7:37 AM

One Last BP Guest Post

How has the New York Times framed the oil spill?

Michelle Arenas
Alexander Maul
Taylor Ruder

NY Times was chosen to analyze because it was convenient and had a large number of articles to analyze.  Three periods were analyzed; immediately after the explosion, after the well was capped, and at the present time. 

Our hypothesis is that New York Times started out by writing deficit model articles to inform the public of the spill.  As time moved forward, we believe that they made the switch to writing more framed articles based on facts from experts, government and agencies, with the position of blaming BP and the government for not stopping the flow faster.  After the well was capped we believe that more articles were framed to show how the spill has affected people and how the lives of those near the gulf have been affected.  We believe that these types of articles have continued today and that the shift to framing the articles on lessons learned has begun.

The articles were categorized and separated into 4 groups, each with subgroups.  The first was informational.  This helped us to see how many articles were deficit model.  The next category was Vox Populi “voice of the people”.  We then split this category up into optimistic and skeptical. 

The next category was “reaction articles towards responsible parties”.  This included BP and the oil industry in general.  The final category was “reaction articles towards the administration”.  Both of these were split into optimistic and skeptical categories. 

After reading and analyzing about 180 articles from the time periods, the following data was acquired.

Immediately after the spill:

As shown, the majority of the articles are informational, the other third was about equally split among the other categories. 

After the well was capped:

The informational articles go down and the emphasis is placed on opinions of the responsible parties. 

Present time:

In the present, a year later, there are almost no informational articles.  They are all based on analysis of the responsible parties and the administration actions. 

The overall comparison gives a better representation of the public’s and writer’s feelings during the given time periods.    

 During the first time period, the articles were all informational and then evenly spread between the skeptical subcategories of each.  After the well was capped, it all began to even out a little.  There were fewer informational and some optimistic started to appear.  The present time period is a good spread of several categories.  There are a lot of optimistic articles towards BP in the present.  Is this how the general public feels?  We think so. 

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