Gender and Racial Bias in Design Juries

Mark Paul Frederickson Source: Journal of Architectural Education (1984-), Vol. 47, No. 1 (Sep., 1993), pp. 38-48 Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on behalf of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, Inc

This study assesses the participation and interaction of various participants in the design jury process, that is, male and female jurors, male and female students, and racial minority students. Several consistently biased practices and procedures in design juries are identified and statistically examined. The findings presented here have been distilled from one portion of an ongoing comprehensive investigation of the inner workings and educational efficacy of design juries in architectural education. Initial portions of the overall research program were conducted by Mark Frederickson and Marvin Adelson at the University of California, Los Angeles. Investigation of studio education and review processes continues under Frederickson's guidance at the University of Arizona. THROUGH THEIR USE OF THE JURY SYSTEM, DESIGN EDUCATORS IN ARCHI- tecture, landscape architecture, interior design, and several studio arts share a fundamental method of evaluating design projects and render- ing feedback to students concerning their performance and abilities. The jury is a core element in many of these design curricula and a critical educational vehicle in which students verbally and graphically present their design work to an assembly of design teachers, visiting professionals, and student peers. It is a forum for building and com- municating ideas. Although intrajury communications are often flawed, I believe design juries to be rich in educational potential.1 After witnessing and participating in design reviews that were quite wonderful in their in- sight and thoughtful manner of communication, it became apparent to me that these few occasions deserved careful study, especially be- cause most juries appeared rarely to operate at, or even near, their full potential. For the past four years, Marvin Adelson and I have been in- vestigating both the potentials and the defects of jury environments in architectural design curricula. During the conceptual stages of our re- search, we initiated pilot studies as a means of ethnographically ex- ploring the subject.2 Early observations indicated that many problems seemed to be linked to interpersonal communications. One portion of this study revealed particularly destructive prejudicial behavior among and between jurors and students of different gender and race-biased conduct that likely discourages many of our most intelli- gent female and minority students from continuing on in school and the profession. There have been several interesting studies on studio education and the processes of designing and learning to design,3 but our initial literature review revealed little formal research on design juries except that of Kathryn Anthony. Her studies of design juries break new ground by refusing to accept the jury as sacrosanct. Although our study focuses much of its effort on the dynamics of intrajury commu- nications, Anthony's comparisons of faculty, student, and practitioner perceptions of the efficacy of the jury were helpful in establishing the need for more research in this area.

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Framing Bias: Media in the Distribution of Power

Robert M. Entman

School of Media and Public Affairs, The George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052

This article proposes integrating the insights generated by framing, priming, and agenda-setting research through a systematic effort to conceptualize and understand their larger implications for political power and democracy. The organizing concept is bias, that curiously undertheorized staple of public discourse about the media. After showing how agenda setting, framing and priming fit together as tools of power, the article connects them to explicit definitions of news slant and the related but distinct phenomenon of bias. The article suggests improved measures of slant and bias. Properly defined and measured, slant and bias provide insight into how the media influence the distribution of power: who gets what, when, and how. Content analysis should be informed by explicit theory linking patterns of framing in the media text to predictable priming and agenda-setting effects on audiences. When unmoored by such underlying theory, measures and conclusions of media bias are suspect.


This article proposes integrating the insights generated by framing, priming, and agenda-setting research through a new, systematic effort to conceptualize and under- stand their implications for political power. The organizing concept is bias, that curiously undertheorized staple of public discourse about the media.

With all the heat and attention it incites among activists and ordinary citizens, bias is yet to be defined clearly, let alone received much serious empirical attention (Niven, 2002). The term seems to take on three major meanings. Sometimes, it is applied to news that purportedly distorts or falsifies reality (distortion bias), some- times to news that favors one side rather than providing equivalent treatment to both sides in a political conflict (content bias), and sometimes to the motivations and mindsets of journalists who allegedly produce the biased content (decision-making bias). This essay argues that we can make bias a robust, rigorous, theory-driven, and productive research concept by abandoning the first use while deploying new, more precisely delineated variants of the second and third.

Depending on specific research objectives, the distinctions among these three con- cepts can be crucial (Scheufele, 2000). The present article suggests that parsimonious

Corresponding author: Robert M. Entman; e-mail:

Journal of Communication 57 (2007) 163–173 a 2007 International Communication Association 163

Journal of Communication ISSN 0021-9916


Framing Bias R. M. Entman

integration can nonetheless serve at least two goals. First, systematically employing agenda setting, framing, and priming under the conceptual umbrella of bias would advance understanding of the media’s role in distributing power, revealing new dimensions and processes of critically political communication.1 Second, such a pro- ject would offer normative guidance for scholars, for journalists striving to construct more ‘‘fair and balanced’’ news, and for the many citizens and activists who feel victimized by biased media (cf. Eveland & Shah, 2003).

