Electronic News 2012 Abstracts


Connecting with Audience through Social Media: An Analysis of Social Media Use in Broadcast News Stations in the U.S. • Victoria Zeal; Eunseong Kim, Eastern Illinois University • Online social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have gained an alarming popularity in the past few years. As news organizations recognize the increasing popularity of these sites, and as they seek out ways to attract younger audiences, news organizations began to incorporate social networking sites in their practice (Baggerman et al., 2009; Gazze, 2009; Lowery, 2009). Previous studies identified that news stations may use social media for various reasons, including delivering news, developing social ties, seeking sources, and promoting stations.

Partisan and Structural Bias: Broadcast, Cable and Public Networks’ Coverage of the 2008 Presidential Election • Arvind Diddi, State University of New York at Oswego; Frederick Fico; Geri Alumit Zeldes, Michigan State University • Broadcast, cable and public network evening news shows gave more prominence, time, and attention to Republican John McCain than to Democrat Barack Obama in their 2008 presidential election coverage. Public network (PBS) was more balanced in its aggregate attention to the candidates than were the cable and broadcast networks. Partisan balance of broadcast networks favored McCain more when compared to cable and PBS networks.

How Journalists Perceive Influence: A Qualitative Assessment of Local Television Reporters’ Ethical Decision-Making • Beth Concepcion, SCAD • This study examines television journalists’ perceptions of situational challenges and the factors that influence their ethical decision-making processes. Specifically, qualitative, in-depth interviews, conducted with individual journalists at small market television stations, offered insight into the sources that influence the stories that the journalists decide to cover and the manner in which they cover them.

Analyzing Story Tone in the Network TV News Coverage of Bush vs. Obama • Dennis Lowry, Southern Illinois University; Ben Eng, Southern Illinois University; Bob Katende, Southern Illinois University; Rajvee Subramanian, Southern Illinois University • Network TV presidential opinion poll stories dealing with Republican George W. Bush (N = 85 stories) and Democrat Barack Obama (N = 82 stories) were analyzed with two lexical analysis software programs (Diction 6.0 and Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count 2007) to look for relative news bias in the treatment of the two presidents. Even though Bush had significantly higher public approval scores, the verbal framing of the news stories was exactly the opposite.

Ideology Trumps Meteorology: Why Many Television Weathercasters Remain Unconvinced of Human-Caused Global Warming • Kris Wilson, University of Texas-Austin • TV weathercasters are a potentially important source of climate change information: they are a widely trusted source; they have frequent access to large audiences; and most have discussed climate change as part of their duties. Previous research, however, has shown that a significant minority of TV weathercasters disagree with the consensus science.

The Effect of Kuwaiti Online Readers’ Comments On Sectarian & Tribal Issues: Case Study Alaan Online Newspaper • Ali Dashti, Gulf University for Science and Technology • One of the dilemmas of online newspapers is reader’s comments. The interactive character of the Internet encouraged many online users to express their ideas, feelings and opinions freely without any fear of negative outcomes crossing the freedom’s boundaries that set either by the government or online editors. Arab online editors do encourage their readers to comment on their news contents, but censoring what they may consider offensive, anti-nationalism or Blasphemy Islam.

New Perspectives from the Sky: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Journalism • Mark Tremayne, University of Texas at Arlington; Andrew Clark • Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are a technology now impacting many fields, including journalism and mass communication. Also referred to as “drones” these small remotely-guided aircraft are now being purchased and put to use by commercial organizations and private citizens. Traditional journalists and citizen journalists alike are using drones to obtain aerial footage in a variety of locations around the world.

Twitter: Journalism Chases the Greased Pig • Desiree Hill, University of Central Oklahoma • Summing up Twitter is like trying to catch a greased pig. Research becomes outdated as the social network evolves in a viral-like fashion. For journalism the shapeshifting of social media has now become an endless pursuit for the industry. This study seeks to find a benchmark of Twitter usage within the traditional media. A study targeting a medium-sized media market (Tulsa) is the backbone of the research.

