Media organizations in today’s world are placed at the center of any diversified community be it regarding the societal status, the economy, political situations or the culture surrounding everyday life. Gathering all the different products that fall under media such as digital media and then print media along with subdividing broadcast into radio and television. This gives an individual an idea of the race and caste he/she belongs to. Furthermore allows them to develop their own thoughts and ideas of what their gender means and the role it plays. A recurring event that takes place in the culture of media is when the society around an individual influences him in developing an identity with respect to his community. (Holt and Perren, 2009). Socialization, a correct definition of why individuals in the contemporary world seek to find out information about themselves as well as others. In the traditional sense the reason behind an individual’s interest in the different products of media, according to, Croteau and Hoynes this is a process where an individual develops a sense of self. Gathering information presented to him and around him it is where one learns to internalize values, beliefs and the norms of culture.
(2014, p.16). Much before mass communication came into the picture as a process. The distribution of large scale news existed over larger areas but only limited to political and religious issues, awareness and obligations. The process of modernity and societies keeping an open mind individually only began when the discovery of print media came about, meaning, books and newspapers. Thus, this allowed technology to dynamically grow eventually. (McQuail,2010). Although, now there are significant changes to traditional media and broadcasting. Such changes mostly depending on technological advances thus this also reflects in fundamental changes surrounding social and economic changes. This also means that the increase in electronic distribution and handling of information is bound to influence a society where there is a high growing number of individuals that depend on such institutions for their information and communication. Effecting almost every sphere of activity in terms of public interest. (McQuail, 1992) In this essay, we will critically analyze the role of mass media and digital media as a driving socializing agent through a global media outlet. We will also analyze the media reputation of the chosen outlet. As theoretical and empirical analyses strongly suggest that the overall evaluation of a firm in the eyes of the public is a huge resource in itself. Over the years it has proven to either increase or decrease the viewership and performance of the news outlet depending on the reputation they build. (Deephouse, 2000) Therefore, The Guardian will be analyzed in detail to understand how they have overcome the jump from print media to digital media, the reputation they have built over the years, the dissemination of the news shared and how they have shared it along with a track of the public’s reaction and opinion on the outlet. Basically, an overall study of their fundamentals, content creation, strong viewership and readership developed in the contemporary world.
A British newspaper established from 1821, although known as the Manchester Guardian till 1959. The Guardian aims to stand for a publication that upholds journalistic freedom and safeguards its liberal values so that it may be free from any sort of commercial or politic ties. John Edward Taylor established the newspaper after the Peterloo Massacre in England under the editorship of CP Scott, who created the Scott Trust. It was made to ensure that the editorial and financial security of The Guardian remained independent whatsoever. (The Guardian, 2018) In an editorial regarding the paper’s one hundredth anniversary, the former Manchester Guardian editor CP Scott declared “Comment is free, but facts are sacred,” in 1921.
A newspaper must have moral values instilled into its materialistic existence. Even when opponents arise with their opinions their voices must be heard as those of friends since they also have the right to be heard. (the Guardian, 2018) The paper had a rough start only ceasing to become a daily after the stamp tax was lifted of newspapers by the British government in 1855. Although, by 1952 news was replaced by classified ads and when the month of August came around in the year of 1959. The name was changed as a way to highlight the importance of international news being developed in the paper. The newspaper’s readership has generally been on the left wing of British politics sticking to its liberal ideals. It’s reputation has hence led to derogatory like terms such as the “Guardian reader” or “Guardianista” from those of politically correct habits. Moving onto it’s website, a selection of three reader modes have been presented: UK edition , US edition and The International edition. Overall, The Guardian tries to produce content keeping in mind that the community is best administered under the light of the government. The paper aims to live by values such fairness, integrity, honesty and courage along with a sense of duty to every person. (the Guardian, 2018)
Last year, an essay was published by the renowned Katherine Viner also known as the editor in chief. The essay was titled, A mission for journalism in a time of crisis, where it argues that the media must define its principles in an era that brings ongoing and turbulent shocks to the industry. Making a statement on how The Guardian hopes to reflect the history of the world we reside in. There would be five principles to be followed: ideas that help the world improve would be developed, chosen readers would be collaborated with, to have a greater impact on others, they will make sure to diversify, a representative newsroom would be present with richer reporting, all work presented would be meaningful, and most importantly of all people would be reported on fairly including aspects of power and the search for the truth. (the Guardian, 2018)
On continuation of the analysis we move on to the methodologies used by the Guardian to frame their stories and if they are in line with editor Viner’s words. Framing, a term with two co- related meanings as defined by McQuail, “One refers to the way in which news content is typically shaped and contextualized by journalists within some familiar frame of reference and according to some latent structure of meaning.” (2010, p. 557) There are two ways to go about framing research, one is the type of frame that we have been given to examine meaning (media frames vs. audience frames), the second the way a frame is operationalized. Could it be an independent or dependent variable. Scheufele has developed a process model of framing, so that for future research there are four key processes that should not be overlooked: starting with an individual-level process of framing, the setting of frames, building of frames and a loop from audiences to journalists giving feedback. (1999, p. 103)
Although among many scholars, Gitlin is actually regarded as the first to introduce the concept of framing to media research. He described framing as “persistent patterns of cognition,interpretation, and presentation, of selection, emphasis and exclusion by which symbol handlers routinely organize discourse, whether verbal or visual” (Gitlin, 1980, p.7), and suggested that both journalists, who report the news, and audiences, who hear the reports, are affected by media frames in terms of organizing the world and perceived reality. With the help of framing techniques, journalists are able to arrange and deliver a large volume of information efficiently to the rest of the world (Gitlin, 1980).
