Reframing Issues Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

This month’s Contexts magazine (like paper delivered by a human called a postal employee) has anContexts_cover_vol51_big interesting article called "the art of reframing political debates" by charlotte ryan and william a. gamson.  This is framing in the context of communications theory. What caught my eye was the break out:

Framing is valuable for focusing a dialogue with targeted constituencies. It is not external packaging intended to attract news media and bystanders.

Name one time.  Name one time that framing didn’t take into account the news media on any issue of consequence?  Name one time that PR was not a driver for the frame.  Yes perhaps framing a debate with the kids around the dinner table is still technically framing and might be targeting only the immediate constituency.  And you can ground them if they argue against your frame. Yet this contexts article is on framing political debates which by definition is very public.

If you are in Public Relations and you have never considered changing the frame of reference to influence the public please do let me know.  I think it unlikely.

The authors do a nice job of recapping four points on framing.  These bullets are a nice refresher on things we do know about frames.  From the  ryan-gamson article…

  1. Facts take on their meaning by being embedded in frames
  2. People carry around multiple frames in their heads
  3. Successful reframing involves the ability to enter into the worldview of our adversaries
  4. All frames contain implicit or explicit appeals to moral principles

They point out that framing is one element and not the only element that matters.  Besides my beef with the public relations point (above) the article is well written and worth the 12 bucks for the mag.

OiH Featured in Houston Chronicle Business Section

OihchronOnly in Houston was written up in the Houston Chronicle by David Kaplan.  This is a follow up from the AdAge cover story a few weeks ago also on Only in Houston.  From the Chronicle story:

March 18, 2006, 6:26PM
Big ad agencies have pulled out of Houston, and those that remain are raising their profile

and it goes on:

In less than than a decade, almost all of the national advertising firms have left town, including McCann Erickson, Ogilvy, BBDO and Bates. The J. Walter Thompson agency, however, still has a presence here.

The reasons for the exodus are many: the trend toward consolidation both inside and outside the ad industry; the perception that Houston is a town where most businesses do business with each other, rather than with a consumer; and that the Houston offices of major agencies lost big oil accounts.


Led by local agency owner Lou Congelio, a group of industry volunteers has launched an ad campaign of its own called "Only in Houston" to remind advertisers that there is still plenty of talent in town.

Please visit the chronicle site for the whole story.  And if you are a blogger, please do TAG IT "OIH"!