Graduate Student 2017 Abstracts

Twitter Building the Agenda: How Journalists Use Twitter as a Source While Reporting • Kaitlin Bane, University of Oregon • With a U.S. president infamous for tweeting, it is becoming exceedingly important for scholars to study and understand how the medium is influencing news reporting. Using quantitative content analysis this paper examines the use of tweets as quotes in web-only news organizations compared to traditional print organizations. Findings show that while print outlets most often use Twitter to quote official sources and for opinion comments, web-only news organizations use the medium differently.

Yoga in Media! Using Theory of Planned Behavior to Examine Media Influences on Intention to Practice Yoga • Nandini Bhalla, University of South Carolina • Using theory of planned behavior as a conceptual framework, this paper analyzes the association between the portrayal of yoga in media with the intention to practice yoga, for both yoga practitioners and non-practitioners. A t-test showed that yoga practitioners have a more positive attitude towards yoga media content than non-yoga practitioners and that they internalize media content more strongly than non-practitioners. Hierarchal multiple regression was used to analyze the results. Implications are discussed.

How Activism and Ethics Intersect in Public Relations: A Pilot Study • Minhee Choi • This pilot study explored how public relations practitioners’ activism is associated with their ethics in the context of corporate social responsibility and communication. Although no correlation was found between activism and ethics, results showed that practitioners with high levels of relativist ethics are less likely to be ethical in their communication. Practitioners with more than 20 years of work experience have higher levels of ethics, and practitioners in PR agencies have the lowest ethical levels compared to other sectors. Theoretical and practical implications of the results are discussed.

Tie Strength and Privacy Concern in Social Context Advertising • Chuqing Dong; Alexander Pfeuffer • Social context advertising is a targeting approach using social relationships to promote brands on social media. Drawing upon the concept of social influence, this study examined how social context ads displaying contacts with varying tie strengths affected brand attitude and purchase intent of consumers with differing levels of privacy concern. Regardless of consumers’ privacy concern, social context ads displaying strong ties increased purchase intent while brand attitudes remained unaffected. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

“Sources Say … He May Have Been Depressed and Angry” • Jacqueline Fellows • An increase in mass shootings in the U.S. has amplified the reporting on mental illness despite weak evidence that links the two issues. A qualitative content analysis of local newspaper coverage of five mass shootings in 2015 shows that journalists ignore professional standards and rely on nonqualified sources in stories that include mental illness as a component of mass shooting coverage. Additionally, sources frame mental illness as dangerous and/or undesirable.

What’s in your school? A content analysis of school persona creation using online messages • Dakota Horn, Illinois State University • Message framing is a key part of designing a message to influence a potential buyer or even a potential citizen within a community system. This study examines “about us” pages on school district websites within the state of Illinois to gain incite as to how and why school districts craft messages to create a persona. The examinations will breakdown goal creation of the district and execution through message features: structure, content, style, as well as the potential efficacy of the audience member. A content analysis was performed to show a common theme of message design in comparison of several school districts. The content analysis developed a theme among content creation in online messages.

Why Social Media? Examining the Motivations of Chinese University Students to Gather Public Affairs News on Social Media Platforms • Liefu Jiang, University of Kansas • Through a survey with 568 participants, this paper employs uses-and-gratifications theory to investigate Chinese university students’ public affairs news consumption on WeChat and Sina Weibo, the two most popular Chinese social media platforms. The findings suggest that students’ news reading is driven by different motivations on the two platforms. Socializing and technological-convenience positively relate to WeChat users’ news reading, while information seeking negatively relates. For Sina Weibo users, only technological-convenience positively relates to news reading.