Let’s an example of the crisis that took place surrounding Mad Cow Disease and how it was mishandled by the British Government. The Guardian is famous for its high ethical standards of conscience, criticism, and liberalism, which make it the most popular newspaper for
British intellectuals. Therefore, The Guardian is a good vehicle for recording coverage and criticism of the Mad Cow Disease crisis. Framing has entered the limelight for crisis communication studies in media because framing can be a valuable method for crisis situation analysis. (Palenchar, 2001)
For the identification of important frames, Han had executed a preliminary analysis for two periods. The first was the period from March 21, 1996 to May 21, 1996, when the British government acknowledged human infection of BSE, and the second was the period from October 23, 2000 to December 23, 2000, when there was an official report of BSE by the British government. According to him , each of these two periods showed an exceptionally high amount of coverage. Eighteen articles from 1996 and 16 articles from 2000 were selected. Through this process, he identified three distinct frames. (Han, 2004)
Data relating to the dominant issue was collected and categorized into four issue frames. The first was the “Public Health Concern” frame, which was related to public health problems and food safety concerns. This was a kind of human-interest frame that included an emotional angle to the presentation of victims and the disease. The second, the “Scientific Information” frame, provided factual information based on scientific knowledge. Some examples of this would be the causes and effects of the disease, scientific research on BSE, and vaccine development. The third, the “Governmental Policy” frame, was concerned with government actions, political statements, and responsibility for the disease under government policy. It also included conflicts between government policy and various publics, including nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and interest groups. Public cynicism and mistrust toward government policy were also included. The final issue frame was the “Economic Consequences” frame, which reported how the disease might affect the economy of the home country as well as the outside world. Any article could deal with more than one issue. Therefore, Han chose the one issue from each article that seemed to dominate what the article was about. Dominant issue could be selected by its space size in articles, relevance to headline, and subjective judgments based on agreement with two coders. (Han, 2004) As Paletz and Entman (1981) suggest, the media source used in a story could affect the frame or theme that a journalist gives to that story. It was worthwhile to examine the tone of sources used in order to explore the differences between the two countries.
In order to identify media messages of the Mad Cow issue, Han categorized relevant articles according to whether the dominant message of the article was positive, negative, or neutral with each issue being assigned a score of +1 (positive), -1 (negative) or 0 (neutral or no coverage). The following words were used as guides during the coding process, but each decision was made by subjectively examining the entire article and not simply the presence or absence of key words. Positive messages included the words such as “praise, beneficial, openness, optimistic, hope, clear, patience, eagerness,” and underlined governmental efforts to protect the public from the disease, provide compensation, and undertake other economic and environmental problem-solving efforts. Negative messages included the words such as “accuse, disgraceful, late, angry, ignorant, alarm, incredulity, danger, shock, disaster, scare, loss, fail, puzzling.” A neutral message was one that did not criticize or support any side, but provided relevant sources to help the public understand the issue. (Han, 2004)
The results showed no significant relationship in the issue frames in The Guardian before and after the crisis. This implies the media was already discussing the issue before the crisis. (Han, 2004) Therefore, before the government’s acknowledgement of human infection from Mad Cow Disease in 1996. The Guardian seems to have established its own frame regarding the issue. The results also showed that the number of articles after the crisis in 1996 was more than triple the number of articles before the crisis. Before 1996, the British government had denied the seriousness of the disease and provided limited related information media. Therefore, The Guardian seemed to take advantage of the kind of objectivity with which scientific information is credited in order to heighten its credibility. there were significant changes in the tone used by The Guardian before and after the crisis. The crisis in 1996 broke the balance of negative and neutral tone of articles. After the government provided journalists with information regarding the disease that it had previously denied them, the government was roundly attacked for having kept the information from them in the first place. In articles in which the media used sources, only news articles using government sources significantly increased their negative tones. It can be taken from this that The Guardian lost its neutral view as well as its faith in the British government. In addition, news regarding government policy and economic concern also became more negatively changed. We can then infer that, prior to the crisis, The Guardian was able to appreciate the impending threat posed by Mad Cow Disease. However, after the crisis in 1996, while The Guardian’s issue framing and news source selection showed little difference, its criticism toward the government became more serious and more negative.
In relation to the definition of framing coined by McQuail in two co-related meanings, the second term, “concerns the meaning of the effect of framing on the public. The audience is thought to adopt this frame of reference offered by journalists of a media organization to see the world in a similar way.” (2010, p. 557). “The media industries are powerful sources in contemporary societies and it is necessary to comprehend how they work in order to understand, act in, and transform the environment in which we live our lives.” (Holt and Perren, 2009, p. 95). From the above analysis of The Guardian’s portrayal of the entire situation, it can be concluded that the paper holds a very international approach towards writing and expressing its perspective on an international note.
The detailed analysis of the Guardian as a global new media outlet has led to the conclusion that it is an outlet that genuinely tends to follow traditional journalistic paradigms. It believes in reporting the facts and analyzing a story on both sides thus, carrying a neutral approach towards content creation. As a global news distributor, it manages to maintain a robust balance in remaining loyal to its country and also avoiding biased opinions towards international influences. In terms of its fundamentals, it’s stand remains unchallenged due to an apt team of journalists that practice mass communication theories in daily manufacturing and production of content. In 2016, the Guardian news and Media (GNM) editor in chief, Katharine Viner and Guardian Media Group’s (GMG) chief executive David Pamsel outlined a three-year business plan to enhance operating efficiency, reduce costs and secure new growth opportunities for the organization. (GNM press office, 2016). The news organization has frown immensely and does not fail to astonish us in fields of technology, research and fact checking to bring bigger and better content to its viewers and readers.