Communication Technology and Policy 1997 Abstracts

Communication Technology and Policy Division

Organizations in Cyberspace: An Information Content Analysis of Academic, Government, and Commercial World Wide Web Pages on the Internet • Debashis Aikat, University of North Carolina • The power of the Internet, was unleashed in the 1990s by a special application, the World Wide Web, so called for its global reach of retrieving and accessing information on the Internet. The present study explores the information content in three main types of World Wide Web (WWW) pages Academic, Government, and Commercial. Based on a content analysis of a representative random sample of 1,140 WWW sites, the results of the study indicate: — Among Academic WWW pages, 51.57 percent comprised those of Public Institutions and 48.42 percent were of Private Institutions indicating that the WWW was used widely by both Public and Private educational institutions. • The largest part of Government WWW pages were Federal (55.30 percent), followed by Local (22.48 percent) and State (22.22 percent). — Among Commercial WWW pages, 68.9 percent comprised Manufacturing Firms and followed by Retail Sales (31.10 percent).

Understanding Internet Adoption Dynamics • David J. Atkin, Leo W. Jeffres, Kimberly Neuendorf, Cleveland State University • Much has been written about the emerging information society, where labor-intensive smokestack industries gradually give way to a computer-literate workforce equipped with online communication channels. The present study profiles Internet adopters in terms of social locators, media use habits, and their orientation toward adopting new technologies. The relative success of communication needs in discriminating between Internet adopters and nonadopters implies a new set of attitudinal variables to supplement demographics and technology adoption measures. Implications of study findings are discussed.

Television on the Web, 1996: Local Television Stations’ Use of the World Wide Web • Benjamin J. Bates, L. Todd Chambers, Margot Emery, Melanie Jones, Steven McClung, Jowon Park, University of Tennessee • This study examines the use of the World Wide Web by local television broadcast stations in the U.S. A census of television stations on the Web as of October 1996 was compiled, and the content of those sites downloaded. Based on a content analysis of the stations’ home pages, the study finds improvements in the use of the Web and Web features, although the use of audio and video features remains very low, and there is not much non-promotional content feature.

What Gratifications Are Sought from Computers? An Expansive View of the Applicability of the Uses and Gratifications Theory to Personal Computers • Lisa A. Beinhoff, Emporia State University • In order to investigate how well the uses and gratifications theory can be applied to personal computers, this study will: historically trace some of the issues that define what a personal computer is, identify uses and gratifications, verify whether the categories of uses and gratification factors identified in this study support the findings of other recent uses and gratification studies which have involved personal computers, and test the strength of the uses and gratifications theory.

Multimethod Aesthetic Approach to User-Derived Internet Interface Designs • Melissa Camacho, David Weinstock, Michigan State University • Technology alone will not facilitate an underserved community’s free entry into the global Internet discourse. The method detailed in this paper suggests a means to discern Internet interface metaphors within underserved communities that can bridge cultural barriers to joining the Internet discourse. It further suggests an application of Iser’s Aesthetic Response Theory as a means of creating community-derived Internet user interfaces for these communities.

Does Liberalization Lead to Greater Competition? The Case of Indian Telecommunications • Kalyani Chadha, University of Maryland • Theorists have long asserted that liberalization or the removal of barriers to market entry engenders the growth of competition. This paper examines the tenability of this claim by tracing the impact of recent liberalizing policy initiatives on India’s telecom sector. Here it finds that despite such initiatives, a purely competitive policy regime has failed to emerge due to certain political and economic factors prevalent within the Indian context. And drawing on the empirical evidence uncovered it suggests the need to re-examine the asserted linkage between liberalization and competition.

Funding Alternatives for Electronic Access to Government Information • David Danner and Paul W. Taylor, University of Washington • The allocation and recovery of costs related to electronic public access to government information represent important and controversial public policy issues. Policy makers must carefully balance the goal of widespread public access by electronic means with the need to sustain the infrastructure that makes such access possible. The paper argues that policies with the stated objective of promoting low- or no- cost electronic access, but which do not allow for adequate cost recovery, will retard the development of robust electronic public access systems. Based on a case study in Washington State, the paper discusses the need to distinguish between the content and delivery of government-held information, to allow agencies to charge user fees as a cost-recovery alternative, and to employ safeguards which ensure that such fees do not inhibit the goals of public access.

Bystanders at the Revolution: A Profile of Non-Users of Computer-Mediated Communication in Hong Kong Universities • Charles Elliott, Hong Kong Baptist University • This research attempts to understand non-use of computer-mediated communication among faculty members in Hong Kong universities. Survey research was used to profile characteristics of 134 faculty members from three universities. A comparison of user and non-user characteristics indicated no significant differences on the basis of gender or user’s first language but age and faculty were important in distinguishing non-users. In explaining reasons for non-use, respondents noted they lacked equipment, know-how, or motivation to use CMC.

Applying Research on the Uses and Effects of Hypermedia to the Study of the World Wide Web • William P. Eveland, Jr.and Sharon Dunwoody, University of Wisconsin-Madison • This paper identifies the origins of the World Wide Web to be in hypermedia systems that were conceptualized during the World War II era and first developed decades before the Web. The paper then reviews the theoretical and empirical literature on the uses and effects of hypermedia published in cognitive psychology, computer and library information sciences, and educational technology. The implications of this theory and research for the future study of the Web are then considered and new questions identified.

Duopoly Market Structure as Public Policy: Lessons from the Cellular Telephone Industry • Hugh S. Fullerton, American University in Bulgaria • No Abstract available.

