Electronic News 2017 Abstracts

A Textual Analysis of Fake News Articles on Facebook Before the 2016 Election • Mitchell T. Bard, Iona College • This meso-level textual analysis of the 20 most engaged fake news articles on Facebook before the 2016 election (Silverman, 2016) examines whether the pieces conform to journalistic style and the themes found across the stories. An analysis of “The O’Reilly Factor” during the period looks at how those themes were addressed on Fox News. Results show a wide variety of styles, but concentration on a few themes, which were also seen on “The O’Reilly Factor.”

Follow of the leader?: Perceptions of solo journalism of local television journalists and news directors • Justin Blankenship, Auburn University; Daniel Riffe • This research study examined the perceptions of solo journalism in the context of local television news production in the United States. Solo journalism is a work practice in which a single reporter is expected to gathering information for, write, shoot video, and edit their news stories on their own. It is sometimes known as video journalism, multimedia journalism, or backpack journalism. This is contrasted with a traditional news crew work design in which those tasks are distributed among at least two professionals, possibly more. The study utilized data gathered from two separate surveys, one of news managers (N= 159) and one of front-line journalists (N= 222). The data indicated that journalists are generally more pessimistic about the causes and benefits of solo journalism than news directors. Additionally, by matching the two samples by station, analysis suggested that the “optimism” of news managers toward solo journalism may impact the efficacy of the reporters that work for them.

Following the Familiar: Effect of exposure and gender on credibility of journalists on Twitter • Trent Boulter • This study examines the effect of mere exposure and journalists’ gender on credibility. Through controlled experiments it was found that exposure significantly impacts credibility of journalists on Twitter, but with certain limitations. Additionally, female journalists were evaluated as significantly more credible than males. These findings indicate a need practicing journalists have to strategically consider their SNS activity level, and how it can strengthen their position as an information source in the current media environment.

Framing Violence and Protest at Standing Rock • Gino Canella, University of Colorado Boulder; Patrick Ferrucci, U of Colorado • This paper analyzes coverage from CNN and Democracy Now! of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests at Standing Rock, ND. Through an ethnographic content analysis of strongly and weakly market-oriented news organizations, we examine frames, sources used, and time devoted in order to understand how market orientation may have influenced these journalistic decisions. We find that while both outlets framed the story through the lens of protest and violence, the way this was done differed significantly.

Melodramatic Animation, Presence, and Sympathy for Crime Victims in News: An Experiment with Adolescents in Hong Kong • Ka Lun Benjamin Cheng, Hong Kong Baptist University; Wai Han Lo, Hang Seng Management College • This study uses the transportation-imagery model to examine the mediating role of presence between the use of melodramatic animation in news and sympathy for victim among adolescents. A path model was proposed and was tested by an experiment with 74 adolescents with the mean age of 15.3. The results partially supported the proposed model. The ethical issues of using this news format, and the practical issues in media education for adolescents were discussed.

Overrun by Emotion: How Emotional Reactions Predict News Sharing to Social Media • Kelley Cotter; Chris Fennell, Michigan State University; Zhao Peng, Michigan State University • This study examined how emotional arousal and valence impact intent to share news articles to social media through an experimental design. Results showed that emotional arousal positively predicted the intention to share articles to Facebook and Twitter. The results also showed an interaction effect, such that when news articles elicited high arousal, positive emotions and when articles elicited low arousal, negative emotions, they were more likely to be shared.

U.S. Law Enforcement Social Media and TV News: What are Agencies Posting and How is it Being Reported? • Jennifer Grygiel, Syracuse University/Newhouse; Suzanne Lysak, Syracuse University/Newhouse • This qualitative study examines the growing use of social media by U.S. law enforcement and seeks to understand how this may be altering the relationship with broadcast newsrooms. Semi-structured topical interviews were conducted with eleven television newsroom staff from around the United States. Our findings show an increased reliance on receiving law enforcement related content via social media. In some cases, law enforcement use of social media has provided transparency and made news gathering easier, but not always.

Effects of virtual reality news video on transportation, attitudes, fact-recall and intentions to act • Jennifer Hijazi; David Cuillier • Virtual reality (VR) devices allow the news media to engage with audiences in new ways by putting viewers “into” the story. An experiment compared the effects of VR with print and traditional broadcast modes on attitudes, behavioral intent, fact recall and transportation. Results indicated that those in the VR condition demonstrated lower transportation than those in the print or broadcast conditions, and showed no more empathy, intent to act, or knowledge recall. Implications are discussed.

