Graduate Student 2015 Abstracts

Digital Gumshoes: Investigative Journalists’ Use of Social Media in Television News Reporting • Jesse Abdenour, University of Oregon • A nationwide survey (N=165) showed evidence that investigative journalists at local television stations are frequently using social media for public interaction, story ideas, and story production, and are doing so significantly more than other types of journalists. However, data analysis indicated that regular social media use did not translate into higher levels of investigative productivity, quality or efficiency.

Valence Framing and Egypt’s Country Reputation • Amal Bakry • While country reputation and country branding scholarship has mainly focused on its effect on product marketing and place marketing (Kaneva, 2009), this study aims to shed light on the intersection of mass media and country reputation from the news framing perspective. The present study examines public opinion regarding Egypt by looking at recent Pew Research survey data. The media framing comes from a content analysis of news related to Egypt on network newscasts. By examining framing of news related to Egypt and relating it to public opinion polls, we hope to understand whether such frames are negatively or positively valenced and whether or not such frames affect public opinion towards a Middle Eastern country of strategic importance to the U.S.

We’re Just Good People: Corporate Sustainability Communications and Human Values • Lauren Bayliss, University of Florida • The nature of organizations’ relationships with publics is changing, leading to increased potential for developing parasocial relationships with publics. Parasocial relationships, however, require publics to view an organization as human-like. By examining the human values and time orientations present on these companies’ websites, this paper establishes current best communication practices. The findings, contrary to expectations based on a human model of communicating values, provide directions for future research.

Guilt by Disassociation: Millennials’ Opinions Regarding News Consumption and the Prevalence of “Should” • Ginger Blackstone, University of Florida • The purpose of this study was to investigate news avoidance behaviors of upwardly mobile Millennial undergraduates. Focus group participants were more interested in non-news content, but there were occasions when news did catch their attention. Participants believed they “should” consume news, but often lacked the initiative or interest. Others deliberately avoided news because of information overload or negative content. Some participants saw themselves consuming more news as they matured, which challenged recent Pew Research findings.

The usage of soft and hard news delivery techniques in articles of women’s weight: A content analysis of differences across media genres • Calli Breil, University of Missouri; Samuel Tham, University of Missouri School of Journalism • Thin ideal messages have been found to promote that being thin is attractive and essential in being successful and happy. Women exposed to thin-ideal messages suffer from body dissatisfaction, and psychological, physiological harm. This paper used a quantitative content analysis to analyze the delivery techniques of these messages in three media genres. This study found significant differences delivery techniques, with women’s magazines using more soft news and attempting to build a relationship with its audience.

A Qualitative Framing Analysis of HPV Vaccine Coverage in U.S. Newspapers • Jieun Chung, University of Florida • This mixed methods framing analysis investigated newspaper articles framing of the HPV vaccine. This study found six major frames: Cancer prevention frame, male eligibility frame, STD prevention frame, insufficient recommendation frame, sexual promiscuity frame, and low rates frame. Of the six frames, the cancer prevention frame was most common frame. With respect to the HBM constructs, effectiveness of the HPV vaccine and severity of HPV were presented most of them, while susceptibility to HPV was barely presented in the U.S. newspapers.

Bellwether County: Macomb County, Michigan, and the Construction of Reagan Democrats in US Political News • Christopher Cimaglio, University of Pennsylvania • With a focus on the political celebrity of Macomb County, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit that received considerable attention in news media as a bellwether for the attitudes of Reagan Democrats, white working class voters whose racial anxieties and cultural fears had alienated them from the Democratic Party, this paper examines the significance of the Reagan Democrat figure for 1980s and 1990s US politics and the role of political journalism in its construction.

Persuasive Social Media Inference. Online social climate and perceptions of public opinion • David Coppini, University of Wisconsin Madison; Stephanie Jean Tsang, University of Wisconsin-Madison • The traditional hypothesis of “persuasive media inference” posited that media slant on an issue influences citizens’ perceptions of public opinion’s position on an issue. In the social media environment, people continuously receive cues about what other individuals think about specific issues.Does this affect individuals’ perceptions of public opinion? Our study manipulates opinion climate on social media investigate effects on perceptions of public opinion.Results from a sample of college students show that individuals use cues from social media to form their impressions about public opinion.Theoretical implications for application of theories of presumed influence in the online environment are discussed.

Icy challenges: Consumer perceptions of brands’ social activism in ALS Ice Bucket Challenge • Naa Amponsah Dodoo, University of Florida • The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a social media viral campaign in the summer of 2014 campaign for the ALS Association, presented an opportunity for brands/companies to show their involvement in a reactive form of social activism. Evidence in literature suggests that consumers regard cause related activities by brands/companies with some skepticism. This study therefore examined consumers’ awareness of brands’ involvement in the challenge as well as responses to brands/companies involvement in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Consumers’ brand identification, self-congruity and intent to share information about the brand were also examined. Results indicated favorable attitude towards brands’ involvement in the challenge. Additional analyses were conducted in the form of multiple regression analysis and revealed interesting results on the predictive ability of brand attitude, brand identity as well as brand awareness on the intent to share information about brands/companies involvement in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Findings and implications are discussed.

