure what script is present in the online newspaper article a set of questions was constructed
that could be answered with either Yes or No. The questions were all related to the power script, the
vulnerability script and the disaster script. These types of scripts were derived from Blondheim and
Shifman (2009), who identified these types of scripts being used. Each script was appointed a series
of questions for both the Palestinian and Israeli side of the conflict to determine whether the script
was present in the newspaper article. If a question was answered with more Yes answers than No
answers the script was present in the article. All questions are added as attachment (Appendix D). The
hypotheses were formulated according to the findings of Blondheim & Shifman (2009).
3.2.2 Framing
A set of questions was constructed that could be answered with either Yes or No. The questions were
all related to previously mentioned frames: (1) Conflict frame, (2) Human-Interest frame, (3) Economic
Consequences frame, (4) Morality frame and (5) Responsibility frame. Each frame was appointed a
number of questions developed by Semetko and Valkenburg (2000) that have been used in many

14

Method

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

social studies. Afterwards a scale was constructed to indicate whether a frame was present or not.
When a frame received more Yes answered on the questions, the frames presence increased. All
questions are added as attachment (Appendix D).
3.2.3 Online comments and reactions
To measure possible interactivity among online newspaper readers comments and reactions on
comments were gathered from the online newspaper articles. A comment was counted when a person
commented on the online news article by functions offered by one of the two newspapers. A reaction
was counted when someone mentioned another users in its comment, an @-symbol was used or it
was in another way clear that a person reacted on a previous comment made. Due to limitations on
available newspapers at the time of this research a method by Ksiazek, Peer and Lessard (2014) was
used. They suggested a Ratio of Replies (M=2.10 & SD=3.46), by means of dividing the number of
comments by the number of reactions (e.g. 10 comments and 1 reaction amounts to a Ratio of Replies
of 10/1= 0,10).
3.2.4 Number of words
The length of an article was also noted in order to check if this had any effects on the amount of online
discussion. The length of an article was determined by counting the number of words of an article
(M= 913.70, SD=457.72). Word count for chrome was used to count the number of words.
3.3 Validity and reliability
The measure used for intercoder reliability is the Krippendorfs Alpha. To assure the highest possible
reliability of the coding by the three coders a series of training sessions were organized to make sure
that the coders were on the same page on which code meant what. Measurements indicated whether
the questions of the codebook in fact measured the frames or whether they measured something
else. Due to the questions being of dichotomous nature, a factor analysis and reliability analysis was
not possible (Appendix A). The same accounts for questions concerning scripts and comments and
replies. In order to measure the validity and reliability of these variables the Mokken scale analysis was
used. The scales that were constructed for scripts were not all reliable due to the explorative nature
of these self-constructed scales; in the process some items were not incorporated in further analysis
(Appendix B).

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Method

15

3.4 Analysis
Krippendorf s Alpha was calculated to determine the intercoder reliability. This has determined
whether the three coders coded the newspaper articles in the same structured manner. When a
Krippendorf s Alpha has a minimal value of 0,60 it is a reliably coded item. The values of the coded
items for this research varied from 0,344 to 1,00. In case of the of dichotomous variables that were
coded rarely with values of 0 or 1 the Krippendorf s Alpha tends to be low, even though little errors
were made by the coders (de Swert, 2012). As can be seen in Appendix A. Table 1, it occurred several
times that items were coded 0 and thus generated low Alphas. The solution for this was to calculate
the percentage of agreement among coders, percentage agreement is the sum of 1s divided by total
number of scores available multiplied by 100.

For each script and frame it was determined whether the questions that were used for measuring their
presences correlated sufficiently. These measurements confirmed or denied whether the proposed
scales measured what they should measure, or perhaps measured something else. Due to the use of
dichotomous variables (0 = no and 1=yes), the variables were not distributed normally. Therefore the
use of a regular factor analysis and reliability analysis was not possible. The method opted for was
the Mokken scale analysis, which offers the ability to compute reliability and validity of scales. The
Mokken scale analyses indicated that not all items were usable to construct scales. The scripts and
frames that were usable for further scale construction and analysis can be found in Appendix B. The
H-coefficient must be above 0.40 to construct an average and usable scale; progressively a coefficient
of 0.50 and higher makes for a strong scale.
3.4.1 Scripts
Reliable scales were constructed by calculating the means (see Table 1); disaster script Palestine
(M=.42, SD=.41), power script Palestine (M=.36, SD=.36), vulnerability script Palestine (M=.31,
SD=.34) and power script Israel (M=.43, SD=.31).
3.4.2 Frames
Reliable scales were constructed by calculating the means (see Table 2); Responsibility frame (M=.40,
SD=.32), Human-Interest frame (M=.57, SD=.37), Economic Consequences frame (M=.20, SD=.26),
Morality frame (M=.40, SD=.40) and the Conflict frame (M=.68, SD=.36).