What Drives Facebook and Instagram Users’ Emotional Attachment and Continuing Use? A Comparative Analysis of Internal and Socio-Cultural Factors • Bumsoo Kim, University of Alabama • This study investigated whether and how the internal and socio-cultural factors that differently enhance the level of intensity toward Facebook or Instagram activities and intention to continue to use the platforms. In this study, I propose individual motivations and gratifications (social interaction, entertainment, passing time, peeking, and need for recognition) and socio-cultural factors (subjective norms and SNS culture), and an online survey with 606 adults was conducted. The results showed significant differences between motivations/gratifications for intention to continue to further use Facebook compared to Instagram. The degree to which individuals have willingness to continue to use both platforms can be different depending upon what motivations they have. Individuals’ perceptual level of differences between Facebook and Instagram are important assets for SNS practitioners in developing better SNS technologies as well as for scholars in developing theories about social media use.

Asian Television and Cultural Globalization: A Critical Analysis from 2000–2015 • Dieer Liao, School of Journalism and Communication, Tsinghua University; Yueyue Liang, School of Journalism and Communication, Tsinghua University • This study examines 96 articles about Asian television and cultural globalization published in 19 major SSCI journals of communication studies from 2000–15, aiming to present a meta-analysis of relevant research in the context of international communications. It demonstrates the patterns and distribution of theoretical paradigms, flow trends, issues of concern, territory of focus, methodology, and authorship reflected in the studies surveyed through content analysis. The primary findings of this research are that the political economic framework remains the prevailing critical paradigm in this field; that the most-studied issue is structural control of the media sphere; that China-related studies amount to the largest proportion; and that the qualitative method is adopted most frequently. The highlight is that a gradual shift from in-flow to contra-flow and inter-Asia flow has been noticed, and that South Korea is found to have become the focal center of transnational studies in Asian television and cultural globalization.

Mobilizing the Umbrella Movement: An Alternative Framework of Protest in an Information Society • Zhongxuan LIN • This study takes the Umbrella Movement as a case study to investigate the media mobilizing structures of the protest in an information society. It proposes an alternative framework of “contextualized transmedia mobilization” to explore how protestors situated in a specific context employ, create, circulate, amplify, and converge various forms of media to continually mobilize themselves and the public, and, thus heighten participation levels, innovate contentious repertoires, and experiment with organizational transformation.

The Impact of Social Amplification and Attenuation of Risk: A national survey of Chinese Public Reactions Toward Middle East Respiratory Syndrome • Jiawei Liu; Zhaomeng Niu • Human beings are evolved to avoid threats to protect themselves. Threat caused by risk is a primary biological motivator in our environment and elicit automatic aversive responses. In general, people feel more aroused and pay more attention to the potential threat. Recent research studies call attention to how the public perceive the risk under the influences of multiple factors in individual and social amplification stations. This study developed a conceptual model and examined how media exposure, knowledge, as well as information seeking behavior affected lay understanding and risk perceptions toward MERS in China. In general, the results demonstrated that greater information seeking behavior could predict: 1) higher frequency of media exposure; 2) higher level of individual knowledge of MERS; 3) higher likelihood of amplifying the perceived threat of MERS.

Newspaper Coverage of Mars in the United States and the United Kingdom 2011-2016 • Mikayla Mace • A content analysis of three elite print newspapers in the United States and three in the United Kingdom found that the framing and tone of articles about Mars were deployed similarly despite the different objectives of each country’s space program. From the Apollo moon shots to human exploration of Mars, each successive era of spaceflight has been framed in a logical progression from concept to completion that resonates with the values of the times.

First Ladies: Policy Involvement, Public Approval Ratings, and Women in the Workforce • Nia Mason, Louisiana State University • Based on the theory of social influence, a mixed methods approach was used to understand the relationship between First Ladies’ policy involvement and their approval ratings, and between approval ratings and the number of women in the workforce. A textual analysis examined the first research question. A simple linear regression tested the second research question, showing a significant relationship. A Pearson correlation tested the third research question and showed a relationship of no significance.

