Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis


Strategic Communication: Public Relations and Advertising

First Advisor

Rose Campbell


Message framing is considered to be an important aspect in delivering a simplified and unified message in public relations. The use of media in political advocacy messaging is often the greatest influence in affecting voter interpretations and perceptions. According to several researchers (Hallahan, 1999; Putnam & Majia, 1992; Entman, 1993), message framing is used by various organizations to simplify complex ideas or gain emotional currency in political advocacy campaigns.

The present study seeks to identify the main framed messages that are currently being implemented in two political advocacy campaigns in the United Kingdom as conveyed by the UK news media. The two campaigns surround Scotland's attempt to become independent from the UK, and both campaigns are leading up to an independence referendum that is taking place in the fall of 20 14. A content analysis of 299 articles from two national newspapers, The Scotsman and The Times, which represent Scotland and the U.K. respectively, was conducted to examine how the media framed each campaign and how the coverage reflected the messages advocated by each country in this endeavor. The study also sought to determine evidence of Scotland and the U.K. reframing their messages as the campaigns continued and collided.

Results reveal that both Scotland and the United Kingdom implemented some aspects of consistent message framing and reframing to portray a more simplified overall message as revealed by the media coverage. It was determined that U.K. unification campaign was more successful than its Scottish counterpart in having its key messaging reflected in its national newspaper.