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The article I choose for my research evaluation is by Jacob Groshek titled

‘Homogenous Agendas, Disparate Frames: CNN and CNN International (CNNI) Coverage
Online’ which requires the quantitative research form of content analysis.
Content analysis has existed even during the World War II and is utilized to
inspect the content within a message. Since then, it has been used by the Alliance
to observe the different music played by European countries and Germany. Even
after the war, “researchers are able to use content analysis to study propaganda
in newspapers and radio” according to Wimmer and Dominick (2006)
According to a study done by Cooper, Potter and Dupagne (1994), research “found
that 25% of all quantitative done from 1965 to 1989 were content analysis” Riffe
and Freitag (1997) also concluded that 25% of 1977 research articles published
from 1971 to 1995 in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly were content
analyses. In another study done by Kamhawi and Weaver (2003) states those content
analyses is the most popular data gathering method from 1995 to 1999.
According to Babbie and Baxter (2004) content analysis is “the study of recorded
human communications, such as books, websites, paintings and laws” while Berelson
(1952) suggested that content analysis is “a research technique for the objective,
systematic, and quantitative description of the manifest content of communication”
In qualitative research, researchers are more interested to find accurate,
scientific, validated and reliable results based on their research. Content
analysis is a classification of findings into symbolic thematic content. The
research question is the content analysis between CNN and CNNI.
The appeal of CNN and CNNI to the foreign market is the concept of “outside
looking in” which describes the need of foreigners to know what America think of
their country. To be able to study the content analysis, we have to identify the
subjects. In this case, the subjects are elites and influential people. CNN and
CNNI are targeting the “glocalized” market where a global corporation trying to
cater to the local consumers.
Before that, we have to identify key coders. The coder was a female recent
graduate whom was chosen based on her excellent academic performance as well as
her interest in the topic. For reliability purposes, the researcher coded 15% of
the random sample. They based their measurement on the framing of the CNN and
CNNI’s website focused mainly on the front page and the ‘top news of the day’ from
March 1, 2005 till March 30, 2005.
Armed with a finalized codebook and the unit of analysis of the headlines, they
managed to gather 967 headlines. Besides that, they also decided to include the
pictures from the sample. According to Babbie and Baxter (2004) that content
analysis is thematic and the researcher has classified the headlines into 16
themes which are; (1) Accidents/natural disasters, (2) Agriculture, (3)
Business/economics, (4) Crime/criminal justice/law and order, (5)
Ecology/environment, (6) Education, (7) Health care, (8) Military/national
defense, (9) Politics, (10) Race/religion/culture, (11) Social problems/services,
(12) Sports, (13) Technology, (14) War/terrorism, (15) Oddities, and (16)
Krippendorff (1980) identified 5 different coding units. For this research, the
researcher used physical unit which he calculated the amount of headlines on CNN
and CNNI’s website. Following that, the researcher also used referential unit
where he referenced it to issues such as the Terry Schiavo euthanasia case, the
death of Pope John Paul II, the ongoing war in Iraq, the Michael Jackson child
molestation trial, and the confession of the BTK serial killer, Dennis Rader, and
The researcher further delve into latent content by coding the headlines into
American fashion where the news has something or affiliated with America or what
he called Amerocentric. However, the images or pictures are coded in terms of
conflict and degree of violence based on a 5-point Likert-type scale of violence
developed by Fishman and Marvin (2003)
The researcher set a standard of 0.70 for the reliability score based on Cohen’s
Kappa which is between the integers of 0.61- 0.80 meaning substantial agreement
in. Headline categories, conflict frame and degree of violence brings the Kappa
value from 0.86- 0.87 which means almost perfect agreement in Kappa value.
The researchers will then have to code the data keeping in mind the frequency,
significance, evaluation, intensity and presence. Under frequency, CNNI audience
receives more updates compared to the America CNN audience with the mean
difference of 5.5 headlines.
The intensity or issue salience and the top 3 categories were similar for both CNN
and CNNI with much salience in crime, politics and war. Under the significance,
CNN and CNNI were similar to the news agenda in terms of general news topics.
As expected, there were more American framing as well as more violent, graphic
series of images on CNN compared to CNNI. American on CNN is bombarded with two
times more latent and explicit violent conflict framed images than CNNI audiences.
The average level of violent imagery was also significantly higher compared to
international CNNI audience.
Despite the advantages of the content analysis, there are still limitations of the
methodology mainly due to the coders, documents, events and the issue of bias.
However, the researchers should also use computer programs such as SPSS. According
to Priest (1996) SPSS is the most popular and commonly used software for the study
in mass communications. The use of content analysis is more like a sociologist
term rather than a media research term. Another strong reason to use content
analysis is that “it attempts to estimate the domination of the media agenda
through content analysis” according to Hanson, Cottle, Negrine and Newbold (1998)
Another issue is the frequency. It doesn’t mean that just because a term comes up
frequently, it has a meaning according to Holsti (1969) and as noted by Berger,
“If a researcher says that there’s a lot of violence on American television, we
should want to know what that researcher means by a lot” since the researcher used
the term violent conflict framing, we should want to know what is the degree of
violence. Berger listed 31 polar oppositions that reflected violence and the
researcher should use it as a guide.
