The global media job market: A comparison of requirements in job listings for six broadcast news organizations • Mariam Alkazemi; Wayne Wanta, University of Florida • ob listings for six broadcast news media were content analyzed for required qualifications for new hires. Only seven of the 120 job notices did not mention some technological skills, supporting a trend of media convergence. Another common requirement mentioned was a college degree. In comparing the six media, Al-Jazeera America differed from other organizations most often. Job postings for Al-Jazeera America were more likely to mention ethics and less likely to mention foreign language knowledge. Both Al-Jazeera America and Al-Jazeera were more likely to mention good news judgment as a requirement for their jobs. The findings have implications for hiring practices in the media industry.
Closed-Cohort Structure In Online Graduate Programs: Advancing Career Opportunities For Mid-Career Communication Professionals • Justin Blankenship, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Rhonda Gibson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • In a closed-cohort educational program design, students enter a program together, take the same courses together, and graduate together. This article surveyed students in one of the few closed-cohort graduate programs in a communication school, one intended for mid-career professionals. Results indicate that students found several aspects of closed-cohort important, felt a sense of community among their cohort, and used their cohort to create a professional network of peers.
Avoiding the Bad Jump Cut: Developing a Senior Year Experience For Journalism Students • Lorie Humphrey, Colorado State University; Michael Humphrey, Colorado State University • Leaving college and beginning life outside of the familiar institution is one of the major transitions in many people’s life. This can be especially daunting for journalism students at a time when career paths are muddied by regularly changing economics, platforms and best practices. Both professor and career counselors often struggle to support students in this transition. One initiative, The Senior Year Experience, offers a variety of approaches to alleviate that struggle. This paper discusses the challenges soon-to-be graduating journalism students face, and the types of programs available including formal coursework, experiential learning opportunities, and campus events and activities aimed at smoothing the pathway. Teachers, advisors, and career counselors can play an integral role in developing programs and building coalitions with other partners on campus to guide journalism students in successful transitions.
Inside The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the Noetic Crisis of the WGA Strike • Nathan Rodriguez, University of Kansas • I was a production intern at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart at a time when the Writer’s Guild of America was on strike. I borrow ethnographic tools to document all-staff meetings and patterns of interaction during the strike. This essay illuminates not only the inner-workings of one of the more successful television programs in recent history, but also shows how a group of individuals dedicated to comedy managed to navigate a workplace crisis.
Revisiting Entering the Game at Halftime: Engaging students in internships and co-curricular activities. • Lauren Vicker, St. John Fisher College • This paper reports a large-scale follow-up to a pilot study that examined ways that mass communication programs engage transfer students in internships and co-curricular activities. The author conducted a large-scale survey of students enrolled in programs listed in the AEJMC directory and also conducted interviews with some survey respondents. Results indicate differences between transfer and native students in key areas and offer suggestions for ways to improve experiences for both populations.
Digital Gumshoes: Investigative Journalists’ Use of Social Media in Television News Reporting • Jesse Abdenour, University of Oregon • A nationwide survey (N=165) showed evidence that investigative journalists at local television stations are frequently using social media for public interaction, story ideas, and story production, and are doing so significantly more than other types of journalists. However, data analysis indicated that regular social media use did not translate into higher levels of investigative productivity, quality or efficiency.
Valence Framing and Egypt’s Country Reputation • Amal Bakry • While country reputation and country branding scholarship has mainly focused on its effect on product marketing and place marketing (Kaneva, 2009), this study aims to shed light on the intersection of mass media and country reputation from the news framing perspective. The present study examines public opinion regarding Egypt by looking at recent Pew Research survey data. The media framing comes from a content analysis of news related to Egypt on network newscasts. By examining framing of news related to Egypt and relating it to public opinion polls, we hope to understand whether such frames are negatively or positively valenced and whether or not such frames affect public opinion towards a Middle Eastern country of strategic importance to the U.S.
We’re Just Good People: Corporate Sustainability Communications and Human Values • Lauren Bayliss, University of Florida • The nature of organizations’ relationships with publics is changing, leading to increased potential for developing parasocial relationships with publics. Parasocial relationships, however, require publics to view an organization as human-like. By examining the human values and time orientations present on these companies’ websites, this paper establishes current best communication practices. The findings, contrary to expectations based on a human model of communicating values, provide directions for future research.
Guilt by Disassociation: Millennials’ Opinions Regarding News Consumption and the Prevalence of “Should” • Ginger Blackstone, University of Florida • The purpose of this study was to investigate news avoidance behaviors of upwardly mobile Millennial undergraduates. Focus group participants were more interested in non-news content, but there were occasions when news did catch their attention. Participants believed they “should” consume news, but often lacked the initiative or interest. Others deliberately avoided news because of information overload or negative content. Some participants saw themselves consuming more news as they matured, which challenged recent Pew Research findings.
The usage of soft and hard news delivery techniques in articles of women’s weight: A content analysis of differences across media genres • Calli Breil, University of Missouri; Samuel Tham, University of Missouri School of Journalism • Thin ideal messages have been found to promote that being thin is attractive and essential in being successful and happy. Women exposed to thin-ideal messages suffer from body dissatisfaction, and psychological, physiological harm. This paper used a quantitative content analysis to analyze the delivery techniques of these messages in three media genres. This study found significant differences delivery techniques, with women’s magazines using more soft news and attempting to build a relationship with its audience.
A Qualitative Framing Analysis of HPV Vaccine Coverage in U.S. Newspapers • Jieun Chung, University of Florida • This mixed methods framing analysis investigated newspaper articles framing of the HPV vaccine. This study found six major frames: Cancer prevention frame, male eligibility frame, STD prevention frame, insufficient recommendation frame, sexual promiscuity frame, and low rates frame. Of the six frames, the cancer prevention frame was most common frame. With respect to the HBM constructs, effectiveness of the HPV vaccine and severity of HPV were presented most of them, while susceptibility to HPV was barely presented in the U.S. newspapers.
Bellwether County: Macomb County, Michigan, and the Construction of Reagan Democrats in US Political News • Christopher Cimaglio, University of Pennsylvania • With a focus on the political celebrity of Macomb County, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit that received considerable attention in news media as a bellwether for the attitudes of Reagan Democrats, white working class voters whose racial anxieties and cultural fears had alienated them from the Democratic Party, this paper examines the significance of the Reagan Democrat figure for 1980s and 1990s US politics and the role of political journalism in its construction.
Persuasive Social Media Inference. Online social climate and perceptions of public opinion • David Coppini, University of Wisconsin Madison; Stephanie Jean Tsang, University of Wisconsin-Madison • The traditional hypothesis of “persuasive media inference” posited that media slant on an issue influences citizens’ perceptions of public opinion’s position on an issue. In the social media environment, people continuously receive cues about what other individuals think about specific issues.Does this affect individuals’ perceptions of public opinion? Our study manipulates opinion climate on social media investigate effects on perceptions of public opinion.Results from a sample of college students show that individuals use cues from social media to form their impressions about public opinion.Theoretical implications for application of theories of presumed influence in the online environment are discussed.
Icy challenges: Consumer perceptions of brands’ social activism in ALS Ice Bucket Challenge • Naa Amponsah Dodoo, University of Florida • The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a social media viral campaign in the summer of 2014 campaign for the ALS Association, presented an opportunity for brands/companies to show their involvement in a reactive form of social activism. Evidence in literature suggests that consumers regard cause related activities by brands/companies with some skepticism. This study therefore examined consumers’ awareness of brands’ involvement in the challenge as well as responses to brands/companies involvement in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Consumers’ brand identification, self-congruity and intent to share information about the brand were also examined. Results indicated favorable attitude towards brands’ involvement in the challenge. Additional analyses were conducted in the form of multiple regression analysis and revealed interesting results on the predictive ability of brand attitude, brand identity as well as brand awareness on the intent to share information about brands/companies involvement in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Findings and implications are discussed.
Citizen in-group bias effects on credibility in Ebola news coverage • Megan Duncan, University of Wisconsin-Madison • In an experiment, participants read a story that manipulated the main characters’ citizenship status (American-born, naturalized, resident) to examine social identity cues in news and activation of in-group bias. Further, it extends social identity cues to credibility. It finds people are less concerned about diversity issues in the case where a message features a naturalized citizen than an American citizen, offering support for in-group bias. Results show citizenship status cues effect perception of news credibility.
A survey of Egyptian journalists’ perception of press freedom in post-revolutionary Egypt • Goran Ghafour, The university of Kansas; Amr El-Afifi, The University of Kansas • This study examined the perception of Egyptian journalists on the concept of press freedom in transition and conflict. Surveying 136 Egyptian journalists, this study found that individual, attitudinal, and organizational factors relatively determine the Egyptian journalists’ perception of press freedom. Differences in perception of press freedom among the Egyptian journalists reflect different types of news media ownerships with different goals and policies.
How do people choose from different reading platforms? The comparison between online reading and offline reading • WEIWEI JIANG; Ying Xu • With the decreasing number of newspaper readers and the increasing number of online readers, researchers are willing to understand why some media are more favorable and who are reading which medium. In this paper we examined the relationship of online reading and print reading in terms of media attributes, people`s demographic differences, and time spending on media. Also, we also studied hybrid readers who read on both online and print media. We compared them with online and print media consumer. We found that online media have more favorable attributes than traditional media. Also, we found that digital divide does exist due to age differences. People who only use online media to read show their dependency on internet, but there were no statistical significant found on people who only read traditional media and their media dependency.
Access Denied: Consequences of Ablebodied Students Communication Apprehension Toward College Students with Disabilities • Davi Kallman, Washington State University • The following study examines the uncertainty that ablebodied students have when interacting with students with disabilities in higher education. The author explains how uncertainty and communication apprehension (Griffin, 2006) are leading factors for ablebodied students avoidance in interaction with out-group members. The author provides suggestions to decrease uncertainty and reduce communication apprehension among ablebodied university students in order to increase the comfort level in interactions.
Constructive journalism: A definition and practical guide for applying positive psychology techniques to news production • Karen McIntyre, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • Critical issues in journalism, including audience decline, highlight the need for a new approach. This paper defines and situates in the field the interdisciplinary concept of constructive journalism — an emerging form of news that applies positive psychology techniques to journalism in an effort to create more productive, engaging news stories. After conceptualizing the term, techniques by which constructive journalism can be practiced and the psychological frameworks that support the use of each technique are discussed.
Tribunes of the Marginalized? Institutional Role Performance in the American Alternative Press • Joseph Moore, University of Missouri • This study examined institutional role conception and role performance among several prominent U.S. alternative news publications to discover whether the gap between role conception and performance uncovered by previous studies of the mainstream commercial press also existed among alternative media. A textual analysis of alternative news coverage of the 2013 NSA mass surveillance disclosures was employed. Alternative news organizations had mixed success at translating their institutional role conceptions into practice.
The Effects of In-game Advertising On Gamers and the Video Game Industry • Matthew Morley • Advertisements and product tie-ins in video games have become increasingly prevalent in the video game industry. This paper reviews the literature surrounding product placement and advertising found within video games and discusses the current and past trends of in-game advertising. Additionally, this paper investigates whether in-game advertisements make a game more immersive and lifelike or if they are seen as intrusive and distracting by gamers.
Propagation of prosociality • Yu Leung Ng, School of Communication, Hong Kong Baptist University • Propagation of prosociality is the repeated dissemination of prosocial messages. The unpredictability of this phenomenon is worth an understanding of its nature and process, yet no previous literatures were reviewed systematically to investigate this phenomenon. This review article adopted an evolutionary perspective to examine the attributes of prosocial messages dissemination (‘what’) and a psychology perspective to investigate the psychological antecedents and consequences of it (‘why’) for communication scholars to understand ‘how’ prosocial messages get propagated.
The Invisible Race: Analysis of Racial Hierarchy in Contemporary Mexican Cinema • Alberto Orellana-Campos, University of Wisconsin-Madison • This paper examines representations and meanings of racial hierarchy in contemporary Mexican films, as well as the commentary these images provide on racial identity, in a country that is not majority-white. Mexican cinema, as both a product and producer of cultural and racial ideologies, normalizes through its images a hierarchy where mestizo characters often experience a treatment that normalizes poverty and disadvantage because of ‘who they are.’
The Spiral of Silence on the new media environment • Mustafa oz, The University of Texas at Austin • This study was designed to specifically examine fear of isolation in social media and offline environment. The results have shown that the respondents place higher value for assessing the climate of opinion on Facebook (m=3.55, sd=1.170) than Twitter and offline environment. Results also have shown that individuals were less likely to speak out on Facebook (m=3.72, sd=1.097) than offline (m=2.81, 1.176) environments and Twitter (m=2.32, sd=1.178).
