Mass Communication and Society 2017 Abstracts

OPEN COMPETITION
Beauty ideals and the media: Constructing the ideal beauty for Nigerian women through music videos • Aje-Ori Agbese • The research examined how Nigerian music videos objectify and define beauty for Nigerian women. The contents of 100 music videos with a love/romance theme were analyzed. The study found that Nigerian music videos defined beautiful women as thin/skinny, light-skinned and smiling. Several videos also featured white women as the ideal. The paper also discusses the impact of such messages on a country where women had the world’s highest rates for skin bleaching in 2012.

Framing Blame in Sexual Assault: An Analysis of Attribution in News Stories about Sexual Assault on College Campuses • Ashlie Andrew; Cassandra Alexopoulos • The current study is a quantitative content analysis examining media coverage of sexual assault on US college campuses. In particular, we focus on the language that journalists employ to tell these stories and assign attribution of sexual assault to the people involved. Drawing on two different theoretical perspectives, Attribution Theory and Media Framing, we analyze how frequently the language in news stories on sexual assault implicitly assign attribution (or minimize attribution) to either the victim or perpetrator in sexual assault cases.

The Social Dimensions of Political Participation • Soo Young Bae • This study investigates the social dimensions of political engagement, and explores the underlying mechanism of the relationship between social media use and political participation. Using a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults, this study reveals the growing significance of the source factor in the online information environment, and tests whether varying levels of trust that individuals have toward the information source can meaningfully relate to their engagement in politics.

The Role of Media Use and Family Media Use in Children’s Eating Behaviors, Food Preferences, and Health Literacy • Kimberly Bissell, University of Alabama; Kim Baker, University of Alabama; Xueying Zhang; Kailey E. Bissell, The University of the South (Sewanee); Sarah Pember, University of Alabama; Yiyi Yang, University of Alabama; Samantha Phillips, University of Alabama • The relationship between the individual and social factors that might predict a child’s health behaviors specific to food consumption and eating is quite complex. A growing body of literature suggests that external factors such as media use, use of media while eating, and the home eating environment certainly could predict factors such as a child’s preference for specific food, nutritional knowledge, and even the ability to identify food products in food advertisements. Using a survey of children in 2nd and 3rd grade, this study examined questions about how much or if general media use, media use while eating, and familial media use during mealtimes related to a child’s general understanding of health specific to nutritional knowledge, food preferences, understanding of food advertising, and self-perception. Results indicate that media use by each child and by the parent—in general and in the context of eating—were related to lower scores on the nutritional knowledge scale, a stronger preference for unhealthy foods, an inability to correctly identify food products in food advertisements, and self-perceptions. Further results indicate that children’s ability to correctly identify food products in food advertisements was especially low, especially in children who reported spending more time with different types of media. These and other findings are discussed.

Assimilation or Consternation? U.S. Latinos’ Perceptions of Trust in Relation to Media and Other Factors • Ginger Blackstone, Harding University; Amy Jo Coffey, University of Florida • Among the U.S. Latino community, even documented workers are nervous about the future. What role might Internet news exposure, television news exposure, newspaper exposure, radio news exposure, age, whether one was born in the U.S., or–if not—length of time spent in the U.S. be relevant to feelings of trust in the government, trust in others, and U.S. immigration policies? How do Latinos’ feelings in these areas compare to non-Latinos? Using the most recent American National Election Survey data available, the authors conducted a series of regressions and other statistical tests in search of answers. It was found that Latino respondents were more likely than non-Latinos to trust that the U.S. government will do the right thing. Television news exposure was a positive factor. Non-Latino respondents were more likely than Latino respondents to trust others. Internet news exposure, radio news exposure, and newspaper exposure were positive factors, while television news exposure was a negative factor. Trust in the government did not correlate with trust in others for Latino respondents; however, it did for non-Latinos but the effect was weak. Regarding U.S. immigration policy, difference between Latino respondents and non-Latinos were significant; however, a majority of both groups indicated support for an immigration policy that allowed undocumented workers to remain in the U.S. under certain (non-specified) conditions. Internet news exposure and radio news exposure were factors in some comparisons. Overall, no clear patterns were found; however, the findings correspond to the literature and provide an opportunity for future research.

