Minorities and Communication 2017 Abstracts

News Media, Body Image and Culture: Influence on Body Image and Body Attitude in Men • Cristina Azocar, San Francisco State University; Ivana Markova, San Francisco State University • A survey of racially and culturally diverse undergraduate men examined the news media’s influence on their body image and body attitude. While testing showed no significance between exposure to news media and body dissatisfaction there was a correlation between exposure to news media and social comparison. African American respondents felt the most dissatisfied with their bodies when they compared themselves to their peers and also agreed more often than other ethnic groups about desiring to be thinner, counter to research findings about African American women. The implications of the research are discussed.

Latino News Media Engagement, Opinion, and Political Participation • Amy Jo Coffey, University of Florida; Ginger Blackstone, Harding University • This study examined the role that news media engagement plays in U.S. Latino political behavior, including voting, and answers a call by Subervi-Vélez (2008) for further research in order to better understand the complex relationship between media use and Latino political participation. Data from a national sample of U.S. Hispanics (N=655), gathered as part of the ANES Time Series Study, was analyzed. Statistically significant group differences revealed strong variations between Latino respondents’ level of news consumption and political behaviors, including their voting practices, voter registration, and political party registration. Yet, the results did not reveal the expected positive, linear relationship between news consumption and political behaviors. We have explored some of the potential explanations for this, but results do seem to confirm Subervi-Vélez’ (2008) assertion that the relationship between Latino news engagement and political participation is a complex and layered one.

Muhammad Ali’s “No Quarrel with Them Vietcong”: Coverage of Ali’s Army Induction by the New York Times and the Louisville Courier-Journal • Abedin Zainul, Mississippi Valley State University; David R. Davies, University of Southern Mississippi • This study analyzes how the New York Times and the Louisville Courier-Journal framed Muhammad Ali’s use of athlete-heroic images as he opposed the country’s Vietnam War policy. Ali, alias Clay, struggled to uphold self-determination and civil rights during the period from 1967 through 1971 when he faced legal barriers and racial discrimination. Ali came into the media limelight for his opposition to the Vietnam War and for his refusal to join the U.S. Army as a conscientious objector. The study revealed the press was disrespectful to Ali’s historic fight for human rights and justice. Nonetheless, Ali’s challenge not only helped redefine the law of conscientious objectors protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution but also has long been inspiring other athletes to raise their voices for civil rights.

Status of the Diversity Research in Public Relations: Analysis of Published Articles between 1990 and 2016 • Tugce Ertem Eray, University of Oregon; Eyun-Jung Ki, University of Alabama • This study analyzes the status of the diversity research in public relations through content analysis of published articles between 1990 and 2016. Findings suggest that public relations field needs to go beyond the gender, race and ethnicity studies in terms of diversity issues, and scholars need to include topics about diversity in their curriculum, and prepare students to communicate with diverse audiences.

Language and Social Distinctions Among Journalistic Cultures: The 2016 US Election Coverage on Spanish and English-Language TV Networks • lea hellmueller, University of Houston; Santiago Arias • In the 2016 US election, the Hispanic population made up a larger share of voters than in any previous election. Against the backdrop of Spanish-language TV networks nowadays competing with English-language networks, we examine the coverage of the presidential election on Spanish- and English-language newscasts analyzing 502 new stories that aired on national newscasts on ABC, NBC, Telemundo and Univision. Our results suggest that because of the dependence on presidential candidates as sources of English-language media during the election, Spanish-language network overall perform more civic-journalism roles than English-language networks. Furthermore, English-language networks perform more of an interpretive and service role, also focusing more on scandals and sensationalistic news content during the elections compared to Spanish-language networks. The results are interpreted based on structural differences between Spanish and English-language journalism cultures within the media system of the United States.

TV and Web Cultivating Health Perceptions among older Latinos in Texas • Vanessa Higgins Joyce; Jessica L. James, Texas State University; Zahra Khani, Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota • Latinos are less likely to turn to media for health-related information and to access healthcare. This study explored the impact of identity and media use in the perception of susceptibility to illness of English-speaking Latinos and non-Latinos. It surveyed 983 older Texans and found that television is the strongest predictor to susceptibility perception. It found that television has a mainstreaming effect, bringing English-speaking Latinos and non-Latinos closer together in their perception of susceptibility to illness.

