Master of Arts (MA)
Cecil V. Kramer
Primary Subject Area
Day-Time Talk Show, Framing Analysis, Media Package, Oprah Winfrey, Oprah Winfrey Show, Spirituality
Oprah Winfrey is an American icon. She has a hand in almost every form of media: movies, television, books, Internet, and radio. In her rise to success, another place that she has infiltrated is the church. Because of her wide range of influence, her thoughts and teaching on spirituality have made their way into both the home and church. Over ten years ago, talk shows had a reputation for portraying mainly negative topics. To combat this stereotype, she made a push to encourage more positive topics of discussion on her show. Yet after receiving criticism for "preaching," she withdrew from spiritually natured shows. However, in the last couple of years, her shows have again seen more focus on spirituality. While Winfrey has been both praised and criticized for these spiritual views, there has not been much written about what these views actually are. There has also been virtually no study to compare her views of ten years ago to the more recent views. Therefore, this thesis uses Erving Goffman's framing analysis to extract the frames she presents on spirituality on her talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show. The frames will be identified in the empirical approach of media packaging. Media packaging attempts to identify within a text the framing devices that compose a frame. These framing devices are: metaphors, exemplars, catchphrases, depictions, and visual images. The identification and comparison of her frames on spirituality will provide a better insight into the person, Oprah Winfrey, and what she believes.