Weblogs have the potential to complement traditional centralized media with independent decentralized perspectives. One of the greatest criticisms of traditional media is its tendency to favor episodic framing, depicting a news event as a single isolated episode highlighting the actions of visible individuals. This contrasts with “thematic framing,” depicting a news event in context with larger themes and trends.
The problem with episodic framing is that by failing to provide perspective on the larger context of the story item, media consumers develop a contorted view of the world without understanding larger trends. Consumers develop biases towards individuals in stories without understanding the larger trends that put individuals in these positions in the first place.
A rich media contains both episodic and thematic framing of stories. The modern structure of mass media, driven by tight deadlines and editorial calendars with a slant towards entertainment, rather than education, leads it to favor episodic framing. The jury is still out on Weblogs. The unfettered access to stories to cite, the drive to cite memes for a day’s pop in traffic and occupations of the authors themselves would favor greater use of episodic framing. However, the great opportunity is for independent authors to provide the missing perspective – to provide context and theme that is lacking from most of modern media.