16

Method

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Results 4

4.1 Scripts
To answer the hypotheses, insight is given to what extent scripts are present in both The Times and the
New York Times. As H1a predicted the Palestinians and/or Hamas use the vulnerability script more
than the Israelis (M=.31, SD=.34). H1b was confirmed as it was also the only script used by both The
Times and The New York Times (M=.43, SD=.31). As H1c predicted, the disaster script was used by
the Palestinians (M=.42, SD=.41). To answer RQ1, there are very little differences in the way The New
York Times and The Times incorporated scripts in their newspaper articles. As a whole, The New
York Times articles contained more scripts than The Times, with a significant difference between the
uses of the power scripts in quotes and/or paraphrases from Palestinians t(105.709)=-2,60, p=0,011,
CI[-3,10, -0,42]. In total 220 articles were analysed but not all incorporated quotes or paraphrases
originating from either side of the conflict. This explains the low number of scripts in comparison to
the total number of articles.

4.2 Frames
Secondly, insight is given on the prominence of the frames in both The Times and the Times New
York. As table 2 indicates, no significant differences between the two newspapers on used frames
were found. To answer RQ2, the least used frame in both The Times and The New York Times was
the Economic Consequences frame, followed by the Morality frame, Responsibility frame, Humaninterest frame and the most present frame was the Conflict frame.

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Results

17

4.3 Number of comments and replies


Both variables number of comments (M=75.7, SD=102.50, Skewness=2.30, Kurtosis=6.41) and
number of replies (M=203.93, SD=283.14, Skewness=1.79, Kurtosis=2.70), are non-normally
distributed. To gain insight in the difference of comments and replies in both The Times and
The New York Times an independent t-test was done. In order to perform an independent t-test,
variables must be normally distributed. To make this possible the use of logarithms was applied
to normally distribute number of comments (M=3.24, SD=1.66) and number of replies (M=4.26,
SD=1.83).
The New York Times allowed its readers fewer times to comment on articles than The Times. The
New York Times allowed its readers to comment on 31 articles, in contrast The Times allowed for
comments on 108 articles.
This showed that articles from the New York Times (M=5.40, SD=0.41) received more comments
than The Times (M=2.62, SD=1.33). This is difference in comments posted is significant,
t(136,146)=-18,75, p<0,000, CI[-3,07, -2,49].
Articles received not only comments, but also replies. The t-test shows that on average the
comment sections of the New York Times received more replies (M=5.95, SD=.84), than
comment sections of The Times (M=3.74 SD=1.74). This is a significant difference, t(107,54)=9,70, p<0,000, CI[-2,65, -1,75].

18

Results

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

4.4 Ratio of replies


These results indicate that articles in the New York Times receive more comments and replies.
These results are based on absolute numbers, this does not mean that the ratio between comments
and replies is higher with the New York Times than The Times. As previously suggested, the
Ratio of Replies is used to be able to compare the two newspapers. The Ratio of Replies (M=2.10,
SD=3.46, Skewness=5.26, Kurtosis=45.53) was not normally distributed and therefore a logarithm
was applied (M=.90, SD=.85).
An independent t-test was done between the ratio of replies of The Times and the ratio of replies
of The New York Times to indicate the differences in online discussion. Results showed that
compared to the New York Times (M=.55, SD=.74), the comment sections of The Times (M=1.01,
SD=.86) had more online discussions, and this difference was significant, t(56,480)=2,93,
p=0,005, CI[0,15, 0,78].
4.5 Effects on online discussion
The aim of this research is to find out whether it is possible to predict the amount of online
discussion by the presence of scripts, frames and which of the two newspapers the article is from.
4.5.1 Effects of scripts on comments and replies
There is a significant effect of present scripts on the numbers of comments in the online comment
sections. Model 1 in Table 3 indicates that the Palestinian power Script is the best predictor of
the amount of online comments, without checking which newspaper the article is from. The
Palestinian vulnerability script also indicates a significant effect on amount of comments. When
checking for the type of newspaper in Model 2 the R2 of the model increased from .342 to .520,
an R Square change of .178. However, the effect of both scripts disappears entirely when taking
into account the type of newspaper. This means scripts are of lesser importance when it comes
to online comments.

