Mass Communication and Society 2012 Abstracts

#OCCUPYNEWS: Participatory media, networked movements and change in the media agenda • Jeremy Littau, Lehigh University; Ashley Sciora, Lehigh University • This study examines the extent to which Occupy Wall Street protesters were able to change the media narrative by using income inequality as a lens on coverage over a 180-day period. There was an increase in coverage about the topic in the months following the first protest, with substantial increases in U.S. media. Via agenda-building, we argue OWS changed the media agenda but had less success getting coverage to examine policy, solutions, and consequences.

“Pulling the Plug on Grandma”:  Obama’s Health Care Pitch, Media Coverage & Public Opinion • Shahira Fahmy, The University of Arizona; Christopher McKinley, Montclair State University; Christine Filer, U of Arizona; Paul Wright • This study examined the agenda building process, in which interpretive frames activate and spread from the top level through the news media to the public, in the context of Obama’s health care reform. The authors examined media coverage and public opinion polls from the President Obama’s inauguration in January 2009 to the date the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” was signed into law in 2010.

“The Pictures in Our Heads”: How Typical News Versus Comedy News Might Influence the Transfer of Issue Attributes from the Media’s Agenda to the Public’s Agenda • Jennifer Kowalewski • Scholars showed how typical news influence public opinion formation by focusing on attributes of issues.  But as more people turn to alternative programs, this experimental study investigated how typical news versus alternative programming, comedy news, influenced second-level agenda setting.  The results indicated people who received typical news cited attributes of the issues more, so although comedy news could influence the salience of attributes, typical news programs did so more successfully.

All Things Considered: Trust in NPR • Emily Pfetzer • This paper examines trust in NPR, as it relates to political attitudes.

Another Path to Participation? Digital Literacy, Motivation and Participation: South Korean Case • Sungsoo Bang, University of Texas at Austin • This paper examines the prevalence of content creation and sharing of South Korea, to find whether new opportunities offered by digital media to disseminate one’s creations are distributed equally among users or not. Especially, this research examines particular segment of the population from national data, adults aged over 18, to capture more detailed Internet use and its social consequence within adult group.

Attribution, Credibility, and Conspiracy: Source Attribution and the Credibility of Online Conspiracy Theory Media • Jessica Mahone, University of Florida • The openness of the Internet has given alternative political and social movements greater opportunity to disseminate messages to the mass audience than ever before. Using an online survey experiment with 120 participants, this study explores the effects of four levels of source attribution on the perceived credibility of online conspiracy theory media. Findings suggest that attribution has little effect on credibility, but the content of conspiracy theory messages may influence the credibility of attributed sources.

Beyond Uses and Gratifications: How Context Affects Communicative Decision-making in the Texting Generation • A.J. “Alex” Avila, University of Texas at Austin • Communication scholars in the 21st Century often employ a Uses and Gratifications approach to researching digital communication technology. While widely applicable, U&G is limited in terms of predicting which technology media digital natives are likely to adopt given specific contexts.

Body Talk: Gay Men’s Body Image Commentary on • Joseph Schwartz, Northeastern University; Josh Grimm, Texas Tech University • In this study, we conducted a content analysis of photographic images of men published on the gay male-oriented blog We also analyzed the user-generated comments that accompanied these images. We found that most images were very thin and very muscular. Additionally, we found that users tended to endorse these images. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Bonding friends, bridging families: How parents share and seek support on Facebook • Bob Britten, West Virginia University; Jessica Troilo, West Virginia University • At the moment, Facebook is the world’s most popular social network, but do users consider it a valid source for parenting advice? This research investigates how individuals’ parenting assets and perceived congruence with Facebook friends’ values relates to the parenting behaviors they employ in that social network. Using a five-part scale developed for this study, we find that both high-congruence and high-asset parents tended to have greater concerns in their perceived advice outcomes and friend group reinforcement.

Building Community among NPR Listeners • Joseph Kasko, University of South Carolina • The radio industry has experienced a great number of changes over the past decade. Traditional radio audiences have waned, as new technology is providing listeners with more options than ever before, and advertising revenue has been in decline. For example ad revenue, the main source of income for terrestrial broadcasters, dropped by 18 percent from 2008 to 2009 (Pew 2010) for traditional radio, as there is now competition for ad dollars from new platforms, including satellite and Internet radio.

Changing Standards for Offensive Language: Gate Widens at The New Yorker • Duane Stoltzfus • This content analysis examines offensive language published in The New Yorker, looking for signs that, as elsewhere in the media, it too has favored free expression over restraint. No one will accuse The New Yorker of prudery. The magazine appears to be doing just what its editor, David Remnick, recommended that The New York Times do: loosen up. In the past decade, the magazine has welcomed the F-word and other taboo terms to its pages.