Something creepy this way comes: PAC advertising’s attack on Obamacare, a visual narrative analysis • Marguerite Page, Northern Illinois University • PAC money’s influence in political messaging has accelerated the appearance of negative attack ads. A viral Internet video attacking Obamacare in July 2014 urged young adults to opt out. Through an analysis of its visual rhetoric, this study finds that use of dark humor, popular culture references, and most significantly, its narrative fidelity, make it likely “believable” by its ideal audience.
Network agenda-building during the Ebola crisis: Exploring the impact of government messages on newspaper coverage • Yanqin Lu, Indiana University; Young Eun Park, Indiana University • The current study explored network agenda-building during the Ebola crisis. The results indicated that during the crisis, the salience of network relationships of attributes is transferred from public relations materials to news media articles. However, network centrality results also suggested that journalists do not completely follow the agenda of public relations messages. Specifically, the central position of “reassurance” in public relations materials was replaced by “consequence” in news media articles.
The Effect of Facebook Use and Social Comparison Orientation on Subjective Well-Being • Alexander Pfeuffer; Hannah Murphy • This study examined the relationship between Facebook use and subjective well-being considering a hypothesized moderating effect of social comparison orientation on this relationship. The study did not find support for Facebook use being a reliable predictor of subjective well-being. Instead of acting as a moderator, social comparison orientation emerged as the significant predictor of subjective well-being. This study’s results challenge previous literature’s findings and the popular perception that Facebook use is correlated with subjective well-being.
How do National and Regional Newspapers Cover Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? A Content Analysis • Lu Wu, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • Nearly 500,000 U.S. troops who served in Afghanistan and Iraq have been diagnosed with PTSD. This study conducted a content analysis to compare how coverage of PTSD would differ between bigger newspapers with a national audience versus smaller regional newspapers located near major U.S. military bases. Findings show that national newspapers engaged in higher-level policy discussion, while regional newspapers tended to focus on human impact of the disorder.
Relationship Building in Nation Branding: The Central Role of Nation Brand Commitment • Linwan Wu, University of Florida • Nation brand commitment indicates the strength of one’s relationship with a nation brand. A conceptual model is proposed to explain how a nation brand impacts consumers’ traveling and product purchasing intentions. It is posited that nation brand commitment is influenced by consumers’ perceived nation brand trustworthiness, their orientations of cultural values and perceived cultural distance. An online survey was conducted to test the model by using two nation brands (China & the United Kingdom) among undergraduate students who are American citizens. The results demonstrated that nation brand trustworthiness and cultural value of power distance were positively correlated with nation brand commitment, while cultural distance was negatively correlated with nation brand commitment. It also found that nation brand commitment positively influenced consumers’ traveling and product purchasing intentions. Implications, limitations and directions for future research are also included.
User-generated Content on News Websites: Why Do People Comment on A News Story? • Chuanli XIA, City University of Hong Kong • “This study proposes a theoretical framework in which it addresses the relationship between gratifications of various needs and user-generated content behavior on news websites. Two theoretical moderators, namely perceived information of UGC and attitude to news making by major media organizations are examined. With a secondary data in U.S. 2010, this study finds that different needs are related to UGC behavior, and the perceived importance of UGC enhances this relationship.”
Same or Different across Countries:Multinational Corporations’ Relationship Cultivation Strategies on Social Network Sites • Ning Xie, University of Maryland • This study explores multinational corporations (MNCs)’ relationship management with publics in two different countries by examining MNCs’ relationship cultivation strategies on Social Network Sites (SNSs). Through a content analysis of 29 MNCs’corporate Twitter accounts in the United States and Sina Weibo (Twitter’s counterpart) accounts in China, this study reveals that MNCs use disclosure, information dissemination, and interactivity and involvement in both countries, on both Twitter and Sina Weibo. Findings indicate that MNCs do not use the same strategies on both SNSs. Patterns of MNCs’ use of relationship cultivation strategies on SNSs in the United States and China are identified. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
SNS as Intimacy Zone: Social Intimacy, Loneliness, and Self-disclosure on SNS • yafei zhang; Qi Ling, The University of Iowa • This study explores factors that may influence one’s self-disclosure on SNS where one self-disclose information in the public eye. Social intimacy and loneliness as indicators of one’s social relationship status are found to be both significantly, though contradictorily related to self-disclosure on SNS. Social intimacy and loneliness function are mediators in the direct effect of personality on self-disclosure on SNS. This study enhances the understanding of self-disclosure on SNS rather than interpersonal connections.
“A Symbolic Sacrifice”: Journalists’ Coverage of Queers Challenging The University of Texas • Jose Araiza • The Gay Liberation Front (GFL) made Texas history in 1970, as group members tried to become the first officially recognized student organization on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin. This paper represents a qualitative analysis of the media coverage as the university’s administration denied the group official recognition, setting the stage for a series of demonstrations and hearings that garnered widespread attention. This textual analysis focused on the media coverage from the city’s mainstream daily newspaper, the university’s student-operated newspaper and a local weekly liberal magazine. This project found that while the group faced exclusion from the larger public sphere, mainstream media and the university’s own student operated newspaper marginalized and delegitimized the group of students who were challenging the status quo.
Use of Pro- and Anti- GLBT Organizations in the News: A Longitudinal Content Analysis • Joseph Cabosky, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Rhonda Gibson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • “A content analysis of New York Times and Washington Post from 1977-2013 examined use of pro- and anti-GLBT organizations as sources to explore change over time and differences in coverage of mainstream vs. radical organizations. Stories about marriage/families, entertainment, AIDS, and politics were most likely to source GLBT organizations. Only AIDS and protests/boycotts were more likely to source radical organizations. Anti-GLBT organizations were used as sources in one-fifth of stories. Implications of how story topic trumps time in source selection are discussed.”
Inching Away from the Toy Department: Daily Newspaper Sports Coverage of Jason Collins and Michael Sam’s Coming Out • Bill Cassidy, Northern Illinois University • This study examined daily newspaper sports coverage of the coming out of NBA veteran Jason Collins and college football All-American Michael Sam. A content analysis of 248 articles published in the first 30 days after each athlete’s announcement revealed that while there were significant differences, individual and present frames dominated for both. Results also suggested that a substantive amount of coverage addressed pertinent issues related to gay athletes in major professional sports.
The Role of Ideology in Media Framing of Same-Sex Marriage, 1998-2014 • Dominic Lasorsa; Jiyoun Suk; Deepa Fadnis • In an attempt to advance understanding of how media frames are constructed, this paper uncovered a link between a newspaper’s ideological orientation and how it has framed the issue of same-sex marriage over 17 years. A random sample of articles about same-sex marriage published in the years 1998-2014 in the ideologically conservative New York Post and the ideologically liberal New York Times were analyzed. It was found that whenever one of the newspapers framed same-sex marriage it did so either in terms of morality or equality, which replicates previous research. Furthermore, it was found here that while the two newspapers employed the morality frame about equally, the Times employed an equality frame much more frequently than did the Post. Shifts in framing over the 17 years also were identified, with the morality frame generally decreasing over time and the equality frame increasing over time. It also was found that most articles merely mentioned same-sex marriage without engaging in framing, and that newspaper articles designed to persuade (editorials, op-ed pieces, letters) engaged in no more framing than did news articles. The implications of these findings for the advancement of media framing theory are discussed.
Egalitarian Values and Media Use: An Examination of Gay Rights Supporters’ Traditional and New Media Habits • Tien-Tsung Lee, University of Kansas; Gary Hicks • While social and mobile media are fertile ground for hate groups to spread their messages, these new media platforms can be used by equal rights activists to advocate their causes. Using a large survey of American adult consumers, this study examines the traditional, social and mobile media habits of consumers who are sympathetic to equal rights for gay couples. These potential targets frequent social networking sites, and often send as well as receive text messages.
The Instagrammed Trans Body: The Renegotiation of Gender and Bodies in the Instagram-Based Transgender Community • Minjie Li, Louisiana State University • Instagram has formed a new type of online transgender community through hashtags. Through the lens of visual journaling personal transgender experience in the public sphere, this study examines how transgender people renegotiate the relationships between gender and body, public and private, and self and politics. The findings indicate that while enhancing traditional gender scripts through encouraging transgender people to make medical transition and prompting gender policing, instagram also makes emerging forms of resistance order visible.
Can we talk? Kenyan LGBTI advocates and media representatives launch a conversation • Teresa Mastin, DePaul University; Alexandra Murphy, DePaul University; Dustin Goltz; Jason Zingsheim, Governors State University • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons in Kenya face an array of legal, social, and political discrimination. “Homosexual” sexual activity is criminalized, punishable by years in prison. Many sectors of Kenyan society are openly hostile to LGBTI persons and organizations contributing to a high level of stigma and discrimination. This study chronicles an ongoing university-LGBTI advocates-media collaboration designed to broach a relationship between Kenya’s LGBTI community and Kenyan society-at-large.
Harvey Milk’s Political Columns, 1974-1978 • Heidi Mau, Temple University • This paper examines Harvey Milk’s political columns published in the local gay press in San Francisco, 1974-1978. Harvey Milk’s assassination happened less than eleven months after he was sworn into office – local mass media barely had time to document him once he arrived on the larger media radar, but Milk’s political columns for the San Francisco Sentinel and the Bay Area Reporter, provide over four years of Harvey Milk’s presentation of his public, political self.
The heartbeat of a locker room: Reactions to Jason Collins and Michael Sam coming out • Monique Robinson, The University of Kansas; Timothy Luisi, University of Kansas; Mugur Geana • Jason Collins (National Basketball Association) and Michael Sam (National Football League) announced their sexual orientation, becoming the first openly gay athletes in their sports leagues. Under the lenses of hegemonic masculinity and inclusive masculinity theories, quotations (n = 405) from U.S. newspapers were analyzed to discuss the mediated representations of reactions from the sports industry. The findings highlight differing levels of acceptance of openly gay athletes in popular U.S. American sports.
Strategic Communication Through Social Media by LGBTI NGOs • Nathian Rodriguez, Texas Tech University • The plight and struggles of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) refugees from around the globe often go unheard. Currently, at least 78 countries have specific regulations persecuting LGBTIs. Without protection, these global citizens are forced to seek asylum in other countries. This paper investigates how LGBTI-specific refugee/asylee NGOs (Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration and International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission) are using Facebook and Twitter to build organizational-public relationships. Research provided here uncovers the use of social media messages as functions of information, community and action. Furthermore, it shows whether the conventional public relations measures of cognitive learning, affective responses and resulting behaviors are manifested within these functions. The research also reveals the social media messages focused more on the global regions of North America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Additionally, the NGOs linked their messages/posts to more to LGBTI-specific entities around the world.
International Satiric TV Shows As Critical Infotainment (A Comparative Analysis) • Paul Alonso, Georgia Tech • This article analyzes, contrasts and compares the discourse of three satiric infotainment television shows built around their hosts: American Jon Stewart (host of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart); British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen (the actor who incarnates the popular characters Borat, Bruno and Ali G, in the Da Ali G Show), and Peruvian Jaime Bayly (host of the Peruvian TV show El Francotirador/The Sniper). These three cases not only responded to their specific national, social, and political contexts, but also demonstrate important similarities: they parody journalistic genres questioning its authority and values, they use humor to develop socio-political and cultural critiques, the shows revolve around a talented character who is a media celebrity, and all of these characters perform interventions on reality. This research goes beyond the notion of fake news identifying deeper connections between international cases, in order to illuminate the transnational phenomenon of satiric infotainment, its potential and contradictions.
Musicality and uses of music in satirical animation: A qualitative analysis • Calli Breil, University of Missouri; Samuel Tham, University of Missouri School of Journalism • Music has long been ignored as an essential part that influences mood and understanding of a show and stereotypes. This study used a qualitative analysis to examine specific musical choices of three animated shows and found differences in racial stereotypes, characters, and even usage of popular songs to convey a plot, or a character’s experience.
Rich and Fabulous: The Marginalizing Power of Television Situational Comedies and the Contrived Gay Market • Robert Byrd, University of Memphis • The purpose of this paper is to examine issues of class and consumption in the programs, which excludes any queer individual not belonging to a constructed gay buying bloc consisting of affluent gay men with large disposable incomes. This exclusion from the homonormative notions of affluent gay men further marginalizes LGBTQ people from lower socio-economic groups, which often includes LGBTQ people of color and women. The study uses discourse analysis through a queer theory lens to examine five television situational comedies aired during the 2012-2013 television season to better understand the role of affluence and consumption in the visibility of sexual minorities.
