semiotics『media framing』

Semiotics; the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation. This ‘science of signs’ is essential to global communication. Symbols convey a message to an audience through the preconceived connotations and widely accepted meanings behind them. However, our interpretation of a visual cue or image may be somewhat dependent on our ideologies or worldview. Many complex images attempt to convey a message in an interesting but more subtle way than a globally recognised symbol would, creating a visual with deeper meaning and nuance than, for example, a road sign. This also leaves multiple ways to read or interpret whats placed before an individual.

Media Framing. Source

This particular image about media framing uses only visuals without text to critique frame manipulation in television media… or, could it possibly be scrutinising not the media, but passive and naive mass consumers of television programming? Perhaps both. However it’s predominately read by an individual, the interpretation will usually depend on ideology and personal experience.

The denotation of this image; three figures, the first behind a camera watching an altercation, the second holding a knife and pursuing the third, who flees their attacker. However, when observed through the lens of the camera, the cleverly placed silhouettes cause the roles of the two figures to be reversed. The camera is a symbol that is connotative of television media, and the literal ‘framing’ of the camera is a reference to the meaning of the word itself, and how it is used to define the media’s presentation of content to create a common perception in ‘media framing’ theory.

An example of the ‘manipulative framing’ issue that this image brought to mind can be seen for your own amusement below. It’s no wonder audiences have become so critical of current news media practices.


Sign Salad. (2018). Semiotics explained.

University of Texas at Austin. (2012). Framing. Youtube

One thought on “semiotics『media framing』

  1. I loved this post, it made the topic so easy to understand and the use of visuals really helped to get the message across. I was intrigued by the mentioning of how media framing is dependant on ideological and personal experiences. I would love to hear more about this. Personally I agree with this as people from different backgrounds, weather that be geographic, political or socio-cultural, all have different viewpoints and each will support a notion which is most in line with their values and experiences. I gather from the suggestion that ‘ideology shapes media framing’ that you agree with this stance. Alternatively there is the view that people can change and will be critical thinkers who take facts and circumstances into considerations when making choices about what they see and how they interpret it. Although I don’t want to side too much with Albert Bandura’s viewpoints. Very interesting stuff, keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

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