Citizen in-group bias effects on credibility in Ebola news coverage • Megan Duncan, University of Wisconsin-Madison • In an experiment, participants read a story that manipulated the main characters’ citizenship status (American-born, naturalized, resident) to examine social identity cues in news and activation of in-group bias. Further, it extends social identity cues to credibility. It finds people are less concerned about diversity issues in the case where a message features a naturalized citizen than an American citizen, offering support for in-group bias. Results show citizenship status cues effect perception of news credibility.

A survey of Egyptian journalists’ perception of press freedom in post-revolutionary Egypt • Goran Ghafour, The university of Kansas; Amr El-Afifi, The University of Kansas • This study examined the perception of Egyptian journalists on the concept of press freedom in transition and conflict. Surveying 136 Egyptian journalists, this study found that individual, attitudinal, and organizational factors relatively determine the Egyptian journalists’ perception of press freedom. Differences in perception of press freedom among the Egyptian journalists reflect different types of news media ownerships with different goals and policies.

How do people choose from different reading platforms? The comparison between online reading and offline reading • WEIWEI JIANG; Ying Xu • With the decreasing number of newspaper readers and the increasing number of online readers, researchers are willing to understand why some media are more favorable and who are reading which medium. In this paper we examined the relationship of online reading and print reading in terms of media attributes, people`s demographic differences, and time spending on media. Also, we also studied hybrid readers who read on both online and print media. We compared them with online and print media consumer. We found that online media have more favorable attributes than traditional media. Also, we found that digital divide does exist due to age differences. People who only use online media to read show their dependency on internet, but there were no statistical significant found on people who only read traditional media and their media dependency.

Access Denied: Consequences of Ablebodied Students Communication Apprehension Toward College Students with Disabilities • Davi Kallman, Washington State University • The following study examines the uncertainty that ablebodied students have when interacting with students with disabilities in higher education. The author explains how uncertainty and communication apprehension (Griffin, 2006) are leading factors for ablebodied students avoidance in interaction with out-group members. The author provides suggestions to decrease uncertainty and reduce communication apprehension among ablebodied university students in order to increase the comfort level in interactions.

Constructive journalism: A definition and practical guide for applying positive psychology techniques to news production • Karen McIntyre, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • Critical issues in journalism, including audience decline, highlight the need for a new approach. This paper defines and situates in the field the interdisciplinary concept of constructive journalism — an emerging form of news that applies positive psychology techniques to journalism in an effort to create more productive, engaging news stories. After conceptualizing the term, techniques by which constructive journalism can be practiced and the psychological frameworks that support the use of each technique are discussed.

Tribunes of the Marginalized? Institutional Role Performance in the American Alternative Press • Joseph Moore, University of Missouri • This study examined institutional role conception and role performance among several prominent U.S. alternative news publications to discover whether the gap between role conception and performance uncovered by previous studies of the mainstream commercial press also existed among alternative media. A textual analysis of alternative news coverage of the 2013 NSA mass surveillance disclosures was employed. Alternative news organizations had mixed success at translating their institutional role conceptions into practice.

The Effects of In-game Advertising On Gamers and the Video Game Industry • Matthew Morley • Advertisements and product tie-ins in video games have become increasingly prevalent in the video game industry. This paper reviews the literature surrounding product placement and advertising found within video games and discusses the current and past trends of in-game advertising. Additionally, this paper investigates whether in-game advertisements make a game more immersive and lifelike or if they are seen as intrusive and distracting by gamers.

Propagation of prosociality • Yu Leung Ng, School of Communication, Hong Kong Baptist University • Propagation of prosociality is the repeated dissemination of prosocial messages. The unpredictability of this phenomenon is worth an understanding of its nature and process, yet no previous literatures were reviewed systematically to investigate this phenomenon. This review article adopted an evolutionary perspective to examine the attributes of prosocial messages dissemination (‘what’) and a psychology perspective to investigate the psychological antecedents and consequences of it (‘why’) for communication scholars to understand ‘how’ prosocial messages get propagated.

The Invisible Race: Analysis of Racial Hierarchy in Contemporary Mexican Cinema • Alberto Orellana-Campos, University of Wisconsin-Madison • This paper examines representations and meanings of racial hierarchy in contemporary Mexican films, as well as the commentary these images provide on racial identity, in a country that is not majority-white. Mexican cinema, as both a product and producer of cultural and racial ideologies, normalizes through its images a hierarchy where mestizo characters often experience a treatment that normalizes poverty and disadvantage because of ‘who they are.’