Time-Shifting vs. Appointment Viewing: The Role of Fear of Missing Out within TV Consumption Habits • Lindsey Conlin, The University of Southern Mississippi; Andrew Billings, University of Alabama; Lauren Auverset, University of Alabama • Employing a national sample of 160 respondents, this study investigates the phenomenon of fear-of-missing-out (FoMO). Results indicated that FoMO plays a role in the pace that people choose to watch TV, as well as whether they are likely to watch some one-time TV entertainment programs, yet not for one-time sporting events. FoMO also predicted social media use as it relates to TV watching. Implications and directions for future research are discussed
Melfi’s choice: Morally conflicted content leads to moral deliberation in viewers • Serena Daalmans, Radboud University; Allison Eden, VU University Amsterdam; Merel van Ommen; Addy Weijers • This study investigates if morally conflicted and controversial content, which is often denounced as morally desensitizing, may lead to moral deliberation in viewers. The results of a quasi-experiment reveal that moral deliberation was predicted by transportation into the narrative and was related to increased appreciation for the episode. The results support the notion that media potentially function as a morality sandbox in which to play with or test out moral concerns, even in regards to controversial and violent content.
The Influence of Social Identity Salience on Mediated Contact: Examining the Effect of a Common Ingroup Identity • Jannath Ghaznavi, University of California, Davis; Laramie Taylor, University of California Davis • The present study examines the role of social identity salience and entertainment programming on facilitating positive intergroup outcomes. Applying the common ingroup identity model to a mediated contact setting, we examined the influence of shared or exclusive group identities (familial identity, gay identity) and entertainment genres (comedy, drama) on social category salience, perceived similarity to gay male media characters, and attitudes toward gay men among heterosexual viewers. Exposure to entertainment programming in which gay male characters are depicted in a familial or gay identity context influenced the extent to which corresponding social identities were salient. Frequency of social contact with sexual minorities moderated the effect of exposure to media content emphasizing a particular group identity on perceived similarity and attitudes toward gay men. Results provide initial evidence into the effects of social identity salience on social perceptions and evaluations of often-stigmatized minority groups.
Effect of Narcissism, Para-social Interaction, and Gratifications Sought on Singing Competition Reality Shows among Chinese Audiences • Lei Guo; Deya Xu, Department of Communication, CUHK • In recent years, reality shows, especially the singing competition reality shows, have dominated Mainland Chinese TV program market gradually. However, there is a lack of literature specializes in studying singing competition reality shows. To fill this gap, this research focuses on exploring the viewing gratifications of the shows among Chinese audiences, at the same time classifies these shows into two genres from developmental perspective for the first time. Data was collected from 411 Chinese audiences aged 19 to 65. Additional analysis reveals that the most salient motives for watching the shows are meeting the ambition, high production quality pursuing, social interaction, emotional elements attraction, individual interests, and relaxation. In addition, both narcissism and para-social interaction are found significantly related to gratification sought from the shows viewing. Concurrently, the gratifications, narcissism, and para-social interaction are significantly associating with certain genres of Chinese singing competition reality shows.
Gender, Sex and Violence: The Differences in Sexual and Violent Content in Male and Female Musicians’ Lyrics and Music Videos • Stacey Hust, Washington State University; Kathleen Rodgers, Department of Human Development, Washington State University; Nicole O’Donnell, Washington State University; Weina Ran; Stephanie Ebreo, Washington State University • An analysis of music lyrics and their corresponding music video segments (n = 610 stanzas) from Billboard’s Hot 100 reveals popular music offers numerous variations of sexual and violent scripts by gender of musician. The results provide insight into the impact of gender on content creation. It extends prior research by identifying that female objectification in mainstream music videos is an artifact of the video production, and not a factor associated with the musician’s lyrics.
Subtitles in Entertainment Television in South Korea: Focused on a Third-Person Effect • Hyeri Jung, The University of Texas at Austin • The Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC) has announced a ban on the use of subtitles consisting of vulgar language in South Korean entertainment television, arguing that they deteriorate the quality of audiences’ ordinary language use. This study attempts to investigate whether the argument of the KCSC is valid by analyzing the subtitles with a substantial use of multiple methods and a third-person effect hypothesis. The findings of this study illustrate interesting aspects that may revisit the third-person effect model and linguistic values in entertainment television.
The appeal of sad comedies and funny dramas: Exploring oppositional affective responses and their implications for culture • Jinhee Kim, Pohang University of Science and Technology; Keunyeong Karina Kim, Pennsylvania State University; mihye seo • This study explores the appeal of entertainment messages that include two extreme opposite ends of comedy (as one extreme) and tragedy (as the other extreme). A cross-cultural experiment that assesses real-time responses reveals that South Koreans are more likely than U.S. Americans to enjoy and appreciate entertainment messages that induce opposing affective (comic and tragic) as well as physical (laughing and crying) responses via heightened naïve dialecticism. Findings are interpreted as suggesting East Asians’ great acceptance for contradiction as well as reversible change that emphasize harmonious integration of any two opposing elements in the universe.
Under Pressure: Explaining the Role of Character Development in the Evaluation of Morally Ambiguous Characters in Entertainment Media • Mariska Kleemans; Serena Daalmans, Radboud University; Merel van Ommen; Allison Eden, VU University Amsterdam; Addy Weijers • The current project aims at better understanding of how narrative characteristics in stories function in the liking, moral evaluation, and enjoyment of narratives featuring morally ambiguous characters. Results of both a qualitative content analysis and an experiment provide support for the claim that character development is a central mechanism to explain viewer responses to MACs in narrative content. Therewith, the study provides new directions for affective disposition research.
Parasocial Processing of a Situational Comedy: An Experimental Study • Travis Loof, Texas Tech University • This post-test only experimental design revealed that audio-only direct address by the title character was significantly associated with more feelings of subjective address and indirectly the experience of parasocial interaction (EPSI). Additionally, this study demonstrated an empirical link between content, interpersonal theories, and mediated characters. This study examined perceived self-disclosure and attributional confidence as predictors of parasocial relationship (PSR) interaction. Findings are discussed in terms of the growing use of character address and flashbacks within narrative television.
I Give the Civil Rights Four Stars: Film Criticism of The Help, The Butler and Selma • Kathleen McElroy, Oklahoma State; Danny Shipka • Three recent Hollywood films, The Help (2011), Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2013) and Selma (2014), drew attention for depicting the Civil Rights Movement and the Jim Crow South. While Hollywood has been scrutinized for its role in racial discourse, less attention has been paid to film critics’ discussion of race in their reviews. This paper examines the critical response to these films, with an emphasis on the reviewers’ reliance on memory and history in forming their opinions. A textual analysis found that critics were reverential toward the movement and the black experience but still mistrustful of the Hollywood system to do a credible job in explaining or understanding the events. The reviewers shaped and shared a memory of nightmarish race relations and prescribed corrections for both Hollywood and America.
Self-Confidence, Stardom and Post-Racial Culture: Gabourey Sidibe in Entertainment Journalism • Russell Meeuf, University of Idaho • The rise to fame of Gabourey Sidibe—the overweight, black actress from Precious and American Horror Story—illustrates the prevalence of post-racial discourse in U.S. entertainment media. Examining the discursive construction of Sidibe’s fame in entertainment magazines, this paper demonstrates how the insistent focus on Sidibe’s self-confidence reflects post-racial discourse and the denial of structural racism. Instead, Sidibe’s star persona celebrates individual solutions to social problems and a colorblind model of universal womanhood.
Millennial Audience Reception to Lyrics Depicting Independent Women • Mia Moody-Ramirez, Baylor University; Lakia Scott • This case study used a Black feminist lens and a constructivist approach to encourage college students to discuss representations of women and independence. After an initial assessment of students’ definitions of independence, researchers provided various videos on the topic and gauged their changes in perceptions. Findings indicated that participants had various definitions and opinions of independence based on personal and family beliefs. While their definitions did not change after watching rap videos, participants were able to discuss more dimensions of independence following this exercise. At the beginning of the study, participants mainly associated independence with issues related to their parents, relationships, and finances. After viewing the videos, they noted that rappers had many different perceptions of independence that linked the term to sexuality, beauty, gender, and power which ultimately influenced their developing perceptions of independence. One of the goals of constructivism is to help students become life-long learners and better critical thinkers. We encourage scholars to build on this article to develop curriculum that will enable young adults to become their own version of independent.
Watching American Entertainment Television in India • Jane O’Boyle, University of South Carolina • India has increasing access to American entertainment programs, through a growing economy, expanding satellite systems and internet access. Founded on cultivation theory, this qualitative study included telephone and online interviews with India residents on Reddit.com (N=182) and found Breaking Bad is the most popular American program among respondents, followed by Game of Thrones, The Big Bang Theory, Friends and Seinfeld. This study also found most viewed the programs by downloading them illegally, largely for avoiding government censors. Discussion addresses the implications for American identity around the world and cross-cultural media effects.
Broadcasting upon a shooting star: An exploratory study of Afreeca TV’s live-stream self broadcast model • Soo-Kwang Oh, William Paterson University; Hyun-Ju Choi • This exploratory study examined the newly emerging and increasingly popular online personal broadcasting service, Afreeca TV. The website features a livestream self-broadcasting system accompanied by a live chat window. This study sought employed a qualitative content analysis of most popular shows on Afreeca TV to identify the elements that make its model successful in today’s digital media landscape. The researchers discuss following key elements that may explain Afreeca TV’s success: diversified content, audience participation/influence, virtual celebrity, the Star Balloon feature, sociality, and the livecast management system.
Identification through Online Mediated Sports: Examining Parasocial Interaction with Sports Players of Color • Po-Lin Pan, Arkansas State University; Li Zeng, Arkansas State University • A two (Race of sports players: Black vs. Asian) by two (Race of sports viewers: Black vs. Asian) by two (Gender difference: Male vs. female) mixed factorial experiment was designed to examine online sports viewers’ parasocial interaction (PSI) with sports players of color. Results found that online sports viewers were more likely to exhibit a higher level of PSI when viewing athletes of the same racial group than viewing those from a different racial group. Black viewers showed a higher level of PSI with the Black player than with the Asian player. Correspondingly, Asian viewers exhibited a higher level of PSI with the Asian player than with the Black player. Evidence for similarity identification suggested that the more similar media viewers are to media characters, the more likely the former are to develop affective bonds with the latter. In the context of online mediated sports, these affective bonds would direct online sports viewers to desire even greater similarity to sports players, and activate online sports viewers to take sports players’ perspective, eventually leading to a higher level of PSI.
Mythmaking in Singapore: The case of Ah Boys to Men 1 and II • Stacy Lai; Daoyi Lin; Wirdayu Binte Safie; Phoebe Seow; Hazel Wee; Fernando Paragas • This paper uses discourse analysis to surface how the myths of nationhood, masculinity and male adulthood are negotiated in the Singapore movies Ah Boys to Men Part 1 and Ah Boys to Men Part II. Our analysis shows that while the narratives contain viewpoints on nationhood, masculinity and the male rite of passage that reflect accepted socio-political and cultural norms and values, certain aspects of nation-building as portrayed in the movies do not match the national rhetoric.
The effects of insulting weight jokes and online comments on explicit and implicit weight-based attitudes • Scott Parrott • This study investigates weight-based disparagement humor, or communication in which one person uses humor to insult another person because he/she is overweight or obese. Decades ago, researchers began examining reasons people enjoy witnessing the ridicule of others. Nevertheless, we remain unclear on whether exposure to disparagement humor informs attitudes concerning the target. This study, an experiment, investigates how exposure to weight-based disparagement humor and normative cues informs explicit and implicit attitudes concerning weight. The data suggest short-term exposure to disparagement humor does not elicit explicit attitude change. However, data suggest that exposure informs implicit affect concerning people who are obese.
Fun versus Meaningful Video Game Experiences: A Qualitative Analysis of User Responses • Ryan Rogers; Julia Woolley; Mary Beth Oliver; Nicholas Bowman; Brett Sherrick, Penn State; Mun-Young Chung, Pennsylvania State University • Traditionally, entertainment research has focused on the hedonic gratifications of media consumption but media scholars have recently begun to expand their focus to include both meaningfulness and enjoyment as orthogonal dimensions of viewer experience. In other words, experiences of enjoyment result from the fulfillment of hedonic needs, such as enhancing positive mood and decreasing negative mood, experiences of meaningfulness result from the fulfillment of eudaimonic needs, such as insight into the human condition or understanding of life truths. Most of these studies are limited to film but this study examines video games. To explore how video games might provide individuals with meaningful experiences, we conducted an online study that implemented open-ended questions. Participants could respond however they saw fit to best explain their answers to the questions. This allowed participants to describe in detail what they felt made a video game meaningful or enjoyable.