Children’s Consumption of Fast-Paced Television as a Predictor of Their Vigilance • James McCollum, Lipscomb University • This investigation examined the relationship that pacing and other television viewing characteristics have with children’s vigilance.

Commemorating 9/11 NFL-Style: Insights into America’s Culture of Militarism • Mia Fischer • This paper argues that the NFL’s commemoration ceremonies on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 feed into the expansion of the military-industrial-complex and are largely a spectacle of a culture of militarism, pervaded by militaristic messages functioning to (re)assert national identity through excessive displays of patriotism. Employing a critical discourse analysis exposes the patriarchal, hegemonic portrayals of masculinity and discloses the empty jingoism that saturates these commemorations with its detrimental impact on public discourse.

Comparing Agenda-Setting Roles of Newspaper Columnists and Editorials in Kenya • Kioko Ireri, School of Journalism Indiana University-Bloomington • This research compares the agenda-setting roles of newspaper columnists and editorials in Kenya. It examines whether three newspaper columnists and editorials set the agenda on issues of national importance in 2008 and 2009. This was done by investigating whether there were any associations between issues given prominence in the opinion columns and editorials and what Kenyans, through public opinion polls, considered as the “most important problem” facing the country. The agendas of the columnists and editorials were also compared and investigated.

Confronting Contradictory Media Messages about Body Image and Nutrition:  Implications for Public Health • Maria Len-Rios, University of Missouri – School of Journalism; Kelsey Davis; Alison Gammon; Charnissia Smith; Swearingen Ann; Burgoyne Suzanne, University of Missouri – Columbia • This study uses grounded theory to examine how college-aged women process contradictory media messages about body image and nutrition. Five focus groups (N=35) comprising college-age women, college-age men, and mothers of college-age women show that body image is not closely associated with nutritional intake but is related to engaging in restrictive diets, irregular sleep, over-exercising. Four in-depth interviews with nutritional counselors point to time and the food environment as obstacles to making healthful choices.

Cross-cultural frame analysis of obesity: Comparative cause and solution framing of obesity in individualistic culture and collective culture • Jin Sook Im, University of Florida • This study illustrated cultural differences in the way that newspapers portray obesity, associated with narrative style (episodic and thematic), framing of cause, framing of solution, gender and age. It was noteworthy to compare an individualistic culture (U.S.) and a collectivist culture (South Korea) when they cover obesity.

Cultivating a Dream of Happily Ever After • Minchul Kim, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Youn-Gon Kang, Chung-Ang University • This paper examined influence of genre-specific cultivation on adolescents’ beliefs about romantic relationships. To understand its underlying process, identification with character and perceived relevance are considered to be a mediator and moderator respectively. A total number of 329 female adolescents participated. Using moderated-mediation analysis, we find that genre-specific television viewing cultivates beliefs about idealized romantic relationship. Moreover, this relationship is mediated by identification, and its indirect effect is contingent of the level of perceived relevance.

Disaster in Haiti: Critical Themes in News Coverage of the 2010 Relief Effort • Jared LaGroue; Michael Murrie, Pepperdine University • In 2010, Al Jazeera English reported criticisms of the U.S. military presence in Haiti.  The U.S. State Department denounced this coverage as “unfair” and “unbalanced”. This content analysis was conducted to determine the frequency of critical frames in U.S. media coverage of the U.S. military’s response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake and to compare critical themes with those present in Al Jazeera’s coverage.  Findings indicate that the U.S. media dominantly presented military actions without criticism.

Do traditional news outlets matter in the Twitterverse? Agenda-setting and the two-step flow on top microblogs • Jennifer Greer, University of Alabama; Justin Blankenship, University of Alabama; Yan Yang • This study examined top Twitter feeds’ reliance on established news sources for information shared in posts. News outlets and journalists were the most heavily relied upon outside source for content; however, this was mainly driven by practices of the news organizations and journalists themselves. Reliance on news providers was most common for political and economic topics. Results indicate traditional news providers still play an agenda-setting role in this environment, perhaps through the two-step flow of communication.

Does Podcast influence on Twitter and Mainstream media? Intermedia Agenda setting effects in Podcast, Twitter, and mainstream media during 2011 Seoul mayoral by-election • Jin Sook Im, University of Florida; Jihye Kim, University of Florida; Jung Min Park • The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of the podcast on mainstream media such as television news and major newspapers and on Twitter during the 2011 Seoul mayoral election. This paper will explore the intermedia agenda setting among podcasts, television news, newspapers, and Twitter. That is, the aim of the paper is to explore whether the podcast influences the agenda of mainstream media and Twitter or whether mainstream media influences the agenda of Twitter.