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Results

19

There is a significant effect of present scripts on the number of replies in the comment section
under online newspaper articles. Table 4 indicates that the vulnerability script is a good predictor
of the amount of replies on comments on online newspaper articles. When checking for the
type of newspaper the R2 of the model increased from .286 to .404, an R Square change of .118.
The effect of scripts on replies is still the best predictor when taking into account the type of
newspaper. This means that readers that reply are mostly influenced by the Palestinian power
script that leads them to reply on comments more.

20

Results

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

4.5.2 Effects of scripts and frames on online discussion


Firstly, to answer RQ3a, no effects of scripts on the ratio of replies in the comment section on
online newspaper articles in either of the newspapers, F(5, 39)=1.46, p=0,228. The regression
model is therefore not suitable for further analysis, since controlling for any variables did not
yield any significant results.
Secondly Table 5, Model 1 shows frames have no significant effect on online discussion
F(5,116)=1.08, p=0,375. When type of newspaper is added in Model 2, significant effects were
found between the type of newspaper and Human Interest Frame on the amount of online
discussion. Whenever the type of newspaper was The New York Times, the amount of online
discussion decreased. In The New York Times the Ratio of Replies decreased with 0,56, which
means more online discussion than in The Times. Model 3 indicates that the type of newspaper
still was the greatest predictor of online discussion followed by the length of an article, expressed
in number of words.

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Results

21

As Table 6 shows the amount of online discussion can be predicted by a number of variables,
whenever there is a decrease in the disaster script, online discussion will increase. In contrast,
when there is an increase in vulnerability script used, the amount of online discussion will
increase significantly, F(7, 30)=2.63, p=0,030. This also applies to the presence of the HumanInterest frame and Conflict frame. No additional effects were found when controlling whether
the article originated from The Times or The New York Times, F(8, 29)=2.30, p=0,048. The
model suggests that the presence of scripts and frames can both negatively and positively predict
the amount of online discussion that might result from reading a newspaper article in either The
Times or The New York Times.

22

Results

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Results

23

Conclusion & discussion

The present study was aimed at investigating how media apply scripts, and frame issues about the
2014-Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and whether this has an impact on the engagement of the audience
in the online public sphere. The Palestinian power and vulnerability scripts are the best predictors of
the amount of online comments and replies. Scripts had no effect on online discussion, whereas the
human interest frame in combination with type of newspaper and the length of an article were indeed
good predictors of online discussion. When combined the Palestinian disaster and vulnerability scripts
and the human interest and conflict frames were good predictors for online discussion.
The most used script by the Palestinians is indeed the vulnerability script, intended to emphasise their
victim role in the conflict. As research has shown (Blondheim & Shifman, 2009), this vulnerability
script is particularly relevant to asymmetrical conflict in which one side has far more military power
than the other, or in which one sides defenses are incompatible with the others assault capabilities.
The second most used script by the Palestinians is the disaster script. Since the disaster script has
a triangular relation with the power and vulnerability script (Blondheim & Shifman, 2009), and
can therefore actually be seen as a derivative of these latter two. Either script may be constructed
as the ultimate consequence of the other two. In the context of the Gaza 2014 war coverage, when
vulnerability escalates to disaster in the Palestinian scripting, the scripting of the Israeli must be the
power script. Results of the present study indeed confirm this was the case. Moreover, the power
script was found to be the only used script by the Israeli. This is remarkable, since former research has
demonstrated that Israel also tried to highlight its vulnerability during the earlier fighting between
Israel and the Hamas in the Gaza strip between December 2008 and January 2009. This difference
between the media scripting then and now may reflect a change in Israeli governments course or The
Times and The New York Times themselves could have adopted independent scripts, contesting the
Israelis governments narrative. Future studies should be conducted to be conclusive about this.
Research by Lecheler (2010) on news framing effects over time found that individuals with moderate
levels of political knowledge, attitude changed resulting from exposure to news material were
persistent over a period of at least two weeks. Price et al. (2005) investigated how discussion developed
after subjects were exposed to different frames of gay and lesbian partnerships. Although Weber
(2013) demonstrated that certain news factors have an effect on the amount of comments by the
audience. Present research adds the effect of scripts and frames on the amount of online discussion in
the comment sections of The Times and The New York Times.

