The Framing of Adoption: A Content Analysis of Print News Coverage 2014-2016


  • Cynthia Morton University of Florida
  • Summer Shelton University of Florida



Media framing, Child adoption, Family planning, Print news, Content analysis


A qualitative content analysis method was applied to explore the frames associated with child adoption news coverage over a three-year period. The research questions examined the frame themes represented in print news stories about adoption and their prominence. An analysis of national print news publications found that child adoption coverage leaned toward regulatory and policy frames and frames about the child welfare industry. Absent from print news frames were themes that focused on the humanity of adoption, whether from the perspective of individuals and couples considering adoption or of children either waiting to be adopted or who were adopted successfully. The skew toward a small subset of themes on such a complex issue has implications for adopters and adoptees and the stigmas perpetuated across society.


Author Biographies

Cynthia Morton, University of Florida

Cynthia Morton is associate professor in advertising in the College of Journalism & Communications at the University of Florida.

Summer Shelton, University of Florida

Summer Shelton is a graduate student in the College of Journalism & Communications at the University of Florida.


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Original Research