If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them- Hollywood’s Answer to Bollywood Remakes. • Enakshi Roy, Ohio University • This study examines Bollywood remakes of Hollywood movies from a perspective of international law and how it is applied to copyright violations, infringement and fair use in the context of content appropriation. By scrutinizing the four court cases in which a Bollywood producer was sued by a Hollywood studio for content appropriation or infringement this paper analyses how Bollywood gets away with making blatant copies from Hollywood. The analysis reveals that the Indian court system, using tests and standards such as the Merger and Scenes c Faire, the lay observer test and derivative work argument often rule in favor of the Indian movie makers, by considering the remade Bollywood movies are distinct non-infringed products. Getting monetary damages become further difficult as the Hollywood studios find it difficult to prove any loss of income, because Bollywood earnings are lower than Hollywood. The paper explores the possibility of a middle ground where the two movie producing markets could meet. The paper tries to understand movie adaptation from a legal perspective rather than a content creation perspective.
But First, Let Me Take a #selfie: An Examination of Self-objectification and Face-ism on Instagram • Erin Ryan, Kennesaw State University; Cynthia Nichols, Oklahoma State University • Decades of research on face-ism in traditional media consistently report women are more likely to be pictured from a more distant perspective than men, showing more of their bodies. In a cultivation-like manner, women are socialized to believe that their most important characteristics are located in the body. In the online arena, however, individuals have much more control over their image and may self-present in any way they choose. Unfortunately, it appears that online users of social networks are mirroring the traditional, gendered manner of presenting the self. To examine this phenomenon within the framework of self-objectification and impression management on the image-focused social network Instagram, this content analysis used the face-ism index and shot type to determine the facial prominence of 382 female and male posters of selfies. Results indicated that the face-ism effect prevails: women posted significantly more body-centric selfies than men, had a lower degree of facial prominence on the face-ism index than men, and engaged in a duckface pose significantly more often than men. These results conform to traditional media-based theoretical expectations, indicating that Instagram users self-objectify when posting online. Results are discussed in the context of Baumeister and Hutton’s (1987) self-presentation theory and Leary’s (1996) self-presentational tactics.
All I Want for Christmas is You: ‘Tis the Season for Holiday Romance • David Staton, University of Oregon SOJC; Kathleen Ryan, University of Colorado Boulder • This paper looks at tropes found in made-for-television holiday films, using Sontag’s concept of camp and Barthes’ concept of myth. The authors find three tropes, each based prior Christmas theatrical films/stories. While the original films or stories inspired lessons about the need to devote oneself to charity and social justice (A Christmas Carol), the ever-expanding circles of influence an individual’s selfless actions can have on a community (It’s a Wonderful Life), and the importance of faith in humanity (Miracle on 34th Street), the authors argue the made-for-television versions boil down to a different message: the reinforcement of hetero-normative relationships and the myth of true love.
The Intersection of the Disney Princess Phenomenon & Eating Disorders: A Case Study of @BunnieJuice on Twitter • Erin Ryan, Kennesaw State University • The Disney Princess phenomenon has been well documented in recent years, and results of such studies indicate that these characters exert a powerful influence on children’s media and self-identity, defining girlhood in a highly gendered fashion, rife with stereotypical representations. And for girls who have grown up with this princess-like beauty ideal, body dissatisfaction is at an all-time high. Increased media exposure is related to children’s preference for thin adult figures that could represent their future selves. And, unfortunately, social comparison to these figures has resulted in a proliferation of eating disorders. To examine this intersection of the Disney Princess and the prevalence of eating disordered lifestyles, this case study presents a thematic analysis of anonymous Twitter user @BunnieJuice, a self-professed Disney princess fan and active anorexic. Through the analysis of her 11 months of tweets, pictures, and retweets, three overall themes emerged: harmful thinspiration, self-destructive behavior (i.e., starvation, binging, and cutting), and negativity aimed at others. Examples of Disney-inspired tweets include Disney princess thinspo pictures, the use of a Tinker Bell box for her cutting instruments, and quoting from Disney movies to others who have wronged her. @BunnieJuice has clearly co-opted the princess image to justify her eating disordered lifestyle and to motivate herself to continue this behavior.
Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves: Examining Representations of Roma Culture in 70 Years of American Television • Adina Schneeweis, Oakland University; Katie Foss, Middle Tennessee State University • Most Americans have very little first-hand experience with Roma culture, commonly known as Gypsies, and therefore base their perceptions on media representations. Yet news and entertainment media have perpetuated negative stereotypes, disseminating misinformation about this minority group. Further, there is thin anthological attention to the representation of the Roma and Gypsy ethnicity in U.S. media. To examine the evolution of knowledge-production in American TV content, this research examined portrayals of Gypsies and their culture in fictional programs, from 1953 through 2014. The textual analysis of 84 episodes from 35 shows revealed that television has reinforced negative stereotypes, suggesting that Gypsies are consistently different and other, intrinsically inclined to a criminal lifestyle, a closed ethnic community that is resistant to change and has its own internal rules. More recent representations convey that Gypsies may be misunderstood due to their cultural history, yet this depiction is not only considerably less visible than the others, but also emerges as a mere nod toward tolerance, far from a complex narrative of historical trauma.
How do readers contribute to processing of a fictional text? Analyzing readers’ performance of a narrative by using mental models approach • Neelam Sharma • Narrative performance is a process by which readers bring both facts and emotions to construct distinct story worlds into which they can travel. This study advances narrative processing literature by examining readers’ inferential, affective, evaluatory, and self-referential responses to a narrative. Sixteen participants in India read a short fictional story, drew story-related pictures and participated in depth interviews. The study demonstrated that empathy with characters resulted in more evaluation by the readers, and that self-referencing aided in narrative performance.
GIRLS and Sex: A Content Analysis of Sexual Health Depictions in HBO’s GIRLS • Elise Stevens, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Kyla Garret • GIRLS is a fictional comedy-drama show with 4.1 million viewers. It follows Millennial women living in New York City dealing with relationships, sex, and careers. GIRLS has received much attention for its portrayals of sex, dialogue about sexual risk and responsibility, and the inclusion of humor. This systematic, quantitative content analysis of the first three seasons of GIRLS examines sexual behaviors, sexual talk, sexual risk and responsibility, and the usage of humor. Results revealed light kissing to be the most prevalent of all sexual behaviors followed by passionate kissing, intimate touching, and sexual intercourse. Sexual talk was greatest when talking about future sexual actions or interests. Negative emotions due to sex, endorsement of contraceptives, and HIV/STIs had the greatest mentions of risk and responsibility. Additionally, humor was incorporated more frequently in scenes with risk and responsibility. Since humor can increase attention and interest in a topic, implications of GIRLS employing this appeal with risk and responsibility is discussed, especially as GIRLS paves the way for programming like it.
Let’s Just Wait Until It’s on Netflix: Movie Attendance in the Digital Age • Alec Tefertiller, University of Houston • Innovations in digital technology have provided consumers with a variety of screens and portals through which they can access motion picture entertainment. The purpose of this study is to understand what factors motivate consumers to experience a film in the theater versus waiting to see the film at home. Using the uses and gratifications framework coupled with the theory of reasoned action, this study found that affective gratifications exert the biggest influence on theatrical attendance.
Power Women: Exploring the Effects of Political Women on Television • YAOJUN YAN; Peta Long, Syracuse University; Jasmine Vickers, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY; Hanna Birkhead • This paper explores the intersection between the rise of political women characters in televised narratives and the rise of the number of women in the United States Congress. It examines data collected via an online survey (N=232), which indicates that there is a relationship between audience consumption of several popular entertainment narratives (The Good Wife, House of Cards, Madam Secretary, Parks and Recreation, Scandal, and Veep,) and attitude towards female politicians, and political participation.
Advocates, Guardians, and Promoters: Factors that Influence Community Journalists’ Coverage of Rural Poverty • Michael Clay Carey, Samford University • Incorporating research on structural pluralism and gatekeeping as a framework, this research utilizes interviews with local journalists at four different rural Appalachian community news outlets to consider factors that influence news coverage of poverty. Journalists described external and internal pressures that influenced the gatekeeping process, such as the urge to push for substantive change in their communities, the desire to protect residents viewed as vulnerable, and philosophies about what journalists generally and community journalists specifically should strive to accomplish. The strongly expressed at times conflicting personal motives heavily influenced the presence and tone of social issue, shaping coverage as much as (if not more than) the external pressures described in previous studies of structural pluralism. Often, they led journalists to limit or altogether avoid stories about social need. The problematic nature of that exclusion and strategies journalists might use to reorient coverage of poverty are discussed.
Health News Coverage in Kentucky Newspapers • Molly Burchett, University of Kentucky; Al Cross, University of Kentucky; Melissa Patrick, University of Kentucky • In Kentucky, a state with poor health status, the health coverage in community newspapers deals mainly with health behavior, primarily prevention, but though the state ranks No. 1 or 2 in smoking, very little behavior coverage is devoted to smoking. The broadest source of the coverage is from news releases and other subsidies of the news operation, including wire services. A new, specialized service aimed at rural media provided 1.6 percent of the coverage. Resistance to coverage of localities’ poor health status was illustrated by the paucity and nature of coverage of the annual County Health Rankings.
Community Journalism: Relentlessly Deviant? CATA of Normative Deviance and Localness in American Community Newspaper Websites • Marcus Funk, Sam Houston State University • Computerized content analysis software, or CATA, offers intriguing insight into the publication of normative deviance on the websites of American community and non-local newspapers. CATA of news factors, ANOVAs, and Pearson’s correlations indicate that community newspaper websites remain relentlessly local, but are otherwise as focused on normative deviance as metropolitan and national publications. Put another way: Once localness is established, online community newspaper content is statistically indistinguishable from online metropolitan and national newspaper content.
High Stakes in the High Plains: Attitudes of Rural Editors and Publishers in Areas Facing Depopulation • David Guth, University of Kansas • This survey research focuses on the attitudes of rural newspaper editors and publishers in the U.S. High Plains. The region faces depopulation that threatens the existence of their newspapers and communities. The editors and publishers are comfortable in their potential conflicting roles of community watchdog and booster. While respondents have positive attitudes toward the future of their publications, they are concerned about succession – Who will take their place when they are gone?
Building community through branding at NPR member stations • Joseph Kasko, University of South Carolina • This research is composed of 20 in-depth, qualitative interviews with managers at NPR stations across the U.S. to examine how they are attempting to build a sense of community through branding. The findings suggest public radio stations are promoting the NPR brand and local brand messages to build community. Stations are also promoting brand messages through events, community partnerships and electronic communication.
Cultivating News Coverage: An analysis of California agriculture reporting • Sandra Robinson, Cal State Monterey Bay • Agriculture is one of the largest industries in the world, the United States and California. The industry has an impact on our environment, economy and society. Since the 1950s, information about agriculture topics and issues has decreased in mainstream media, while niche agriculture and trade publications have become more prevalent. Media coverage of this industry matters. Newspapers remain a useful source for agriculture news, as this is often the most local media outlet in prime agriculture areas. This study examines agriculture reporting in select California newspapers and compares data with a previous study of Illinois newspapers. A topical and framing analysis determined California newspapers publish fewer, but longer articles about agriculture. In interviews, editors in both states said the loss of full time reporters is the greatest challenge to news coverage of all types. Both studies indicate a lack of critical coverage of the agriculture industry.
Appearance and Explanation: Advancements in the Evaluation of Information Graphics • Spencer Barnes, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Laura Ruel, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • The research presented in this paper offers new approaches to evaluate the efficacy of information graphics by examining how appearance and explanation can be quantified and analyzed via three novel measures: aesthetic value, learning efficiency, and performance efficiency. Little research has been conducted to determine the implications of these qualities. Findings suggest that information processing predicates explanation and that explanation makes slightly more of a contribution to one’s interaction with an information graphic than appearance.
Images of Arab Spring Conflict: A Content Analysis of Five pan-Arab TV News Networks • Michael Bruce, University of Alabama • Guided by framing theory a quantitative content analysis was conducted on news programming from five transnational satellite news channels that broadcast to/from the Arab world—Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera English, Al Arabiya, Alhurra, and BBC Arabic—to determine if differences exist between the networks, and between two dimensions of a network taxonomy—western and liberal commercial—in how Arab Spring conflict and violence was visually framed. Results show that the liberal commercial networks utilized more conflict visuals than western networks. Among the individual networks, Al Jazeera aired the most violent Arab Spring images. However, the majority of Arab Spring visuals from all the networks were conflict free, suggesting that Arab media is not as violent as anecdotal evidence suggests.
Place, space, and time: Elite media as visual gatekeepers in the formation of iconic imagery • Nicole Dahmen, University of Oregon; Daniel Morrison, University of Oregon • Media gatekeeping has been a critical component in the formation of iconic imagery. This research examines differences between identification of iconic imagery when comparing a prompt of commonly used elite media images to an unprompted response in effort to ascertain which images are, in fact, considered most iconic by audiences. Findings indicate that the democratization of the news via social media has had the unanticipated effect of rescinding the uniformity of collective visual consciousness and the traditional formation of iconic imagery.
