European journal of communication vol:20 issue:4 pages:484-507
In this article an empirically oriented conceptualization of frames is developed, using the issue of asylum and illegal immigration in the Belgian press as a test case. The methodological focus of this study is on the question of how these frames can be detected in the coverage.. How can they be defined independently of the researcher's perspective, knowing that the naming of frames in itself already involves a kind of framing? Two frames are reconstructed and deductively 'measured' by a content analysis: on the one hand, 'asylum-seekers are innocent victims' and, on the other hand, 'asylum-seekers are intruders'. In the second phase, this article examines to what extent eight Belgian newspapers used these two frames to cover the issue of asylum. A homogeneity analysis by means of HOMALS is introduced in the framing research. It turns out to be a fruitful way to establish the frames in the news more precisely. The construction of indices made it possible to explore the evolution of the use of frames over time. Surprisingly, the Christmas mood was a factor that caused a frame-shift and it even led to a media hype.