UPDATED SECTION: What is framing? [video]
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
"Sandwalk" blogger Larry Moran
If the blog debate that ensued after publication of our article at Science showed anything, it was just how widely misunderstood the concept of framing might be. Not surprisingly, many bloggers offer strong opinions about framing and its relationship to science communication but have very little actual knowledge or expertise in the area. In particular, many bloggers continue to connect framing to debates over atheism and religion, which is an unfortunate distraction. Another distortion is the assumption that anyone can just go out and "start framing," when strategic uses of framing require the application of theory in combination with data collected through focus groups and polling research.
In other words, effective public communication is a science and should be approached as such. When Dietram Scheufele and I teamed up to pen the October cover article at The Scientist, one of our main goals was to dispel a lot of these misperceptions.
More recently, I've noticed that the special section of this blog explaining research on framing is one of the first results in google searches on the topic. Therefore, I have updated the section to more thoroughly define for readers the nature and implications of research in the area. The section also includes two embedded video presentations. The first is from an early talk in our Speaking Science 2.0 tour. The second is a recent presentation I gave in conjunction with the release of a major report on new directions in communicating about poverty and low wage work.
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