The lacking counterstereotyping effect of Black and Hispanic political candidates in the news • Jennifer Hoewe, University of Alabama • This study examines the use of counterstereotypes to promote pro-social attitudes by determining if the news media’s coverage of members of minority racial/ethnic groups in political leadership positions leads to more positive implicit and explicit attitudes toward members of those racial/ethnic groups more generally. The results show that the positive portrayal of Black and Hispanic political candidates does not produce a counterstereotyping effect among White news consumers. However, regardless of the news stories read, White Republicans reported more negative explicit attitudes toward Black and Hispanic individuals than did White Democrats, Independents, and those with no party affiliation.

Fotos de Béisbol: An Examination of the Spanish-language Instagram Accounts of Major League Baseball Teams • Kevin Hull, University of South Carolina; Joon Kim, University of South Carolina, Columbia; Matthew Stilwell, University of South Carolina • While every Major League Baseball team has an official English-language Instagram account, only two have a Spanish-language account. The purpose of this study is to examine how those accounts attempt to reach Hispanic fans. Results demonstrate that the two accounts do actively showcase more Hispanic players and cultural events than would be expected. Further analysis demonstrates that posts with a Hispanic element register more user engagement than posts that do not.

Understanding the Persuasive Potential of Group Comparison Information in the Promotion of Bone Marrow Donation for African Americans • Roselyn J. Lee-Won, The Ohio State University; Sung Gwan Park, Seoul National University • While research on communication about health disparities is growing, relatively little empirical research has been conducted regarding the effects of group comparison information on altruistic health behavior—such as bone marrow donation—for racial/ethnic minorities who are most in need of mobilized support. To fill this gap, we conducted two online studies with national adult samples of African Americans. Our findings suggest that group comparison information has the greatest persuasive potential for low in-group identifiers.

Civility Matters: Quantitative Variations in Tone Between Two Web Discussions of Black Lives Matter • Doug Mendenhall, Abilene Christian University • “Articles about Black Lives Matter in July 2016 are analyzed for differences in message tone based on website genre. Leading U.S. political sites and leading black-oriented sites are compared using Diction 7.0, a common word-counting program that measures 41 variations of message tone. Black-oriented websites talk about Black Lives Matter with significantly higher levels of human interest, optimism, past concern, praise, satisfaction, and self-reference, while political websites exhibit higher levels of aggression, complexity, concreteness, diversity, exclusion, hardship, insistence, and numerical terms. In addition, a scale created to measure incivility registers significantly higher scores for messages on political sites. From a social identity perspective, the heightened tonal ingredients of messages on black-oriented sites are consistent with a strongly identified group responding to out-group opposition.

Skin deep news values: Examining the role of visuals and racial cues in journalists’ news selection process • Kathleen Searles, Louisiana State University; Mingxiao Sui, Louisiana State University; Newly Paul, Appalachian State University • This paper tests how two factors—the mention of race and the inclusion of visuals—affects journalists’ perception of newsworthiness. Using an experiment conducted on 109 students, we examine whether: 1) photographs affect journalists’ recall of race, and 2) news values determine journalistic treatment of black and white candidates. Results indicate that images help improve recall of race and that journalists tend to use news values rather than racial considerations in selecting and disseminating news.

Pedagogy of the Depressed: An Examination of Critical Pedagogy in Higher Ed’s Diversity-Centered Classrooms Post-Trump • Nathian Rodriguez, San Diego State University; Jennifer Huemmer • The study investigates and the lived experiences of instructors whose courses focused on gender/feminism, queer/LGBT, and race/ethnicity studies in response to the post-2016 election’s divisive socio political climate. Instructors’ preparation, content, and teaching were influenced by political and pop-culture events throughout the semester. Strategies for critical pedagogy included dialogue with students, a safe and open environment, and including the intersectionality of their students. Through pedagogy, instructors were able to create a sense of purpose.

Calling Doctor Google? Technology Adoption and Health Information Seeking among Low-income African-American Older Adults • Hyunjin Seo, University of Kansas; Joseph Erba; Mugur Geana; Crystal Lumpkins • Low-income African-American older adults have been shown to lag behind in terms of their technology access and use. Understanding this group’s technology adoption and use is essential to developing programs aimed at helping them gain relevant digital skills. Against this backdrop, we conducted focus groups with low-income African-American older adults in a large Midwestern city to examine how this minority group adopts and uses technology and how technology adoption/use is associated with health information seeking behavior. Our findings show that while low-income African-American older adults perceive technology to be highly useful, they do not view it as easy to use thus preventing them from further adopting or using relevant technologies. Consequently, there is skepticism with respect to using technology to search for health information. Community-based organizations and faith-based organizations play significant roles in their getting information about health and wellness. Our study advances research on minority groups’ technology use and health information seeking by looking at the intersectionality of race/ethnicity, age and income. This study also offers several policy and practical implications such as how to incorporate health issues in computer classes to motivate this group to learn relevant technologies.

