Mass Communication and Society 2005 Abstracts
Mass Communication and Society Division
Missing the Market: Character Salience in Television Program Websites • James R. Angelini, Debbie P. C. Goh, Jason A. Rosow, Tyler Dodge, Wenchang Deng, Na Zhou and Susan Tyler Eastman, Indiana University, Bloomington • The television media promote primetime programs in ways that reflect different target markets. Analysis of the gender, ethnic, and age demographics of 1306 images of characters on the six broadcast networks’ 124 program websites showed close similarities between old and new media in gender and ethnicity stereotyping but not in age stereotyping. In addition, an index of character and program salience measured the relative prominence of characters by demographic type.
Cultivating Fear: The Effects Of Television News Public’s Fear Of Terrorism • Fernando Anton, Iowa State University • Based on cultivation theory, this study analyzes the relationship between television news exposure and the creation of fear in TV audiences. The results showed that heavy television news viewers are more scared of terrorism than light viewers. They also hold a larger number of erroneous beliefs about facts related to terrorist incidents and are more likely to change their behavior due to fear. Differences in cultivation levels among viewers of the six main national TV networks were also found.
Political Advertising and the Third Person Effect: Investigating the Behavioral Consequences of Negative Political Ads • Stephen Banning, Guy Golan, and Lisa Lundy, Louisiana State University • Political advertising has emerged as a key component of the modern presidential campaign. The current study examines the perceived influence of negative and biographical political advertisements on potential voters. A judgment task experiment of 340 individuals who were shown four ads from the 2004 Bush/Kerry campaigns provided some evidence as to the perceived effects of television presidential ads.
Cable Battleground: Analysis of Coverage for the 2004 Presidential Election on CNN and Fox News • Jacqueline Bates, Syracuse University • A content analysis was designed to explore cable shows’ stories on policy and campaign issues during the 2004 presidential election. Both CNN and Fox News were compared for airtime of policy and campaign issues as well as airtime devoted to the candidates. Through this research project, it was found that CNN and Fox News are highly similar in their coverage of policy issues and candidates, but they differ in the coverage of campaign issues.
Make Me Over: Third-Person Perception About Body Image and Endorsement of Plastic Surgery in Self and Others • Kimberly L. Bissell, University of Alabama and Ron Leone, Stonehill College • Research examining the social effects of mass media as it relates to body image distortion often considers some behavioral components, specifically excessive dieting, bingeing, and exercising, but little is known about the degree in which women turn to plastic surgery to correct or reshape their bodies. Using a survey of college women, participants were shown an image of a thin-ideal swimsuit model and asked to project how repeated exposure to images like the one viewed would affect themselves and others.
Who’s Got Game? Exposure to Entertainment and Sports Media and Social Physique Anxiety in Division I Female Athletes • Kimberly L. Bissell, and Katie Hines, University of Alabama • This study compared college female athletes’ exposure to two types of media, and looked for possible associations with social physique anxiety, an affective trait that could be present in women who have eating disorder tendencies. Our survey of Division I female athletes yielded very inconsistent patterns with regard to the type of media that is more likely to be related to higher levels of physique anxiety.
Managing Impressions of Ethnic Diversity: Is Diversity a Differentiation Tactic on Collegiate Home Pages? • Lori Boyer, Louisiana State University • This study is an empirical analysis of whether colleges and universities use ethnic diversity as a self-presentation tactic. The Web site home pages of a random sample of 40 academic institutions were examined for written and visual references that regarding students of African American, Hispanic or Asian backgrounds. Findings suggest ethnic diversity was more likely to be present in the photographs rather than in the text. Results are discussed from the self-presentation theoretical perspective.
Third-Person Effect and Censorship of Web Pornography • Li-jing Arthur Chang, Jackson State • The study, which surveyed 710 respondents in Singapore, found that third-person effect played a role in the support for the censorship of Web pornography. Other factors found to predict the support for the censorship measure include gender, age, and Internet use. In addition, the study also confirmed past empirical evidence about the link between third person effect and undesirable media content, and the association between third person effect and the social distance between self and others
Youth Perceptions of their School Violence Risks • John Chapin, Penn State University • In order to gauge youth perceptions of school violence, the study links two perceptual bias literatures: third-person perception and optimistic bias. The intersection of the two literatures may be especially beneficial in understanding how adolescents process and interpret mass media public health messages and subsequently engage in risk behaviors or self-protective behaviors in health contexts. Findings from a survey of 350 urban adolescents indicate shared predictors of third-person perception and optimistic bias (age, self-esteem) as well as differences (knowledge).