Toxic Peers in Online Support Groups for Suicidal Teens: Moderators Reducing Toxic Disinhibition Effects • Nicholas Boehm, Colorado State University; Jamie Switzer, Colorado State University • This paper describes the results of a study that examined if moderated online peer support groups for suicidal teens differ compared to non-moderated online peer support groups for suicidal teens in terms of the frequency of pro-suicide response and the frequency of uncivil and impolite response given by peers. Findings suggest pro-suicide, uncivil, and impolite responses are significantly more likely to occur in the non-moderated peer support group, as explained by the online disinhibition effect.

Exploring Third-Person Perception and Social Media • John Chapin, Penn State • Findings from a study of middle school and high school students (N = 1604) suggest most adolescents are using some form of social media, with texting, Instagram, and Snapchat currently the most popular. Most (67%) have some experience with cyberbullying, with 23% saying they have been victims of cyberbullying and 7% acknowledging they have cyberbullied others. Despite the heavy use of social media and experiences with cyberbullying, participants exhibited third-person perception, believing others are more influenced than they are by negative posts on social media. Third-person perception was predicted by optimistic bias, social media use, age, and experience with various forms of bullying. Third-person perception may provide a useful framework for understanding how adolescents use social media and how they are affected by it.

“Defensive Effect”: Uncivil Disagreement Upsets Me, So I Want to Speak Out Politically • Gina Chen • This study proposed and tested a mediation model called the “defensive effect” to explain the influence of uncivil disagreement online comments on emotions and intention to participate politically. An experiment (N = 953) showed uncivil disagreement – but not civil disagreement – triggered a chain reaction of first boosting negative emotion and then indirectly increasing intention to participate politically, mediated through that emotion burst. Findings are discussed in relation to affective intelligence theory.

Facts, Alternative Facts, and Politics: A Case Study of How a Concept Entered Mainstream and Social Media Discourse • Moonhee Cho, University of Tennessee; Giselle Auger, Rhode Island College; Sally McMillan, University of Tennessee • Adopting agenda setting as a theoretical framework, this study explored how the term ‘alternative facts’ was covered by both mainstream and social media. The authors used Salesforce Marketing Cloud Social Studio and WordStat to analyze 58,383 total posts. The study follows the development of news story and examines some similarities and differences in top words and phrases used by mainstream and social media. The term ‘alternative facts’ had negative valence in both media types.

Television, emotion, and social integration: Testing the effect of media event with the 2017 US Presidential Inauguration • Xi Cui, College of Charleston; Qian Xu, Elon University • This study empirically tests the social integration effect of media event and its psychological mechanism in the context of the live broadcast of the 2017 US Presidential Inauguration. A national sample (N=420) was drawn to investigate the relationships among television viewing of the live broadcast, viewers’ emotion, and their perceived social solidarity measured by perceived entitativity. In general, viewing the inauguration live on television positively predicted viewers’ emotion. Emotion also interacted with viewers’ national identity fusion to influence perceived entitativity. A significant indirect effect of television viewing on perceived entitativity through emotion was discovered. The same effects were found among non-Trump voters. For Trump voters, television viewing did not have any significant influence on any variable. Through these findings, this study shed light on the psychological mechanisms of media event’s social integration effect at the individual level, explicated the visceral nature of social identification related to media event, and argued for the relevance of this mass media genre in contemporary media environment and social zeitgeist.

New media, new ways of getting informed? Examining public affairs knowledge acquisition by young people in China • Di Cui; Fang Wu • This study examined acquisition of public affairs knowledge as an effect of media use and interpersonal discussion in China, where there is a fast transforming media environment. This study examined public affairs knowledge in both mainstream and alternative forms. Findings showed that attention to traditional sources, exposure to new media sources and face-to-face discussion were correlated with public affairs knowledge. Use of new media sources was correlated with alternative public affairs knowledge. Implications were discussed.