Real or Ideal: Millennial Perceptions of Pornographic Media Realism and Influence on Relationship Assessments • Farnosh Mazandarani, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • This study examines pornography and whether content idealism, realism, or sexual explicitness of media genres may affect relationship assessments. Findings indicated greater consumption of pornography predicted lower sex satisfaction, perceived realism indicated higher content identification, and higher identification with pornography lead to greater pornography consumption. Participants who identified more with pornography reported higher sexual expectations. Idealization had no direct effect on relationship assessments yet showed a negative relationship on idealized media consumption on sexual expectations.

Debating What’s Natural: A Qualitative Framing Analysis of “Natural” Food Label News Coverage • Melissa McGinnis, University of Florida • The use of “natural” on food labels is a growing concern for the food industry and consumers. This qualitative framing study uses a literary approach analyzing 51 articles covering the “natural” food label debate in four U.S. nationally recognized newspapers. This study identifies stakeholders most frequently in conflict and the areas of contention in the “natural” food label debate. In addition, this study identifies the terms used to define “natural” foods.

“20 Years is Just the Other Day”: The role of genesis narrative in constructing journalism culture • Ruth Moon, University of Washington • There is evidence that political influences shape professional views, but that the specifics of local culture impact journalists’ actual practices. However, there is little research unpacking the particular ways culture impacts journalism. Using theoretical perspectives from journalism studies and organizational sociology and newsroom ethnographic data gathered in Kigali, Rwanda, I show how narratives constructed from elements of local culture and shared history function as myths that impact journalism culture on both ideological and practical levels.

Visual Framing of Dieselgate: A Content Analysis of Global News Coverage • David Morris II, University of Oregon • News coverage of an event traditionally attempts to provide the largest audience with the greatest information that would impact that audience. In their visual coverage of Volkswagen’s emission scandal commonly referred to as “Dieselgate,” newspapers from around the world seemed to fall short of this practice. This study investigates the type of visuals and themes used by more than 6,000 newspapers from news outlets across the globe in their coverage of Dieselgate. In a content analysis of newspapers’ front pages for one week following Volkswagen’s Clean Air Act of 1963 Notice of Violation, this study reveals that the dominate visual deployed by newspapers from around the world is a single photograph. The research also finds that a dominant visual theme in the newspaper coverage of Dieselgate around the world is financial in nature. Perhaps more concerning is the absence of visual representation of Dieselgate as a global environmental issue.

Effects of Brand Placement in Mobile Applications on Consumer Responses • Haseon Park, University of North Dakota • This study examined the effects of individual thinking style and ad congruency to explore the effects of native advertising on consumer responses in mobile applications. The experimental results revealed the interaction effects of nativity and thinking styles, nativity and congruency. This study findings contribute not only to the understanding of the effects of thinking styles and ad congruency in native advertising, but also to extending the scope of mobile native advertising research.

The UNC Academic Scandal: A Framing Analysis of Local Media Coverage • Matthew Stilwell, University of South Carolina • The purpose of this study is to examine how a local media outlet, The News & Observer, reported the University of North Carolina (UNC) academic scandal. This study used a framing analysis and constant-comparative methodology to analyze the dominant frames that were emphasized or resistant in local media coverage. Results indicated that multiple parties and players were the focus of the news stories. Factors including blame and athletics in higher education are discussed.

Sharing Cultural Goods on Facebook: Social Capital, Opinion Leadership, and Electronic Word-of-Mouth • Alec Tefertiller, University of Oregon • While the role of paid advertising in online environments has diminished, electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) has become increasingly valuable. This study sought to determine if consumers’ trust in their social media network, defined as social capital, or identification as an opinion leader better predicted social media eWOM related to cultural goods. The key finding was that perceived opinion leadership consistently best predicted Facebook eWOM.