The Spiral of Silence on the new media environment • Mustafa oz, The University of Texas at Austin • This study was designed to specifically examine fear of isolation in social media and offline environment. The results have shown that the respondents place higher value for assessing the climate of opinion on Facebook (m=3.55, sd=1.170) than Twitter and offline environment. Results also have shown that individuals were less likely to speak out on Facebook (m=3.72, sd=1.097) than offline (m=2.81, 1.176) environments and Twitter (m=2.32, sd=1.178).

Something creepy this way comes: PAC advertising’s attack on Obamacare, a visual narrative analysis • Marguerite Page, Northern Illinois University • PAC money’s influence in political messaging has accelerated the appearance of negative attack ads. A viral Internet video attacking Obamacare in July 2014 urged young adults to opt out. Through an analysis of its visual rhetoric, this study finds that use of dark humor, popular culture references, and most significantly, its narrative fidelity, make it likely “believable” by its ideal audience.

Network agenda-building during the Ebola crisis: Exploring the impact of government messages on newspaper coverage • Yanqin Lu, Indiana University; Young Eun Park, Indiana University • The current study explored network agenda-building during the Ebola crisis. The results indicated that during the crisis, the salience of network relationships of attributes is transferred from public relations materials to news media articles. However, network centrality results also suggested that journalists do not completely follow the agenda of public relations messages. Specifically, the central position of “reassurance” in public relations materials was replaced by “consequence” in news media articles.

The Effect of Facebook Use and Social Comparison Orientation on Subjective Well-Being • Alexander Pfeuffer; Hannah Murphy • This study examined the relationship between Facebook use and subjective well-being considering a hypothesized moderating effect of social comparison orientation on this relationship. The study did not find support for Facebook use being a reliable predictor of subjective well-being. Instead of acting as a moderator, social comparison orientation emerged as the significant predictor of subjective well-being. This study’s results challenge previous literature’s findings and the popular perception that Facebook use is correlated with subjective well-being.

How do National and Regional Newspapers Cover Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? A Content Analysis • Lu Wu, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • Nearly 500,000 U.S. troops who served in Afghanistan and Iraq have been diagnosed with PTSD. This study conducted a content analysis to compare how coverage of PTSD would differ between bigger newspapers with a national audience versus smaller regional newspapers located near major U.S. military bases. Findings show that national newspapers engaged in higher-level policy discussion, while regional newspapers tended to focus on human impact of the disorder.

Relationship Building in Nation Branding: The Central Role of Nation Brand Commitment • Linwan Wu, University of Florida • Nation brand commitment indicates the strength of one’s relationship with a nation brand. A conceptual model is proposed to explain how a nation brand impacts consumers’ traveling and product purchasing intentions. It is posited that nation brand commitment is influenced by consumers’ perceived nation brand trustworthiness, their orientations of cultural values and perceived cultural distance. An online survey was conducted to test the model by using two nation brands (China & the United Kingdom) among undergraduate students who are American citizens. The results demonstrated that nation brand trustworthiness and cultural value of power distance were positively correlated with nation brand commitment, while cultural distance was negatively correlated with nation brand commitment. It also found that nation brand commitment positively influenced consumers’ traveling and product purchasing intentions. Implications, limitations and directions for future research are also included.

User-generated Content on News Websites: Why Do People Comment on A News Story? • Chuanli XIA, City University of Hong Kong • “This study proposes a theoretical framework in which it addresses the relationship between gratifications of various needs and user-generated content behavior on news websites. Two theoretical moderators, namely perceived information of UGC and attitude to news making by major media organizations are examined. With a secondary data in U.S. 2010, this study finds that different needs are related to UGC behavior, and the perceived importance of UGC enhances this relationship.”

Same or Different across Countries:Multinational Corporations’ Relationship Cultivation Strategies on Social Network Sites • Ning Xie, University of Maryland • This study explores multinational corporations (MNCs)’ relationship management with publics in two different countries by examining MNCs’ relationship cultivation strategies on Social Network Sites (SNSs). Through a content analysis of 29 MNCs’corporate Twitter accounts in the United States and Sina Weibo (Twitter’s counterpart) accounts in China, this study reveals that MNCs use disclosure, information dissemination, and interactivity and involvement in both countries, on both Twitter and Sina Weibo. Findings indicate that MNCs do not use the same strategies on both SNSs. Patterns of MNCs’ use of relationship cultivation strategies on SNSs in the United States and China are identified. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

SNS as Intimacy Zone: Social Intimacy, Loneliness, and Self-disclosure on SNS • yafei zhang; Qi Ling, The University of Iowa • This study explores factors that may influence one’s self-disclosure on SNS where one self-disclose information in the public eye. Social intimacy and loneliness as indicators of one’s social relationship status are found to be both significantly, though contradictorily related to self-disclosure on SNS. Social intimacy and loneliness function are mediators in the direct effect of personality on self-disclosure on SNS. This study enhances the understanding of self-disclosure on SNS rather than interpersonal connections.

2015 Abstracts

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