The research is quite limited in terms of basis for interpretation. The trend in
the Web is always changing and evolving and the result of the research not
necessarily means that what you’ve got is what it means. The result is merely a
snapshot in time.
Neuendorf (2002) suggests that reliability becomes an issue when two or more
coders are involved in the coding process. The issue of intercoder reliability
simply means “the level agreement and between two coders or more”
According to Weber (1990) “To make valid inferences from the text, it is important
that the classification procedure be reliable in the sense of being consistent:
Different people should code the same text in the same way”
The primary issue of this methodology is coder drift. Where two or more coders
starts out with high reliability and after coding, they “drift from the training
process and interprets text differently as they gain more experience doing the
coding work” according to Babbie and Baxter (2004)
Besides that, even though the study is a form of manifest content, it is also
possible to come up with latent meanings. The coders could code the results of the
extent of the influences on the general audiences if they are continuously exposed
to violent conflict news story.
The significance of the results contributed to the continuous study of media
research and sociology. The result brings some questions which are, “Why are
Americans exposed to more violent conflict news story than the rest of the
world?”, “Are the Americans more ego centric and concerned with Amerocentric based
news story?” and in a sociology point of view, the question of “Are Americans
generally more violent in nature due to the constant violent conflict compared to
the rest of the world?”
On the other hand the research could help answer questions on the framing issues,
media consumption, media agenda and cultures. Framing is a delicate issue because
it tells the audience what is more important. Framing also suggest that a certain
news is more important thus, deserving more coverage compared to other news which
could be more interesting and closer to home.
The issue with media consumption is the way the audience consume the media. Since
the majority of the audiences of CNN and CNNI are elites and they expect news in
real time. Thus, explaining the total of 967 headlines to cater to the news hungry
people of the world.
The issue with media agenda and cultures could be focused on news that involves
American. The result is very Amerocentric news for both CNN and CNNI. According to
Flournoy & Stewart (1997) "many American viewers are only interested in
international news when it involves Americans"
The researcher could have used survey which is much better and simpler. Since
their samples are the audiences of CNN and CNNI, they could save time and money by
doing an online survey. According to Turner Webstats (2006) the average monthly
combined page views is 1.5 billion. Camilo Wilson the founder of Cogix
( states that “some populations are ideally suited
to online surveys: specifically, those who visit a particular web site”
However, the main concern of online survey is the representatives. The issue of
whether their sample are represented by the population namely CNN and CNNI
audiences. The researchers also fail to specify who exactly their samples are
instead their samples were the headlines from the web sites.
Online survey can save time and money by only utilizing computers instead of
coders. Computers are consistent and one is one, no matter what they do.
Researchers who are comfortable with boxes are even faster because they could just
feed it into the scanner and the computers will come up with all the results.
Coders on the other hand are humans who can err and the issues with coder drift.
With the computers, it saves time because they can just key in all the data and
the computer will be able to come up with graphs, charts and etc.
Even though machines could be a great help it can also be debatable that coders
have emotions to appeal to the headlines and violent conflict that computers
cannot do. On the other hand, coders are not supposed to let their emotions
influence their job. If the coders have to follow a set of rules and regulations
namely the codebook, then they’re not different from computers.
The researcher utilized mainly quantitative research and with a limited number of
qualitative research. The qualitative research is when the researcher did and
interview with a former writer and producer of CNN and CNNI. This shows a merge
with the two research methods. The researcher however, did not focus too much on
the interview but instead the interview is just the tip of the iceberg as an
opionated piece.
This is relatively significant because it shows that the researcher tries to stay
true to content analysis but he also tries to balance that method with qualitative
In conclusion, the reason why content analysis was used because it is one of the
most reliable, conclusive and convenient because of its nature of giving
sociological meanings to numbers and frequency of the research. The research
question is ambitious in attempting to answer a lot of media research questions.
Content analysis is very delicate and the methodology has to be carried out
following the scientific steps or something will go wrong.
Besides that, every methodology has its own pros and cons and so is content
analysis. By following the specified guidelines, there shouldn’t be a problem.
However, the researcher was correct in using content analysis as his methodology
because it is the correct framework since he’s studying the content and the agenda
setting of CNN and CNNI and how it differs. The results of the research will
definitely be helpful for future researchers in understanding framing, agenda
setting and the violent content.
(2004 words)
Baxter, L. & Babbie E. (2004) The basics of communication research, Thompson
Berger, A. (2000) Media and communication research methods. Sage Publications
Berelson, B. (1952) Content analysis in communication research, New York: Free
Cooper, R., Potter, W. & Dupagne, M. (1994) A status report on methods used in
mass communication research. Journalism Educator, 48 (4)
Fishman, J., & Marvin,C. (2003) Portrayals of violence and group difference in
newspaper photographs: Nationalism and media. Journal of Communication, 53, 32-44.
Flournoy, D. M., & Stewart, R. K. (1997). CNN: Making news in the global market.
London: University of Luton Press.
Groshek. J. (2008) Homogenous agendas, disparate frames: CNN and CNN International
coverage online.(Cable News Network). Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media
Vol. 52. http://0-
Accessed on October 23, 2008.
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