Radio-Television Journalism Division 2010 Abstracts

Interdependence and adoption: The application of critical mass theory to diffusion of non-linear editing • Tim Brown, University of Central Florida; Heidi D. Campbell, University of South Carolina; August E. Grant, University of South Carolina; Harvie Nachlinger, University of South Carolina • This paper applies critical-mass and collective-action theory to the adoption of non-linear video editing by communications programs and television stations. The results of two surveys provide evidence of an accelerating production function of adoption by television stations while the adoption pattern in academia exhibits a decelerating production function. Post-hoc hypotheses suggested by collective action theory suggest that the external forces and interdependence between stations and communications programs (stations hire communications programs graduates) inhibited later-stage adoption by colleges preventing the academy from being a true innovator. Finally, the implications of these interdependent processes suggested by collective action theory are discussed.

Third-person perception and myths about crime and victims of crime • John Chapin, Pennsylvania State University • The study extends the third-person perception (TPP) literature by documenting the phenomenon within the context of news coverage of crime, and by establishing a relationship between TPP and myths or misperceptions about crime. Results of a community sample (N = 340) indicate that TPP is predicted by perceived importance of the topic and belief in myths, but not by experience with crime, age, race, or gender.

What Was the Murrow Tradition? A Case for Supplementing Historical Research with Content Analysis • Raluca Cozma, Iowa State University • This study content analyzes a representative sample of world news roundups from the golden age of foreign correspondence at CBS Radio in order to better understand what the so-called Murrow tradition was in quantitative terms. As the results don’t seem to match the glorified image we have about that era, this study makes a case for supplementing historical research with content analysis in order to better understand the history and evolution of foreign news.

New Media Skills Competency Expected of TV Reporters and Producers: A Survey • Michael Cremedas, S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University; Suzanne Lysak, S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University This study examined the current state of online news production at local television stations—what is being produced and who is producing it—and what emphasis news directors place on new media skills when making hiring decisions. Armed with a picture of how today’s TV newsrooms are attempting to meet the demand for Web content, broadcast journalism educators can more efficiently establish a proper balance between traditional classroom instruction and training in new media.

Domestic Terrorism on the Nightly News • Ruth DeFoster, University of Minnesota • This study examines coverage of domestic terror attacks in the United States on evening network news broadcasts, analyzing both the extent of coverage and differences in coverage—including the presence of the term terrorism—between attacks perpetrated by culprits identified by different ethnic, racial, and religious descriptors. Analysis of 394 stories (42 events) found a significant association between the use of the word terrorism and the identification of culprits as Muslim (x2 = 25.026, df = 1, p < .0001).

Audience Preferences in Determining Quality News Production of Backpack Journalism • Charlie Gee, Duquesne University • This study explores preferences by younger news audiences of backpack journalism in local television news. Local television news has to compete with Internet and other media to attract viewers. The focus of the study centered around technology’s influence on television newsgathering techniques and if the techniques delineated the quality of journalistic presentation and is theoretically based on uses and gratifications.

News Source Perceptions of Accuracy for Newspaper & Television Websites • Darrell Blair, University of Tennessee; Mark Harmon, University of Tennessee • In a pilot study, researchers tested perceptions of accuracy by news sources utilizing a conventional research methodology adapted to sample online news websites. Findings mirror several aspects of existing accuracy research. In general reporter error is often cited as a reason for factual inconsistencies or misrepresentations of facts within news stories and subjective errors are more prevalent than are objective errors. Researchers provide recommendations for future accuracy research.

Bridging the Gap between Students and Veteran Journalists: Promising Practices for Journalism Educators • Sarah Holtan, Concordia University Wisconsin • This study examined television journalists regarding their perceptions of on-the-job success and the role of prior education. The findings show success is in all levels, it is relative to age, and is never-ending. Success means moving forward, being factually accurate, having a positive impact as a professional, and avoiding preventable on-air mistakes. The informants found value in learning about ethics and news judgment in college but felt overwhelmed by the practical aspects of their jobs.