Attention, Perception, and Perceived Effects: Negative Political Advertising in a Battleground State of the 2004 Presidential Election • Hong Cheng and Dan Riffe, Ohio University • Based on a statewide telephone survey conducted two weeks prior to the November 2004 presidential election, this study probes Ohioans’ attention to and perception of the 2004 presidential election advertising, and their perception of effects of those negative political ads. Citizens in this “battleground” state had a very high level of awareness of the campaign and campaign advertising, and characterized the campaign advertising as more negative than in the past.
An Examination of Third Person Effect with Q Methodology: How Does My Ideal Body Image Differ from the Perceived Ideal Image of Others? • Yun Jung Choi and Jong Hyuk Lee, Syracuse University • The third person effect was examined with the Q methodology. Participants were asked to sort images of women to represent their ideal image and their perception of other’s ideal image. The third person effect was observed in the study. People’s their own ideal Q sort loaded on one factor while their Q sorts representing their perception of others’ ideal image loaded on another factor.
Risk Communication: The Importance of Source Diversity to Credible and Interesting Reporting • Raluca Cozma Louisiana State University • An experiment was conducted to explore the effects of government versus multiple sources on perceived credibility of and interest in risk stories. It also analyzed the effects of sources on participants’ assessment of government credibility and source reasonableness. The study investigated the effects of demographic characteristics of participants on the same variables, and tried to determine if there was any statistical correlation between credibility and interest. It also analyzed the effects of human-interest reports on credibility and interest.
Advertising Exposures and Message Types: Exploring the Perceived Effects of Soft-Money Political Ads • Frank Dardis, Heidi Hatfield Edwards, and Fuyuan Shen, Penn State University • This experimental study examined third-person effects of negative political attack advertising and its relationship with ad type (issue vs. character), exposure level and attitudes toward campaign finance reform. After being exposed to one, three, or five independently sponsored attack ads from the 2004 Presidential Election, subjects were found to overestimate the effects of negative political advertising on others vs. self.
Hyper-Masculinity as Political Strategy: George W. Bush, the “War on Terrorism,” and An Echoing Press • David Domke University of Washington • Scholars have demonstrated the centrality of masculinity as an ideology in the American presidency, but have devoted insufficient attention to the manner in which presidents use specific forms of masculinity in strategic ways to control the mass media environment and circumscribe public sentiment.
First-time Eligible Presidential Voters’ Perceptions of Politics, Patriotism, and Media • Jacqueline M. Eckstein, Miglena Daradanova, Peter J. Gade, University of Oklahoma • This Q-methodology analysis seeks to help explain the attitudes of a large and important group of the political electorate-first-time presidential voters. This cohort, also called Generation Y by scholars and social pundits (Klinger, 1999; Morton, 2001; Shepherdson, 2000), is the largest group of first-time presidential voters in U.S. history (Rosenberg, 2004).
Multilevel Models of the Impact of News Use and News Content Characteristics on Political Knowledge and Participation • William P. Eveland and Yung-I Liu Ohio State University • Studies indicate that election news has changed for the worse since the 1960s. But, little research has examined the impact of this “decline” in the quality of news on the effects of news use on positive outcomes such as political knowledge and participation. This study employs multilevel modeling to test the hypothesis that news media effects vary over time as a function of news media content. The data provide little support for this hypothesis.
Rationalizing War A Path Analysis Model of Agenda Building • Shahira Fahmy, Southern Illinois University, Juyan Zhang, Monmouth University and Wayne Wanta, Missouri School of Journalism • This agenda-building study employed a path analysis model to examine the three-way relationship among the president, the media and the public on the Iraq War issue during the Bush administration. Findings suggest President Bush reacted to public opinion by emphasizing the five most important rationales for war: War on terror; Prevention of the proliferation of V/MD; Lack of inspections; Removal of the Saddam regime; Saddam is evil.