Kept at arm’s length but not silent: African-American reporters and the 1962 Ole Miss integration crisis • Kathleen Wickham, University of Mississippi • This manuscript details the obstacles Moses Newson, of the Baltimore Afro-American, James Hicks of The Amsterdam News and Dorothy Gilliam, the first female African-American reporter faced covering the 1962 integration crisis at Ole Miss when James Meredith became the first black to integrate any public school in Mississippi. They were barred from covering the story of James Meredith because of their race and by fears for their own safety even before the riot broke out on campus.

Ethnic Media as Interpretive Communities: Coverage of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election • Sherry S. Yu, University of Toronto • The presidential election is a national hot-topic event that attracts significant media attention. Studies have confirmed that media messages during the time of the election influence voters’ decision-making to a certain degree. While this news content in mainstream media is well studied, that of ethnic media has been given less attention. With an electorate historically divided by race in their support of candidates, it is important to understand the discourse formed in ethnic media and the implications for minority voters and broader society. Samples drawn from New America Media—a network of over 3,000 ethnic media outlets and an ethnic news portal in the U.S.—this study conducts a content analysis of news coverage of the 2016 U.S. presidential election in ethnic media from the perspectives of ethnic media as interpretive communities, and explores identified analytical frames. The findings suggest distinctive news frames that are specific to ethnic communities in general as well as to certain communities in particular.

“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot”: Media Portrayals of Race and Responsibility Framing in Police Shootings • Denetra Walker; Kelli Boling, University of South Carolina • This study examines race and responsibility framing in newspaper articles on police shootings. By performing a content analysis of nine newspapers (n = 442), this study found that newspapers were more likely to blame society as being responsible for the issue of police shootings. Findings also indicate that there are differences in the attributes used when covering police shootings as well as differences in the mention of race among conservative, liberal and African American papers.

A gentlemen’s agreement: Framing the place of minorities in Austin’s City Council (1971 – 2014) • Lourdes M Cueva Chacon, The University of Texas at Austin • In November 2012, Austin voted to change the way the city council was elected. Austin will now move to an 11-member council with 10 members elected by single-member districts and a mayor elected at large. Contrary to most other cities, Austin’s city council election system had remained the same after six attempts at change. The reason, argued the local press, was an understanding called “The Gentlemen’s Agreement.” This agreement —established in 1971 between two white businessmen to avoid a lawsuit—institutionalized the reserving of two seats in the council, for one Black and one Hispanic to ensure the representation of Black and Hispanic minorities in the community. Soon after, the local press consistently mentioned the agreement to predict the outcome of the city council elections, justify its segregation, and in general, explain how it worked as a principle that regulated the council’s composition. On press accounts, the agreement had become a way of framing the place that minorities occupied in the city and the role they were allowed to play in it. Through the critical and cultural lens of race and framing theories, this study analyzes how the agreement was reported by local press, and through the social construction of the news, the agreement became a social norm, a way to organize the city’s issues and a way to guide policy and opinion. This study will also assess how the arguments and counter-arguments changed over the years to match the new Austin that voted for single-member districts.

‘We can’t win:’ The Emotional Politics in the Black Lives Matter Movement • Rachel Grant • The media’s coverage of Black violence reinforces covert racism because it defines what constitutes a “real death.” This study examined the depictions of four Black Lives Matter deaths by analyzing grief narrative in mainstream media. The findings revealed coverage reaffirmed racial stereotypes despite the larger issue of police brutality. Also, there were few instances that depicted individuals in humanizing ways. Overall the study questioned how the media controlled depictions of race and social movements.

Blurred lines: The local view of federal responsibilities • Miriam Hernandez, City University of Hong Kong • The traditional analysis of immigration policy assumes a state-centric position, giving full power to the federal government and rendering state actors defenseless, while overlooking their involvement in law enforcement and social policy. Given the importance of blame designation for the passing of immigration laws and the conditions immigrants will be subjected to, the present study attempts to explain the contribution of media coverage to the scaled communication and attribution of responsibility in the immigration debate in the last thirty years (1982-2012). Parting from the structural pluralism and the geopolitical tenets, the current analysis compares how border newspapers assigned accountability for the “immigration problem”. Results indicate a growing attention to the contestation of power between federal and state actors, but a yet unchallenged supremacy of the nation-state authority. By stressing the divided responsibility across institutions, media may have contributed to the manipulation political actors engage in. Such debate has the potential to alter citizen responsibility judgments, “making it easier for state actors to get off the political hook (Maestas, Atkeson, Croom, & Bryant, 2008)”.

