Between display and deliberation: analyzing TV news as communicative architecture

Simon Cottle, Mugdha Rai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Television journalism serves to display and deliberate consent and conflict in the contemporary world and it does so through a distinctive 'communicative architecture' structured in terms of a repertoire of 'communicative frames'. This proves consequential for the public expression and engagement of views and voices, issues and identities, and exhibits a complexity that has so far remained unexplored and under-theorized. This article outlines our conceptualization of 'communicative frames' and demonstrates its relevance in a systematic, comparative international analysis of terrestrial and satellite, public service and commercial television news produced and/or circulated in six different countries: the USA, UK, Australia, India, Singapore and South Africa. Recent developments in social theory, political theory and journalism studies all underpin our approach to how these frames contribute to meaningful public deliberation and understanding and, potentially, to processes of mediatized 'democratic deepening'. This article builds on these contemporary theoretical trajectories and develops a new approach for the empirical exploration and re-theorization of the fast-developing international ecology of TV journalism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-189
Number of pages27
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Communicative architecture
  • Deliberative democracy
  • Democratic deepening
  • Display
  • News ecology
  • TV journalism

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