Show the Truth and let Al Jazeera Audience Decide Support for Use of Graphic Imagery Among Al Jazeera Viewers • Shahira Fahmy and Thomas J. Johnson, Southern Illinois University • This survey examines Al Jazeera viewers’ perceptions of the network’s presentation of graphic and war-related visuals and whether viewers perceive the network provides visual information they cannot find in national Arab media and CNN. Nearly nine in ten supported the use of graphic imagery, saying watching those visuals was a good decision for them and that Al Jazeera provides a unique source of visual information. Further, media reliance, press freedom and political interest predicted support for use of graphic imagery.
News (Un)Scripted: An Analysis of Support and Blame in The Wake Of Two Shooting Deaths • Vincent F. Filak and Robert S. Pritchard, Ball State University • Using Gilliam et al’s (2000) theoretical framework of crime news as script, this case study examined the response postings (n=389) left on a newspaper’s website regarding two fatal shootings. An analysis of the postings found differences in placement of blame and support based on whether the incident followed standard script patterns. Postings regarding a shooting that fit the script were more likely to attribute blame to the assailants as individuals and offer sympathy to the victim’s family.
An Empirical Investigation of the Relationships Among Fear and Efficacy of Breast Cancer, Media Use, and Knowledge About Breast Cancer Prevention in Caucasian and African American Women • Kenneth Fleming and Cynthia Frisby, University of Missouri-Columbia • This study examines the relationships among attitudes toward breast cancer, knowledge about the disease, religious beliefs, and use of various news media channels in Caucasian (n=240) and African American (n=206) women randomly selected in eleven metropolitan areas in the U.S. Results show that magazines were negatively related to fear of breast cancer, and radio was positively related to efficacy of the disease for African American women. Use of the Internet was a predictor of efficacy for Caucasian women.
Media, Civics & Social Capital in a Hispanic Community: The Case of Santa Ana, California • Dennis Foley and Tony Rimmer, California State University • This study explores relationships between community activity and media use among Hispanics with data from a 2002 survey in Santa Ana, California (N=209). Survey questions were adapted from a Robert Putnam 2000 national benchmark survey from which Putnam developed his notions of social capital. Community activity and media use were both low and positively related. Education was the only factor to show positive correlations with both community activity and media use. Cultural dimensions, including language, were also expected to reveal influences. They did, but with minimal effect. The implications of the findings in this unique community raise concerns about the possibility of building “social capital” — the norms of reciprocity and trust necessary for community life.
“Always a Bridesmaid and Never a Bride:” Portrayals of Women of Color as Brides in Bridal Magazines • Cynthia M. Frisby, University of Missouri-Columbia • Bridal advertisements from 2000-2004 were content analyzed as an extension of a study reported in a book titled White Weddings that assessed the portrayals of African American women as brides in bridal magazines from 1959 – 1999. Data obtained show that the proportion of Caucasian women as brides was greater than the number of ads featuring Black women as brides. Significant differences were also found on the ethnicity of the model used on the cover of magazines.
Political Correlates of Daytime Talk Show Viewing • Carroll J. Glynn Ohio State University, Bruce W. Hardy and James Shanahan, Cornell University • This study examined the influence of daytime talk shows on opinion formation, from a cultivation perspective. Specifically, we examined how exposure to daytime talk shows and the extent that these shows are perceived as real are related to support for government involvement in family issues. Not only did we find that both exposure and perceptions were positively related to levels of support, we found a mainstreaming effect toward a liberal position.
Political Knowledge, Civic Engagement, and Media Use Across Election Campaigns • Robert Kirby Goidel and David D. Kurpus, Louisiana State University • Understanding the role of the media in informing and engaging the public in democratic political processes has been at the core of empirically based mass communication research. Yet, despite a considerable body of literature, we know surprisingly little about how patterns of media use differ across elections (presidential, senate, and mayoral) within a single election season, and media use translates into civic engagement.