Access Denied: Exploring the relationship between the Obama administration’s access policies and visual journalists’ ability to function as independent watchdogs • Nicole Dahmen, University of Oregon; Erin Coyle, Louisiana State University • The Obama administration has continued to restrict media access, specifically for visual journalists, to presidential events, instead offering White House captured photos, best described as visual news releases, which undermines the ability of the press to gather information and to report news. Through surveys and in-depth interviews with WHNPA members, findings provide evidence that visuals journalists understand their watchdog role and that White House practices interfere with visual journalists’ ability to perform this critical function.
Image, Race, and Rhetoric: The Contention for Visual Space on Twitter • Michael DiBari, Hampton University; Edgar Simpson • This study examines photographs associated with the Twitter hashtag ifiweregunneddown through the lens of visual rhetoric, concluding that social media users engaged in a protest against mainstream media by using images of themselves to reassert their identity. Data was examined through the theory of the public sphere, suggesting that societal members use information available to them to debate and determine meaning. This study also borrows theory from geography and the concept of contested space.
Finding Photojournalism: The Search for Photojournalism’s Birth as a Term and Practice • Timothy Roy Gleason, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh • The history of photojournalism is wealthy in tales of glory but poor in the understanding of how photojournalism emerged as a term and set of practices. This paper tracks the language used to describe pre-photojournalism through the beginnings of photojournalism, roughly marked as during WWII. Pictorial journalism and press photography can be viewed as photojournalism’s predecessors. Photojournalism, as a term, appeared as late as 1938, but it wouldn’t come into popular usage for decades.
Visually framing press freedom and responsibility of a massacre: Photographic and graphic images in Charlie Hedbo’s newspaper front pages around the world • Kristin Gustafson, University of Washington Bothell; Linda Jean Kenix • This research examines 441 front-page images published in 367 newspapers on the day following the shooting in Paris of twelve people at or near the satirical magazine to understand how mainstream media visually frame responsibility for the Charlie Hedbo massacre and how visual framing coalesced to represent collective narratives about press freedom. Through a collaborative visual analysis, this study attempts to understand how the selected visual frames worked to communicate the causes, effects, and responses to the massacre and also to press freedom—an ideological construct that that news media had a vested interest in advancing.
The State of the Scholarship: Exploring the theories and methods used in visual communication journals • Matthew Haught, University of Memphis; David Morris II, University of Memphis • As the field of visual communication continues to grow in academic program, its scholarship also has developed. Once rooted in communication, psychology, anthropology, and sociology, visual communication itself has emerged as an independent academic discipline. Yet, its research tends to draw on theories and methods from its roots. Using a content analysis of two leading visual communication journals, Visual Communication Quarterly and Visual Communication, this study compares the theoretical perspectives, research topics, methodologies, data collection and visual data used in visual communication research. It concludes that, overwhelmingly, photography and graphic design research dominate the visual communication landscape.
On their Own: Freelance Photojournalists in Conflict Zones • Pinar Istek • The recession increased media organizations’ reliance on freelance photojournalists, while affecting the support they receive covering conflict zones. This study investigates freelance and staff photojournalists’ perception of support they receive and whether that affects content produced. Grounded theory was used to analyze nine in-depth interviews with freelance and staff photojournalists. The research found that freelance photojournalists receive less than sufficient support. Both believe that support systems improve their coverage in conflict zones.
Visual Expressions of Black Identity: African American & African Museum Web sites • Melissa Johnson, NC State University; Keon Pettiway, NC State University • This qualitative and quantitative content analysis examines 46 African American museum Web sites. Described are images, sound, and visual dynamism. Merelman’s Cultural Projection theory serves as a foundation to explain how the African- and African American-centric organizations express Black and organizational identities. The findings add to the literature on counter-stereotypes, provide suggestions regarding methodological challenges of digital content analysis, and offer ideas for Web designers and content providers.
What Does Moral Look Like? A Second-Level Agenda-Setting Study Linking Nonverbal Behavior to Character Traits in Politicians • Danielle Kilgo; Trent Boulter; Renita Coleman • The study explores which nonverbal behaviors – specific facial expressions, and gestures – lead viewers to attribute specific character traits to political figures, building on the substantive dimension of second-level agenda setting theory. Findings include direct eye contact, shaking hands, and smiling lead to inferences of caring, and crossed arms make people think the person is uncaring. Shaking hands and raised, open arms led to inferences of competence. Honesty was only linked to raised or open arms.
Child Survivors of Sandy Hook: An Analysis of Front-Page Photographs in U.S Newspapers • Eun Jeong Lee, The University of Texas at Austin • This study examined how U.S. newspapers visually framed images of child survivors on their newspaper front-page. A content analysis of 646 photographs from U.S newspapers suggests that human interest framing dominated the news coverage by emphasizing graphic images of human suffering of tragic incident. The results also showed that U.S. newspapers were more likely to feature negative emotional portrayals of child survivors during the news coverage.
Visual Frames of War Photojournalism, Empathy, and Information Seeking • Jennifer Midberry, Temple University • This between-subjects experiment examines how people respond affectively and behaviorally to images that depict the human cost of war compared to those of militarism. More specifically, this paper investigates whether photos with three types of human-cost-of-war visual frames and with one militarism visual frame evoke differing levels of empathy, distress, and information seeking behavior in participants. The findings help expand our understanding about the way audiences emotionally process and react to conflict photos and they have implications for how photojournalists and photo editors might present audiences with images of war that will engage individuals rather than overwhelm them.
Al-Sabeen Square suicide attack remediated: A visual analysis of propaganda of the deed in Yemeni Press • Natalia Mielczarek • This project engages iconographic tracking and visual rhetorical analysis to analyze the remediation and recontextualization of terrorist-produced images in Yemeni press to cover one of the deadliest suicide bombings in recent history. The study offers the concept of participatory jihad, which explores the use of terrorist-produced photographs as user-generated content in participatory culture and illuminates the ongoing symbiotic relationship between mainstream media and modern-day terrorists as communicators.
Citizen Framing of Ferguson in 2015: Visual Representations on Twitter and Tumblr • Ceeon Smith, Arizona State University; Mia Moody-Ramirez, Baylor University; LIllie Fears; Randle Brenda • This content analysis of the photos and text in Tumblr posts and tweets following Michael Brown’s death in 2014 indicates the most salient themes characterized Ferguson as a war zone, Middle East-like and out of control. Citizens on both Twitter and Tumblr used similar photos and text to frame both Brown and Ferguson in a certain manner. Framing of Michael Brown, on the other hand, was dichotomous in nature, depicting him either as a hero or a villain. The most telling visual frames that emerged were the photos that included protestors engulfed in pillars of smoke, holding signs containing various messages or holding their arms in the air as a symbol of surrender. Comparing these two types of platforms provided the means for characterizing citizen framing of the Michael Brown killing in Ferguson, Mo.
Visual framing of global sporting events in world newspapers: A comparison study • David Morris II, University of Memphis • Newspapers have long covered worldwide sporting events; however, their coverage can reflect multiple viewpoints on the events. Using a content analysis of photography and design elements, this study considers the nationalist and global coverage frames used by newspapers worldwide for the 2014 Winter Olympics and FIFA World Cup. It found that newspapers use different visual tools to cover the sporting events, with photographs being the most prominent. Countries also tended to cover the events through a national perspective. Only Brazilian newspapers in the coverage of the FIFA World Cup provided extensive non-national coverage of the events. This study advances the understanding of newspapers as a means of building national identity, as sports and coverage of sports help to show pride in one’s own nation.
Hashing out the normal and the deviant: A visual stereotyping study of the stigmatization of marijuana use before and after recreational legalization in Colorado • Tara Marie Mortensen; Aimei Yang, University of Southern California; Anan Wan, University of South Carolina • In a development that Goffman (1963) refers to as normification, marijuana use in the United States is becoming more mainstream. Despite moves toward normification, the lingering stereotype of the marijuana user in the United States for many is that of the lazy, often-minority, lethargic and unkempt unmotivated young person; the pleasure-seeking, rebellious and criminal bum (Haines-Saah, et al., 2014; Lee, 2012; Simmons, 1965). This study was interested in examining visual stereotypes of marijuana users in the news, and whether normification – as measured by legalization in Colorado – had an effect on the presence of stereotypes. A quantitative content analysis of 458 visuals in 10 different media outlets of different political persuasions both six months prior to and six months proceeding legalization in Colorado was undertaken. Results show that while normification had little effect on stereotyping, political disposition of the news outlets was associated with different levels of stereotyping.
How The New York Times Uses Infographics and Data Visualizations Across News Sections and to Foster Engagement • Yee Man (Margaret) Ng, The University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism • This study assessed the differences in the use of infographics and visualizations across news sections and examined what built-in features tend to use to foster audience engagement. Adopting Segel and Heer (2010) narrative visualization categories, a content analysis and two in-depth case studies were conducted to analyze common design components employed on infographics and visualizations across news sections at the New York Times’ websites in 2012. It was found that the largest portion of the graphics produced was found in business and the economy sections. Graphs, such as line charts and bar charts, were the most popular design component. Author-driven and random access were the main approaches of narrative across all new sections. Three NYT editors were interviewed to provide a journalistic perspective on how infographics and visualizations could help audience engagement. They revealed that it was harder for editors and reporters to come up with unique features for hard news due to tighter deadlines. In contrast, visualizations for feature news were usually planned ahead of time and allowed sufficient time to experiment with interactive features. The main design principles included clear content, unique presentation and engaging exploration to readers. Also, interactive visualizations that offered readers an opportunity to figure out data related to them personally could improve audience engagement.
Anti-Smoking Ads and College Students • Sung Eun Park • College students account for a considerable number of smokers in the United States, and their consumption of cigarettes remains at high levels. Consequently, testing important ad components (i.e., image and message) is worthwhile. While the prevalence of celebrity spokespersons is salient in commercial product ads, celebrities received relatively little attention in the field of health communication. The study attempts to identify their influence on advertising effects: ad image likeability, ad helpfulness, and ad overall likeability.
Using Infographics in Television News: Effects of TV Graphics on Information Recall about Sexually Transmitted Diseases among Young Americans • Ivanka Pjesivac, University of Georgia; Nicholas Geidner, University of Tennessee; Laura Miller, University of Tennessee • This experimental study (N=113) examined the effects of the visual presentations of data in television news on young Americans’ recall of information about sexually transmitted diseases, as well as the roles of individual characteristics in this process. The results show that individuals who saw either a tabular or graphical presentation of information about sexually transmitted diseases better remembered that information than those who only heard the anchor describe the numbers. Our study further found that participants high in quantitative media literacy recalled significantly more information than participants low in quantitative media literacy, but this individual characteristic did not moderate the relationship between style of information presentation and recall. Spatial thinking did not significantly predict information recall, although the effect went into the right direction. The results support the assumptions of Dual-Coding theory of information processing and Limited Capacity Model of mediated message processing. It also represents the first step in linking individual differences to the processing of information from infographics from television news.
Twitter Images in Middle Eastern Higher Education: A Visual Content Analysis Approach • Husain Ebrahim, University of Kansas; Hyunjin Seo, University of Kansas • We conducted a content analysis of 537 Twitter images posted by Kuwait University, King Saud University of Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates University to examine how public universities in the Middle East use social media to promote their agenda. Specifically, we analyzed prominent topics and democracy frames featured in the Twitter images as well as structural characteristics of those images. In terms of image type, most Twitter images posted by the three universities were still photos. Our analysis shows significant differences between the three universities in terms of the most prominent topic category and democracy frame. A significantly higher proportion of the Twitter images posted by Kuwait University featured educational and political topic categories. In comparison, the social topic category was the most prominent in the Twitter images posted by King Saud University and United Arab Emirates University. Our analysis of democracy frames shows that these public universities often used their social media channels to promote the respective government’s political agenda. These and other findings are discussed in the context of the rising social media use in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and the role of visuals in the society.
Feeling the disaster: An interpretive visual analysis of emotive television reportage following Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan • Chiaoning Su, Temple University • The televisual medium is particularly keyed into the emotional narratives of disaster. Using an interpretive visual analysis to examine the first week of broadcast news coverage of Typhoon Morakot—one of the worst natural disasters in Taiwanese history, this article found a series of television techniques, such as interruption of commercials, live broadcasting, dramatization, and cinematic vignettes, have been used to convey and elicit the feelings of horror, grief, anger, pride, and compassion from the audience. While many media critics reduce such media construction to evidence of weepy journalism and therapy news, which exploits public emotions to boost ratings, this article explores the cultural function of emotive disaster coverage. In fact, such coverage united a traumatized society and allowed journalists to establish their cultural authority through emotional storytelling .
