Home > #9 > Framing in the Media

Framing in the Media

I found an article on nytimes.com that discusses illegal immigrant students, college, and college’s tuition.  The journalist writes that it can be difficult for illegal immigrant students to pay for college because they are unable to apply for federal aid and loans.  She also mentions that those who are able to pay for college and graduate may not be able to get a job with their education because they do not have a social security number.  In the beginning of her article she introduces Maricela Aguilar, who is an illegal immigrant student who has a full academic scholarship to Marquette University.

There were a couple of lines that somewhat framed the story in a negative light.  An example of this is when she is expressing the small possibility of the Dream Act being passed.  She phrased this as, “even optimists like Ms. Aguilar believe its chances are poor to none in the next two years.”  I felt that by using the word “optimists,” the journalist has no hope that the bill will be passed because even the optimistic people have lost hope in the bill.  Another way she could have phrased this, is to directly quote Aguilar saying that she is an optimist but still thinks that the chances are slim.

Another example of framing in this article is when she writes about illegal immigrants graduating college and the possibility of them finding work:  “Many excel academically, but without work authorization, they cannot be legally employed.  Some immigrants with bachelor’s degrees end up busing restaurant dishes and cleaning offices, falling back on the jobs of their less educated parents, who often struggled to put them through college.”  This phrase insinuates that it is kind of a waste for them to earn a bachelor’s degree because they will not be able to put it into use.  This is also insulting because she is saying that even though they have a degree, they will just be working in the same places as their parents, who have less of an education.  It just makes their lives seem bleak.  While she does say, “some immigrants,” readers can still interpret it to include all of the illegal immigrants.  To fix this framing, the journalist could use less harsh words or take out the phrase, “falling back on the jobs of their less educated parents….” Without that phrase, it would convey a more neutral stance.


Categories: #9
  1. tessdoez
    February 21, 2011 at 1:43 am

    This is an interesting point of view that you take on the framing of the story, since I would argue that the story is framed sympathetically towards the illegal immigrants in question, based on the fact that the story introduces the illegal immigrant student Maricela in the first sentence–putting a human face on the problem, quotes sympathizers extensively, focuses on the immigrant students’ positive attributes and achievements as well as humanizing the disappointment they feel when they are unable to achieve their full potential because of the unfair seeming US laws that are holding them back.
    I have given you credit–you give evidence, your analysis is insightful and you make good points.

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