The Local TV News Digital Footprint: Is Local Content Vanishing Amid Climate of Consolidation? • Harrison Hove, University of Missouri; Beverly Horvit, University of Missouri; James Endersby, University of Missouri • A content analysis of 11 East Coast television stations’ Facebook postings shows that the larger the stations’ corporate owners, the lower the percentage of local news posted. Stations in larger markets posted more local stories, but the corporate ownership structure is a stronger predictor of local coverage. The findings suggest Lacy’s model of news demand should be revisited to account for consolidations in the television industry that could affect the quality of the digital product.

The Weibo Olympic: Factors Influencing Chinese Users Engagement with Sports News on Social Media • Alyssa Lobo; Ruochen Jiang; Jie Yu • “This study examines if news agencies’ framing of events on social media affects Weibo users’ engagement with sports during the 2016 Rio Olympics. There was partial support to show that content, frame, language style and visual elements led to higher engagement, but within agency analyses were inconclusive. Instead, time of posting, the frequency of posting and a combined effect of language style and image use had a significant influence on engagement. Findings support the media richness theory.

Immersive Journalism and Telepresence: How Does Virtual Reality News Use Affect News Credibility? • Seok Kang, UTSA; Erin O’Brien; Arturo Villarreal • Although news in virtual reality (VR) is recently on the rise, relatively little empirical evidence is available in its effects on news credibility. This study tests how telepresence in VR news consumption can affect news credibility. In a posttest only experiment, 40 subjects watched VR news: 20 with a viewer (Google Cardboard) and 20 in 360 degrees without a viewer. The other 20 subjects only answered a questionnaire without VR exposure. The comparison of the three groups revealed that VR news groups showed significantly higher telepresence than did the control group. The experimental groups also marked higher news credibility than did the control group. In an interaction effect test, the 360-degree VR news group with high telepresence highly evaluated news credibility compared to the VR news with a viewer and control groups. This study found that VR news, particularly, 360-degree VR news without a viewer was effective in telepresence and news credibility.

From #Ferguson to #Ayotzinapa: Analyzing the Differences in Domestic and Foreign Protest News Shared on Social Media • Danielle Kilgo, University of Texas at Austin; Summer Harlow, University of Houston; Victor García-Perdomo, U Texas Austin and U La Sabana; Ramón Salaverría • This study compares online U.S. news coverage of foreign and domestic protests, in addition to analyzing how coverage was shared on social media. Building on protest paradigm and shareworthiness literature, results show journalists and social media audiences alike emphasize legitimizing frames for foreign protests more than domestic protests and protesters. In addition, results point to the unique role the audience plays in interacting with foreign and domestic content.

In the Name of the Fact-Check: Sponsoring Organizations, Analysis Tools, Transparency/Objectivity of Fact-check • Bumsoo Kim, University of Alabama • This research empirically analyzed (a) categories of fact-checking institutions, (b) fact-checkers’ sponsorships, (c) analysis methods of fact-checkers, and (d) degree of pursuit of objectivity and transparency of fact-checking contents. The results showed that first of all the highest proportion of the types of sponsoring entities is commercials or advertising, followed by branches of a mainstream news media outlet. Secondly, about 70% of the sites provided official records/documents such as statistical data, prior news stories, and published papers, and the fact-checking sites mainly employed more detailed judging types that explained how they determined veracity. Thirdly, the degree of transparency (source clarity) for independent news outlets’ fact-checking was higher than for stand-alone fact-checking sites as fact-checking sources of the independent news outlets were more clearly revealed. Finally, narratives of the fact-checking sites were more likely to lean toward objective than interpretative.

“Lauering the Bar” for Journalism Standards during the 2016 Presidential Election Campaign: Paradigm Repair and the Ritual Sacrifice of Matt Lauer • Raymond McCaffrey • This study examined the widespread criticism faced by Matt Lauer after NBC’s Today show host interviewed presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as part of a forum in September 2016. A review of news stories after the forum revealed that journalists responded in a manner consistent with paradigm repair, banding together to scapegoat Lauer for a performance that some admitted was reflective of systemic poor broadcast campaign coverage driven by ratings not news values.

Moments to Discover: A longitudinal panel analysis of media displacement/complementarity of social networking sites and traditional media • Yee Man Margaret Ng, The University of Texas at Austin; Kyser Lough, The University of Texas at Austin; Jeremy Shermak, University of Texas at Austin; Thomas Johnson • The perceived threat of social network sites (SNSs) to traditional news consumption brings to mind the theories of media displacement/complementary effects. Through a two-wave panel survey, this study reveals that complementary effects exist between SNSs and traditional media, among SNSs, and between news-centric features — Twitter Moments and Snapchat Discover. The concept of media alignment is introduced to illustrate the correlation between media usage across time. Predictors of the change of media usage are examined.