Putting pictures in our heads: Second-level agenda setting of news stories and photos • Carolyn Yaschur, Augustana College • Using an experimental design, this research explores the second-level agenda-setting effects of news stories and photographs independent of each other. The tone of both stories and photos influences public opinion on an affective level. Negative stories and photographs elicited negative opinions and attitudes about the issues presented, while positive responses resulted from both positive stories and photographs. Additionally, need for orientation was not found to be a predictor of second-level agenda-setting effects.
Who are the Journalism Kids, and Do They Do Better? • Peter Bobkowski, University of Kansas; Sarah Cavanah, University of Minnesota; Patrick Miller, University of Kansas • Research linking journalism participation in secondary schools with academic outcomes has not adequately addressed selection. Using Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 data, this study (1) examined the academic and demographic attributes of high school journalists, and (2) assessed academic outcomes after accounting for these attributes. High school journalists had higher English self-efficacy, achievement, and positive attachment to school than their peers. Controlling for these attributes, journalists scored modestly higher than non-journalists on standardized English tests.
A Look at Student Communication Degree Choices: Influences and timing • Candace Bowen, Kent State University; Maggie Cogar, Kent State University • This study examines the timing of student degree choices in Kent State University’s College of Communication and Information and what influences those choices. The study used a quantitative approach and found many students make these decisions early in their college careers or while still in high school. It also found participation in communications-related activities in high school leads to an earlier declaration of their major.
Teaching Multimedia Journalism to High School Students Through the Lens of Freedom Summer • Paromita Pain, The University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism; Gina Masullo Chen, The University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism; Christopher P. Campbell, The University of Southern Mississippi, School of Mass Communication and Journalism • In-depth qualitative interviews with participants of a high school journalism workshop reveal that immersing students in coverage of a historically important news event enhances learning of multimedia journalism. Study explores how using a team-based approach to coverage of the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, a key event in Mississippi’s civil rights history, bolsters students’ ability to learn to tell stories using text, photos, video, social media, radio, and blogs. Ramifications for multimedia education are proposed.
African American Kansas scholastic journalism: A loss of minority voices in the construct of democracy • Jerry Crawford • The primary purpose of this study is to begin eliminating the gap in the literature regarding African American high school journalism students by examining the paucity of African American students in the state of Kansas’s high school journalism programs. Is there a lack of equitable courses and recruitment of these students in journalism courses? Do advisers see the need to diversify their classroom? Adding to the threat is a of lack funding for Kansas’s high school programs and the myriad demands placed on advisers, including their time and the dilemma of joining state, regional and national professional organizations.
#Mustread: How Journalism Textbooks Address Social Media • Aileen Gallagher; Hanna Birkhead • This study examines introductory news writing texts to determine how they teach social media in a journalistic context. Researchers conducted a content analysis of a dozen leading journalism textbooks and coded for mentions of specific social media platforms as well as instructional emphasis for using these platforms. Researchers found that Twitter was the platform identified most frequently in the text and that textbooks emphasized using social media primarily as a news-gathering tool.
Determining Predictors of Students’ Success in a Mass Communication Research with an Emphasis on Statistical Learning • Jeffrey Hedrick, Jacksonville State University; J. Patrick McGrail, Jacksonville State University • The current study takes previous research of mass communication students and their mathematical abilities, along with statistic education studies to determine a methodology for predicting successful student performance in a research course that requires statistical proficiency within coursework. Student’s grades in the prerequisite math course, any other prior math education in statistics, and their ACT/SAT served as numerical predictors. Independent variables included gender and area of emphasis within communication. The results support previous findings that journalism majors performed the highest, on average, while finding previous math grades and ACT scores to be moderate predictors of success.
What’s in a Name? Boundary Work and a High School Newspaper’s Effort to Ban Redskin • Marina Hendricks, University of Missouri-Columbia • A Pennsylvania high school newspaper published an editorial in Fall 2013 to announce its decision to cease using the name of the school’s sports teams, Redskins. That decision prompted the local school board to institute a policy giving administrators more editorial control over the newspaper. The controversy resonated with U.S. professional journalists, who followed it as it developed. This qualitative textual analysis of 94 news articles sought to understand the boundary work of those journalists.
The Historical Impact of City, State, Regional and National Scholastic Press Associations To High School Journalism • Bruce Konkle, University of South Carolina • Nearly 100 years have passed since a scholastic press association was organized in Oklahoma, with more than 165 similar organizations impacting high school publications since 1916. To understand various associations’ influence on scholastic journalism, this project highlights their importance to the improvement of student publications, addresses research concerning numerous associations, notes services associations offer members, and lists past and present associations that have had, and continue to have, an influence on print and online student media.
Making Mojos: How iPads are enhancing Mobile Journalism Education • NICOLE KRAFT, THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY; NATALEE SEELY, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • Journalism students can no longer focus on being just writers or photographers. They need many media skills to have the greatest potential for career success. The iPad and supporting apps create a single tool for students to develop those skills, including note taking, recording, researching, writing and dissemination. We conducted a yearlong study of beginning journalism students utilizing iPads and apps in a flipped journalism class (lectures are homework, and skills are developed in class) and found the iPad could be used to augment journalistic training and accelerate student learning.
Self-Censorship in the High School Press: How principals, advisers, and peers influence comfort with controversial topics • Adam Maksl, Indiana University Southeast • A survey of young college students (N=171) was used to examine what educational factors influenced former high school journalism students’ comfort levels with controversial stories running in the student newspaper. Results suggest that perceptions of peers’ and advisers’ comfort with publishing controversial stories influences individual comfort levels. Contrary to suggestions from other scholastic journalism research, former scholastic journalists’ perceptions of their principals’ opinions were minimally predictive of individual comfort levels with running controversial stories.
The usefulness of a news media literacy measure in evaluating a news literacy curriculum • Adam Maksl, Indiana University Southeast; Stephanie Craft, University of Illinois; Seth Ashley, Boise State University; Dean Miller, Stony Brook University • A survey of college students showed those who had taken a news literacy course had significantly higher levels of news media literacy, greater knowledge of current events and higher motivation to consume news, compared with students who had not taken the course. The effect of taking the course did not diminish over time. Results validate the News Media Literacy scale and suggest the course is effective in helping equip students to understand and interpret news.
Readability and rationale of student speech policy • Erica Salkin, Whitworth University • When public high school students seek to understand their expression rights within their schools, their first stop isn’t the variety of court precedents and state statutes that explain such rights, but rather their own student handbooks and codes of conduct. This study explores student handbooks from 15 states to see how student speech rights and responsibilities are presented, both in terms of clarity of purpose and of readability fit to a high school student.
Engaging the Public with CSR Activities Through Social Media • Alan Abitbol, Texas Tech University; Sun Young Lee, Texas Tech University • This study examines how communicating corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives via Facebook impact public engagement. Using the stakeholder and dialogic theories as frameworks, a content analysis of 533 Fortune 500 companies’ CSR-specific posts was conducted. After testing the effects of issue topic and three dialogic strategies on public engagement, results indicated that the use of multimedia content and interactive language in messages affected public engagement most. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed further.
Making social media work: Modeling the antecedents and outcomes of perceived relationship investment of nonprofit organizations • Giselle Auger, Duquesne University; Moonhee Cho, University of Tennessee • A lack of empirical studies prompted the development and testing of a model investigating the antecedents and outcomes of perceived relationship investment (PRI) in nonprofits. All parts of the model were supported including antecedent tactics of tangible rewards, interactivity, and information sharing, their effect on relationship quality, and positive behavioral intentions such as keeping the organization foremost in consideration of volunteer time or large gift allocation when time or financial resources allow.
Campaign and Corporate Goals in Conflict: Exploring Corporate Social Initiative Types and Company Issue Congruence • Lucinda Austin, Elon University; Barbara Miller, Elon University • Corporate social responsibility is increasingly important in boosting public acceptance for companies, and emerging research suggests corporate social marketing could be the most effective type of CSR. However, scholars caution that corporate social marketing is not a one-size-fits-all. Through a content analysis of Coca-Cola’s social media posts on its controversial topics related to sustainability, this study explores how corporate social initiative type and company-issue congruence influence public response to an organization’s social media CSR posts.
Communicating Sustainability: An Examination of Corporate, Nonprofit, and UniversityWebsites • Holly Ott, The Pennsylvania State University; Ruoxu Wang, Penn State University; Denise Bortree, Penn State University • This study analyzed the websites of top corporations, nonprofits, and colleges/universities for the types of sustainability content presented. Comparisons are made between organization types. Few nonprofits in the sample provided sustainability content; however, nearly all universities and over half of the corporations had a designated sustainability section on their websites. Findings suggest that organizations are promoting certain content, and fewer than 40% quantify their sustainability claims on any topic. Implications are discussed.
More than just a lack of uniformity: Exploring the evolution of public relations master’s programs • Rowena Briones, Virginia Commonwealth University; Hongmei Shen, San Diego State University; Candace Parrish, Virginia Commonwealth University; Elizabeth Toth, University of Maryland; Maria Russell, Syracuse University • PR is well known for its adaptability through continual change, and as a result PR master’s programs have been re-conceptualized to remain rigorous and competitive. Twenty in-depth interviews were conducted with administrators of PR master’s programs. Findings demonstrated that although many programs have moved away from traditional curricula, programs exist that still model CPRE recommendations. These findings could be used to better ground the discipline by ensuring a stronger cohesiveness within PR master’s education.
If organizations are people, they need to have the same values: Personal values and organizational values in stakeholder evaluations of organizational legitimacy • John Brummette, Radford University; Lynn Zoch, Radford University • In today’s Linked-in, friend heavy, tweeted about world, in which many organizations have constituents who follow, share and like them, the general public often places anthropomorphic expectations on organizations. This study found a positive relationship between individuals’ personal values and the values they deem as desirable for organizations. Findings from this study also support the assumption that human and organizational values are directly related with the concept of organizational legitimacy.
The effect of CSR expectancy violations on public attitudinal and behavioral responses to corporations: An application of expectancy violation theory • Moonhee Cho, University of Tennessee; Sun-Young Park, Rowan University; Soojin Kim, University of Florida • By applying expectancy violation theory (EVT) to corporate public relations, the study explored how publics respond to an organization’s CSR activities. A 2 (publics’ pre-predictive CSR expectancy) X 2 (CSR practice information) experimental study examined how both negative and positive expectancy violation and conformity influenced publics’ attitude toward an organization and their supportive behavior intention. Also, the study explained the moderating role of corporate likability in influencing the effect of expectancy violation.
Crisis communication and corporate apology: The effects of causal attributions and apology types on publics’ cognitive and affective responses • Surin Chung, University of Missouri Columbia; Suman Lee, Iowa State University • This study examined how corporate apologies influence cognitive and affective public responses during a crisis. A total of 200 participants were exposed to one of the two types of causal attributions (internal vs. external) and one of the two types of apology messages (responsibility-oriented vs. sympathy-oriented). The study found the main effects of causal attributions on public responses. The study also revealed the interaction effects between causal attributions and apology messages on public responses.
Reassessment of audience in public relations industry: How social media reshape public relations measurements • Surin Chung, University of Missouri Columbia; Harsh Taneja, University of Missouri, School of Journalism • The growing adoption of social media in PR practice has provided opportunities for newer audience measurements and contributed to cultivating newer conceptions of their audience. This study conducts a historical textual analysis of articles in PR Week to establish the conception. The analysis maps the structural transformation of the field that has guided the PR industry’s reconceptualization of their audiences from the quantity of media placements to the quantity and the quality of behavioral outcomes.
The Effects of Framing in Mainstream and Alternative Media on Government Public Relationships • Ganga Dhanesh; Tracy Loh • This study aimed to examine the effects of differential framing in alternative media and mainstream media on publics’ perceptions of government-public relationships; an attempt to integrate the rich bodies of work in framing and relationship management theorizing in public relations, in the context of government public relations and the challenges thrown up by the emergence of alternative media. The study employed an experimental design and found that reading alternative media negatively affected publics’ perceptions of trust, commitment, control mutuality and satisfaction, but not communal and exchange relationships. Reading mainstream media on the other hand had no significant relationship with publics’ perceptions of government-public relationship. The difference in effect is attributed to the framing devices employed in alternative and mainstream media. Implications for public relations theory and practice are discussed.
Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right: Journalist perceptions of reputation and errors in corporate communication • Melanie Formentin, Towson University; Kirstie Hettinga, California Lutheran University; Alyssa Appelman, Northern Kentucky University • Exploring reputation and organizational communication, this study tests how journalists perceive press releases containing errors, and examines the legitimacy of using fictional organizations when testing reputation via experiments. Journalists (N = 118) read releases from reputable or fictional companies, with or without typos. Releases without errors and from an existing company were ranked more favorably based on press release judgments and reputation. Analysis showed no interaction effects, suggesting reputation cannot overcome negative error effects.
