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TEN YEARS AFTER DOLLY: A Look Back at Framing at Scientific American and Der Spiegel; Understanding the Science Versus Cloning Hitler

July 13, 2006, 7:35 AM
Last week was the ten year anniversary of the birth of the cloned sheep Dolly. Looking around for good examples of visual framing for a course I teach in Political Communication, I came across this classic comparison between the cover stories that ran at Scientific American and the German weekly Der Spiegel. Playing to audiences with a different set of interests, and to political cultures with very different histories when it comes to genetic engineering, the magazines take the same event, and visually accent dimensions that lead to competing interpretations of the announcement.

Scientific American interprets the event in classic science journalism terms, focusing on the technical side, backgrounding and contextualizing the research involved. Der Spiegel, as a political weekly in a particular cultural milieu with an incentive to maximize newstand sales, emphasizes instead the dramatic ethical and moral implications, relating the event to the possibility of cloning Hitler.


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