Second Level Agenda Setting and Political Advertising: Investigating the transfer of issue and attribute saliency during the 2004 U.S. presidential election • Guy Golan, Louisiana State University and Spiro K. Kiousis, University of Florida and Misti L McDaniel, Louisiana State University • The current study examines the agenda setting function of televised political advertisements during the 2004 U.s. presidential election. Adding to the growing research on second level agenda setting, we examined how the advertising agendas of the Bush and Kerry campaigns may have impacted public evaluations of the two candidates. Our results provide support for the agenda setting hypothesis as well as mixed support for the second level hypothesis.
Framing Private Lynch: Establishment and Tenacity of the Hero Frame During War • Josh Grimm University of Texas-Austin • Following the rescue of Jessica Lynch, a soldier captured during the invasion of Iraq, media outlets incorrectly sensationalized events surrounding her capture, imprisonment, and rescue. Using Lule’s components of a hero, newspaper articles and news transcripts were analyzed for these attributes, and a Web forum was studied to gauge reaction. A hero frame was present in the press and, for at least a portion of the population, the frame was a stubborn one.
Coverage of Illusion: Framing the Pre-Iraq War Debate • Jacob Groshek, Indiana University • This study examined how two leading news outlets framed the pre-Iraq War debate. Not only was opposition seldom framed in a substantive manner, neutral and supportive coverage were also rarely framed substantively. These findings suggest that the public was given little basis for participating in policy deliberation and that the media made more effort to illustrate how the policy was going to be implemented, rather than why it should (or should not) be implemented.
Have the Cows Gone Mad: Are They Sick, Down, or Diseased? A Content Analysis of Newspaper Articles Discussing the First U.S. Mad Cow Outbreak • Michel M Haigh, Michael Bruce and Elizabeth Craig, University of Oklahoma • This study examines the media’s portrayal of the mad cow disease outbreak of 2003. It specifically examines whether the newspaper coverage of the news event differed between the east/west coasts and the Midwest. The differences examined include: tone, framing (episodic, thematic, economic, health, treatment, or causal), affect, and source credibility. Results indicate a variety of differences in tone, framing, emotion, and source credibility between the east/west coasts versus the Midwest newspapers coverage.
How Activists Persuade; Examining Differences in Message Factors in the Abortion Debate • Abby Gail Hendren, University of Florida • With the trend toward examining persuasion effects from a consumer-marketing perspective, the heated public debate about abortion provides opportunities to examine the precursor to effects, the message itself, within the context of a controversial issue. Through content analysis of NARAL and NRLC ‘5 press releases, significant differences in the persuasive message factors employed by the groups were found. Additionally, differences emerged between the groups’ discussion of abortion decision-making, and the specific issues addressed by each group.
The Perception of Freedom of the Press in the Eyes of the Media: A Comparative, International Analysis of 242 Ethical Codes • Itai Himelboim, University of Minnesota and Yehiel (Hilik) Limor, Sapir College • This study explores perceptions of freedom of the press of those who practice it: journalists and media organizations. References to freedom of the press in codes of ethic worldwide were analyzed based on characteristics of organizations and the political-economic status of countries. Findings show that journalists express concerns regarding their freedoms, regardless the level of freedom of the press in the country. In developing countries, codes show concerns primarily about the most fundamental freedoms.
Effects of Positive vs. Negative Self-Efficacy Statements in Humorous Anti-Alcohol Abuse Ads • Myiah Hutchens Hively, Moon J. Lee, and Yi-Chun “Yvonnes” Chen, Washington State University • This study investigated the effects of self-efficacy statements in different types (positive vs. negative) of taglines in humorous anti-alcohol abuse advertisements based on individuals’ sensation seeking tendency. An experiment was conducted with 114 college students. Results indicate that positively reinforced messages consistently demonstrated better results than the negatively reinforced advertisements; however, results were mixed for the effects of self-efficacy statements. Implications, limitations and directions for future research are discussed.
Sin, Wrath, and Death Ritual Interrupted: Press Coverage of the Tri-State Crematory Scandal • Janice Hume, University of Georgia • Abstract not available.
Embeds’ Perceptions of Censorship: Can You Criticize a Soldier Then Have Breakfast with him the Next Morning? • Thomas J. Johnson and Shahira Fahmy • Southern Illinois University • This study examines a survey of embedded journalists worldwide to explore their opinions about freedom of the press and the degree to which they believe their reports were censored during the Iraq War. Our findings suggest most journalists took a social responsibility approach to freedom of press during the Iraq War, saying the needs of the media and military need to be balanced. Embeds reported that they experienced little censorship in Iraq and said they did not self-censor their stories.