Care in Crisis: Proposing the Applied Model of Care Considerations for Public Relations • Julia Daisy Fraustino, West Virginia University; Amanda Kennedy, University of Maryland • This work builds global bridges from ethics theory to practice in crisis public relations. It forms foundations for ethical organizational communication throughout the crisis lifecycle and across contexts. The Applied Model of Care Considerations is proposed using the illustration of Nestle’s global baby-formula-promotion crisis. Rooted in feminist normative philosophies, this research addresses public relations literature gaps from lack of: (1) general crisis ethics theory; (2) applied crisis communication ethics for practice; (3) feminist-theory-oriented crisis communication.
Mascot Nations: Examining university-driven college football fan communities • Matthew Haught, University of Memphis • In the sport of college football, engagement with fans drives revenue for the sports teams and the athletic department; the more fans buy, the more money the school gets. This study examines the ways college football teams use Facebook to engage their publics, and how that engagement builds a sense of community. Specifically, it explores six teams that represent new college foot-ball teams, mid-major teams, and state flagship institution teams. Ultimately, it seeks to explain how social media can be a force in establishing and maintaining an online community.
Informing crisis communication preparation and response through network analysis: An elaboration of the Social-Mediated Crisis Communication model • Itai Himelboim, University of Georgia; Yan Jin, University of Georgia; Bryan Reber, University of Georgia; Patrick Grant, University of Georgia • To test and elaborate as necessary the Social-Mediated Crisis Communication (SMCC) model’s key publics classifications (Liu et al., 2012) and to provide practical insight to public identification for crisis communication planning and response, this study uses network analysis to identify social mediators (Himelboim et al., 2014) and clustered publics in airline Twitter networks. In our analysis, social mediators and network clusters are classified according to the publics taxonomy of the SMCC model. The characteristics of the social mediators and the network structure of the clusters are also identified in airline Twitter networks. Our findings suggest further elaborations and more in-depth identification of key publics in social-mediated crisis communication.
Minding the representation gap: Some pitfalls of linear crisis-response theory • Yi-Hui Huang, The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Hiu Ying Choy, The School of Journalism and Communication, The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Fang Wu, The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Qing Huang, The School of Journalism and Communication, The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Qijun He, the Chinese University of Hong Kong; Deya Xu, Department of Communication, CUHK • Scholars assume the direct influence of crisis communication strategies (CCSs) upon representations of CCSs in the media and online public posts. This study 1) introduces the concept of representation gap to address how media and netizen’s gatekeeping practices represent organizational CCSs differently; and 2) highlights how social context leads to an evaluation gap of communication effectiveness. Analysis validates the robust predictive power of this representation gap with regard to interpreting the effectiveness of CCSs.
Too much of a good thing: When does two-way symmetric communication become unhelpful? • Yi Grace Ji, University of Miami; Cong Li, Univ. of Miami • The current study proposes a moderated mediation model by revisiting the effects of two-way symmetric communication on relational outcomes in a social-mediated relationship management context. Through a 2 (interactivity: one-way vs. two way) × 2 (message valence: positive vs. negative) between-subjects experiment, it was demonstrated that two-way symmetric communication led to more favorable relational outcomes only when the communication was centered on a negative subject, and such effects were mediated by perceived source credibility.
Making a good life in professional and personal arenas: A SEM analysis of fair decision making, leadership, organizational support, and quality of Employee-Organization Relationships (EORs) • Hua Jiang, Syracuse University • Scholars and practitioners have well acknowledged the importance of studying influential factors leading to quality employee-organization relationships (EORs). A growing body of literature exist in developing theoretical models to explain the underlying mechanisms between EORs and organizational contextual variables that are closely related to EOR outcomes (trust, commitment, satisfaction, and control mutuality). Based on a national sample of employees (n=795) working in diverse organizations in the US, the present study proposed and tested a model that examined how organizational procedural justice, transformational leadership behaviors of employees’ immediate supervisors, and supportive organizational environment, as three influential factors were associated with time-based and strain-based work-life conflict and employee-organization relationship outcomes. Results of the study supported the conceptual model, except for the direct effect of transformational leadership upon strain-based work-life conflict and that of strain-based work-life conflict upon quality of EORs. Theoretical contributions and managerial ramifications of the study were discussed.
Is there still a PR problem online? Exploring the effects of different sources and crisis response strategies in online crisis communication via social media • Young Kim, Louisiana State University; Hyojung Park, Louisiana State University • This study examined how organizational sources (vs. non-organizational sources) affect perceived source credibility in the context of social media and how the effect of source interplays with crisis response strategy in determining crisis communication outcomes, such as crisis responsibility, reputation, and supportive behavioral intentions. A 3 (source: organization, CEO, or customer) X 2 (crisis response strategy: accommodative or defensive) X 2 (crisis type: airline crash or bank hacking) mixed experimental design was used with 391 participants. The organizational sources, especially CEOs, were more likely to be perceived as more credible than the non-organizational source. The path analysis indicated that perceived source credibility mediated the effect of source on reputation and behavioral intentions; however, this mediation was moderated by the type of crisis response strategy being used. In addition, crisis response strategies had an indirect effect on crisis communication outcomes through perceived company credibility.
Understanding public and its communicative actions as antecedents of government-public relationships in crisis communication • Young Kim, Louisiana State University; Andrea Miller, Louisiana State University; Hyunji Lim, University of Miami • This study explored an effective government-public relationship by understanding its antecedents, public and its communicative actions, in crisis communication. The government-public relationship research has overlooked the importance of its antecedents and focused on the quality of relationship (outcome) in terms of long term relationship building. To fill the gap, the current study attempts to understand public and its communicative actions as antecedents of government-public relationships in a government crisis, problem-solving situation, by applying a Situational Theory of Problem Solving (STOPS) to relationship research. Using an online nationwide survey with 545 participants, this study tested a proposed model employing structural equation modeling (SEM). The findings indicate that active public’s communication behaviors are more likely to positively associate with attribution of responsibility on the organization and, at the same time, negatively associate with relationship outcomes and subsequent consequences, negative reputation and less behavioral intention to support. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
The value of public relations: Different impacts of communal and exchange relationships on communicative behavior • Jarim Kim, Kookmin University; Minjung Sung, Chung-Ang University • The purpose of this paper was to investigate the impacts of relationship on organization-public relationships using the situational theory of publics and its extended model, specifically in a tuition issue context, and to test the different effects of a communal and exchange relationship on a public’s perception regarding the issue. The study employed a survey with 508 university students. The results indicated that the perceived student-university relationship had a positive influence on students’ constraint recognition regarding a university-related issue, whereas the relationship had a negative influence on problem recognition. Problem recognition, involvement recognition and constraint recognition positively predicted students’ motivation to take an action, which further predicted communicative action. The current study also found a different influence of communal and exchange relationships on the public’s perception regarding an issue. Communal relationships had a negative association with problem recognition and a positive one with constraint recognition. Exchange relationships had positive relationships with problem recognition and involvement recognition. As one of the few studies that has examined a relationship’s influence on the public’s perceptions of an issue and that empirically tested the differential effects of different types of relationships, this study advances the field of public relations by theoretically extending the public relations model and by providing solid empirical data to support the current conceptual model.
Examining the Role of CSR in Corporate Crises: Integration of Situational Crisis Communication Theory and the Persuasion Knowledge Model • Jeesun Kim, California State University, Fullerton; Chang-Dae Ham • The impact of corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities on consumer perceptions has widely been discussed. However, knowledge about the role of CSR communication in the corporate crisis context is still limited. In this study we aim to help fill this gap by conducting 2 (crisis type: accidental vs. intentional) x 2 (CSR motives: values-driven vs. strategic-driven) x 2 (CSR history: long vs. short) between-subjects design experiment. In particular, we integrate Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT) with the Persuasion Knowledge Model (PKM) to better understand how and why consumers, as an active public, cope with rather than simply accept or resist corporate crisis strategies based on their knowledge structure. We found an interaction effect between consumers’ persuasion knowledge (CSR motive perception) and topic knowledge (crisis type perception) on word-of-mouth intention and purchase intention. In addition, persuasion knowledge (CSR motive perception) interacted with agent knowledge (CSR history perception) on purchase intention. We discuss theoretical as well as practical implications.
Relational Immunity? Examining Relationship as Crisis Shield in the case of Purdue’s On-Campus Shooting • Arunima Krishna, Purdue University; Brian Smith, Purdue University; Staci Smith • This study examined the influence of a crisis on relational perceptions by investigating students’ perceptions of their relationship with Purdue University following the on-campus shooting. Findings show that despite the generally positive relationship Purdue maintains with its students, the crisis had a negative impact on the students’ perceptions of their relationship with Purdue. Furthermore, results show how publics’ emotions, especially empathy, about the organization regarding the crisis influence their evaluations of organization-public relationships
Understanding an Angry Hot-Issue Public’s response to The Interview Cancellation Saga • Arunima Krishna, Purdue University; Kelly Vibber, University of Dayton • This study examines comments on online news articles about The Interview’s cancellation and eventual release. We examine these comments from the context of communication behaviors of hot-issue angry publics, and present a longitudinal analysis of themes present over the duration of the issue. Anti-corporate sentiment, conspiracy, and questioning the film content/premise were consistent throughout the timeline. Discussion on how monitoring these types of communication might lead to better engagement with key publics is provided.
Never Easy to Say Sorry: Exploring the Interplay of Crisis Involvement, Brand Image and Message Framing in Developing Effective Crisis Responses • Soyoung Lee, The University of Texas at Austin; Lucy Atkinson, University of Texas at Austin • This study examines how the interplay between crisis involvement, brand image, and message framing has an impact on the effectiveness of brand’s apology message in a crisis context. To determine the effectiveness of an apology, based on SCCT guidance and ELM, a 2 (Crisis involvement: high vs low) × 2 (Brand image: symbolic vs. functional) × 2 (Message types: emotional vs. informational) factorial design are employed. Theoretical and empirical implications are discussed.
The Role of Company–Cause Congruence and the Moderating Effects of Organization–Public Relationships on the Negative Spillover Effects of Partnerships • Sun Young Lee, Texas Tech University; Hyejoon Rim, University of Minnesota • The purpose of this study was to explore whether negative spillover effects occur in the corporate–nonprofit partnership context when a crisis strikes a partner organization, and to investigate two factors—company–cause congruence and organization–public relationships (OPRs)—that might affect the degree of negative impact. The results of an experiment proved negative spillover effects; when respondents were exposed to negative information about a partner organization, their attitude toward the principal organization became less favorable. Contrary to our hypotheses, however, the perceived congruence between the company and the cause of the nonprofit organization yielded buffering effects that minimized the negative spillover effects, and OPRs moderated the impacts. We discuss the practical and theoretical implications.
Understanding Consumer Resentment Before It’s too Late: Empirical Testing of A Service Failure Response Model • Zongchao Li; Don Stacks, University of Miami • This paper investigated consumer response mechanism in a service failure context. A Service Failure Response Model was introduced that incorporated emotive and cognitive antecedents, a mediation process and four behavioral outcomes. Data were collected via an online survey (N=371) and further analyzed using the structural equation modeling approach. Results confirmed the Service Failure Response Model: anger, dissatisfaction and perceived betrayal were emotive/cognitive antecedents that lead to consumers’ exit, voice, and revenge responses. This process was mediated by desire for avoidance and desire for revenge.
Crowd Endorsement on Social Media: Persuasive Effects of Organizations’ Retweeting and Role of Social Presence • Young-shin Lim; Roselyn J. Lee-Won, The Ohio State University • Despite the technological affordances of social media platforms allowing organizations to engage in two-way, many-to-many communication with their stakeholders, organizations tend to simply posts unilateral messages. Drawing on the concept of social presence and the theory of reasoned action, this research investigated the persuasive effects of organizations’ retweeting practices. An online experiment was conducted, featuring a Twitter page of a fictitious organization. Results showed that retweeted user messages, when compared with organization’s original tweets, induced higher levels of social presence, which in turn led to higher levels of social norm perception, more positive attitude toward the behavior advocated by the organization, and stronger intention to perform the advocated behavior. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Crucial Linkages in Successful Public Relations Practice: Organizational Culture, Leadership, Engagement, Trust and Job Satisfaction • Juan Meng, University of Georgia; Bruce Berger, University of Alabama • The study examines the effects of critical organizational factors (organizational culture and excellent leader performance) on public relations practitioners’ job engagement and trust in the organization that link to improved job satisfaction. A national online survey of 883 public relations professionals working in a variety of organizations was used as the empirical data to test the relationships in a proposed conceptual model. Results confirmed the strong impact organizational culture and leader performance can have on outcomes at the practitioner level (engagement, trust, and job satisfaction). In addition, results revealed the significant mediating effects of engagement and trust in the relationship between organizational factors and practitioners’ job satisfaction. The study concludes with research and practical implications.