Citizen news podcasts, carnivalism, and the formation a counter-public sphere in South Korea • Chang Sup Park • This study examines what roles citizen news podcasts of South Korea play, based on two concepts – carnivalism and counter-public sphere. To this end, the current study analyzed the news content of 11 citizen news podcasts that are most popular in this country and conducted interviews with 10 mainstream media journalists. The findings reveal that through the use of carnivalisque techniques such as humor, parody, and satire, the discourse of citizen podcasts transgresses existing social and cultural hierarchies and subverts a range of authoritative discourses by mainstream media. The analysis also finds that the discourse in citizen news podcasts intends to motivate ordinary individuals who are left largely disillusioned from mainstream journalism to engage in elite-challenging political action. Mainstream journalists admitted that citizen news podcasts provide an opportunity to re-evaluate the journalism norms and practices of South Korea.

Does news consumption online and on social media affect political behavior? Evidence from a swing state in the 2016 elections • Newly Paul, Appalachian State University; Hongwei “Chris” Yang; Jean DeHart • With the rise of digital media and social media news, it is important to examine the impact of media consumption, especially social media, on political behavior. We tested the impact of online and social media news consumption, ad exposure, social media use, and online social capital, on political participation, civic engagement, and voting behavior by conducting a web-based survey on 3,810 U.S. college students immediately after the 2016 presidential election. Results indicate that online news consumption positively predicted online political participation, turnout and civic engagement, but did not influence vote choice and offline participation. News exposure on social media, however, only positively predicted bridging social capital. We also find that online news consumption, social media news exposure, and political ad exposure on social media positively predicted college students’ political expression on Facebook, social media news exposure enhanced their political use of Twitter, whereas online news consumption led to their political use of Instagram.

An Examination of WeChat: Predictors of News Use on Closed Messaging Platforms • Zhao Peng, Michigan State University • This study chose a closed-messaging platform-WeChat as an example to examine the relationship between technology features and news use behavior. The present study contributed to theory by conceptualizing news use and integrating Task-Tech Fitness Theory with Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology model to explore whether technology features would affect news usage behavior. Results showed that task-tech fitness, effort expectancy and social influence significantly predicted news use behavior.

Mobile Journalism as Lifestyle Journalism? Field Theory in the Integration of Mobile In the Newsroom and Mobile Journalist Role Conception • Gregory Perreault, Appalachian State University; Kellie Stanfield, Missouri School of Journalism • Mobile journalism is one of the fastest areas of growth in the modern journalism industry. Yet mobile journalists find themselves in place of tension, between print, broadcast and digital journalism and between traditional journalism and lifestyle journalism. Using the lens of field theory, the present study conducted a qualitative survey of mobile journalists (N=40) on how they conceive of their journalistic role, and how their work is perceived within the newsroom. While prior research has established a growing prevalence of lifestyle journalism, the present study finds that the growth of mobile represents the development of lifestyle journalism norms within even traditional journalism.

Work-Life Balance in Media Newsrooms • Irene Snyder • This research examined work-life balance in media newsrooms. To date, 30 in-depth face-to-face interviews have been conducted with individuals currently employed at U.S. newsrooms of varying market sizes including local television stations, regional newspapers, and national news organizations such as The New York Times and CNN. Results indicate that individuals employed in print newsrooms have more difficulty balancing work and family life than those working in television newsrooms.

Agendamelding and the Alt-Right: The media controls the message but not its telling • Burton Speakman, Ohio University; Aaron Atkins, Ohio University • When people seek news and information online they pursue content that supports their worldview (Beam, 2011; Casteltrione, 2014). Extremist communities – in this case white supremacist communities – use similar sources on social media to share news content to bolster their agenda (Bowman-Grieve, 2013). This paper uses agendamelding theory to show that even at the far end of the political spectrum media set the agenda, but how those on the far right discuss issues is quite different.

Who’s in charge here: How news producers use social media to make news decisions • Lydia Timmins, University of Delaware; Tim Brown, University of Central Florida • As online media consumption grows and traditional television viewing wanes, local television newsrooms continue to look for ways to connect with their audiences. Social media allows the audience unprecedented access to journalists, turning them into just another option for receiving information (Bright, 2016; Lee 2015; Turcotte et al, 2015). This study uses participant observation and interviews to investigate how journalists perceive audience impact on news decisions and the ways newsrooms determine what the audience wants.


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