Web Site Story: An Exploratory Study of Why Weblog Users Say They Use Weblogs • Barbara K. Kaye, University of Tennessee • This paper examines the uses and motivations for accessing Weblogs. Rather than relying on motivations from pre-existing scales measuring traditional media or Internet use that need to be adapted for weblogs, this study asked respondents in an open-ended format for reasons why they connect to weblogs.
Motivations for Online News Sites: Uses and gratifications of online news sites for political information • Daekyung Kim and Thomas J. Johnson, Southern Illinois University Carbondale • This online study examined the motivations for why politically interested Internet users during the 2004 presidential campaign were using mainstream news sites, independent Web-based news sites, and Weblogs, and attempted to discover which factor predict motivations for using the news Web sites. Convenience/information seeking appeared as the strongest motivations for using news Web sites. The findings also indicate that each of the news Web sites satisfies different needs.
A balancing act: Predicting support for requiring Internet filters in public libraries and schools • Jennifer L. Lambe, Mynah S. Lipke & Elizabeth M. Perse, University of Delaware • Although the First Amendment seems absolute, it is balanced with other important interests. Protecting children from Internet pornography has been a struggle for Congress. The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requires public libraries and schools to place filters on computers with Internet access to receive funding for new technologies. This study examines variables predicting public attitudes about such filters. News framing, internet pornography use and liberal-conservative self-ranking are among the statistically significant predictors.
Here and There around the World: Proximity and Scope as News Values • Jong Hyuk Lee, Gang (Kevin) Han, Pamela J, Shoemaker, Syracuse University and Akiba A. Cohen, Tel Aviv University, Israel • Based on the data of What’s News, a cross-national news definition project, this study introduces the concept of scope to enrich the dimensions of proximity, as a news value and examines the extent to which news items exhibit these two as well as how they may be related. Other two news values, deviance and social significance are also discussed regarding their interaction with both proximity and scope.
Rethinking Voter Rationality: Presidential Debates and Voter-candidate Issue Alignment • Nam-Jin Lee, Christopher C. Long, Seungmin Shin, Seung-Hyun Lee, and Dhavan V. Shah, University of Wisconsin-Madison. • Research on presidential debate has proposed several conflicting mechanisms leading to issue alignment-a process in which voters bring their issue positions and candidate choice into alignment, with varying implications for voter rationality.
Party affiliation, political ad perceptions and political involvement: Evidence from the 2004 Presidential campaign • Sangki Lee and Fuyuan Shen, Penn State University • This research used a data from a survey during the 2004 presidential campaigns found that party affiliation was a significant factor in how individuals perceived the negativity and truthfulness of political ads. Specifically we found that people respond to negative political ads in accordance with their partisanship. Furthermore, it was found that party affiliation has significant effects on how negative perceptions of ads influence political involvement. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings will be addressed.
Advanced Learning and Online News: A Test of Cognitive Flexibility Theory • Wilson Lowrey and Kyun Soo Kim • University of Alabama • This study employs cognitive flexibility theory (CFT) from the field of education psychology to test learning effects from varying online story formats. According to CFT, when case examples from a knowledge area are interwoven with conceptual perspectives, learning should be more easily applied across diverse settings. Experiment findings revealed significant interaction effects with degree of prior Web use and degree of prior knowledge of story content, but a weak main effect from varying story format.
Awakening the Civic Parent: The School and Family in Political Socialization • Michael McDevitt, University of Colorado at Boulder and Spiro Kiousis, University of Florida • This paper explores whether schools-through the prompting of student-parent conversation-can awaken the civic parent of an adult, a role identity that might otherwise remain dormant. Results validate a theoretical model in which a school intervention engenders political involvement directly, but also indirectly through the long-term cultivation of civic parenting. Results are derived from a field study of Kids Voting USA as taught to high school students and parents in Arizona, Colorado, and Florida.
