Visual Communication 2013 Abstracts

Picturing the Jos Crisis in Three Leading Newspapers in Nigeria: A Visual Framing Perspective • Ngozi Agwaziam, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale; Lily Zeng, Arkansas State University • This study examines the visual framing of the Jos crisis in the online version of three leading Nigerian newspapers, Punch, Guardian, and Thisday. Findings suggest that they were not heavy users of news photographs. Majority of the photographs were those of politicians repeatedly used in different news stories and were not-graphic close-up shots. The three newspapers failed to emotionally connect the readers with the ongoing crisis and reinforced established narrative themes within the official discourse.

Methodological Critique of Screen Sense: A Case for Phenomenology • Russell Cook, Loyola University Maryland • This methodological critique compares Husserlian phenomenology to two other research paradigms—positivism and psychologism—and concludes that phenomenology is the best research method for investigating visual perception of screen media, or screen sense. The phenomenological reduction serves to neutralize presuppositions of the natural standpoint. The variational method of eidetic reduction reveals essential structures of spectating experience. The paper concludes with an extended analysis of the perception of pictorial depth.

Visual Stereotypes of Appalachia in Life Magazine: A Semiotic Study • Michael DiBari, Hampton University • For much of the 20th century and still today, many scholars believe the media has contributed to a stereotyping of Appalachia that has defined the region as backwards, uneducated, incestuous, and violent. Life magazine was one of the most popular, pictorial news magazines, and played an important part in that coverage. This study takes a textural analysis approach in identifying the articles in Life, and discusses the results in terms of social semiotics.

Historical Timelines: Rethinking Our Visualization of the Past • Bettina Fabos, University of Northern Iowa • The growing body of digital archives gives visual communicators the opportunity to construct alternative historical narratives that go beyond traditional, hegemonic “great men” discourse. Interactive timelines are one way in which to utilize such archival material to create more democratic, bottom-up histories, and make them widely available through the web.

The Gaze and The Spielberg Face: Spielberg’s Application of Lacan’s Mirror Stage and Audience Response • Joseph Fortunato, Arizona State University • Through the theoretical framework of Jacques Lacan’s “Mirror Stage,” this study employs statistical analysis to code the frequency with which Spielberg utilizes the “gaze” in his work to emotionally influence the viewer by providing them with desirable images of the human face. This study examines if these psychologically desirable images are used with more frequency in Spielberg’s successful films, thus providing quantitative support for the assertion that Spielberg “manipulates” his audience through his signature style.

Finding your own answers: Political ideology and ambiguous data visualizations • Nicholas Geidner, The University of Tennessee; Iveta Imre, The University of Tennessee; Ivanka Pjesivac, University of Tennessee • This study examines how partisans process information from ambiguous data visualizations. A diverse national sample (N = 338) was asked to interact with an ambiguous political data visualization, The New York Times’ “Budget Puzzle.” In short, our findings demonstrate that partisans saw what they wanted within the visualization. Individual-level political conservatism predicted perceptions of “The Budget Puzzle” as supporting the Republican Party’s fiscal agenda and of its creators being aligned with the Republican Party. These findings were accentuated in individuals with high interest in economic news. The implications of these findings for journalism practice are discussed.

Visual framing of the Syrian conflict in news and public affairs magazines • Keith Greenwood; Joy Jenkins, University of Missouri • Research indicates international news is most often visually framed in terms of violence and disaster. Conflicts are visually framed in terms of the active participants and aftermath of battle instead of the affected bystanders or efforts at negotiating peace. An alternative frame proposed by Galtung (1986) promotes an emphasis on peaceful demonstration and negotiation instead of the usual aspects of conflict. Building on research that observed evidence of this peace framing in photographs related to conflict published international media, this research examines visual framing of the 2011-2012 Syrian conflict that arose from the Arab Spring movement in northern Africa and the Middle East. The study examines 193 photographs published in two news magazines and nine public affairs magazines to determine if visual framing differs between magazines with differing purposes and differing political/editorial orientations. The analysis affirms the dominant visual frame of conflict through images of active fighting and its victims but also notes that public affairs magazines published a higher proportion of photographs depicting peace framing. As the magazine environment becomes increasingly oriented to niche publications, the results present implications for the likelihood that a broad audience will experience similar visual framing of international news.