Social Identity and Convergence: News Faculty and Student Perspectives on Web, Print, and Broadcast Skills • Glenn Hubbard, The University of Texas at Arlington; Elizabeth Crawford, NDSU; Vincent Filak, UW-Oshkosh • National survey of 342 mass communication students and faculty (n=342) assessed the relationship between social identity with given mass communication disciplines (print, broadcast, advertising, and public relations) and preferences for the teaching of broadcast, print, or web-oriented skills. Findings indicate that broadcasting students and faculty who identify highly as broadcasters are less open to the teaching of cross-platform skills than others in the sample. Also, among all mass communication student and faculty participants, there was a negative relationship between the strength of preference for the teaching of traditional print or broadcast skills and the teaching of web-related skills. This negative relationship was strongest among those in broadcasting, indicating that intergroup bias is stronger among broadcasters than others in mass media programs, and possibly suggesting that broadcasters are less open to convergence than other mass communication students and faculty. There were no significant differences between students and faculty in terms of print or broadcast skills preferences, but students ranked the teaching of all mass communication skills more highly than faculty.

Motivations and Attitudes toward Crime News as Predictors of Risk Perception • Eun Hwa Jung, University of Florida • This study investigated the factors influencing risk perception through crime news on television. To gain insights into the issue, the study considered motivations for watching television news and attitudes toward crime news as predictors of risk perception. However, only frequency of watching crime news was found to positively influence risk perception. The findings contribute to greater understanding of television news audiences and the effect that crime news on television has on audiences’ perceptions of risk.

Operationalizing the dimensions of current events: Two pilot studies • Jack Karlis, University of South Carolina; August E. Grant, University of South Carolina • Journalism faculty has long used current events tests as a tool to help journalism students develop the habit of consuming news. A number of previous studies have examined the relationship between consumption of specific media and college students’ current events knowledge. However, the literature on current events knowledge is limited compared to other aspects of mass communication curriculum, and a notable weakness in most of these studies is a failure to provide a specific, operational definition of current events. This paper explores the use and previous operationalizations of current events tests and reports the results from two exploratory studies designed to investigate the perceived importance of current events subject matter and move towards an operational definition of current events testing in mass communications curriculum. Ten dimensions of current events are operationalized, and differences in knowledge and importance of these dimensions by sex are investigated.

Differing Uses of YouTube During the 2008 U.S. Presidential Primary Election • Gary Hanson, Kent State University; Paul Haridakis, Kent State University; Rekha Sharma, Kent State University • In this study we explored YouTube use during the 2008 U.S. presidential primaries. Specifically, we identified people’s motives for using the site and described the types of videos people viewed and shared. Results indicated participants used YouTube predominantly for habitual entertainment and information seeking purposes. But there was a strong relationship between political surveillance motivation and watching news, political ads, direct-to-camera videos, and campaign ads, suggesting YouTube could be a significant medium in future elections.

Tweeting the news: Broadcast stations’ use of Twitter • Jessica Smith, Texas Tech University; Stephanie Miles, Texas Tech University; Jillian Lellis, Texas Tech University • This pilot study offers a picture of basic characteristics of Twitter posts by television broadcast stations. A content analysis examined a sample of 8,566 tweets selected from 117 stations in one month. Most tweets included hyperlinks to additional content, and most lacked source attribution for the information they offered. Tweets about crime and law enforcement, miscellaneous content, government and politics, and accidents or disasters were the most common topics, composing more than 56% of the sample. Finally, few tweets included Twitter-specific functions that link topics and users in online conversation.

The Evolving Frame: NBC’s Coverage of The U.S. Presidents’ Visits to China, 1989-2009 • Boya Xu, West Virginia University • This study analyzes NBC’s coverage of the U.S. President’s visits to China from 1989 through 2009, and investigates the evolving characteristics of media framing over time. By examining the changes of primary target, content orientation, and tone in news reporting in different time periods, using quantitative content analysis, it is concluded that journalistic ideology in the newsroom played an important role in news making, while the media interpretation of international communication is applied within the context of foreign policies and bilateral relations.

Marketing Sensationalism: A Comparison of Television News in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan • Shuhua Zhou, University of Alabama; Trisha Lin, Nanyang Technological University; Cui Zhang, the University of Alabama • Examining the prominence of sensational content, features and storytelling in news reports, this comparative study investigated news sensationalism in commercial and state-owned Chinese television news. For the selected cases (CCTV from mainland China, TVB Hong Kong, TTV and TVBS from Taiwan), 1,132 news stories from 56 main evening newscasts in the fall of 2007 were content analyzed. Three sets of variables, sensational topics, tabloid packaging and vivid story-telling techniques, were used to measure dramatic elements in news stories. The findings partially supported the contention that the more competitive TV newscasters (Hong Kong’s TVB and Taiwan’s TVBS) have more sensational topics, tabloid packaging, and vivid storytelling techniques than the state-owned CCTV of China and Taiwan’s TTV. Implications of these findings on Chinese television news were discussed.

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