24

Conclusion & discussion

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

The results of this explorative and relational research show that frames and scripts indeed become
embedded within texts of newspapers like The Times and New York Times. Analysis of frames
and scripts illuminates the precise way how human conscious can be influenced by the transfer (or
communication) of information from sender to receiver (Entman, 1993), as the idea of framing and
scripting is based on the assumption that messages can be organized in a certain fashion, hereby
affecting subsequent thinking about a given subject. This makes the deployment of frames and scripts
an ideal tool for political communication.
It is important to consider the large degree of overlap between frames and scripts and between the
various definitions of frames just surveyed. Nevertheless, it is clear that media use scripts and frames
in a different intensity. The Palestinian vulnerability script and Palestinian power script are good
predictors for comments and replies, but were nullified by the type of newspaper. Future studies,
preferably making use of controlled experimental manipulations, should investigate to what extent
framing and scripting does indeed influence the public and what frames and scripts are particularly
effective. In addition, future research should focus on what the effects of scripts within the journalist
profession as a whole since there is no existing research apart from Blondheim & Shifman (2009).
Future research on scripts should focus on what the effects of scripts within the journalist profession
as a whole since there is no existing research apart from Blondheim & Shifman (2009).
Although this study highlights the potential utility of frames and scripts, limitations of the study must
be considered before definitive inferences can be made. For example, the present study is limited
by exclusive focus on two newspapers that both are located in English speaking countries. Future
research should expand on this by perhaps adding newspapers that are written in a different language.
As suggested by Blondheim & Shifman (2009), three important arenas of war communications are the
homefront (e.g. each protagonists own media turf), the opponents media field, and the media of the
rest-of the-world. The present study only investigated the coverage of the contemporary war in Gaza
in this third category. Another limitation was the amount of features and possibilities offered by these
newspapers to comment. Domingo et al. (2008) stated that commentary and debate spaces are being
the most widely offered participation opportunities in online newspapers. This statement seems very
dated statement since very little articles on The New York Times websites allowed for comment and
replies to be posted. For future research it might yield better results when the number opportunities
to comment is equal amongst the newspapers.

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Conclusion & discussion

25

Concluding, this explorative research has given insight in the way of news reporting by The Times
and The New York Times on the Gaza Conflict. The content analysis using frames and the concept
scripts has yielded interesting results and confirmed existing findings on frames and scripts used.
Additionally, this research successfully identified relationships between scripts and frames and online
discussion.

26

Conclusion & discussion

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

References

Barat, F., (2008). Verandert de openbare mening ten aanzien van Isral? (http://vl.attac.be/
article1161.html).
Baum, M. A., & Potter, P. B. K. (2008). The relationship between mass media, public opinion, and
foreign policy: Toward a theoretical synthesis. Annual Review of Political Science, 11, 3965.
Bennett, W. L., & Livingston, S. (2003). Gatekeeping, indexing, and live-event news: Is technology
altering the construction of news? Political Communication, 20, 359362.
Berelson, B. (1952). Content analysis in communication research. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.
Berenger, R. D. (2006). Introduction: War in cyberspace.Journal of ComputerMediated
Communication,12, 176-188.
Blondheim, M., & Liebes, T. (2009). Television news and the nation: The end?.The Annals of the
American Academy of Political and Social Science,625, 182-195.
Blondheim, M., & Shifman, L. (2009). What officials say, what media show, and what publics get:
Gaza, January 2009.The Communication Review,12, 205-214.
Calhoun, C. (2004). 11 Information Technology and the International Public Sphere.Shaping the
network society: The new role of civil society in cyberspace, 229.
Cappella, J. A., & Jamieson, K. H. (1997). Spiral of cynicism. New York: Oxford University Press.
Castells, M. (2011) Communication Power, Oxford University Press, Oxford
Crang, M., (2010). Cyberspace as the new public domain. In: Urban Diversity: Space, Culture and
Inclusive Pluralism in Cities Worldwide. Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars, John
Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, 99122.
Diakopoulos, N., Naaman, M. (2011). Towards quality discourse in online news comments.

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

References

27

Symposium conducted at the ACM 2011 conference on Computer supported cooperative work,
Huangzhou, China.
Dimitrova, D. V., & Strmbck, J. (2005). Mission accomplished? Framing of the Iraq War in the
elite newspapers in Sweden and the United States.Gazette, 67, 399-417.
Dimitrova, D. V., & Neznanski, M. (2006). Online journalism and the war in cyberspace:
A comparison between US and international newspapers.Journal of ComputerMediated
Communication,12, 248-263.
Domingo, D., Quandt, T., Heinonen, A., Paulussen, S., Singer, J. B., & Vujnovic, M. (2008).
Participatory journalism practices in the media and beyond: An international comparative study of
initiatives in online newspapers.Journalism practice,2, 326-342.
Eilders C (2006) News factors and news decisions. Communications: The European Journal of
Communication Research. 31, 524.
Emmer, M., Vowe, G., Wolling, J., & Seifert, M. (2011). Brger online: Die Entwicklung der
politischen Online-Kommunikation in Deutschland [Citizen online: The development of the
political online communication in Germany].Konstanz: UVK.
Entman, R. M. (1993). Framing: Toward clarification of a fractured paradigm. Journal of
Communication, 43, 5158.
Entman, R. M. (2003). Cascading activation: Contesting the White Houses frame after 9/11. Political
Communication, 20, 415432.
Entman, R. M. (2004). Projections of power: Framing news, public opinion, and U.S. foreign policy.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Entman, Robert M. (2007) "Framing bias: Media in the distribution of power."Journal of
Communication57.1: 163-173.