Evidence of Media Saturation Among a Group of 10th Graders in Beijing • Jay Newell and Ma Qing, Iowa State University • A foundational assumption of post-modem thought is that societies worldwide are awash in mass media. However, the suppositions of media saturation have yet to be defined or tested. For this research, indicators of electronic media saturation were considered to be the ubiquity of electronic media devices, the proximity of devices to their users, and the constancy of media device use.
Perceptions of Seafood/Fish Safety and Media Effects in China • Lan Ni, University of Maryland • Using qualitative interviewing, this study examined how people in China perceive the safety of seafood and fish and how the media play a role in the communication of such risk. Consistent with the western risk literature, the findings basically confirmed the importance of personal relevance in risk perception and the necessity of multiple level efforts or a “holistic approach” in risk reduction. The unique finding about risk information overload demands further research on risk prioritization.
Mass Media, Religion, and Support for Civil Liberties: The Case of Muslim Americans • Erik C. Nisbet, James Shanahan, and Ronald Ostman, Cornell University • This paper examines associations between mass media use and individual predispositions, such as ideology and Christian religiosity, with public support for restrictions on Muslim American civil liberties. Using a national survey conducted in November 2004, we demonstrate how attention to TV news regarding the War on Terrorism and religiosity are both associated with increased support for restrictions.
Middletown Media Studies: A Comparison of Concurrent Media Exposure across Three Research Methods • Robert A. Papper, Michael E. Holmes, Mark N. Popovich and Michael Bloxham, Ball State University • Concurrent media exposure (CME) is an emerging concern in audience research for media professionals and scholars. We apply three methods–telephone survey, media diary, and observation–to reveal features of CME such as its frequency and duration in a typical media user’s day and patterns of concurrent media pairings. Results reveal differences in the profile of CME across research methods and underscore the roles of television as a “universal presence” and telephone as a “universal priority” in shaping patterns of CME.
The Differential Effects of Entertainment Television on College Women’s Satisfaction in Weight and Self-Esteem: The Moderating Role of Body Mass Index and Perceived Importance of Physical Appearance • Jm Seong Park, and Michael F. Weigold, University of Florida • The present study investigated how women’s body mass index (BIVH) and perceived importance of physical appearance moderate the relationship between entertainment media use variables, including both passive exposure to entertainment programming and active use of entertainment referents, and body-image dissatisfaction and self-esteem. Based on a survey with 198 female undergraduates, the study found that importance of physical appearance moderated the comparison to self-esteem link, while BMI moderated the exposure to body image dissatisfaction link.
Ideology and Source Credibility: Partisan Perception Bias in Believability of CNN, Fox News and PBS • Zengjun Peng, University of Missouri • This paper examines the relationship between partisan ideology and perception of source believability within the framework of hostile media effect. Results show that partisan ideology significantly influenced people’s perceived believability of three news outlets of CNN, Fox News and PBS (News Hour with Jim Lehrer). Liberals are more likely to rate CNN as believable while conservatives tend to endorse Fox News. Partisan ideology, however, does not make a difference in the evaluation of PBS.
Individual Differences in Perceptions of Internet Communication • Jochen Peter & Patti M. Valkenburg, University of Amsterdam • Drawing on a survey among 687 adolescents, we investigated (a) to what extent their perceptions of Internet communication differ and (b) which background variables (i.e., age, gender, social anxiety, loneliness, need for affiliation) underlie these differences. We focused on how adolescents perceive the controllability, reciprocity, breadth, and depth of Internet communication in comparison with face-to-face communication.
Advertising evaluations and perceived media importance in political decision making • Bruce E. Pinideton, David Cuillier, Yi-Chun “Yvonnes” Chen, Rebecca Van de Vord, Myiah Hutchens Hively, Erica Austin and Ming Wang • Washington State University • Scholars often blame the news media and negative campaign commercials for increasing citizens’ apathy and disinterest in politics. This study examined the relationships among people’s perception of media and advertising, and their political apathy, complacency, efficacy, and involvement through a telephone survey of randomly selected voters in Washington state. Results indicate that perceptions of advertising usefulness positively associated with apathy and the perceived importance of political advertising as a source of election information associated with complacency.