Online Newsgathering Trends, 1994-96 • Bruce Garrison, University of Miami • This paper focuses on online newsgathering at U. S. daily newspapers during 1994 to 1996. Findings of three national surveys of newspapers with daily circulations of at least 20,000 are reported. Overall use has increased over the three-year period. Significant growth during the period has been in use of the World Wide Web as a news reporting resource. Other resources gaining use included America Online, DataTimes, PACER, CompuServe, and Westlaw. While the number of newspapers using online services increased, their individual levels of use also grew.

Conceptualizing Objectivity Online: Using the Web to Teach Media Literacy Skills • Dustin Harp, Amy Reynolds, Stephen D. Reese, Texas • Because of a slipping of public confidence in media institutions, the merger of media conglomerates and the blurring of boundaries between entertainment and news, it is more important than ever that the public posses media literacy skills. This paper outlines one component of a media literacy web site project designed for use in high school classrooms. The site bridges theoretical and practical discussions about journalistic objectivity in an effort to create a more media-savvy public.

Flying Freely But in a Cage: An Empirical Study of Using Internet for the Democratic Development in China • Edgar Shaohua Huang, Indiana • This paper examined the impact of Internet technology on the grassroots-level democratic development in China with a combined method of web observation and qualitative content analysis. It concludes that the Internet does not carry an inherently democratizing force that is irresistible; the Internet, however, has created a virtual classroom that is otherwise unavailable for Chinese people to start to learn what democracy means to them through their daily exchanges of ideas and information.

The Gratifications of Pager Use: Fashion, Sociability and Entertainment • Louis Leung, Ran Wei, The Chinese University of Hong Kong • The results from a proportionate stratified sample survey of 883 college students show that fashion and status was the strongest intrinsic motive for using the pager followed by sociability and instrumental factors such as entertainment, information-seeking and utility. Fashion & status was an unique motive because its function is linked to the process of social integration. The fewer messages respondents sent, the more likely they felt that the purpose in having a pager was to make a fashion or status statement.

The Relations Between Psychological Gratification Factors and Internet Use • Carolyn A. Lin, Cleveland State University • One of the most interesting recent social developments involves the potential impact of communication technology on our society via the Internet. At this initial stage of the Internet communication era, a crucial concern involves the question of what may prompt the general public to venture into the cybermedia world and who this public may be. The present study explores that question by examining the social locator, socio-environmental and psychological gratification factors that may predict Internet use.

The Wayward Bureaucracy: Government Assessment of FCC Organization and Performance • Philip M. Napoli, Boston University • No Abstract available.

Gathering of Strangers in Cyberspace: Public Opinion on the Internet • Alice Chan Plummer, Michigan State University • As a communication technology, bridging interpersonal and mass communication, the Internet holds considerable potential for the formation and dissemination of public opinion. Among other implications, the Internet offers a virtual space for the gathering of strangers to exchange opinion. Based on a review of existing literature on public opinion, as well as theories and research in traditional mass media and emerging information technologies, this paper provides a conceptual analysis of the Internet’s public opinion potential.

Conflict and Resolution at the FCC: Computer Industry Opposition to the Proposed National HDTV Standard • Peter B. Seel, Colorado State University • This paper reviews the history of computer industry opposition to the FCC’s proposed standard for advanced television in the United States. At the eleventh hour in the decade-long standardization process, the Computer Industry Coalition for Advanced Television Service (CICATS) mounted a successful challenge to the FCC’s proposed plan. Using the Krasnow, Longley and Terry broadcast policy making model, this study examines the dynamics of the CICATS campaign to have the standard changed, and illustrates the need to revise the existing model to include unregulated industry elements that are influencing FCC broadcast policy making in an era of convergent media.

Does Web Advertising Work? Memory for Print vs. Online Media • S. Shyam Sundar, Sunetra Narayan, Rafael Obregon, Charu Uppal, Pennsylvania State University • Is memory for an advertisement related to the medium in which the ad was viewed? A between-subjects experiment (N = 48) was designed to answer this question. One-half of the subjects was exposed to a print newspaper front-page with two news stories and one advertisement whereas the other half was exposed to the online version of the same content. Results showed that print subjects remembered significantly more ad material than online subjects.

Internet Connectivity: Addiction and Dependency Study • Steve Thompson, Pennsylvania State University • If Internet addiction/dependency is the new substance abuse of the 90s, what are some of its measurable effects? An on-line website survey administered to 120 respondents who claimed Internet addiction resulted in subjects (N=32) being evaluated for personal disruptions. The study looked at factors involved in separating persons addicted from those persons dependent, and then evaluated what this might mean for a global society newly affected by unlimited access to this new communication medium

The Internet: Is the Medium the Message? • Mark W. Tremayne, University of Texas at Austin • The unique features of each medium can change the nature of messages sent by journalists. Does the Internet have unique features and can those features now be measured. This study examines these questions, and provides a comparison of Internet news sites started by newspaper, magazine, television and radio companies. The study found that these sites are making use of interactivity and nonlinear story-telling. Further, newspaper and television sites are taking different approaches to this new medium.

The Impact of Telecommunications on Rural Community Development: An Agenda for Research • Gwen H. Wolford, C. Ann Hollifield, The Ohio State University • Rural American communities are investing heavily in new telecommunications technologies in the expectation that these investments will lead to future social and economic growth and stability. That these expectations are well founded is not clear. This study uses a systematic propositional inventory to analyze the existing literature on telecommunications and U.S. rural development to determine what is known about the socioeconomic impact of telecommunications on rural American communities. The study found that while case studies and discussions of telecommunications and rural development abound, there has been little comparative empirical research that has measured the actual social or economic impact telecommunications implementation has had on rural communities.

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