Trends in Broadcast News War Coverage: Framing Humanity in Syria and Ukraine

Conference: The Asian Conference on Media, Communication & Film (MediAsia2022)
Title: Trends in Broadcast News War Coverage: Framing Humanity in Syria and Ukraine
Stream: Broadcast Media & Globalization
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Nadia Rahman, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates


The current study explores the changing trends of broadcast news in war by focusing on wars in Syria and Ukraine and comparative coverage of the conflict in two culturally and geographically different regions. How has war coverage for satellite broadcast journalism, specifically CNN, BBC, and Al Jazeera, changed from the Syrian War to the Ukraine War? And how the stories visually cascade into social media. The debates over NATO’s impact on the coverage of Ukraine will also be explored.
Many veteran broadcast journalists moved from one brutal war to another, with some key players being the same. What are the similarities and differences in the framing of these wars? Are journalists effectively covering the human-interest story in an environment of carnage? This study seeks inspiration from the theory of framing as a theoretical lens, which helps understand conscious, and intentional choices by the broadcast journalists in a mediated society, affecting the direction of public opinion. We rely on five deductive frames - human interest, attribution of responsibility, conflict, morality, and economic consequences - identified by Semetko and Valkenburg (2000) to explore the framing similarities and differences while covering these wars. Broadcast stories appearing in the first three months of war in Syria and Ukraine are content analyzed using a mixed-method qualitative and quantitative approach. We expect that our results will contribute to existing literature on the framing of war and have significant implications for future academic work and policymaking. This research will be completed by mid-October 2022.

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