Social capital and mass media effects: A reexamination of the relationship between social capital and newspaper, television and Internet use • Maria Raicheva-Stover, Washburn University • It is a central argument in this study that communication carries wide implications for social capital, yet this link has not been examined in sufficient depth. On the basis of existing literature, this study conceptualizes social capital as consisting of two complementary categories – structural and cognitive. Furthermore, the study uses improved measures of newspaper, television and Internet use to predict the two types of social capital.
The making of the 2004 U.S. President: A Matter of Ethnic Differences, Faith or Political Identification? • Raiza A. Rehkoff, Georgia State University • During election years, religion and politics have to be seen not as separate but interrelated factors, especially when parties politicize issues at the intersection of religion and politics like gay marriages, abortion, Iraqi invasion and death penalty. Building on social identity theory, this study examines religious, political identities and news media exposure as predictors for presidential voting intentions and attitudes toward politicized issues among African American and non-African American new voters during the 2004 presidential election.
Television and Political Alienation in Japan: Lazarsfeld and Merton’s Narcotizing Dysfunction Revisited • Shinichi Saito, Tokyo Woman’s Christian University • Expanding on Lazarsfeld and Merton’s (1948) narcotizing dysfunction, this study examined whether viewing television cultivates political alienation. Data from a survey conducted in Tokyo revealed that frequent viewers were more likely to be politically apathetic and feel politically inefficacious. Among viewers who did not watch the news on public television, television viewing was also related to cynicism. We examined the implications of our findings and provide some directions for future research.
First-Person Shooters and Third-Person Effects: Early Adolescents’ Perceptions of Video Game Influence • Erica Scharrer and Ron Leone • Perceptions of the potential for negative influence from six specific video games that varied in rating (from E for Everyone to M for Mature) were measured in a sample of 118 sixth and seventh graders. Results support a third-person perceptual gap that grew as the rating of the game became more restrictive. The presence of parental rules about video games was a positive predictor of perceptions of influence on self and others.
‘We’ll Never Save Enough’: the Effect of Media Use on Prospective, Retrospective, Sociotropic, and Pocketbook Economic Attitudes • Rosanne Scholl, University of Wisconsin-Madison • This study examines the relationship between media exposure and perceptions of personal and sociotropic economic vitality. Using multi-wave panel data from the DDB-Needham Lifestyle Survey, this study shows that media exposure is associated with greater optimism about the current state of the national economy, but greater pessimism of “pocketbook” judgments about one’s own current economic situation. Media use was not related to prospective judgments about future personal and societal economic health.
Television Consumption and Gender Role Attitudes in Late Adolescent Males • Jay Senter, University of Kansas • Using the cognitive information-processing model and cultivation theory as a basis, this study examined the potential connection between late adolescent males’ television consumption and their attitudes about masculinity. Participants kept track of their television viewing for a week and then responded to an attitudes questionnaire. The data yielded a correlation between the amount of sexual content the participants consumed and the likelihood that they accepted stereotypical portrayals of masculinity as normative.
Communication, Consumption, Contentment, and Community: A Non-Recursive Model of Civic Participation and the “Pursuit of Happiness” • Dhavan V. Shah, University of Wisconsin-Madison, R. Lance Holbert, University of Delaware, Lucy Atkinson, Eunkyung Kim and Sun-Young Lee, University of Wisconsin • Theories of social capital and civic culture suggest that life satisfaction has a positive and, perhaps, reciprocal set of influences on engagement in cooperative activities. However, as Coleman and Galbraith assert, contentment, especially stemming from economic affluence and compensatory consumption, may diminish inter-reliance, weaken the strength of social ties and ultimately reduce civic volunteerism.
The Rise of Network Public Opinion as a Social and Political Force in China • Zixue Tai, Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville • This paper examines the role of the Internet in creating a brand-new social platform where Chinese citizens can debate hot issues of the day. It demonstrates through recent cases that since public opinion on sensitive issues may not be readily available elsewhere due to official sanction and control, popular sentiments as expressed in online forums, chatrooms and BBS often serve as a barometer for politicians, government functionaries and lawmakers to gauge public opinion.
Community Newspapers as Members of the Local Growth Coalition: Framing Discourse Surrounding Community Initiatives • Michael L. Thurwanger, Bradley University •This study analyzed news and editorial coverage by newspapers serving Illinois communities seeking selection as prison sites. Analysis of frames and their sponsors support the existence of an effective alliance within these rural communities fitting the local growth coalition model proposed by Logan and Molotch (1987). Consistent with that model, the study provided strong evidence of membership and participation by the newspapers in those local growth coalitions and advancement of their economic growth agendas.
