Testing Three Measures of Verbal–Visual Frame Interplay in German News Coverage of Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Viorela Dan, Maria E. Grabe, Brent J. Hale


Drawing from framing theory, this article operationalizes and tests three ways to measure how verbal and visual modalities interplay in audiovisual messages to produce meaning. The measures include (a) a ratio of verbal to visual frames; (b) an association rules learning (ARL) procedure; and (c) in-depth analysis of the full audiovisual material. As a step toward validating the measures, they were applied to a sample of German television news stories (n = 98) about refugees and asylum seekers. Though the three measures produced varied results, verbal–visual frame redundancy and congruence were consistently more common than mismatches. Measures differed in the level of effort required to implement them, sample sizes they could handle, and the informative value of results. Future studies are advised to combine the ARL procedure with an in-depth analysis.


multimodality, framing, audiovisual redundancy, television

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