The Use of Online Innovations by Large-Market Television and News Radio Stations: A Content Analysis of Station Homepages • Tim Wulfemeyer, San Diego State University; Amy Schmitz Weiss, San Diego State University • Online news consumption and the viewing of online video are increasing dramatically (ComScore, 2010). In fact, as of May, 2011, the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 71% of online adults often watch online videos (Moore, 2011). It seems clear that there is a developing “screen generation” where users of digital media are now spending multiple hours a day in front of a screen—whether it be a computer screen, a mobile device screen or a tablet.

Agenda Trending: Reciprocity and the Predictive Capacity of Social Network Sites in Intermedia Agenda Setting across Issues over Time • Jacob Groshek, Erasmus University; Megan Clough Groshek, sosmedialab • In the contemporary converged media environment, agenda setting is being transformed by the dramatic growth of audiences that are simultaneous media users and producers. Indeed, the rise of the media “produser” has altered conceptions of where media agendas begin and end in relation to the public agenda.

Tweeting in the dark: A comparative analysis of journalists’ usages of Twitter during a crisis • Rebecca Nee, San Diego State University; Judith Fusco, SRI International, Center for Technology in Learning • In a new media world, social networks may provide journalists with an immediate platform to disseminate and obtain content, particularly in breaking news situations. This study analyzed the differing roles broadcast, print, and nonprofit journalists played through their use of Twitter during a widespread power outage. Findings show the majority of journalists normalized traditional, top-down practices onto the platform; males and television journalists were the least likely to adapt to the more participatory nature of Twitter.

Sex and Violence in Billboard’s Most Popular Songs: A Content Analysis of Sexual and Violent Content in Mainstream Music Lyrics • Stacey Hust; Weina Ran, Washington State University; Kathleen Rodgers, Department of Human Development • Listening to music continues to be a popular activity among young people. Research has identified that music content contains more sexual content than other medium. Portrayals of sexual activity, violence and derisive terms against women are prevalent in music media. Most previous research, however, has focused on the prevalence of sexual and violent content in rap/Hip-hop music.

Story, Music, and Disposition Theory • Mark Shevy, Northern Michigan University; Lauren Larsen; Carolyn Tobin; Aubrey Kall • Disposition theory states that moral evaluation of characters and perceived justice are central factors in determining enjoyment of media. Music psychology provides evidence that music can influence evaluation of characters. This is the first study to empirically investigate the role of music in disposition theory. Initial results from an experiment suggest that music does influence variables central to disposition theory. The effects of the music can vary based on the ending presented in the story.

De-spiritualization, de-contextualization, and the “politics of repression”: Comparing The/Whale Rider’s competing texts • Robert Peaslee, Texas Tech University • This paper seeks to couch Niki Caro’s film Whale Rider (2002), especially in comparison with the novel from which it was adapted (The Whale Rider, published in 1987 by Witi Ihimaera), in an ongoing tradition in New Zealand film which Martin Blythe (1994) terms the “politics of repression.”

The Kardashian Phenomenon: News Interpretation • Amanda McClain, Holy Family University • The name “Kardashian” is a contemporary cultural touchstone, regularly connoting warrantless celebrity, voluptuous beauty, and a flash-in-the-pan marriage. The appellation is scattered throughout mainstream press, recurring in seminal newspapers and tabloid magazines alike. Regardless of this apparent popularity, media coverage of the family is often adverse. Through a discourse analysis, this paper explores the ostensible media backlash and paradoxical popularity, seeking to understand how the mainstream press interprets the Kardashian cultural phenomenon.

What Happens to the “Cream of the Crop”? The Representative Anecdote in AMC’s Mad Men • Erika Engstrom, UNLV • The author employs the representative anecdote to examine how disparate narratives of highly capable women in the period drama “Mad Men” combine to tell the story of gendered relationships, particularly marriage. Although the experiences of these characters are not exactly identical, the “variations on a theme” contained in their experiences return their disparate texts form a common story tells us of the negative consequences for women who choose to make their careers life priorities.