Democratic Consequences of Hostile Media Perceptions: The Case of Gaza Settlers • Yariv Tsfati and Jonathan Cohen, University of Haifa • In this paper, we examine the consequences of the hostile media phenomenon and advance the argument that people’s perceptions of hostile coverage shape their trust in mainstream media institutions. Media trust in turn affects trust in democracy and willingness to accept democratic decisions.
Communication Channels and Agenda Diversity: The Impact of “Display” and “Research” Sources on the Public Agenda • Ester DeWaal and Klaus Schoenbach, University of Amsterdam • As display channels, television, print newspapers, radio and magazines offer pre-selected and pre-ordered information about topics of the public sphere. “Research” channels, such as online news sites, online newspapers and videotex, allow, but also require more autonomy from their users. Consequently, overlooking topics one is not interested in should be easier. So, display channels should contribute to more diversity of the perceived public agenda.
Explaining Charitable Giving During Times of Crises: An Exploration of Two Psychological Paradigms • Richard D. Waters, and Jennifer Lemanski, University of Florida • A survey of two Red Cross chapters’ donors revealed that donors to the December 2004 tsunami relief efforts were more likely to experience feelings of cognitive dissonance than non-donors and their donations resulted in a consonance restoration. Testing the mere exposure theory, it was found that increased exposure to news concerning the tsunami did not correlate to increased donations. This study found support for Festinger’s hypothesis that individuals avoid situations that increase feelings of dissonance.
Nationalism as a McLuhanite Message in the Online Sphere • Xu Wu, University of Florida • Forty years ago, Canadian social scientist Marshall McLuhan first declared that “the medium is the message.” What kind of message has the online medium brought to the cyber world and to the real world? Is there any room or time left for the continual existence of nationalism? Moreover, what nationalists can do and have been doing in utilizing the online technology to promote their causes? Relevant literature and cases were reviewed and analyzed in answering these questions.
Zooming in on American Civic Life: Modeling Social Capital from Internet Dependency Relations and Internet Current Affairs News Consumption • Jin Yang, University of Memphis And Jyotika Ramaprasad, Southern Illinois University • Focusing on social capital from Internet dependency relations (IDR) and Internet current affairs news consumption perspectives, the study explored the role of the Internet in American civic life and its contributions to social capital resources, using structural equation modeling. It found complex relationships among IDR, Internet current affairs news consumption, and social capital.
A Meta-analysis of Coping Strategies for Reducing Children’s Media-Induced Fright • Yinjiao Ye, University of Alabama • This investigation meta-analyzed the effect of coping strategies on reducing children’s media-induced fright reactions. Results confirmed the estimation in the literature that for children approximately from 7- to 11-year-old, cognitive strategies worked better than non-cognitive strategies and had a moderate effect (r = -.34) in reducing their media-induced fear. For children approximately younger than 7-year-old, results suggested although non-cognitive strategies tended to be more effective than cognitive strategies did, no significant difference existed between these two types of coping strategies.
Web Repertoires and Audience Concentration • Jungsu Yim, Seoul Women’s University • This study focuses on presenting the evidence of an association between Web repertoires and audience concentration that has been hypothetically suggested in some past studies. The result is that Web repertoires formed in an individual respondent level lead to audience concentration in an aggregate level. The result implies that television audiences in the multi-item media environment will face the similar environment to the Web.
Nationalistic Ambiguity in the Shadow of Occupation: Newspaper Opinion Pages as Meaning-Makers about Post-War Iraq • Mervat Youssef, Amani Ismail and Dan Berkowitz, University of Iowa • In times of nationalistic ambiguity, media discourses function as a forum for casting diverse voices that negotiate meaning about developing events. The manifestation of this process is explored through two moments that generated such ambiguity within the American community: The Abu Ghraib prison abuse and the Nick Berg beheading in 2004. Findings suggest that mediated opinion discourses often serve as a mechanism which facilitates the maintenance of community cohesion around shared values through group differentiation.
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