This article seeks to understand the genesis of frame-building based on the early coverage of the Belgian Syria fighters in the four leading newspapers in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium. For a period of 6 weeks, a frame analysis of news stories was linked to reconstruction interviews with reporters and supplemented by newsroom observations and in-depth interviews with superiors. The findings show that the framing of ‘new’ events on the public agenda stems from familiar frames about related events. More than being only a selection criterion, news values are equally added to the news story in retrospect, in line with the applied frame, which implies that the newsworthiness of the story may be increased by the way it is told. When journalists report an exclusive story, they remained closer to the frame as it is presented to them by their main sources.