28

References

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Evans, M. (2010). Framing international conflicts: Media coverage of fighting in the Middle
East.International Journal of Media & Cultural Politics,6, 209-233.
Fraser, N. (1990). Rethinking the public sphere: A contribution to the critique of actually existing
democracy.Social text, 56-80.
Galtung, J., & Ruge, M. H. (1965). The structure of foreign news. The presentation of the Congo,
Cuba and Cyprus crises in four Norwegian newspapers. Journal of Peace Research, 2, 6491.
Gamson W (1992) Talking Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gentzkow, M., & Shapiro, J. M. (2010). What drives media slant? Evidence from US daily
newspapers.Econometrica,78, 35-71.
Gerhards, J., and M. S. Schfer. (2010). Is the internet a better public sphere? Comparing old and
new media in the USA and Germany. New Media & Society 12, 143 160.
Graber, D. A. (2003). Processing politics: Learning from politics in the Internet age. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.
Goffman, E. (1974).Frame analysis: An essay on the organization of experience. Harvard University
Press.
Habermas, J., Lennox, S., & Lennox, F. (1974). The public sphere: An encyclopedia article
(1964).New German Critique, 49-55.
Hopkins, S. (2014) Israeli special forces kill Hamas militants suspected of murder of three teenagers
after they storm their West Bank hideout. Daily Mail. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article2766072/2-suspects-abduction-Israeli-teens-killed.html)
Iyengar S (1991) Is anyone responsible? How television frames political issues. Chicago, IL:
University of Chicago Press.

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

References

29

Jamieson, K. H. (1992). Dirty politics. New York: Oxford University Press.


Kaltenbrunner, A., Gmez, V., Moghnieh, A., Meza, R., Blat, J., & Lpez, V. (2007). Homogeneous
temporal activity patterns in a large online communication space.arXiv preprint arXiv:0708.1579.
Kosicki, G. M. (2002). Resurveying the boundaries of political communications effects.Media
Effects: Advances in Theory and Research, 215.
Lawrence, R. G. (2000). Game-framing the issues: Tracking the strategy frame in public policy
news.Political Communication,17, 93-114.
Lecheler S (2010) Framing Politics. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam.
Lee, J. G., & Salamatian, K. (2008, December). Understanding the characteristics of online
commenting. InProceedings of the 2008 ACM CoNEXT Conference. 59.
Liebes, T. (1992). Our war/their war: Comparing the Intifadeh and the Gulf War on U.S. and Israeli
television. Critical Studies in Mass Communication, 9.
Lombard, M., SnyderDuch, J., & Bracken, C. C. (2002). Content analysis in mass communication:
Assessment and reporting of intercoder reliability.Human communication research,28, 587-604.
Messing, S., & Westwood, S. J. (2012). Selective exposure in the age of social media: Endorsements
trump partisan source affiliation when selecting news online.Communication Research,
0093650212466406.
Neuman, W. R., Just, M. R., & Crigler, A. N. (1992). Common knowledge. Chicago: University of
Chicago Press.
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs occupied Palestinian territory,
Humanitarian Bulletin Monthly REPOR (2014). (http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_
the_humanitarian_monitor_2014_10_03_english.pdf)