Multi-Platform News Use and Political Participation across Age Groups • Trevor Diehl, University of Vienna; Matthew Barnidge, University of Vienna; Homero Gil de Zúñiga, University of Vienna • News consumption in today’s media environment is increasingly characterized by multi-platform news; people now consume news across several multi-media devices. Relying on a nationally representative survey from the U.S., this study develops an index of multi-platform news use, and tests its effects on age-group differences in the way people participate in politics. Results show that Millennials are more likely to rely on multi-platforms for news, which is positively related to alternative modes of public engagement.

Read All About It: The Politicization of “Fake News” on Twitter • John Brummette; Marcia DiStaso, University of Florida; MICHAIL VAFEIADIS, Auburn University; Marcus Messner, Virginia Commonwealth University; Terry Flynn, McMaster University • This study explored the use of the term “fake news” in one of the top news sharing tools, Twitter. Using a social network analysis, characteristics of online networks that formed around discussions of “fake news” was examined. Through a systematic analysis of the members of those networks and their messages, this study found that “fake news” is a very politicized term where current conversations are overshadowing logical and important discussions of the term.

News, Entertainment, or Both? Exploring Audience Perceptions of Media Genre in a Hybrid Media Environment • Stephanie Edgerly, Northwestern; Emily Vraga, George Mason University • This study uses two experimental designs to examine how audiences make genre assessments when encountering media content that blends elements of news and entertainment. In Study 1, we explore how audiences characterize three different versions of a fictitious political talk show program. In Study 2, we consider whether audience perceptions of ‘news-ness’ are influenced by shifts in headline angle and source attribution. The implications of audience definitions of news and its social function are discussed.

A new generation of satire consumers? A socialization approach to youth exposure to news satire • Stephanie Edgerly, Northwestern • This study explores how adolescents—at the doorstep of adulthood—are developing the exposure habit of news satire exposure. Using national survey data consisting of U.S. youth and one associated parent, the paper specifically examines: 1) the prevalence of youth exposure to news satire across a range of media devices and compared to other forms of news, and 2) the socialization factors—parents, school curriculum, and peers—that predict news satire use among today’s youth.

Socially-shared children coming of age: Third-person effect, parental privacy stewardship, and parent monitoring • Betsy Emmons, Samford University; Nia Johnson, Samford University; Lee Farquhar, Samford University • There have been multiple discussions about Facebook’s privacy policies; discourse about parental privacy stewardship has been minimal. As the first generation of socially-shared children become social media users, the collision of privacy with what has already been shared by parents occurs. This study, grounded in third-person effect, asked parents about stewardship of their children’s privacy, and whether other parents were observant. Results affirmed third-person effect for both social media monitoring and privacy among parents.

Journalists primed: How professional identity affects moral decision making • Patrick Ferrucci, U of Colorado; Edson Tandoc, Nanyang Technological University; Erin Schauster • Utilizing identity priming, this study examines whether professional journalists apply ethics differently when primed with occupationally identity. This between-subjects experiment (N=171) administered both conditions the Defining Issues Test, a much-used instrument that measures moral development. The results show identity priming does not affect how journalists apply ethics. The study also found that journalists are potentially far less ethical than they were 13 years ago. These results are interpreted through the lens of social identity theory.

Hydraulic Fracturing on U.S. Cable News • Sherice Gearhart, Texas Tech University; Oluseyi Adegbola, Mr.; Jennifer Huemmer • Hydraulic fracturing, called fracking, is a drilling technique that accesses previously inaccessible oil and gas reserves. Although the process could aid U.S. energy independence, it is controversial and public opinion is divided. Guided by agenda-setting and framing, this study content analyses news coverage of fracking (N = 461) across cable networks (CNN, Fox News, MSNBC). Results show issues discussed and sources used vary ideologically, but all networks failed to provide factual information about the process.