Chinese Watchdogs: Journalistic Role Performance in Chinese Media • Emeka Umejei, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa • This paper examines the relationship between journalistic role conception and role performance within Chinese media organisations based in Africa (Xinhua News Agency, China Central Television and China Daily newspaper). It contributes a non-western perspective to the debate on the relationship between role conception and role performance. The paper demonstrates the ways in which the relationship between role conception and role performance within Chinese media is hinged upon conditional autonomy in relation to the typology of stories. Furthermore, it argues the dominant practice of using survey methods in examining the relationship between journalistic role conception and role performance is not suited to contexts outside Anglo-American sphere. It therefore proposes a qualitative approach that combines semi-structured interview and qualitative content analysis in examining this relationship within contexts of limited journalistic autonomy.

Twitter as a digital union: Exploring blogger reactions to corporate collapse • Mariah Wellman, The University of Iowa • This paper asks whether Twitter can afford the formation of digital unions during labor crises using a cast study of Mode Media, a lifestyle publishing and ad network that shut down without compensating its bloggers. Through a textual analysis of tweets containing the hashtag #ModeOwesBloggers, I argue bloggers used Twitter to create a sense of solidarity in a time of struggle by advocating for change, empathizing with other bloggers, and communicating feelings to Mode Media.

Meeting the New Players: A Study of Digital Native Journalists’ Professionalism • LU WU • Digital native journalists have brought new blood and challenges to journalistic professionalism. This paper surveyed digital native journalists and legacy journalists on their three dimensions of professionalism. Findings show that digital native journalists are both preservers and transformers of journalistic professionalism. Identifying how digital native journalists differentiate from legacy journalists on aspects of professionalism has afforded some clues of how journalistic professional values and practices will develop in the future.

Social News: Enhancing Media Richness by Connecting Virtuality with Reality in Cyberspace • Yanfang Wu • Utilizing a purposeful snow-ball rolling strategy, the investigator conducted semi-structured qualitative interviews from June to July 2014. Thirteen interviewees titled journalists, convergence journalists, editors, community editors, and engagement editors, from thirteen different newsrooms of multiple platforms, varied from newspaper, radio, television, magazine to online only news organizations were interviewed. Their affiliated news organizations vary in size, from large to small. Based on media richness theory, the study shed light on how journalists, using social cues, delve into the virtual world, build connections between the “virtuality” and “reality” through finding sources, interacting with audiences, constructing virtual communities in the cyberspace and integrating the “virtuality” with the “reality” into the news production process. With its rich multimedia function that allows immediate response between journalists and audiences, social media becomes a rich medium that connects the “virtuality” to the “reality” in news.

Creating Spaces Revisited: Students Perspectives on International and Multi(inter)cultural Public Relations Education • Kiaya Young • In a global market employees need the skills to be able to work in a multicultural market. International public relation skills are becoming a necessity. Public Relations practitioners are educated on various fundamental skills through their educational programs, but there has been a lack of international and multi(inter)cultural education. This paper is a restudy of Nilajana Bardhan 2003 study Creating Spaces for International and Multi(inter)cultural Perspectives in Undergraduate Public Reactions Education

Perceptions of Advertising with Interracial Couples: The Influence of Race and Attitudes Toward Interracial Dating • Taylor Young, Oklahoma State University • The present study analyzed how models’ race or ethnicity influences attitudes toward advertising that portrays interracial couples. A survey of college students (n=309) was conducted to examine whether the type of couple (interracial or same race) or the configuration of the interracial couple (Black female – White male or Black male – White female) influenced their response. Additionally, it explored how respondents’ race or ethnicity and preexisting attitudes toward interracial dating impacted their response to the ad.

Culture, Media, and Depression: A Focus Group Study in Understanding International Students’ Mental Health Literacy • Nanlan Zhang • This study employed qualitative, in-depth focus groups with international students and U.S. students to explore their perceived mental health literacy and perceptions of information portrayed in mass media regarding depression. The results found that American students showed openness and sufficiency in talking about depression. International students assigned stigma in the Asian and African cultural values as a major barrier to discussing personal experiences regarding depression in public. Both groups held negative attitudes toward media in conveying messages about depression but showed more trust on social support, which implied a need for improving public’s mental health literacy.


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