So, if we accept the premise that media are influential in setting the public agenda, we also must understand the various devices media use to report—or more specifically, frame—the news. Media framing analysis goes beyond identifying which issues (and aspects of issues) are important to think about, and explores the parameters of the discussion itself—the words, symbols, overall content, and tone used to frame the topic.  When compared to agenda setting, framing includes “a broader range of cognitive processes—such as moral evaluations, causal reasoning, appeals to principles, and recommendations for treatment of problems.” In other words, if agenda setting tells us what issues and topics to think about, and second-level agenda setting suggests which aspects of those topics are more/less salient, media framing takes it another step by exploring “how” specific devices can shape our understanding of the topic itself.

(Read more at The Arthur W. Page Center Public Relations Ethics)