Self-Presentation Strategies’ Effect on Facebook Users’ Subjective Well-being Depending on Self-Esteem Level • Wonseok (Eric) Jang, Texas Tech University; Erik Bucy, Texas Tech University; Janice Cho, Texas Tech University • The current study examined the consequences of different types of self-presentation strategies on Facebook users’ subjective well-being, depending on their level of self-esteem. The results indicated that people with low self-esteem became happier after updating their Facebook status using strategic self-presentation rather than true self-presentation. Meanwhile, people with high self-esteem exhibited similar levels of happiness after updating Facebook using both strategic and true self-presentation.

“Aging…The Great Challenge of This Century”: A Theory-Based Analysis of Retirement Communities’ Websites • Hong Ji; Anne Cooper • By 2040, the large over-65 population will change “religion…work…everything” according to an expert on aging. CCRCs are one health care/housing option for the final years of life. This study of 108 CCRC websites found a self-actualized photo population –smiling, wining/dining, and engaged in various fulfilling pursuits. The disconnect with reality — more males, minorities and healthy people than actually live at CCRCs — has implications for source credibility and the image of ideal aging.

The Role of Social Capital in the United States’s Country Brand • Jong Woo Jun, Dankook University; Jung Ryum Kim, City of Busan; Dong Whan Lee, Dankook University • This study explores antecedents and consequences of social capital. Using Korean college students as research samples, survey research was implemented measuring U.S. media consumptions such as TV drama, Hollywood movies, POP music, advertising, and magazine. As results, American media consumptions influenced social capital elements such as interpersonal trust, institutional trust, network, and norms. Also, interpersonal trust, network, and norms influenced attitudes toward the United States which in turn lead to strong beliefs about the United States. This study extended the usability of social capital to country branding settings, and could provide significant managerial implications to academicians and practitioners.

In the Crosshairs: The Tucson Shooting and the News Framing of Responsibility • Matthew Telleen, Elizabethtown College; Jack Karlis, Georgia College; Sei-Hill Kim • This research adds to the framing literature with a content analysis of media coverage following the 2011 shooting in Tucson, Arizona. Analyzing 535 items from the month after the shooting, it was determined that coverage of the Tucson shooting focused more heavily on societal issues like political rhetoric than on individual issues like mental illness It was also discovered that coverage varied from medium to medium and along political associations.

Tweeting the Election: Comparative Uses of Twitter by Trump and Clinton in the 2016 Election • Flora Khoo, Regent University; William Brown, Regent University • “Social media are increasingly becoming important means of political communication and essential to implementing an effective national election campaign. The present study evaluates the use of Twitter by presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Results indicate substantial framing differences in the tweets released by the two candidates. These differences are discussed along with implications for future research on the use of Twitter for political campaigns.

The Role of Reanctance Proneness in the Manifestation of Psychological Reactance against Newspaper Editorial • HYUNJUNG KIM • This study investigated the role of trait reactance proneness in the affective and cognitive reactance processes in the context of organ donation in South Korea. A web-based survey experiment using a sample of South Korean residents was conducted. Findings demonstrate that an editorial advocating organ donation from ideologically incongruent media is perceived as more biased than the same editorial from other media. The perceived bias is linked to perceived threat to freedom, which, in turn, is related to affective reactance, leading to unfavorable attitudes toward organ donation, particularly for high trait-reactant individuals. These findings suggest that trait reactance proneness may moderate a psychological reactance process in which affective and cognitive processes of reactance operate separately.

Pride versus Guilt: The Interplay between Emotional Appeals and Self-Construal Levels in Organ Donation Messages • Sining Kong; Jung Won Chun; Sriram Kalyanaraman • Existing research on organ donation has generally focused on message types but ignored how individual differences—and possible underlying mechanisms—affect the effectiveness of organ donation messages. To explore these issues, we conducted a 2 (type of appeal: pride vs guilt) X 2 (self construal: independent vs interdependent) between-subjects factorial experiment to examine how different self-construal levels affect emotional appeals in organ donation messages. The results revealed that regardless of self-construal levels, autonomy mediated the relationship between emotion and attitudes toward organ donation. Also, pride appeal messages generated more autonomy than guilt appeal messages, leading to more positive attitude toward organ donation. Furthermore, after controlling for autonomy, those participants primed with an independent self-construal preferred pride appeal messages more than they did guilt appeal messages. These findings offer important theoretical and applied implications and provide a robust avenue for future research.