Emerging public sphere online in China: One public health Crisis, two different voices • Fangfang Gao, Zhejiang University • To understand the emerging public sphere in the Chinese society, based on the agenda setting theory, this content analysis of newspaper, online forum, and blog coverage of the tainted milk formula scandals from 2008 to 2011 examined the differences between the old and new media platforms, analyzing the discrepancies between public discourse in new media and government discourse in traditional mainstream media. The implications of the findings were discussed.

Explaining the decline of media trust from political characteristics: How ideology exerts differential influences on partisans • Yang Liu, City University of Hong Kong • Public trust with mass media has declined dramatically and constantly since 1970s based on the time-series data from General Social Survey 1975-2010. Since mass media in America has long been accused of liberal bias, this paper first examines the role of ideology and partisanship in influencing media trust. Republicans are less confident with mass media than Democrats. Conservatives show less confidence than Liberals.

Explicating the Concept of Journalist: How Scholars, Legal Experts and the Industry Define Who Is and Who Isn’t • Edson Tandoc, University of Missouri-Columbia; Jonathan Peters, U of Missouri Columbia • This paper explicates the concept of journalist by exploring the scholarly, legal and industry domains. For the scholarly domain, we reviewed studies defining journalists. For the legal domain, we reviewed cases and statutes defining journalists. And for the industry domain, we reviewed membership criteria of journalism organizations. We did not intend to devise a normative definition. We intended to explore the dimensions used by others, and to use them to explicate the concept of journalist.

Exploring Message Meaning: A Qualitative Media Literacy Study of College Freshmen • Seth Ashley, Boise State University; Grace Lyden; Devon Fasbinder, University of Missouri • Critical media literacy demands understanding of the deeper meanings of media messages. Using a grounded theory approach, this study analyzed responses by first-year college students with no formal media literacy education to three types of video messages: an advertisement, a public relations message and a news report. Students did not exhibit nuanced understandings of message purpose or sender in any of three types of messages, and had particular difficulty distinguishing public relations and news messages.

Exploring Self-Stability and Dispositional Media Use Motives as a Predictor of Flow and Media Addiction: the Internet, a Mobile Phone and a Video Game • Hyoungkoo Khang; Jung Kyu Kim • This study aimed to explore psychological characteristics of an individual as an antecedent of media flow and addiction, with three prominent media activities, the Internet, video game and mobile phone use. In particular, the study identified two psychological factors, self-stability and dispositional media use motives, which were used to examine their direct or indirect influence on the flow and addiction for the respective medium.

Exploring Youth, New Media Alcohol Marketing and Associated Behaviors • Eric Hoffman, Washington State University; Erica Weintraub Austin, Washington State University; Bruce Pinkleton, Washington State University; Ming Lei, Washington State University • This exploratory study was conducted to determine how youth are consuming new media, interacting with alcohol brands on new media and their associated alcohol beliefs and behaviors. Data show that a pattern of use exists for social media involving alcohol marketing among young adults that is distinct from the use of social media more generally.  Data also indicate that there is an association between exposure to alcohol marketing and young adults’ drinking behaviors.

Facilitating the Egyptian Uprising: A Case Study of Facebook and Egypt’s April 6th Youth Movement • Brian J. Bowe, Michigan State University; Mariam Alkazemi, University of Florida; Robin Blom, Michigan State University • It has been suggested that social media offer important organizing tools for activists in countries where free expression is curtailed and news outlets are handcuffed by government censorship. The 2011 revolution in Egypt offers an opportunity to examine the extent to which social media fulfill the role that free journalism plays in more democratic societies.

Fighting to be Heard: The Homeless Grapevine’s Battle to Provide and Protect the Freedom of Speech for Cleveland’s Homeless Citizens • Lena Chapin, Ohio University • The Homeless Grapevine was an advocacy newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio that published news, issues and opinions surrounding homelessness from 1993-2009. Through fifteen years of reporting The Grapevine fought to bring awareness to the unaware and justice to the impoverished by providing an outlet for the homeless to express themselves. This study provides a brief history of the Grapevine and its struggles and successes with providing an outlet for that voice.