Most of the studies that do explicitly explore bias focus on presidential cam- paigns and administrations and find little evidence of decisive or consistent, liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican bias (D’Alessio & Allen, 2000; Niven, 2002; but cf. Jamieson & Waldman, 2002; Kuypers, 2002). Yet this conclusion sits uneasily alongside findings, not usually filed under ‘‘bias’’ scholarship, that reveal news consistently favoring one side. Examples of such apparent content bias include the media’s images of minorities (Entman & Rojecki, 2000; Kang, 2005) and their coverage of U.S. foreign policy (Entman, 2004). The consolidating question, then, is whether the agenda setting and framing content of texts and their priming effects on audiences fall into persistent, politically relevant patterns. Powerful players devote massive resources to advancing their interests precisely by imposing such patterns on mediated communications. To the extent we reveal and explain them, we illuminate the classic questions of politics: who gets what, when, and how (Lasswell, 1966)?

Reconsidering connections

Scholars can shed new light on bias by examining linkages among the three concepts that have received such intense scholarly scrutiny. We can define framing as the process of culling a few elements of perceived reality and assembling a narrative that highlights connections among them to promote a particular interpretation. Fully developed frames typically perform four functions: problem definition, causal anal- ysis, moral judgment, and remedy promotion (Entman, 1993, 2004). Framing works to shape and alter audience members’ interpretations and preferences through prim- ing. That is, frames introduce or raise the salience or apparent importance of certain ideas, activating schemas that encourage target audiences to think, feel, and decide in a particular way (see, e.g., Gross & D’Ambrosio, 2004; Iyengar & Simon, 1993; Kim, Scheufele, & Shanahan, 2002; Price, Tewksbury, & Powers, 1997).

The strategic framing contests that occupy the heart of the political process take place in the first instance over the agenda (Riker, 1986). Agenda setting can thus be seen as another name for successfully performing the first function of framing: defining problems worthy of public and government attention. Among other things, agenda problems can spotlight societal conditions, world events, or character traits of a candidate. The second or ‘‘attribute’’ level of agenda setting (McCombs & Ghanem, 2001) centrally involves three types of claims that happen to encompass the core business of strategic framing: to highlight the causes of problems, to encour- age moral judgments (and associated affective responses), and to promote favored

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R. M. Entman Framing Bias

policies. Priming, then, is a name for the goal, the intended effect, of strategic actors’ framing activities.2

The oft-quoted but misleading phrase that inaugurated the modern study of media effects is that: ‘‘the media may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about’’ (Cohen, 1963, p. 13, emphasis in original). Although the distinction between ‘‘what to think’’ and ‘‘what to think about’’ is not entirely clear, the former seems to mean what people decide, favor, or accept, whereas the latter refers to the consid- erations they ‘‘think about’’ in coming to such conclusions. The distinction misleads because, short of physical coercion, all influence over ‘‘what people think’’ derives from telling them ‘‘what to think about.’’ If the media really are stunningly successful in telling people what to think about, they must also exert significant influence over what they think. 

Cont. reading...

Curating with a Click: The Art That Participatory Media Leaves Behind


Bonnie Ruberg

Abstract: At a moment when technological participation seems to promise to bring innovation and democratic access to the contemporary museum, the results from one community-curated exhibit suggest that conservative cultural biases continue to shape the American public’s taste in art. In 2013, the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania collected more than 10,000 online votes for their People’s Choice exhibit. Voters were invited to choose their ‘top’ three artworks from among 125, and the twenty-five artworks that received the most votes were then displayed, while those that didn’t make the cut stayed tucked away behind closed doors. Rather than promoting diversity by making curatorial practices interactive and accessible however, the People’s Choice voting process rendered difference invisible. The result was an exhibit that appealed to the largest number of voters, yet excluded artwork that challenged dominant norms of gendered or racial privilege. Voters consistently chose realistic paintings of landscapes and white female subjects over abstract works, pieces by women, and images of people of color. The People’s Choice exhibit serves as a valuable lesson about the use of participatory media in museums, and about the potential pitfalls of crowdsourcing in new media cultures more broadly, demonstrating the importance of self-reflection as a key component of participatory cultural programming.