Acknowledging Oppression: Traditional, Social and Partisan Media Effects on Attitudes About Blacks from White and Minority Audiences • Danielle Kilgo, University of Texas at Austin; Kelsey Whipple, University of Texas at Austin; Heloisa Aruth Strum • This study focuses on how use of traditional, social and partisan media relates to differences in explicit or implicit racist beliefs about Blacks, highlighting the differences between White and non-Black minorities. Results include findings that traditional media use is related to implicit racist attitudes and social media use is correlated with explicit attitudes, while partisan media, such as Fox News, can be linked to both.

By Any Other Name: Black Lives Matter and the Struggle for Accurate Media Representation • Joy Leopold • The frames used by the mainstream media when covering protests and other events stemming from social movements are extensively studied for their ability to impact audience reception of, support for, and beliefs about social movements and protests. Generally the coverage centers around how a story is framed, and most research approaches the issue from the perspective of the news media. This research focuses on the framing of the specific statements media use to describe the motivations, goals, and initiatives of the Black Lives Matter movement — sometimes these statements are just one sentence long. In addition, this paper contrasts these frames with the frames used by the organizers, founders, and supporters of BLM. This research is designed to highlight the disparity between the way movements describe themselves and the way they are described by the mainstream media.

Different races, different thinking: Communicating HPV issues with college-aged women across race and ethnicity • Jo-Yun Queenie Li • This article describes an exploratory study designed to investigate problem recognition, constraint recognition, involvement recognition, and communication behaviors of college female students across race and ethnicity with regard to HPV issues. Using a pilot qualitative research of 28 college-aged women, this study employs the situational theory of publics to explore individuals’ communication behaviors related to HPV issues. By doing so, this study segments the general populations into subgroups based on individuals’ ethnicity and race and their relevance to HPV issues and provides practical implications to health communication practitioners. The findings show that minorities, including African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans, performed less communication behaviors due to the low recognition of the disease, the higher detection of obstacles to solve the problem, and a weak connection with the issues. Tailored messages and interventions for each ethnic/racial group maybe helpful in reducing the stigma associated with HPV and increasing the vaccination rates in each community.

Afro Latin@s’ representation on TV: How Latino media articulates blackness within Latino Panethnicity • Yadira Nieves-Pizarro, Michigan State University; Juan Mundel, DePaul University • The representation of minorities in United States Latino media is scarce, as market forces push Latino panethnicity to appeal to a heterogeneous Spanish speaking audience in the country and in Latin America. Nonetheless, the biographical series ‘Celia’ aired by Telemundo in 2015 featured an Afro Latino cast to depict the life of Cuban salsa singer Celia Cruz. This study examines the portrayal of Afro Latin@s through a content analysis. Even though Afro Latino characters were depicted positively, they were still portrayed as something other than panethnic. This research contributes an empirical analysis of the representation of minorities in Latino media.

An Examination of How African-American-Targeted Websites are Redefining the Black Press • Miya Williams • Scholars have previously conceptualized the traditional black press as print publications that are produced by and for African Americans and advocate for the race. This study investigates how online producers and consumers of black news are troubling previous definitions of the black press. I conclude that African-American ownership and advocacy are not requirements for the black press online and that entertainment content is often considered a relevant and important component of the digital black press.

Communicative Dimensions in STEM Faculty’s Multicultural Mentoring of Underrepresented STEM Students • Leticia Williams, Howard University • Since the 1980s scholars, educators, and science practitioners have developed mentoring programs to increase the diversity of STEM students, specifically women, African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans. Yet, these mentoring programs have had minimal success in increasing the population of underrepresented students into the STEM pipeline (Merolla & Serpe, 2013). Although scholars have evaluated these programs, there is no research about the role of communication in these mentoring programs. The purpose of this study is to explicate the importance of communication, race, gender, and culture in the mentoring process for underrepresented graduate STEM students. This study used a qualitative research design to identify and evaluate the communication dimensions that facilitate multicultural mentoring practices utilized by STEM faculty to mentor underrepresented graduate STEM students. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 27 STEM faculty members who mentored underrepresented graduate STEM students to provide insight about their communication, multicultural mentoring, and relationship with protégés. Grounded theory methodology guided by an intersectional analysis revealed that STEM faculty mentors relied on several communication dimensions to mentor their protégés. Open, supportive, and consistent communication were essential to STEM faculty mentor’s communication with their protégés. These communication dimensions activated multicultural mentoring for STEM faculty, particularly when discussing diversity issues or challenges related to gender or race.


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