Gates Wide Open: A Systematic Review of Gatekeeping Research • Edson Tandoc, University of Missouri-Columbia; Patrick Ferrucci, U of Missouri • News construction is a saturated area of research and yet the status of gatekeeping as a theory is far from established. First, a simple search for articles that used gatekeeping theory yields a small number compared to framing and agenda-setting studies. Second, even among the limited number of articles that cited gatekeeping there is disagreement on what it is about. In this paper we highlight the trends and issues involved in gatekeeping research.

Individual and Structural Biases in Journalists’ Coverage of the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill • Brendan Watson, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill • This study examines individual-level decision-making and structural biases in Gulf Coast journalists’ coverage of the 2010 BP oil spill. Previous studies have largely concluded that there is not consistent evidence of significant bias in journalists’ coverage, but these studies use aggregate level data that fail to sufficiently link individual journalists’ beliefs and their coverage. This study matches individual journalists’ survey responses with a content analysis of their coverage of the oil spill, along with community-level data.

Influences of Anxiety and Medium on News-based Rumor Transmission • Brian Weeks, The Ohio State University • News organizations often devote significant coverage to public rumors but to date the effects of these stories have been mostly unexplored.  This study experimentally (N=90) examines the influences of anxiety and medium on transmission of rumors reported in the news. Consistent with predictions, results indicate that exposure to television coverage of a rumor story, relative to newspaper coverage, generated greater rumor-related anxiety that subsequently increased participants’ intentions to share the story with others.

International News Attention and Civic Engagement: Disasters and Donations in the Digital Age • Jason Martin, DePaul University • International news is relatively understudied in the realm of media effects, and most of that research has been limited to general measures of news use and potential outcomes instead of empirical data from actual events. This study addressed those research problems by demonstrating the positive effects of attention to an international news event on civic engagement with that same event.

Internet Access Effects in Low and High-Income Rural Residents in Middle America • Adam Maksl, University of Missouri; Esther Thorson, University of Missouri-Columbia; Alecia Swasy, University of Missouri • This study tests income as a predictor of media use and communication behavior among those in the rural Midwest. Among the rural poor, we test the moderating effect of having broadband Internet access on these outcomes. Using two surveys of residents (N1=691; N2=704) in the rural Midwest, we found that the rich and poor differ little regarding these behaviors and that there seem to be nearly no positive effect of having the Internet among the poor.

Interpreting the Nation’s Toughest Immigration Law:  How The Arizona Republic’s Editorials Framed SB 1070 • Carolyn Nielsen, Western Washington University • The debate over Arizona’s SB 1070, the most punitive immigration policy in U.S. history, offered The Arizona Republic’s editorial board many angles from which to shape readers’ understanding of a complex issue. This study found that editorials in the state’s newspaper of record, while opposing the bill, framed the issue first as a political contest and then as a financial debacle, but devoted scant attention to accusations that the bill encouraged racial profiling of Latinos.

Law & Order, CSI, and NCIS: The Association between Exposure to Crime Drama Franchises, Rape Myth Acceptance and Sexual Consent Negotiation Behaviors among College Students • Stacey Hust; Emily Marett, Mississippi State University; Ming Lei, Washington State University; Chunbo Ren, Washington State University; Weina Ran, Washington State University • Previous research has identified that exposure to the crime drama genre lowers rape myth acceptance and increases sexual assault prevention behaviors like bystander intervention. However, recent content analyses have revealed marked differences in the portrayal of sexual violence within individual crime drama programs. Using a survey of 314 college freshman, this study explores the influence of exposure to the three most popular crime drama franchises: Law & Order, CSI, and NCIS.

Media Exposure and Fashion Involvement in the China: A Model of Analysis • Mona Sun, Hong Kong Baptist University; Steve Guo, Hong Kong Baptist University • This study investigates the relationship between media exposure and fashion involvement in Chinese society with a conceptual model of analysis that incorporates aspects of lifestyle, materialistic value, and peer pressure. Analyses of data from an online survey of 485 respondents indicate that fashion involvement is a function of fashion magazine reading and fashion website browsing, achievement lifestyle, perception of success, and peer influence. Lifestyle factors moderate the tie between media exposure and fashion involvement.

Media Stereotypes & the Stigmatization of Mental Illness: The Role of Adjoining and Adjacent Primes • Scott Parrott, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Francesca Carpentier • The general public often endorses negative stereotypes about people with mental illness, perceiving them as violent, unstable, and socially undesirable. The stigma attached to mental illness carries negative consequences, including discrimination in housing, employment, and social settings. The media may influence audience perceptions of people with mental illness. However, the mechanisms by which the effects occur remain unexamined.