I know you are, but what am I? Adolescents’ third-person perception regarding dating violence • John Chapin, Penn State • A survey of adolescents (N = 1,646) documented third-person perception regarding media depictions of dating/relationship violence. It also contributes to the growing literature documenting optimistic bias as a strong predictor of third-person perception and draws from the optimistic bias literature considering new variables including self-esteem, self-efficacy, and experience with violence.

From Heroic Hawkeye to the Morgue Playboy: Shifting Representations of Health Professionals and Patients in 1970s and 1980s Television • Katie Foss, Middle Tennessee State University • From the 1930s until the 1960s, film and television consistently depicted doctors as infallible heroes who almost always cured their patients. By the 1970s, the cultural climate had begun to shift, as people moved from celebrating to criticizing modern medicine and the healthcare industry. This research explored how Marcus Welby, M.D., M*A*S*H, Emergency!, and St. Elsewhere constructed medicine in the midst of this changing environment.

The Kardashians made me want it: The effects of privileged television on emerging adults’ materialism • Emily Acosta Lewis, Western New England University • A survey was given to 18-29 year olds (N = 733) to examine the relationship between privileged TV (shows that glamorize wealthy lifestyles) and materialism in young adults by looking at mediating processes of this relationship. The results show that there is a positive relationship between privileged television exposure and materialism and that the there are many complementary mediating processes that can help to explain this relationship (e.g. upward comparison and materialistic learning).

Scripted Sexual Violence: The Association between Soap Opera Viewing and College Students’ Intentions to Negotiate Sexual Consent • Stacey Hust; Ming Lei, Washington State University; Weina Ran, Washington State University; Chunbo Ren, Washington State University; Emily Marett, Mississippi State University • Sexual assaults are frequently portrayed on soap operas in ways that reinforce rape myths and may perpetuate sexual assault. Research has identified that viewing soap operas is associated with sexual behaviors in general. However, little research has investigated the association between viewing soap operas and the sexual consent negotiation behaviors that play a crucial role in reducing sexual assault.

“Get Rich or Die Buying:” The Travails of the Working Class Auction Bidder • Mark Rademacher, Butler University • By documenting working class bidders consuming used goods circulated through an alternative marketing system during an economic downturn, this essay argues the reality program “Storage Wars” represents a “potentially disruptive” cultural text. However, its emphasis on the formal and economic aspects of auction bidding, the economic value rather than use or aesthetic value of used goods, and the limitations of working class cultural capital the program ultimately reinforces rather than disrupts the dominant consumption ideology.

Is Fat the New Black?: The Impact of Multiple Exposures of Mike & Molly on College Students Attitudes Toward Obesity and Body Image • Cynthia Nichols, Oklahoma State University; Bobbi Kay Lewis, Oklahoma State University • The study examines on college students’ opinions about obesity and body image based on the after watching the CBC program, Mike & Molly. Using a quasi-experimental design, college students’ attitudes toward obesity and body image were measured through pre- and post-testing. Participants (N=135) were either in a single-exposure or a multiple-exposure group.

The Greatest Entertainment Ever Sold: Branded Entertainment and Public Relation Agencies’ Role in Product Placement • Kathy Richardson, Berry College; Carol Pardun • The use of product placement as a publicity tactic has exploded, as Spurlock’s 2011 documentary “The Greatest Movie Every Sold”—and its lead sponsor POM Wonderful demonstrated. But brands have moved from their satirized and now almost routine appearances in feature films into genres including television shows, video games, books, plays, music recordings, music videos, blogs and social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook, even in “advergames” that may be accessed online, creating a strategy Jean-Marc Lehu (2007) has called “branded entertainment, …entertainment by or in conjunction with a brand” (p. 1).