30

References

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Palmer, A. W. (1997). The Arab image in newspaper political cartoons. In Y. R. Kamalipour (Ed.),
The U.S. media and the Middle East: Image and perception (139150). Westport, CT: Praeger.
Pan, Z., & Kosicki, G. M. (2001). Framing as a strategic action in public deliberation.Framing public
life: Perspectives on media and our understanding of the social world, 35-65.
Pan, P. L., Meng, J., & Zhou, S. (2010). Morality or equality? Ideological framing in news coverage of
gay marriage legitimization.The Social Science Journal,47, 630-645.
Patterson, T. E. (1993). Out of order: An incisive and boldly original critique of the news medias
domination of Americas political process. New York: Vintage.
Patterson, T. E. (1994). Out of order. New York: Vintage.
Pijpers, A., (2011). Isral raakt helemaal niet in isolement. (http://www.clingendael.nl/publication/
isra%C3%ABl-raakt-helemaal-niet-isolement)
Pintak, L. (2009). Arab media wars. Hamas, Fatah, and the Arab mediaworld. Colombia Journalism
Review. Retrieved from: http://www.cjr.org/campaign_desk/arab_media_wars.php
Plunkett, J. (2014, July 16). BBC defends coverage on Israeli airstrikes in Gaza after bias accusations.
The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com
Price, V., & Tewksbury, D. (1997). News values and public opinion: A theoretical account of media
priming and framing.Progress in communication sciences, 173-212.
Price V, Nir L and Cappella JN (2005) Framing public discussion of gay civil unions. Public Opinion
Quarterly, 69, 179212.
Richardson, J.E., & Stanyer, J. (2011). Reader opinion in the digital age: Tabloid and broadsheet
newspaper websites and the exercise of political voice. Journalism, 12, 983-1003.

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

References

31

Scheufele, D. A. (1999). Framing as a theory of media effects.Journal of Communication,49, 103122.


Semetko, H. A., & Valkenburg, P. M. (2000). Framing European politics: A content analysis of press
and television news. Journal of Communication, 50, 93-109.
Sheafer, T., & Gabay, I. (2009). Mediated public diplomacy: A strategic contest over international
agenda building and frame building.Political Communication,26, 447-467.
Tuchman, G. (1978). Making news. New York: Free Press.
Tsagkias, M., Weerkamp, W., & De Rijke, M. (2009, November). Predicting the volume of comments
on online news stories. InProceedings of the 18th ACM conference on Information and knowledge
management. 1765-1768. ACM.
Tsagkias, M., Weerkamp, W., & De Rijke, M. (2010). News comments: Exploring, modeling, and
online prediction. InAdvances in Information Retrieval. 191-203. Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
Van Ham, P. (2003). War, lies and videotape: Pubic diplomacy and the USAs war on terrorism.
Security Dialogue, 34, 427444.
Vliegenthart, R., & van Zoonen, L. (2011). Power to the frame: Bringing sociology back to frame
analysis.European Journal of Communication,26, 101-115.
Weber, P. (2013). Discussions in the comments section: Factors influencing participation and
interactivity in online newspapers reader comments. New Media & Society,
Wolfsfeld, G. (1997). Media and political conflict: News from the Middle East. Cambridge, UK:
Cambridge University Press.
Zhou, Y., & Moy, P. (2006). Parsing framing processes: The interplay between online public opinion
and media coverage. Journal of Communication, 57, 79-98.

32

References

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Appendices

Appendices

33

Appendix A.

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

34

Appendices

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Appendix B.

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Appendices

35

Appendix C.

36

Appendices

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Appendix D. Codebook
This codebook is developed as part of the bachelor thesis in Communication Science at the
University of Amsterdam and serves as a research instrument for three students with their
individual theses.
The unit of analysis within this research consists of online news articles published between 0107-2014 and 31-09-2014 from The Times (UK), The New York Times (USA) and their comment
sections. The sampling-unit is build up from the online news articles that subjected the Israel Gaza conflict of 2014. The registration-unit is the entire newspaper article; this includes images,
footnotes and headings. This requires the coders to read and interpret the complete newspaper
article for every variable. Whilst coding, individual knowledge with regards to a topic should
not be used for interpreting the content of the articles. Furthermore, all answers have to be
solely based on the information in the article and not the information at the rest of the webpage
surrounding the article.
It is important that every question is answered with attention. It is possible that part of an article,
or the whole article needs to be read several times to be able to assign a value to a variable. May
there be a lack of clarity with regard to the codes it is necessary to contact the other coders that
take part in the coding process in order to find a solution for the uncertainty.

Part A: General Information


A0: Article number
Every article is numbered. Fill in the number that belongs to the article.
__________
A1: Gaza/Israel.
It could be that some non-relevant articles slipped through the sample selection. In order to filter out
articles that are not relevant the next question needs to be answered: Is the article about the conflict
between Gaza and Israel that took place between July and September 2014, or is it about the earlier

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Appendices

37

stages of the conflict? If it is about the earlier stages of the conflict, or if it is about the recent conflict
code 1: Yes. The article also needs to be coded if it is about only one of the two parties in relation to
the conflict. This means that an article can be solely about Israel but that for example their internal
political situation is discussed in context towards the Israel-Gaza conflict.
0: No (If no, stop coding and go on with the next article).
1: Yes
A2: Name coder:
1. Bruno
2. Hanna
3. Thijs
A3: Newspaper
Out of which newspaper is the article you are coding?
1. The Times
2. The New York Times
A4: Date of publication
Write down the date the article was published: Encode dd/mm/yyyy.
A5: Number of words: _________
Note the number of words that the news article contains. The number of words includes the
title and all the words of the article. If the article is about the Gaza conflict but also about other
subjects, the number of words is only counted for the part that is about the conflict.
A6: Number of comments: __________
Note the number of comments that are written under the news article.
A7: Number of replies: _________
Count the number of replies to a previous comment. A comment can be regarded
as a reply if it is a comment that is directed at another comment. It is important to
notice that the original comment should not be included in the number of replies.