Mobilizing or Reinforcing Engagement with Politics?  Impact of Media Voice and Political Talk on Political Engagement of Teens • Eunjin Kim, Missouri School of Journalism; Esther Thorson, University of Missouri-Columbia; Yulia Medvedeva; Margaret Duffy, Missouri School of Journalism • This study examined whether media use and interpersonal communication stimulate adolescents’ engagement with politics or reinforce existing political engagement. Additionally, this study tested if interpersonal communication mediates the effect of media use on adolescents’ political engagement. The results showed that media use and interpersonal communication had a significant direct effect on political engagement. Media use had an indirect effect on political engagement through interpersonal communication.

Modeling Television Viewing: Integrating Motivational and Situational Predictors • Harsh Taneja; Vijay Vishwanathan • This study aims to identify the factors that explain time spent with television content in the contemporary media environment. An integrated framework of television use incorporating both structural and individual determinants is tested on cross platform media use data obtained by following 495 people throughout the day. The findings indicate that even in this high choice media environment, situational factors such as patterns of availability and viewing group moderate the role of individual traits and needs in explaining exposure to content.

Neither Here nor There: The Consumption of U.S. Media Among Pre-adolescent Girls in Ecuador • Guillermo Avila-Saavedra, Salem State University • Through interview research, this paper examines the role of U.S. media consumption in the identity negotiations of pre-adolescent girls in Ecuador. The analysis applies notions of Girls’ Studies and Postcolonial Media Analysis. The informants’ insight reveals two main areas of influence: national identity and gender identity. The study argues that the dominance of U.S. media among this group of upper-middle class informants makes Ecuadorian national identity a highly fragile construct.

News Narratives, Issues Attitudes, and Audience Responses • Fuyuan Shen; Lee Ahern, Penn State; Michelle Baker • This paper examined the impact of narrative news in framing issues. To do that, we conducted a 2 x2 between-subjects experiment whereby news articles on the issue of gas drilling was manipulated by frames (economic gains vs. environmental costs) and news formats (narrative vs. factual news reports ). After reading the news articles, participants reported their issue attitudes, cognitive responses, empathy, and transportation. Results indicated both frames and report formats had significant impact on the dependent variables.

Obamacare in the news: The consequences of national news attention and political knowledge on attitudinal ambivalence towards healthcare policy • Jay Hmielowski, Yale University; Michael Beam, Washington State University; Myiah Hutchens, Texas Tech University • Recently, the concept of ambivalence attracted the attention of scholars across the social sciences (e.g., psychology, political science, and communication). This study contributes to this literature by examining the relationship between national news attention, factual knowledge, and structural knowledge on ambivalent attitudes towards the “Obamacare” policy debate in the US.

Online Deliberation of the Scientific Evidence for Breastfeeding: A Mixed-Method Analysis Using the Integrative Model for Behavioral Prediction • Maria Len-Rios, University of Missouri – School of Journalism; Manu Bhandari, University of Missouri; Yulia Medvedeva • This mixed-methods study analyzes online comments generated by two widely read articles (The Atlantic, n = 326;, n = 596) challenging the science behind U.S. government breastfeeding recommendations. The analysis focuses on commenter evaluation of scientific evidence, and concepts from Fishbein’s (2009) integrative model (IM) of behavioral prediction. Results demonstrate commenters discussed personal experience more than medical benefits. Regarding the IM, descriptive norms were commented on less often than self-efficacy and environmental barriers.

Parents’ Influence Biases on Children, Their Own and Others • Jacqueline Eckstein, University of Oklahoma; Patrick Meirick, University of Oklahoma • We examine parental third- and first-person perceptions among a demographically diverse sample of American parents and find that parents judge their kids, compared to other children, to be less influenced by violent television advertisements and more influenced by PSAs to stop cyber-bullying. A perception that the comparison group was predisposed toward the behavior targeted in the message helped explain influence biases. Further, perceived effects predicted willingness to restrict and/or expand message access.

Partisans and Controversial News Online: Comparing Perceptions of Bias and Credibility in News From Blogs Versus Mainstream Media • Mihee Kim, University of Maryland; Ronald Yaros, University of Maryland • Based on the theory of hostile media effect (Vallone, Ross, & Lepper,1985), we investigate how partisans (n = 132) assess coverage of controversial news from either a blog or mainstream news source online.  A 2 (partisanship) x 2 (source) x 2 (news valence) factorial experimental design is employed.  Results suggest that perceived reach of a blog appears to also generate a similar hostile media effect as a mainstream news source.