“Feminazis,” “libtards,” “snowflakes,” and “racists”: Trolling and the Spiral of Silence • Victoria LaPoe; Candi Carter Olson, Utah State University • Using a mixed methods Qualtrics survey of 338 Twitter and Facebook users, the authors explore the impact that the 2016 election had on people’s political posts both before and after the election and whether or not people actually experienced harassment and threats during the election cycle. This article argues that the internet constitutes a digital public sphere. If trolling causes people—particularly women, LGBTQIA community members, and people who identify with a disability—to censor themselves because they feel their opinion is in the minority or that they will be attacked for stating their ideas, then it would follow that trolling is changing our public sphere, which is affecting our political conversations in a profound way.

Coverage of Physician-Assisted Death: Framing of Brittany Maynard • Sean Baker; Kimberly Lauffer • In 2014, Brittany Maynard, 29, diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, moved from California to Oregon, one of only three U.S. states with legal physician-assisted death, so she could determine when she would die. This paper examines how mainstream U.S. media framed Brittany Maynard’s choice to use physician aid in dying, arguing that although frames initially focused on the event, they transformed into thematic coverage of issues underlying her choice.

Do Political Participation and Use of Information Sources Differ by Age? • Tien-Tsung Lee, University of Kansas; An-Pang Lu; Yitsen Chiu, National Chengchi University • Most studies on the connection between offline and online political participation either focused on young citizens or treated age as a continuous variable. Many of them also used a limited local sample. This survey study employed a national sample to examine the effects of age and information sources on offline and online political participation. The relationship between age and offline/online participation does not appear to be linear, which has important implications for future studies.

Discussing HPV Vaccination: Ego-centric social networks and perceived norms among young men • Wan Chi Leung, University of Canterbury • This study examined the role of social norms in influencing young men’s support for the HPV vaccination. A survey of 656 young adult males in the United States indicated that the perceived injunctive norm was more powerful in predicting support for the HPV vaccination for males than the perceived descriptive norm. The average tie strength in their ego-centric discussion networks for sexual matters, and the heterogeneity of the discussants significantly predict the injunctive norm.

The effects of message desirability and first-person perception of anti-panhandling campaigns on prosocial behaviors • Joon Soo Lim, Syracuse University; Jiyoung Lee • The current research examined the third-person effect (TPE) of anti-panhandling campaign messages. It tested both perceptual and behavioral hypotheses of the TPE. A survey was administered to 660 participants recruited from Mechanical Turk’s Master Workers. The results demonstrate the robustness of third-person perceptions for persuasive campaign messages. We also learned that the magnitudes of TPP for anti-panhandling campaign messages could be moderated by message desirability. Analyzing the behavioral component of TPE, the current study adds empirical evidence that presumed influence of positive social campaign on oneself can make the audience engage in prosocial behaviors as well as promotional behaviors.

The third person effect on Twitter: How partisans view Donald Trump’s campaign messages • Aimee Meader, Winthrop University; Matthew Hayes, Winthrop University; Scott Huffmon, Winthrop University • A telephone poll of Southern respondents in the United States tested the third person effect by comparing partisan perceptions about Donald Trump’s tweets during the 2016 presidential election. Results show that the third person effect was strong for Democrats who viewed the tweets as unfavorable, but diminished for Republicans who viewed the tweets as favorable. Additionally, Republicans’ estimation of media influence on themselves was comparable to Democrats’ perceptions, but estimations of Democrats varied by Party.

