Scholastic Journalism 2017 Abstracts

A lack of research in the classroom: Adopting evidence-based practices in both the journalism profession and education • Martin Smith-Rodden, Ball State University; Robin Blom, Ball State University; Christa Burkholder, Ball State University; Yuanwei Lyu • The best practices of many disciplines have been informed by empirical research that guides training and, ultimately, the practices within the field itself. Interestingly, the practice of journalism has seemed to escape the movement so far. This study should begin that important conversation as a stepping stone, because a survey of journalism educators indicated that they highly value scholarship, yet do not expose their students to such research to a high extent promoting evidence-based practices.

Differentiations in Motivation and Need-Satisfaction based on Course Modality: A Self-Determination Theory Perspective • Vince Filak; Kristine Nicolini, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh • Online education has grown exponentially over the past two decades, in large part due to its promise of flexibility and connectivity for students. However, this approach to pedagogy has remained relatively unexamined in regard to issues of motivation and intellectual thriving. Using Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985; 1991; 2000, 2012) as a foundation, we assessed the degree to which course modality (namely online vs. face-to-face) led to psychological need satisfaction and quality motivation. Our survey of 240 (n=240) college students confirmed previous research in which higher quality motivation predicted the satisfaction of autonomy, competence and relatedness, which in turn predicted course and instructor approval. However, in a series of matched-pairs t-tests, students reported lower levels of quality motivation, autonomy support, competence and relatedness in online courses than they did for face-to-face courses. Practical and theoretical implications are discussed.

Grade Incentivized Peer Editing: An Account of Student Perceptions • Jessica Holt, University of Georgia • Peer editing has been integrated into writing courses to improve students’ ability to critically evaluate writing and provide constructive feedback. This study examined students’ perceptions of implementing grade-incentivized peer editing assignments throughout a semester in a journalism course. Data from 23 different students in the same class over two years were analyzed with qualitative methods to identify the themes and offer suggestions for future implementation and research.

Not exactly “common sense”: Measuring sports journalism students’ understanding of hegemonic masculinity • Sada Reed, Arizona State University • Critical scholars often use hegemonic masculinity as a framework for critiquing sports media and sports journalists. A 2015 pilot study (author identity redacted) explored how sports journalism instructors introduce rising sports journalists to the theory. The following study builds on the pilot study by surveying 151 sports journalism students enrolled in 10 American university’s sports journalism or sports communication programs about their understanding of hegemonic masculinity.

An exploration of student media in private schools • Erica Salkin • Research indicates that student media experience has a strong positive impact on students’ civic and academic development. This paper seeks to examine the opportunities private high school students have to experience that benefit by exploring student media and journalism education in U.S. private schools. Though not generalizable, the results of this study indicate a student media environment similar to public schools, and an engaged adviser population ready to contribute to the larger scholastic journalism community.

Journalists Don’t Do Math: Journalism Student Perceptions and Myths About Data Journalism • Amy Schmitz Weiss, San Diego State; Jessica Retis • Journalism programs today face the need to train their students in the latest applications and tools – including data journalism techniques. Despite several classes and programs developing in this subject area (Berret & Phillips, 2016), students are not actively enrolling in such classes. Using an epistemological approach and Actor-Network Theory (Latour, 2005), this study of a national survey of journalism students identifies some key perceptions that highlight potential barriers to entry for enrollment in such courses.

Social Media, Newsrooms and Digital Skills: A Critical Intersection for Journalism Education • Elizabeth Smith, Pepperdine University • This study examined college journalists and their use of social media. The survey data from student journalists across the United States (N = 334). The findings demonstrated a positive significant relationship between the length of time a student has practiced journalism and the more a student “feels like a journalist,” in both the newsroom and on social media. Findings also demonstrated significant positive relationships between the use of social media and digitals skills.

Students’ experiences in an environmental journalism master’s program: An application of knowledge-based journalism principles • Bruno Takahashi, Department of Journalism, Michigan State University; Perry Parks • This study explores the educational and post-graduation experiences of graduates of a master’s program with a focus on environmental journalism. The study uses the framework of knowledge-based journalism to qualitatively examine the ways the competencies of journalistic skills, general and content-specific knowledge, learning communication theory, and developing journalistic values allowed graduates to develop a niche in their professional careers. Results show an overemphasis in journalistic skills and vagueness about the importance of theory courses.

Budget Cuts in Scholastic Media: A Focus Group Study of Oklahoma Journalism Advisers’ Survival Skills • Melanie Wilderman, Gaylord College, University of Oklahoma; Sohana Nasrin, University of Oklahoma • Scholastic journalism plays an important role in creating future professional journalists. Due to journalism’s place in a functioning democracy, journalism education is also tied to a democracy’s success. Many U.S. states have recently cut budgets severely for public education, which often disproportionately impact non core-education classes, like journalism. Researchers gathered focus group interview data from 14 scholastic journalism advisers in Oklahoma schools concerning how student publications function and will continue to function amid financial cuts.

Creating Journalistic Identity: An Ethnography of a College Newsroom • Christy Zempter, Ohio University • This ethnographic study of an independent college newsroom explores the ways professional identity and journalistic culture are expressed and negotiated by student journalists. Two key communicative themes emerged over the course of a monthlong observation that illuminate the role of newsroom-based interactions in these processes—overlapping relational and task-oriented communication and the socialization of new staff members by more experienced student journalists.


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