Posed and Poised: The Physical Positioning and Engagement of Models in Advertisements • Sara Roedl, Southern Illinois University • Past research shows that the women featured in advertisements and magazines differ in appearance from most American women and tend to be portrayed as powerless.  Framing describes how body position and technical aspects of photographs can deemphasize the importance of female models.  This study examines the physical position of models and the technical characteristics of the photographs in advertisements to determine how these characteristics portray women.

Predictors of Simultaneous Media Use: The Impact of Motivations, Personality, and Environment • Shanshan Lou; Roger Cooper, Ohio University • In this media convergence world, audience’s media consuming behavior is becoming more complicated than ever before. Previous research has confirmed that simultaneous media use has become the new trend of media usage pattern. However, scholars’ understanding of this audience behavior is limited. This study collected data through both survey and diary to examine different predictors of this media use pattern. Results suggested that instrumental motivation, ritualistic motivation, and group viewing are significant predictor of audience simultaneous media use.

Routinizing a new technology in the newsroom: Twitter as a news source in mainstream media • Soo Jung Moon, University of West Georgia; Patrick Hadley, University of West Georgia • This study examined how news organizations employed Twitter as a news source, based on information subsidy and gatekeeping perspectives. Content analysis of 2010-2011 news stories from seven major media entities demonstrated that journalists maintained conventional newsroom routines in handling this new communication platform. Even when using Twitter as sources, journalists relied primarily on Twitter accounts of official sources. The popularity of a particular Twitter account, as indicated by the number of followers, did not contribute to attracting more attention from journalists.

Seeing the World Through a Filter: How College Students Place Trust in Others • Elia Powers, University of Maryland-College Park; Michael Koliska, University of Maryland • This mixed methods study investigates how college students access news, evaluate news sources, determine credibility and perceive news media outlets in the digital age. Our survey of 135 undergraduate students at a large mid-Atlantic state university and interviews with 20 respondents did not reveal a worrisome sense of cynicism about the American press. Students were largely trusting of the press – in particular established news outlets.

Sharing content among local news stations: A study of the local news pool • Kate West, University of Georgia • In an effort to save time and money, competing television news stations within a single market are sharing resources such as video and interviews.  This study examines how this sharing process is utilized and if stations should find a more efficient means to gather shared content under this new convergence model.

Sports Commentary: Comparing Male and Female Announcers During Women’s NCAA Tournament Games • Katrina Overby, Indiana University; John McGuire, Oklahoma State University • This study examined the differences between male and female play-by-play and color announcers during women’s NCAA tournament games and focused on the tone of the attributes in the commentary between male and female announcers. Male announcers made a higher proportion of positive comments about female athlete’s athletic abilities and team efforts while female announcers made a higher proportion of positive comments about female athlete’s mental abilities. This study advances research on this topic.

Spreading the news: Social news sharing practices among young adults • Kjerstin Thorson, University of Southern California • This paper offers an initial investigation of social news curation practices among young adults. It presents findings from fifteen in-depth interviews with young people (18-30) who share news and political content via social networking sites along with a secondary analysis of survey data.

Studying the effects of online user and expert reviews on participant elaboration of contract documents • Yukari Takata • This experimental study examines how recommendations by experts or laypeople and their level of consensus influence how carefully people process information.  Participants were randomly assigned one of seven online contract documents that had been highlighted by past readers –similar to user recommendation systems such as or Amazon Kindle’s Popular Phrase application. The highlights were attributed to either experts or laypeople and their level of consensus was low (1-3 people), medium (10-30), or high (100-300).

Television Viewing and the Belief in the American Dream • Laras Sekarasih, University of Massachusetts Amherst • Utilizing cultivation as a theoretical framework and nationally representative sample from the General Social Survey as data source, this study examined the association between television viewing and individuals’ belief in the American Dream. Controlling for demographic variables, television viewing by itself did not predict individuals’ belief in the American Dream. The interaction between television viewing and gender was found to be significant, where more television viewing predicted lesser belief in the American Dream among males.

Terror management and civic engagement: An experimental investigation of mortality salience on civic engagement intentions • Jennifer Green; Patrick Merle • Themes of death flood the media. Mortality salience has been shown to increase monetary donations and interest in social causes. Terror management theory may help explain this relationship by positing that mortality salience nonconsciously motivates people to embrace their cultural worldviews (e.g., engaging in volunteerism or politics). Therefore, mortality salience may encourage people to participate in civic engagement behaviors. Moreover, collectivistic, relative to individualistic self-construals have been shown to motivate people to serve others and meet group needs.

