Visual Analytics for Media Framing

Media frames represent distinct ways of communicating about issues that are reflected in choices of key words and phrases. In this line of work we have been developing visualization techniques and visual analytic systems that enable the study and comparison of media frames across corpora.

Most recently we have developed a technique called the Compare Cloud (shown below), which explicitly maps word prevalence and context information between two corpora in order to enable the analytic task of frame comparison. Words to the left of the layout are more often found in one corpus (Mainstream Media or MSM in this example) and words on the right of the layout are more often found in a second corpus (blogs in this case), whereas in the middle are words that are used at similar rates in both corpora. By searching for key terms (e.g. “surveillance”) the compare cloud will show the words that occur in the same sentence as the key term, thus allowing you to compare the prevalence of words in the context of the search term. In the figure below you can see that in the context of the search term “surveillance”, “security” is used more often by MSM, but words like “access” and “network” are used more often by the blogs”.


In the online demo you can explore a compare cloud created using two corpora (19,303 articles from 16 MSM sources and 26,364 blogs posts from 3 blog platforms) discussing the issue of surveillance in the period after the Snowden leaks from June 2013 to July 2014.


  • N. Diakopoulos, D. Elgesem, A. Salway, A. Zhang, K. Hofland. Compare Clouds: Visualizing Text Corpora to Compare Media Frames. Proc. IUI Workshop on Visual Text Analytics. March, 2015. [Demo] [PDF forthcoming]
  • N. Diakopoulos, A. Zhang, D. Elgesem, A. Salway. Identifying and Analyzing Moral Evaluation Frames in Climate Change Blog Discourse. Proc. International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM). June, 2014. [PDF]
  • N. Diakopoulos, A. Zhang, A. Salway. Visual Analytics of Media Frames in Online News and Blogs. IEEE InfoVis Workshop on Text Visualization. October, 2013. [PDF]
  • N. Diakopoulos. Visual Analytics of Blog Corpora for Communication Scholars. IEEE InfoVis workshop on Interactive Visual Text Analytics. October 2012. [PDF]