New Media in the Newsroom • Eric White • The findings suggest that TV and newspaper reporters were adopting social media at high rates; however, TV reporters were heavier social media users. In addition, journalists primarily used social media as promotional tools. Furthermore, perceptions of the “competition’s” use of social media followed by the news manager’s social media expectations successfully predicted journalists’ overall social media use. Additionally, news managers’ perceptions of their reporters social media uses did not align with reporters’ actual uses.

Man-on-the-Street or Man-on-the-Tweet? Using Social Network Site Comments as Vox Pop in Television News • Sherice Gearhart, Texas Tech University • Meaning voice of the people, vox pop consists of presenting the commentary of ordinary citizens in the news and has typically been embodied in man-on-the-street (MOS) interviews. The present study explores the effects of replacing MOS interviews with Twitter and Facebook comments to assess how viewers perceive this new information source.

A Digital Juggling Act: New Media’s Impact on the Responsibilities of Local Television Reporters • Anthony Adornato, Missouri School of Journalism • This case study explores the dramatic transformation new media—from a station’s website to social networking platforms—is having on local television journalists’ job responsibilities. Through in-depth interviews with reporters and participant observation at a television station in the northeast US, this research details how reporters’ tasks are evolving in three areas: dissemination, newsgathering, and the relationship with the public. Lessons learned from this research are helpful to others in the industry and journalism educators.

Fueling the debate: Predictive relationships among personality characteristics, motives and effects of animated news viewing • Wai Han Lo; Benjamin Ka Lun Cheng, School of Communication, Hong Kong Baptist University • Melodramatic animated news is a new news reporting format by some media organizations that have drawn huge viewership online. This study adopts uses and gratifications theory and surveys 312 college students to investigate their viewing of animated-news. Seven motives were identified, through factor analysis, for viewing such animated-news videos.

At Face Value: Considering the Audience for Fox News’ Opinion Programming • Penina Wiesman • Thus far, it appears audiences of Fox News’ opinion shows are treated by much research as simply passive victims, uncritically accepting whatever these sources offer. Yet little effort has been made to thoroughly examine this group in greater depth. Through qualitative interviews, this paper looks at some of the audience members of these shows. Results suggest that stereotypical assumptions of audiences about Fox News opinion shows may not be entirely accurate or fair.

Dynamic v. Static Infographics in Online News: Impact of Format on Perceptions, Memory and Consumption • Patrick Merle; Coy Callison, Texas Tech University; Glenn Cummins, Texas Tech University College of Mass Communications • Graphics accompanying online news articles were manipulated between static and dynamic formats. Eyetracking, perception and memory data was collected as was participants’ arithmetic aptitude. Results suggest that although dynamic graphics are negatively evaluated, high arithmetic aptitude participants attend and recall dynamic graphics more so than those with lower AA, who are drawn to and recall better static visuals. Memory and attention to graphics detracted from memory and attention to story text and vice versa.

Changes in Content Characteristics of Nontraditional Media after Partnering with Traditional News Providers • Jeremy Saks, Ohio University • This paper examines how the content of the website FiveThirtyEight changed after the blog entered into a licensing agreement with The New York Times. Various factors are analyzed including length of posting, variety of topics, number of hyperlinks and multimedia, and multitude of authorship. The content analysis compares and contrasts the content from 2009 and 2011, the individual calendar years before and after the convergence.

Real or Fiction? Perceived Realism, Presence, and Attitude Change in Reality Programming • Emily Dolan; Laura Osur, Syracuse University • This study investigates the effects of perceived realism and presence on attitude change from both first and third person perspectives. Furthermore, this study aims to extend the scholarship on presence and attitude change to the realm of reality television. Results indicate that viewing a show that is perceived to be reality, as opposed to fiction, does not lead to higher levels of presence.