‘Where are the children?’: The framing of adoption in national news coverage from 2014 through 2016 • Cynthia Morton; Summer Shelton, University of Florida • Pilot research explored three specific questions: 1) what frames are represented in print news stories about adoption?; 2) which frames are most prevalent in their representation?; and, 3) what implications can be made about the effect of combination of the news frames and their frequency on audience perceptions? A qualitative content analysis was conducted. The findings suggest that print news’s coverage of the child adoption issue leans toward legal/legality and child welfare/work frames. Implications on adoption perceptions and the potential impact on individuals influenced by adoption are discussed.

Exemplification of Child Abduction in U.S. News Media: Testing Media Effects on Parental Perceptions and Assessment of Risk • Jane Weatherred, University of South Carolina; Leigh Moscowitz, University of South Carolina • Despite decades of research, public misperceptions persist about the threat of child abductions in the U.S. Because prior research reveals that parental perceptions of child abduction are mediated by news coverage, this study offers one of the only experimental designs that found links between media coverage and parental perceptions of child abductions, advancing the literature on exemplification theory. This study advances our understanding of how media coverage can impact public perceptions of crime.

Sharing Values vs. Valuing Shares: A Communication Model a Social-Financial Capital • Paige Odegard; Thomas Gallegos; Chris DeRosier, Colorado State University; Jennifer Folsom, Colorado State University; Elizabeth Tilak, Colorado State University; Nicholas Boehm, Colorado State University; Chelsea Eddington, Colorado State University; Cindy Christen, Colorado State University • Emphasizing the shift in priority placed on social, financial, and professional capital in an era of technological growth, this paper proposes the Communication Model of Social-Financial Capital (CMSFC). The paper discusses the effects of innate and acquired identities, and values on preference for social, financial, and professional capital, which in turn affect preference for social media platforms. Finally, the paper discusses how the model is applicable in realistic settings and suggests next steps for empirical validation.

Understanding antecedents of civic engagement in the age of social media: from the perspective of efficacy beliefs • Siyoung Chung; KyuJin Shim; Soojin Kim, Singapore Management University • This study examines three efficacy beliefs— political self-efficacy, political collective efficacy and knowledge sharing efficacy—as antecedents of social media use and civic engagement. Employing more than one thousand samples in Singapore, we empirically test (a) a conceptual framework that can provide an understanding of the relationship between the three types of efficacy and civic engagement and (b) the underlying mechanism through which the three types of efficacy beliefs affect civic engagement via social media. The findings suggest that the current civic engagement is characterized by excessive use of social media. Also, the study implicates knowledge sharing efficacy was found to play an important role in mediating the relationships between social media and political self-efficacy, political collective efficacy, respectively.

Online Surveillance’s Effect on Support for Other Extraordinary Measures to Prevent Terrorism • Elizabeth Stoycheff; Kunto Wibowo, Wayne State University; Juan Liu, Wayne State University; Kai Xu, Wayne State University • The U.S. National Security Agency argues that online mass surveillance has played a pivotal role in preventing acts of terrorism on U.S. soil since 9/11. But journalists and academics have decried the practice, arguing that the implementation of such extraordinary provisions may lead to a slippery slope. As the first study to investigate empirically the relationship between online surveillance and support for other extraordinary measures to prevent terrorism, we find that perceptions of government monitoring lead to increased support for hawkish foreign policy through value-conflict associations in memory that prompt a suppression of others’ online and offline civil liberties, including rights to free speech and a fair trial. Implications for the privacy-security debate are discussed.

Audiences’ Acts of Authentication: A Conceptual Framework • Edson Tandoc, Nanyang Technological University; Richard Ling, Nanyang Technological University Singapore; Oscar Westlund; Andrew Duffy, Nanyang Technological University Singapore; Debbie Goh, Nanyang Technological University Singapore • Through an analysis of relevant literature and open-ended survey responses from 2,501 Singaporeans, this paper proposes a conceptual framework to understand how individuals authenticate the information they encounter on social media. In broad strokes, we find that individuals rely on both their own judgment of the source and the message, and when this does not adequately provide a definitive answer, they turn to external resources to authenticate news items.