The Influence of Personality Factors and Motives on Photographic Communication • Daniel Hunt, Newbury College; Eric Langstedt, Mount Saint Mary College • This study examined photographic communication within the uses and gratifications framework. Gender and personality traits of respondents were used as predictors of and motives for sending mobile photographs and online sharing. Memory, relationship maintenance, self expression and relationship formation positively predicted photographic communication. Females both sent more photo messages and shared more photos online. Extraversion positively predicted most photo messaging use motives, while Neuroticism was a negative predictor of photo messaging use.

Ken Burns: Historian, Patriot, or Hollywood Revisionist? An Analysis of His Style from “Brooklyn Bridge” to “The War” • Paul Jacoway, Scripps School of Journalism, Ohio University • This paper evaluates the style of Ken Burns as a visual historian, by analyzing his documentaries: “Brooklyn Bridge” and “The War.” Media reviews, program details, personal interviews with Burns associates, and media interviews with Burns are used to evaluate his style of narrative histories to determine if he fits as a historian, journalist, or television producer. It seeks to answer the proposed question and the criticism that he is not truly a historian.”

What’s black and blue and read online: An analysis of newspaper website aesthetics and the influence of circulation size • Adriane Jewett, University of Florida; Dennis DiPasquale • With consumers flocking online, newspapers must consider website aesthetics. The Ideal Brand Pyramid posits that ideal brands equally value function, behavior and aesthetics. This study extends the IBP’s application, examining current newspaper websites aesthetics. Findings reiterate the monotony of newspaper websites with blue/black color palette, three-column design and top-page navigation. Some differences were exposed among circulation groups, particularly nameplate design and typeface. However, newspapers websites may not reach ideal brand status without increasing aesthetic emphasis.

No ham, no ladies and no sex: Examining the cross cultural differences in Gangnam Style parodies on YouTube • Julie Jones, Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication; Amanda Kehrberg, The University of Oklahoma; Sang Chon Kim, University of Oklahoma; Joonil Kim, Gaylord college of the University of Oklahoma; Khalaf Tahat, University of Oklahoma • Castells (2009) conceptualizes the shift in media production as a change from mass media communication model to a mass self-communication model. Although sites like YouTube afford individuals a global platform, producers are still situated within certain geographical and social-psychological cultures. This study centered on visual artifacts within Gangnam Style parody videos to investigate the influence of the producers’ culture on representations of women and sex. Given that Arabic videos, in particular, were often completely void of sex and women, re-conceptualizing the “global village” nature of social media production is needed.

Susanne Langer: Expresses Knowledge of Feelings • Keith Kenney; Katherine LaPrad, University of South Carolina • This paper answers the question: How can we use Langer’s philosophical writings to build theories of multimedia communication? It explains her idea that knowledge is based upon multimodal images rather than words, numbers, or the results of scientific research. It also explains the difference between words and pictures. It explains how we use presentational symbols, or artworks, to express feeling. Finally, the paper explains how different art genres create different sensory illusions.

Captured in the grid: Raising more attention with the rule of thirds? • Michael Koliska; Soo-Kwang Oh • The rule of thirds is a widely used composition principle in photography. But despite the growing importance of photos and videos in the news media there is little to no known research that has tested the rule’s effectiveness to raise attention and limit cognitive load of information processing. This exploratory study suggests that the rule of thirds can serve as visual guideline that will enhance the ease of information processing and thus make images more salient to the observer.

Promoting places: Schema complexity and valence elicited by country logos for tourism • Suman Lee; Lulu Rodriguez; Sela Sar, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign • This study examined the influence of tourism logo design on people’s cognitive responses. In an online survey, undergraduate students were exposed to the tourism logos of Australia, Indonesia, Mongolia, Kenya, Latvia, and Malawi. The results showed that the logos of Australia and Indonesia elicited high schema complexity and positive valence among college students. The logos of Kenya and Mongolia rated high in schema complexity, but produced a negative valence. Malawi and Latvia elicited low schema complexity, but a positive valence. The findings suggest that effective meaning creation can overcome deficiencies in logo design.