Buffy the Stereotype Slayer • Nichole Bogarosh, Washington State University • Great strides have been made in breaking down barriers and stereotypes – in deconstructing what it means to be a woman and a man – in our society. However, despite these strides, there is much yet to be done. Stereotypes remain and women are still constructed within our society as the weaker sex – the not-powerful, subject to the rule and whims of men. Stereotypes still promote the subordination of women by men.

Judging a book by its cover: Using Q Method to examine millennials’ perceptions and expectations of classic novels • Katherine Patton • The purpose of this study is to explore the ideas of what makes an effective book cover and what attempts have been made to pull in a new, younger audience. This research examines the different types of millennials and their interests in reading and/or purchasing classic novels based solely on the visual presentation of the book cover.

It’s Still All In Your Head: Revisiting the Parasocial Compensation Hypothesis • Phillip Madison; Lance Porter • In America socializing with friends is now a functional alternative to watching television. This study draws from research on intrapersonal communication and media effects, to ask “What functions and characteristics of parasociability predict compensation for real-life interaction?” We combined data from two surveys, arguing that parasocial thinking, when functioning as internal rehearsal and self-understanding, and is characterized by variety and self-dominance, predicts parasociability as compensation for human interaction. Retroactive parasocial thinking negatively predicted compensation.

Breaking Drug War Hegemony or Reinforcing the Bad? Illicit Drug Discourses in AMC’s Breaking Bad • Katrina Flener, Temple University • This paper examines the first four seasons of AMC’s critically-acclaimed series Breaking Bad in terms of its representations of illicit drug use, the drug trade, and associated policy considerations. Relying on critical discourse analysis, this research attempts to understand how the basic cable series supports and/or challenges dominant ideology about illicit drug use, the drug trade (both here and in Mexico), and the United States’ drug war policies.

Is Cheating a Human Function? The Roles of Presence, State Hostility, and Enjoyment in an Unfair Video Game • J.J. De Simone, University of Wisconsin — Madison; Li-Hsiang Kuo; Tessa Verbruggen • In sports and board games, when an opponent cheats, the other players typically greet it with disdain, anger, and disengagement. However, work has yet to fully address the role of AI cheating in video games. In this study, participants played either a cheating or a non-cheating version of a modified open source tower defense game. Results indicate that when an AI competitor cheats, players perceive the opponent as being more human.

Gloomy Euphoria or Joyous Melancholy? Nostalgic Experiences of MMORPG Players in China: A Qualitative Study • Hang Lu, Marquette University • As predicted by Newman (2004) one of the three modern trends in future gaming is retrogaming. Retrogaming is a subculture in which gamers return to play some old computer games, including the most popular genre of online games, massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs). In order to examine gamers’ psychological motivation for returning to some old MMORPGs and their psychological experiences in retrogaming from the perspective of nostalgia, this study interviewed 65 Chinese gamers of a classic MMORPG, StoneAge.

Have We Ever Experienced Remade Fan Video as Visual Poaching on YouTube? • Keunyeong Kim, Pennsylvania State University • As media technology develops, it became harder to avoid the convergence of cultural studies and medium theory (Meyrowitz, 2008). In fact, the advance of interactive new media has accelerated fan cultures by providing a vast proliferation of both text-based and image-based spaces (Jenkins, 2006a, 2006b). The result of which has been the equally simultaneous, yet divergent modes of fan culture response.

All This Has Happened Before: Battlestar Galactica as a Dialogue on the War on Terror • Laura Osur, Syracuse University • The purpose of this study is to explore how Battlestar Galactica addresses issues related to the War on Terror. As science fiction critics Darko Suvin, Carl Freedman, and Frederic Jameson have suggested, the genre has a unique ability to address sociopolitical situations. Through a textual analysis, I find that Battlestar Galactica pushes the audience to reconceptualize war and terrorism by presenting multiple perspectives on questions related to violence, terror, and humanism.