38

Appendices

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

B1: Frames
The following questions are about the presence of frames in news articles. A number of frames
are distinguished including responsibilityframe, economic consequencesframe, conflictframe,
moralityframe and human interestframe. Per frame a number of questions need to be answered.
Further, it is important that the questions with regard to frames are the least possible answered on the
basis of interpretation.
B1.1: Responsibility frame
A specific issue or problem is presented in such a way that the responsibility for the cause, or the
solution is attributed to an individual, group or institution. Individuals: This could be one or
more citizens. Groups: This could be the Muslims, the Jews, but also activists, racial groups, and
religious groups. Institutions: Some level of government such as a minister, local municipality,
national government, governmental advisory boards, political parties, provinces, trade-unions,
religious organisations, NGOs (WHO, UN). Also, Hamas should be considered governmental.
B1.1.1 RespFr1
Does the story suggest that some level of government has the ability to alleviate the problem?
Alleviate

should

be

interpreted

as

to

reduce

or

to

decrease.

(E.g.

The

Israeli

government or Hamas should open its borders in order to reduce further tension).
0: No
1: Yes
B1.1.2 RespFr2
Does the story suggest that some level of government is responsible for the issue/problem?
The Israeli = Government, Hamas = Government, The Palestinians = often government,
but depending on the context it can also be a group of Palestinians. (E.g. Hamas
or the Israeli have started to fire rockets, which led to fighting between citizens).
0: No
1: Yes

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Appendices

39

B1.1.3 RespFr3
Does the story suggest that an individual or group of people is responsible for the issue/problem?
(E.g.

Two

(Jewish)

Israeli

men

started

to

throw

rocks

at

some (Arabic) Palestinian men, which led to protests).


0: No
1: Yes
B1.1.4 RespFr4
Does the story suggest solution(s) to the problem/issue?
This can also include demands that need to be met in order to stop the problem. If more problems are
mentioned and only one solution is given for one (small) problem, answer 1: yes. (E.g. By opening the
borders, the tensions will likely decrease Or, the government made a mistake and should rather have
done something else).
0: No
1: Yes
B1.1.5 RespFr5
Does the story suggest that the problem requires urgent action?
(If not suggested explicitly answer 0:No).
0: No
1: Yes
B1.2: Human interestframe
This frame brings a human face and/or an emotional angle to the presentation of an
event, issue, or problem. A human face is present if the story contains information
about people in general, while private/personal details are also about people but go
much more into detail. In the latter case attention is given to specific individuals.
B1.2.1 HmnInFr1
Does the story provide a human example or human face on the issue?
Answer yes if the story contains information about people in general and thus
not about detailed information regarding the lives of specific people. (E.g. many

40

Appendices

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

people are living in refugee camps of which the most are women and children).
0: No
1: Yes
B1.2.2 HmnInFr2
Does the story employ adjectives that generate feelings of outrage, empathy caring, sympathy, or
compassion?
This

includes

groups,

such

adjectives
as,

written

terroristic,

before

violent,

or

friendly,

after

individual

peaceful,

poor

actors,
etc.

institutions
Also,

or

innocent

and militant. (E.g. The violent group of Hamas has fired rockets at Israel).
0: No
1: Yes
B1.2.3 HmnInFr3
Does the story emphasize how individuals or groups are affected by the issue/problem?
If people are killed this does not count as being affected. However, family of killed people are
affected. (E.g. Especially Israeli students seem to be disadvantaged due to the new legislation).
0: No
1: Yes
B1.2.4 HmnInFr4
Does the story go into the private or personal lives of the actors?
Answer

1:

individuals.

Yes,
It

if
is

the

story

important

contains
that

detailed

several

information

specific

details

about

specific

are

named.