Committed participation or flashes of action? Bursts of attention to climate change on Twitter • Kjerstin Thorson, Michigan State University; Luping Wang, Cornell University • We explore participation in bursts of attention to the climate issue on Twitter over a period of five years. Climate advocacy organizations are increasingly focused on mobilizations of issue publics as a route to pressure policy makers. A large Twitter data set shows that attention to climate on Twitter has been growing over time. However, we find little evidence of a “movement” on Twitter: there are few users who participate in online mobilizations over time.

Is the Tweet Mightier than the Quote? Testing the Relative Contribution of Crowd and Journalist Produced Exemplars on Exemplification Effects • Frank Waddell, University of Florida • What happens when journalist selected quotes conflict with the sentiment of online comments? An experiment (N = 276) was conducted to answer this question using a 3 (quote valence: positive vs. negative vs. no quote control) x 3 (comment valence: positive vs. negative vs. no comment control) design. Results revealed that online comments only affect news evaluations in the presence of positive rather than negative quotes. Implications for exemplification theory and online news are discussed.

Ideological Objectivity or Violated Expectations? Testing the Effects of Machine Attribution on News Evaluation • Frank Waddell, University of Florida • Automation now serves an unprecedented role in the production of news. Many readers possess high expectations of these “robot journalists” as objective and error free. However, does news attributed to machines actually meet these expectations? A one-factor experiment (human source vs. machine source) was conducted to answer this question. News attributed to robots was evaluated less positively than news attributed to humans. Attribution effects were invariant between individuals scoring low and high in anthropomorphic tendency.

Express Yourself during the Election Season: Study on Effects of Seeing Disagreement in Facebook News Feeds • Meredith Wang, Washington State University; Porismita Borah; Samuel Rhodes • The 2016 election was characterized by intense polarization and acrimony not only on the debate stage and television airwaves, but also on social media. Using panel data collected during 2016 U.S. Presidential election from a national sample of young adults, current study tests how opinion climate on social media affect ones’ political expression and participation. Result shows disagreement on Facebook encourages young adults to express themselves and further participate in politics. Implications are discussed.

Won’t you be my (Facebook) neighbor? Community communication effects and neighborhood social networks • Brendan Watson, Michigan State University • This paper examines the effect of neighborhood social context, specifically the degree of racial pluralism, on the number of residents who use Facebook to connect with their local neighborhood association to follow issues affecting their community. Analysis is based on a new “community communication effects” approach, replacing the city-wide analysis of prior studies with an analysis of neighborhood data more likely to influence users of newer, participatory communication platforms. Results suggest more complicated, non-linear effects than theorized by the existing literature. Some degree of neighborhood heterogeneity is necessary to create interest in neighborhood issues and spur mediated as opposed to interpersonal communication among neighbors. But too much heterogeneity is associated with a decline in following neighborhood associations on Facebook. The paper identifies where that tipping point occurs and discusses practical and theoretical implications.

The needle and the damage done: Framing the heroin epidemic in the Cincinnati Enquirer • Erin Willis, University of Colorado – Boulder; Chad Painter, University of Dayton • This case study focuses on the Cincinnati Enquirer’s coverage of the heroin epidemic. The Enquirer started the first heroin beat in 2015, and it could serve as a model for other news organizations. Reporters used combinations of episodic, thematic, public health, and crime and law enforcement frames in their coverage. These news frames are discussed in terms of how individualism-collectivism, geographic location, available resources, and social determinants inform journalistic and societal discussions of the heroin epidemic in terms of solutions instead of responsibility or blame.

Suicide and the Media: How Depictions Shape our Understanding of Why People Die by Suicide • Joyce Wolburg, Marquette University; Shiyu Yang; Daniel Erickson; Allysa Michaelsen • The contagion effect of the media upon suicide is well documented, given that suicide rates tend to increase following heavy news coverage of a death by suicide. However, much less is known about the influence that the media has upon attitudes and beliefs about suicide, particularly our understanding of why people choose to die by suicide and our tendency to lay blame for suicidal acts. Using text analysis, this study identifies and describes seven reoccurring themes across the entertainment media—in both drama and comedy—that address the reasons people die by suicide. Further analysis demonstrates how blame is assigned. Conclusions are drawn regarding the overall social impact, especially on the surviving friends, family, therapists, etc.