The Birthers and Obama: An Analysis of News Media Exposure and Motivated Reasoning • Barry Hollander, University of Georgia • Political rumors and myths swirled about Barack Obama as soon as he began seeking the U.S. presidency.  Among the most persistent of myths was that Obama was born outside the U.S.  Using the theory of motivated reasoning as a framework, this study examines national survey data to confirm the role political predispositions, and in this case racism, play in such misperceptions.  News media use, generally thought to increase political knowledge, did little to moderate belief in the myth.

The Impact of News Text, News Frames and Individual Schemata on News Comprehension • Guang YANG, School of Communication, Hong Kong Baptist University; Steve Guo, Hong Kong Baptist University • This study explicates the news comprehension construct by examining three of its key components: news memory, news knowledge, and news understanding. We treat them as conceptually distinct but operationally related entities and trace their antecedents to framing devices in news texts. Three experiments were conducted. Results show that education, rather than narrative structure of news texts, played an important role in influencing news memory.

The Internet-a Tool for Accessing Sex Related Information: How do Young Adults Use it? • Alice Tunaru, The University of Alabama; Yorgo Pasadeos, The University of Alabama • The current study examined how young adults are using the Internet as a tool to access sex health information and answers to other sex related topics. Results showed that young adults engage in information searching behaviors that focus on source credibility and variety of sources found. Moreover, the current study found that personality factors such as judgment, self-consciousness, adventurousness, and prudence play a role in young adults’ information seeking behavior.

The Knowledge Gap vs. the Belief Gap and Abstinence-only Sex Education • Douglas Hindman, Murrow College of Communication; Changmin Yan, Washington State University • The knowledge gap hypothesis predicts widening knowledge disparities among socioeconomic status (SES) groups. The belief gap hypothesis extends the knowledge gap hypothesis to account for knowledge and beliefs about politically contested issues upon which the scientific community is in consensus. This analysis of three national surveys shows belief gaps developed between liberals and conservatives regarding abstinence-only sex education; SES-based knowledge gaps did not widen. The findings partially support both belief gap and knowledge gap hypotheses.

The Relationship among Media Exposure, Possibility of Event Occurrence, Third-Person Effect and Behavioral Intentions • Xduong Liu, Macau University of Science and Technology; Ven-hwei Lo, Chinese U of Hong Kong • This paper examines the influence of perceived possibility of event occurrence on third-person perception concerning exposure to media coverage of the H1N1 swine flu pandemic and on protective behaviors. Survey results show that people’s concern about the likelihood of the disease spreading in the local community positively predicts perceived media effects on self and on others, but its impact on self-evaluation of media effect is more salient, and thus negatively influences third-person perception.

The Relationship of Critical thinking Toward Alcohol Ads With Perceptions of Message Trustworthiness and Fairness • Erica Weintraub Austin, Washington State University; Lok Pokhrel, Washington State University • A survey of college students (N=472) finds that critical thinking toward alcohol ads is negatively associated with perceptions of fairness, but less consistently associated with trustworthiness, beyond relationships explained by general orientations toward cognition and affect.  We suggest the results demonstrate the potential for increased media literacy education about alcohol marketing strategies to help audience members to approach alcohol marketing messages more skeptically, regardless of personality characteristics that already may motivate thoughtful consideration of information.

The Role of Motivation and Offline Social Trust in Explaining College Student’s Self-disclosure on SNSs • Weiwei Zhang; Peiyi Huang • Links among demographics, motivation for using SNSs, offline social trust and self-disclosure on SNSs were investigated. Results from a sample of 640 Chinese college students showed there was an instrumental orientation of SNSs use among Chinese college students. As expected, motivation and offline social trust were found to play more important roles in predicting levels of self-disclosure than demographics. The findings suggested certain motivation to communication influenced certain outcome of communication behavior such as self-disclosure.

The Two Internet Freedoms: Framing Victimhood for Political Gain • Benjamin W. Cramer, Institute for Information Policy, College of Communications, Pennsylvania State University • This paper will argue that the American political establishment has two vastly different definitions of Internet freedom that lead to contradictory policies in which Third World protesters receive more support for their Internet access than American citizens. For people in countries in which the United States has strategic interests in regime change, Internet freedom has been equated with the fight for political liberty, because free citizens should face no restrictions on Internet usage from any party.

The Unintended Consequences of “Moderate Mitt:” The Ideologies of Mitt Romney & Second-level Agenda Setting • Christopher Vargo, UNC – Chapel Hill; Jaime Arguello, UNC – Chapel Hill • This second-level agenda-setting study suggests that Newt Gingrich’s vocal outbursts on Mitt Romney’s liberalism and moderateness, which were subsequently covered by newspapers, may have not only cost Gingrich votes in the 2012 GOP race but also encouraged moderate, liberal and independent voters to support Romney. This study retrieved newspaper stories from Twitter and performed a content analysis. Combined with Gallup poll data that segmented voters by demographic and ideology, the researchers found sufficient support.