How photo editors perceive and evaluate photographs submitted by citizen journalists: A national survey • Eun Jeong Lee • This study examined how U.S. photo editors at daily newspapers perceive and evaluate photographs submitted by citizen journalists. A national survey’s findings suggest that more than half of all photo editors publish the photographs 1 or 2 days a week while the most common reason was citizens covered the news. Newsworthiness played the most important roles in news selection. Breaking or spot news was the predominant type of photographs selected by photo editors.

Photo Sharing Not Photojournalism: the Problem of Visual Journalism as User-Generated Content • Mary Lou Nemanic, Pennsylvania State University • While digital technology and the Internet have popularized photo sharing, online citizen-generated news images have been relatively rare. This paper argues that photo sharing is ritual communication functioning as a visual diary or a way of connecting with friends and relatives, and that its popularity lies in its intent to socialize; while photojournalism’s intent to inform large, virtually unknown audiences is more difficult and less appealing.

Big Bird, Binders, and Bayonets: The Persuasive Power of Social Media Visual Narratives in the 2012 Presidential Campaign • Janis Teruggi Page, Florida Institute of Technology; Margaret Duffy, U of Missouri • In 2012, a Web-empowered community interrogated U.S. presidential campaign messaging and articulated responses through visual imagery that spread throughout the Internet and into major media outlets. This study analyzes how Internet memes appropriated candidates’ brand narratives, first using Fantasy Theme Analysis to examine the Obama and Romney Twitter and Facebook images during the most heated period of campaigning, and then applying Durand’s rhetorical matrix to the most popular candidate images and citizen-generated memes.

Visual Propaganda in the Age of Social Media: Twitter Images During 2012 Israeli-Hamas Conflict • Hyunjin Seo, University of Kansas • This study analyzed images posted to Twitter by the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas’ Alqassam Brigades during the November 2012 Gaza conflict to understand aspects of visual propaganda in the age of social media. Visual content analysis was conducted to identify themes and frames prominently appearing in 243 Twitter images posted by the two parties during a two-month period. Results showed statistically significant differences between Israel and Hamas in terms of themes and frames.

The advertised images of women in the early to middle 20th century Macau • Zhen Sun • This paper applies the visual social semiotic approach to analyze the women’s images represented in the advertisements for the mooncake and the firecracker in the early to middle 20th century Macau. The study finds that the image producers manipulate the semiotic resources into different representational and interactive structures and create two types of women images: the role model targeted to the women consumers of mooncakes and the desire elicitor targeted to the men consumers of firecrackers.

Music Videos: The Evolved Look of the Sound • Marilyn Terzic, Université du Québec à Montréal • This research examines the aesthetic consequences of digitally distributed music video content. To that end, the ways in which the affective and conative dimensions of music videos are used to generate increased album sales are described, and the means by which diverse perceptual tactics are employed to promote the vested interests of the artist and record label are discussed.

Dichotomous Nature of Preference for Visual Complexity • Zongyuan Wang, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Brittany Duff, University of Illinois- Urbana Champaign; Jen Moss, University of Illinois • This study re-examined as well as extended previous work on people’s preference for visual complexity through a generalizable sample (N=504). Findings suggest maximal threshold for complexity preference as well as stability of preference within groups that prefer distinct levels of complexity. Item-specific and relational variety indicate the dichotomous nature of of complexity preference.Implications for visual communication are discussed.

The Impact of Navigability on Flow-like Experiences and User Enjoyment of Online Art Exhibitions • Bo Zhang, Penn State University; Michael Marcinkowski, Penn State University; Youngjoon Choi • With the development of new modes of web interface and 3D virtual environment, the concept of navigability is considered an important element to understand users’ experience with the interface. Particularly in the context of virtual art galleries, navigability can influence users’ level of immersive and enjoyable experience of artworks. Responding to the conflicting evidence showing both positive and negative effects of higher navigability on the evaluation of online art exhibitions, this study examines the impact of navigability on flow-like experiences (i.e., skill-challenge match, immersion) and user enjoyment and behavioral intention. Thirty-five undergraduate students participated in a between-subjects experimental study with two conditions (2D interface for low navigability vs. 3D interface for high navigability). Participants in the low navigability condition reported lower levels of skill-challenge match and higher levels of immersion and enjoyment than those in the high navigability condition. Also, we found that immersion, not a skill-challenge match, mediated the effect of navigability on enjoyment which led to behavioral intention. Based on the findings, theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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