MOELLER STUDENT COMPETITION
How U.S. Newspapers Frame Animal Rights Issue: A Content Analysis of News Coverage in U.S. • Minhee Choi; Nanlan Zhang • Analyzing newspaper articles, this study explores how American newspapers have framed the issue of animal rights. Results indicate that news stories were more likely to present animal rights as a legal and policy issue, rather than a political and an economic issue, talking primarily about illegality of animal mistreatment and radicalized animal rights activists. Based upon the notion of frame building, this study also examines some factors that may influence the media’s selective use of frames.

Moeller Student Competition • Framing the Taxpaying-Democratization Link: Evidence from Cross-National Newspaper Data • Volha Kananovich • This study explores the relationship between the nature of the political regime and the framing of the construct of a taxpayer in the national press. Based on a computer-assisted analysis of articles from 87 newspapers in 51 countries, it demonstrates that the less democratic a country is, the more likely it is for the press to frame a taxpayer as a subordinate to the state, by discussing taxpaying in enforcement rather than public spending terms.

Moeller Student Competition • Who is Responsible for Low-Fertility in South Korea? • Won-ki Moon, University of South Carolina; Joon Kim, University of South Carolina, Columbia • This study investigated how South Korean newspapers have presented low fertility, specifically focusing on how newspapers attribute responsibility to society or individuals. Through a content analysis of South Korean newspapers (N = 499), we found that the newspapers were focusing heavily on societal-level causes and solutions when talking about low fertility. Among potential causes of and solutions for low fertility, insufficient government aids and financial incentives were mentioned most often.

STUDENT COMPETITION
Online Conversations during an Emergent Health Threat: A Thematic Analysis of Tweets during Zika Virus Outbreak • Alexander Moe, Texas Tech University; Julie Gerdes, Texas Tech University; Joseph Provencher, Texas Tech University; Efren Gomez, Texas Tech University • “Days after the World Health Organization declared an outbreak of Zika in Brazil a global emergency on February 2, 2016, United States President Barack Obama responded by requesting over $1.8 billion in Zika research and prevention funds from Congress. This event put the under-researched disease on the radar of American citizens. The present study examines a set of over 70,000 public Tweets during the days surrounding Obama’s request to understand how Twitter users in the States made sense of the emerging infectious disease.

Understanding why American Christians are intolerant toward Muslims: Christian nationalism and partisan media selection • Kwansik Mun • This paper seeks to explain the formation of political intolerance by reviewing theoretical arguments on Christian nationalism and selective exposure theories. Our analysis confirms the significant relationship between Christian nationalism and ideological news selection, and the mediated effect of ideological news media on both perceived threats and political intolerance toward Muslims.

The “Primed” Third-Person Effect of Racial Minority Portrayals in Media • Jiyoun Suk, University of Wisconsin-Madison • This study explores how priming of different levels of media effects (either strong or weak) influences the third-person effect of media portrayals of African Americans. Through an online posttest-only control group experiment, results show that priming strong media effects heightened perceived media effects on in-group and out-group others, but not on the self. Also, it was the perceptions of in-group others, after reading the strong media effects message, that led support for media literacy education.

Beyond Passive Audience Members: Online Public Opinions in Transitional Society • yafei Zhang, The University of Iowa; Chuqing Dong • This study examined audience members’ online comments of a popular TV news program featuring controversial social issues in the contemporary Chinese society. Findings suggested that audience members expressed more negative comments, substantial cognitive recognition, and constructive suggestions towards the government, elite class, and media. The pluralistic and legitimate public opinions expanded the literature on online public discourse in transitional societies. Audience members as citizens in the formation of public spheres were also discussed.

2017 ABSTRACTS

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