The study used five categories to rank media outlets and analyze them:
Authority: This category looked at the percentage of articles that were written in full or in part by correspondents in the field; the more articles dispatched from Lebanon or Israel, the higher the score. In addition, extra points were given to news sources that dispatched articles from the conflict zone (the Israeli-Lebanese border area). However, media outlets lost points if the number of articles dispatched from one country were substantially different from those sent from the other country.
Depth: Ten variables were used in this category. The first measured how brief/superficial or detailed/comprehensive each article was. The second variable tracked the main subject focus of the headline and lead for each story. Finally, eight variables tracked the "frames" that appeared in each article.* In mass media theory, the media frame events, or present them in a certain way by including some aspects of the event and excluding others. The overall process of framing news affects the way audiences understand the event. For a detailed description of the Eight Frames tracked, see below. Each of the three variables in this category was analyzed using cross tabulations, and a score for each variable was allocated accordingly; the more detailed, comprehensive, diverse and complex the coverage, the higher the score. This means, the more frames used, the higher each article is scored.
Source Balance: Four variables were used to measure this category, which dealt with the balance of sources used for quotes and attributions. Only the first four quotes/attributions were tracked. Those tend to be the most prominent and the most oftenly read. The number of quotes from Lebanese sources was compared to the number of quotes from Israeli sources; the less the difference between the two, the higher the score.
Frame Balance: Two variables made up this category. The first focused on ‘meta-frames’ of each article. Meta-frames ask from whose point-of-view was the story told. Who was the subject in the story—as opposed to the object, and from whose perspective was the storyteller telling the story? The difference between the number of articles with an Israel centered meta-frame and the number of articles with a Lebanon centered meta-frame was calculated, and higher scores were given to news sources with smaller differences. Another variable that asked what was the primary focus of the headline and lead was measured similarly.
Empathy: This category focused on the coverage of killed and wounded civilians and fighters. Three variables made up the compound score for empathy. The first analyzed if articles that mentioned any victims covered them in a personal or impersonal manner. The second variable tracked whether articles mentioned any relatives, family members or friends of the victims, and the third asked whether any names of the victims were mentioned.
Political frames included political arguments, opinions, speeches and controversies, for example, anti-war protests, UN resolutions, diplomatic efforts, policies, political solutions, political leaders, etc.
Military Frames discussed war operations, tactics, weapons, missiles and their impact, major attacks and offensives, threats, military losses and damage caused. They also included military progress, advances, victory or loss of the battle and/or of military objectives.
Economic frames talked about the war's impact on the economy, locally or globally, and discussed interruptions in supply or impact on prices of important commodities, such as oil or other raw material. They also discussed recession, war costs, economic hardship on people and businesses, and other financial issues.
Humanitarian frames focused on victims, numbers of dead and wounded (both soldiers and civilians), aid and relief agencies and their efforts. They also included the mental and material situation in the attacked or attacking country, including the lack of food, water, electricity, gas, etc.
Human Touch frames focused on a person, a family, group or community. This was mostly a "personal story" about soldiers, victims, politicians, journalists, families, etc. They often covered unique situations, dramatic events and were highly emotional.
Environmental frames discussed damage or destruction to the environment and nature, for example, the impact of missiles on natural resources, such as drinking water and the sea.
Terrorism frames put the war in a context of a global or local "war on terrorism." These were segments that refered to either side as "terrorist" or engaging in "terrorism."
Religion Frames covered the religious aspects of the war and put the conflict in a religious context or described it as a conflict between religions.