Use of the crisis frame in UK, USA and Australian newspapers in 2006

Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Details

Power, M. R. & McLean, H. (2008). Use of the crisis frame in UK, USA and Australian newspapers in 2006. Proceedings of the European Communication Research and Education Association conference Barcelona, 25-28 November, 2008.

2008 HERDC submission. FoR Code: 2001

Copyright © Mary R. Power & Hamish McLean, 2008.


This paper compares how newspapers in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America used the word “crisis” in headlines during 2006. The press has an acknowledged role in reporting news, but its role as described in agenda setting (McCombs & Shaw, 1993) and framing (Scheufele, 2000; Scheufele & Tewksbury, 2007) goes beyond that. Through headlines the press captures our attention, and through the process of framing it links events and situations with other concepts and events. Attaching the word “Crisis” to an event adds to its news value, creates attention and can be a call to action. Investigating situations which the media predicts will lead to future crises increases the role of the press in influencing future action, and it demonstrates the benefits of the press as an early warning system of the inadequate systems of governance and management and control over preventable crises to which it draws attention. The very word “crisis” is an ideal framing word because it implies that whatever is tied to it becomes something that should be acted upon. Results showed inter-country differences in the use of the label “crisis” with both British and Australian headlines using it more frequently than American newspapers.

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