(E.g. said Mohammed Al Telbani, 61, who founded the business in 1977).
0: No
1: Yes
B1.2.5 HmnInFr5
Does the story contain visual information that might generate feelings of outrage, empathy
caring, sympathy, or compassion?
Also the text beside the picture can be used to interpret the picture. Pictures that are not

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Appendices

41

about the Gaza/Israel conflict = 0:No. (E.g. A picture that shows houses being bombed, but
also a picture that shows a couple of Palestinian girls walking hand in hand).
0: No
1: Yes
B1.3: Conflict frame
This frame emphasizes conflict between individuals, groups or institutions as a means of
capturing audience interest. Individuals: This could be one or more citizens or a minister.
Groups: This could be the Muslims, the Jews, but also activists, racial groups, and religious
groups. Institutions: Some level of government such as local municipality, national
government, governmental advisory boards, political parties, provinces, trade-unions, religious
organisations, NGOs (WHO, UN). Also, Hamas should be considered governmental.
B1.3.1: ConflictFr1
Does the story reflect disagreement between individuals-groups-institutions-countries?
This

includes

political

disagreement

as

wanting

different

things

or

having

different demands. But also if one country is attacked by the other.


0: No
1: Yes
B1.3.2: ConflictFr2
Does one individual-group-institution-country blame another?
If the article implies that one group/individual is blamed also choose 1: yes. (E.g. The Palestinians
should not have protested on the streets, because this made the problem even worse).
0: No
1: Yes
B1.3.3: ConflictFr3
Does the story at least refer to both the Palestinian and Israeli side of the problem?
More

than

included

this

10

percent
fine.

has

Answer

to
1:

be
Yes

about
if

the

the

other

problem

party.
is

discussed

points of view, as Hamas, Israel and for example a European country.

42

Appendices

If

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

more
from

sides

are

different

0: No
1: Yes
B1.3.4: ConflictFr4
Does the story refer to winners and/or losers?
A winner: there is a successful achievement. A loser: a group has failed or lost something. If is mentioned that
only 5 Israeli were killed and over a 1000 Palestinians, say 1: Yes. (E.g. Israel seems a lot stronger than Palestine,
because the last couple of weeks only 3 Israeli people were killed, while 50 Palestinians were killed).
0: No
1: Yes
B1.4 Morality frame
This frame puts the event, problem or issue in the context of religious tenets (rules, principles)
or moral prescriptions (laws). Because of the professional norm of objectivity, journalists
often make reference to moral frames indirectly, through quotation or conclusions.
B1.4.1 MorFr1
Does the story contain any moral message?
An explicit mention of any judgement of outrage or disagreement about an act. If the author
or any actor within the article displays some form of outrage or disagreement about an act, such
as killing a child, answer 1: yes. (E.g. Murdering innocent children should not be tolerated).
0: No
1: Yes
B1.4.2 MorFr2
Does the story make reference to God, and other religious rules or principles?
If there is any mention of god or religion, answer 1: yes.
0: No
1: Yes

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Appendices

43

B1.4.3 MorFr3
Does the story offer specific social prescriptions about how to behave?
If

an

does

individual/actor
not

include

gives
judgment

advice
of

on

what

what

is

others
good

should
or

bad).

do.

(This

(E.g.

Ban

Ki Moon said that Hamas and the Israeli party should have a peaceful negotiation).
0: No
1: Yes
B1.5: Economic consequencesframe
When this frame is used, an event, problem, or issue is described in terms of the consequences
it will have economically on an individual, group, institution, region or country. The first two
questions differ in the way they are framed. The first focuses on losses and the second on costs.
B1.5.1 EcnmCoFr1
Is there a mention of losses, such as buildings, personal possessions or money? This is
specifically about loss. (E.g. Hundreds of Palestinian houses and institutional buildings have
been destroyed Or, the government has lost 5 million dollars as a result of the war).
0: No
1: Yes
B1.5.2 EcnmCoFr2
Is there a mention of the costs/degree of expense involved?
This is about costs. Explicit figures/numbers must be mentioned. (E.g. The war has cost Israel
about 5 million dollars Or, The government has invested a million dollars in war equipment).
0: No
1: Yes

44

Appendices

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

B1.5.3 EcnmCoFr3
Is there a reference to economic consequences of pursuing or not pursuing a course of action?
When it is discussed whether or not an action needs to be undertaken on the
basis

of

the

costs

involved.

(E.g.

Israel

could

decide

to

bomb

Gaza;

however

perhaps they should not do this because this will cost 1 million dollars).
0: No
1: Yes

HENDRIK BRUNO WEIJENBORG - UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM

Appendices

45

UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM


AFSTUDEERPROJECT BACHELOR
PROJECT: POLITIEKE COMMUNICATIE EN JOURNALISTIEK: HOT ISSUES
DOCENTEN: L. BOS EN D. TRILLING