The reality of it all: Navigating racial stereotypes on Survivor: Cook Islands • Patrick Ferrucci, U of Missouri; Margaret Duffy, Missouri School of Journalism • This study investigates how race was depicted on Survivor: Cook Islands. This particular season of the reality television program divided contestants by race into four distinct tribes. Television helps people make sense of the world around them and informs their understanding of the unfamiliar. Racialized depictions may amplify racism and polarization.

Animation Growing Up: Hollywood is Adding Adult Humor in Children’s Animated Films • Chelsie Akers, Brigham Young Uniersity; Giulia Vibilio • Children’s animated films have held a lasting influence on their audiences throughout the decades. As adults co-view such films with their children Hollywood has had to rewrite the formula for a successful animated children’s film. This study concentrates on the idea that a main factor in audience expansion is adult humor. The results show that children’s animated films from 1995-2009 are riddled with many instances of adult humor while in films from 1980-1994 use adult humor sparingly.

May Self-Efficacy Be With You: Self-Efficacy in Star Wars Online Fan Communities • Alexis Finnerty, Syracuse University; Dan Amernick • We examine the role of creative and technical self-efficacy in the online fan community. By surveying producers of fan-made Star Wars music videos to find out how their self-efficacy levels relate to the number of videos they upload, we conclude that creativity is more important to fan video producers than technical skills. We found a slight positive correlation between higher creative self-efficacy levels and uploads, and a negative correlation between uploads and technical self-efficacy.

Traditional vs. Entertainment News: A Study of Framing and Format Effects on Consumer Perceptions • Holly Miller, University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication and University of Minnesota Law School; Whitney Walther, University of Minnesota • Entertainment media make up a multi-billion-dollar industry, and celebrity news has seeped into traditional news sources, such as network nightly newscasts, 24-hour cable news channels, and widely circulated publications. More people report knowing about Lindsay Lohan’s 90-day jail sentence for violating her probation than the Prime Minister of Israel’s visit to the White House.

Dancing with the Binary: Heteronormative Expectancies and Gender Inclusiveness on Dancing with the Stars • Betsy Emmons; Richard Mocarski; Rachael R. Smallwood, University of Alabama; Sim Butler, The University of Alabama • The celebrity-based television reality show Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) has been praised for having a diverse cast during its reign as a favorite prime-time competition show. Using a content analysis of gender performance based on Trujillo’s (1991) tenets of hegemonic masculinity along with a femininity binary opposite, this study affirms that heteronormative behavior persists on the show, even while varying genders are included.

Portlandia Tracks the Music Industry into the Age of Digital Media • Elia Powers, University of Maryland-College Park • Portlandia, an Independent Film Channel (IFC) comedy series that affectionately satirizes Portland, Oregon’s hipster culture, represents an unprecedented success by individuals to use the web to turn a video project into a network television series. Its format, niche-oriented content and narrative structure fit with the way that increasingly fragmented audiences consume media in the digital age.

The cathartic effects of narrative entertainment through contemplation: Examining the mediating role of self-perceptions on health outcomes after fictional drama exposure • Guan-Soon Khoo • In response to its disputed status in communication research, a new catharsis theory for media psychology is examined in a controlled experiment. One hypothesized model was tested, and two exploratory models were investigated. Mediational analyses found weak trends towards the hypothesized effects through unfavorable meta-emotions and self-compassion as mediators. Further, significant indirect effects were found via emotional self-efficacy. Results provide initial evidence for the cathartic effects of cinematic tragedy and human drama.

Men on The Wire: A textual analysis of ‘the most realistic depiction of a newsroom ever’ • Patrick Ferrucci, U of Missouri; Chad Painter, University of Missouri • This study investigates how fictional print journalists were portrayed on The Wire. Portrayals of journalism on television could influence audience perceptions of real-life journalists. The researchers used a cultural studies approach focusing on contextualization to analyze the text of all 10 episodes aired during The Wire’s fifth season, paying special attention to latent meanings of verbal and visual features.

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