Turn a Blind Eye If You Care: Seeking Political Information Online and Implications for Attitudes • Westerwick Axel; Steven Kleinman; Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick • The Internet is often linked to a new era of political diversity and selectivity. A two-session online field study examined impacts of attitude consistency, attitude importance, and source credibility on selective exposure to political messages and subsequent attitude accessibility. The first session assessed attitudes and their accessibility. In the second session, participants browsed online search results that featured attitude-consistent and attitude-discrepant messages associated with either sources of high or low credibility; selective reading was tracked.

Turnoff everything: The challenges and consequences of going on a complete and extended media fast • Lauren Bratslavsky, University of Oregon; Harsha Gangadharbatla; Darshan Sawantdesai • This study draws on uses and gratifications and media dependency to examine media consumption, particularly in media-dependent millennials. Essays written by college students about their experiences during a 48-hour complete media fast are analyzed for patterns that support and extend our understanding of uses and gratifications and media dependency theory. Findings suggest that these traditional theories are supported but can be extended to include emerging themes and issues.

Walk in two worlds: The impact of social media consumption on Chinese immigrants and sojourners’ acculturation to the American culture • Cong Li; Yu Liu • Social media appear to play a more important role in people’s daily life nowadays. In this study, we focused on how social media consumption influenced Chinese immigrants and sojourners’ acculturation to the American culture.

What About Afghanistan? Examining Newspaper Coverage About the War in Afghanistan • Michel Haigh, Penn State University • More than 1,100 articles were examined discussing the war in Afghanistan for a ten-year period. Results indicate articles about the war in Afghanistan had a negative tone and depicted the U.S. military in a negative way. The stories were framed thematically. There were significant differences in print coverage when examining 2001 – 2010. The tone of coverage and depiction of the U. S. military became more negative over time. Frames also varied greatly by year.

What Are We Saying About Sex?  A Content Analysis of Sex Articles in Men’s and Women’s Health Magazine • Kimberly Walker, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis • As Former Surgeon General David Satcher warned, the nation’s sexual health is suffering because it is not being constructively discussed.  According to Satcher, discussion should not be limited to topics of individual dysfunction, but be inclusive of the broad range of sexual topics, including positive ones, and their impact on society.

When Advertisements Make Someone Look Bad (or Better) • Minchul Kim, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee • This study explores effects of advertisement on news interpretation. Applying excitation transfer theory and exemplification theory, this study investigates effects of negative images in advertisement on attribution. The results of a web-based experiment show that indirect effects of exemplars are intensified when advertisement using negative images is presented together. Emotional reactions through attribution were also increased according to the nature of images in advertisements. Implications and suggestions for a future study were discussed.

When Does Multitasking Facilitate Information Processing?: Effects of Internet-Based Multitasking on Information Seeking and Knowledge Gain • Se-Hoon Jeong; Yoori Hwang • This study examines whether internet-based multitasking facilitates knowledge gain by allowing users to seek additional information online. The results based on survey data indicate that TV-internet multitasking increased knowledge, whereas TV-print media multitasking reduced it. In addition, online information seeking mediated the learning effects of internet-based multitasking. The results based on experimental data confirm the effects of internet-based multitasking on knowledge gain. The theoretical and practical implications are further discussed.

Why Kids Become Mobs? An Empirical Analysis of Youth Flash Mobs and Social Media • Hyunjin Seo, University of Kansas; Brian Houston; Alexandra Inglish, University of Kansas • This research examined how teens’ use of social media and psychological variables are related to their intention to participate in flash mobs, a growing cultural phenomenon in the United States and other countries. Based on a survey of teens in a major city in the Midwest, this study found a positive correlation between teens’ social self-efficacy and their intention to participate in a flash mob in the future.

Why Share in the Social Media Sphere: An Integration of Uses and Gratification and Theory of Reasoned Action • Chang-Dae Ham; Joonghwa Lee, Middle Tennessee State University • Given the idea that sharing behavior is critical in understanding the role and influence of social media, the present study  explores why people share the contents on social media by developing four dimensions of sharing motivation: self-definition by others, social conversation, convenience, and self-management. Among the identified dimensions, “convenience” and “social conversation” had significant positive impacts on attitudes toward sharing behavior.

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