Change Management Communication: Barriers, Strategies & Messaging • Marlene Neill, Baylor University • In a world characterized by constant change, there has been a neglect of scholarly research on change management communication in the context of public relations. Through 32 in-depth interviews with executives in marketing, public relations and human resources, this study provides new insights into the barriers, effective strategies and key messaging in change management communication. Change management was examined in 10 sectors representing 15 employers. Barriers for communicators included lack of a plan, changing plans, change fatigue and multiple cultures, missions and priorities. In addition, public relations tended to serve more of a tactical role rather than a strategic one being brought in after key decisions had already been made. Effective communication approaches internal communicators reported using included road trips by senior leaders to meet with employees, videos, testimonials, and recruiting employee ambassadors or influencers. Executives said messages should reinforce core values, communicate what the changes mean for employees, the benefits of the change and end goals.
Political Organization-Public Relations and Trust: Facebook vs. Campaign Websites • David Painter, Full Sail University • This experimental investigation (N = 649) parses the influence of online information source and interactivity on the effects of strategic campaign communications on gains in citizen-political organization-public relations and political trust. Although simple exposure exerted significant effects on all participants, the results indicate Facebook was differentially more effective than campaign websites at building overall citizen-political party relationships (POPRs) and trust in government. Specifically, Facebook was more effective at building relational trust, control mutuality, and political trust; while campaign websites were more effective at building satisfaction and commitment, particularly among those who engaged in dialogic, expressive behaviors on either platform. These findings verify the direction of the exposure effects in the political organization-public relations model and extend two-way communication theory by specifying the online platform on which expression exerts the greatest positive influence on citizen-political organization relationships and political trust.
Fashion Meets Twitter: Does the Source Matter? Perceived Message Credibility, Interactivity and Purchase Intention • Yijia Wang; Geah Pressgrove, West Virginia University • Through an online survey, this study explored the perceived source credibility of fashion industry Twitter messages with varying message sources (the brand itself, celebrity endorser, friend/acquaintance). Online interactivity and purchase intention of potential customers were also assessed to examine if a particular message source and its credibility increase the likelihood of online engagement with the message and customers’ intention to purchase.
How Negative Becomes Less Negative: The Interplay between Comment Variance and the Sidedness of Company Response • Hyejoon Rim, University of Minnesota; Doori Song, Youngstown State University • The study examined the influence of the public’s negative comments regarding the CSR campaign in the social media setting, and how best to respond to them. A 2 (variance of comments: positive vs. negative) x 2 (company’s responding strategy: 1-sided vs. 2-sided message) between-subjects experiments was employed. The results revealed that two-sided CSR messages, compared to one-sided responses, are more effective in enhancing altruistic motives of CSR, reducing perceived negativity in consumers’ comments, and eliciting favorable public’s attitudes, especially when the consumer’s comments were negative. The effects of message sidedness disappeared when the consumer’s comments were positive. The results also showed that perceived altruism and perceived negativity mediates the effects of message strategies on the public’s attitudes toward the company.
Taking the ice bucket plunge: Social and psychological motivations for participating in the ALS challenge • Soojin Roh, Syracuse University; Tamara Makana Chock • An online survey (N = 511) investigated the impact of narcissistic personality, selective self-presentation, and the need for interpersonal acceptance in people’s decision to take part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. We also examined how and to what extent these factors differed in terms of the type of contribution (e.g. dumping water over head, donation, and doing both). Implications for social media campaign strategies for long-term engagement and directions for future research were discussed.
Time-lagged Analysis of Third-level Agenda-building: Florida’s Debate on Medical Marijuana • Tiffany Schweickart; Jordan Neil; Ji Young Kim; Josephine Lukito, Syracuse University; Tianduo Zhang; Guy Golan; Spiro Kiousis • This study aims to advance theoretical and practical understanding of political public relations in the context of Florida’s Amendment 2 about the legalization of medical marijuana. This unique context was used to explore the salience of stakeholders, issues, and related attributes between public relations messages and media coverage at all three-levels of agenda-building’s theoretical framework using a time-lagged analysis. Our results present strong support for shared influence between campaign and media agenda-building at three levels.
Biological Sex vs. Gender Identity: Nature vs. Nurture in Explicating Practitioner Roles and Salaries in Public Relations • Bey-Ling Sha, San Diego State University; Courtney White; Elpin Keshishzadeh; David Dozier • Using an online survey of members of the Public Relations Society of America (response rate = 14%), this study found that enactment of the manager and technician roles in public relations was unrelated to practitioners’ biological sex, but was related instead to their avowed, predominant gender identity. Both biological sex and predominant gender identity were found to contribute to the persistent, gendered pay gap in public relations. (67 words)
An Analysis of Tweets by Universities and Colleges: Public Engagement and Interactivity • jason Beverly; Jae-Hwa Shin, University of Southern Mississippi • The analysis of 1,550 individual tweets by colleges and universities suggest that institutions of higher learning are not necessarily using Twitter in a dialogic manner that promotes two-way communication. This supports findings from previous studies that have suggested that colleges and universities fail to incorporate the dialogic features of Twitter as part of their online public relations efforts.
Public Relations as Development Communication? Conceptual Overlaps and Prospects for a Societal Paradigm of Public Relations • Katie Brown, University of Maryland; Sylvia Guo, University of Maryland; Brooke Fowler, University of Maryland; Claire Tills, University of Maryland; Sifan Xu, University of Maryland; Erich Sommerfeldt, University of Maryland • A thorough discussion of the overlaps between development communication and public relations is missing from the literature. This paper provides a first step towards an integration of public relations and development by reviewing theories and concepts within development communication literature and public relations scholarship examining areas relevant to international development practice. The paper highlights theoretical and conceptual overlaps between the disciplines as well as similar challenges in practice, and offers suggestions for developing a societal paradigm of public relations.
The Importance of Authenticity in Corporate Social Responsibility • Mary Ann Ferguson; Baobao Song • This experimental research with 395 consumers explored the effects of prior corporate reputation, stated CSR motive (self vs. social), and CSR brand-cause fit on consumers’ attitude towards the company and behavioral intention. In addition, the study incorporated a new variable in CSR communication model – perceived CSR authenticity. Having a poor corporate reputation requires specific attention be paid to the fit and stated motive of the CSR program particularly when the authenticity of the communication is under suspicion. Corporate messages that are perceived as highly authentic will provide equally positive results for companies with good and bad prior reputations. Overall, this study suggested a holistic view on effective CSR communication.
Towards effective CSR in controversial industry sectors: Effect of industry sector, corporate reputation, and company-cause fit • Baobao Song; Jing (Taylor) Wen, University of Florida; Mary Ann Ferguson • Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been well recognized as a critical component for any company to maintain organizational legitimacy and increase consumers’ positive company evaluation. However, only a few CSR studies have focused on controversial industries. In fact, controversial industry sectors tend to be more committed to CSR, in order to defy their negative images and reputations. Given the conflicted nature of companies in controversial industries, this study is aimed to further unveil the differences between controversial industries and non-controversial industries in terms of CSR outcomes. Particularly, this study tries to dissect the concept of corporate reputation from industry controversy, and examine whether corporate reputation and CSR company-cause fit will affect controversial industries vs. non-controversial industries differently.
Do you see what I see? Perceptions between advertising and public relations professionals • Dustin Supa, Boston University • This study represents an initial step in the empirical understanding of integration as it relates to the advertising and public relations fields. Using a survey of practitioners (n=1076) it finds that while many practitioners are aware of integration efforts within organizations, they may be less than enthusiastic about the concept. The results offer suggestions both for the practice and education of professional communication.
Understanding Shareholder Engagement: The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility • Nur Uysal, Marquette University • The rise of shareholder activism for corporate social responsibility (CSR) in recent years charters a new role for public relations professionals. This study analyzes social activism enacted by institutional shareholders through filing resolutions at publicly traded U.S. corporations between 1997 and 2011 (N = 14, 271). Building on the literature in public relations, management, and social movements, the study develops and tests a theory of shareholder engagement through a tripartite framework. The findings showed that corporate stakeholder commitment, issue type, and sponsor type affect the outcomes of shareholder activist-corporate engagement on CSR issues. We argue that CSR is both an antecedent to engagement and also an outcome and public relations professionals can facilitate the engagement process between corporations and shareholder activists groups on mutually acceptable social expectations.
PR Credibility as News Unfolds: How Perceptions Gauged in Real Time and Post Exposure Differ • Matthew S. VanDyke, Texas Tech University; Coy Callison, Texas Tech University • This study investigates how perceptions of news conference sources vary from measures taken in real-time to those taken retrospectively after exposure by having participants (N = 184) view four organizational spokespersons responding to environmental crises. Results suggest while PR practitioner credibility suffers in comparison to that of other sources when participants evaluate following exposure, practitioners see a real-time bump in trustworthiness following revelation of job title that is common across other source job affiliations.
Within-border foreign publics: Micro-diplomats and their impact on a nation’s soft power • Kelly Vibber, University of Dayton; Jeong-Nam Kim • This study tests the relationship between antecedents of the perceived relationship a within-border foreign public (e.g. international students) has with its host country (e.g. the United States) and how this relationship impacts their communicative action to their social networks living in their home country (e.g. positive or negative megaphoning). It also examines the role this megaphoning has on the communicative action of members of the home country, in order to understand the potential of micro-diplomacy.
Experimenting with dialogue on social media: An examination of the influence of the dialogic principles on engagement, interaction, and attitude • Brandi Watkins, Virginia Tech • Much of the public relations research on online relationship building has examined social media content for the use of the dialogic principles outlined by Kent and Taylor (1998). These studies, using content analysis as the primary methodology, have found that the dialogic capabilities of social media are under-utilized. However, there is limited research on the effectiveness of these methods. Therefore, the goal of this study is to examine the influence of social media content utilizing these principles on engagement, interactivity, and attitude. Results of this study indicate that usefulness of information can have a significant influence on engagement and attitude.
Examining the Importance and Perceptions of Organizational Autonomy among Dominant Coalition Members • Christopher Wilson, Brigham Young University • Scholars have defined the value of public relations in terms of organizational autonomy. Nevertheless, only a few public relations studies have attempted to measure it. In addition, there is no empirical research to document whether or not dominant coalition members actually consider organizational autonomy important. This study seeks to advance theory by examining whether this fundamental concept is as important to public relations as current theories assume it to be.
Public Relations Role in the Global Media Ecology: Connecting the World as Network Managers • Aimei Yang, University of Southern California; Maureen Taylor; Wenlin Liu, University of Southern California • Media studies in public relations have predominantly focused on the dyadic relationship between public relations practitioners and journalists. This focus reduces public relations practitioners to information providers and obscures the broader functions of public relations. We argue that this narrow view of media relations as public relations is increasingly outdated. This paper advocates for a network ecology approach to public relations-media relationships, and identifies four roles that public relations organizations perform in a media network ecology: relationship initiator, relationship facilitator, relationship broker and fully functioning society facilitator.
Estimating the Weights of Media Tonalities in the Measurement of Media Coverage of Corporations • XIAOQUN ZHANG, University of North Texas • This study estimated the weights of media tonalities in the measurement of media coverage of corporations by using linear regression analysis. Two new measures were developed based on these estimations. These two new measures were found to have higher predictive power than most other linear function measures in predicting corporate reputation. The estimations were based on a content analysis of 2817 news articles from both elite newspapers and local newspapers.
A Case Study of the Chinese Government’s Crisis Communication on the 2015 Shanghai Stampede Incident • Lijie Zhou, University of Southern Mississippi; Jae-Hwa Shin, University of Southern Mississippi • This study analyzed the Chinese government’s crisis communication efforts during 2015 Shanghai Stampede incident and offered insight into difference between traditional and social media in relation to media frame, response strategy, government stance and role of emotions. Findings indicated traditional and social media followed similar dynamic pattern across lifespan of the incident, yet revealed different features in message frames and presence of emotions. The government has demonstrated changing stances differently in social and traditional media.
Hootsuite University: Equipping Academics and Future PR Professionals for Social Media Success • Emily S. Kinsky, West Texas A&M University; Karen Freberg, University of Louisville; Carolyn Kim, Biola University; Matthew Kushin, Shepherd University; William Ward • Through survey and in-depth interviews, this research examines the social media education program Hootsuite University. Researchers assessed perceptions of Hootsuite University among students who completed the certification program as part of communication courses at five U.S. universities between 2012 and 2014. Researchers also assessed perceptions of professors and employers regarding the value of the program. Implications for public relations education in an age of social media are discussed.
Teaching, tweeting, and telecommuting: Experiential and cross-institutional learning through social media • Stephanie Madden, University of Maryland; Rowena Briones, Virginia Commonwealth University; Julia Daisy Fraustino, West Virginia University; Melissa Janoske, University of Memphis • This study explores how to improve student preparedness for a technological working world. Instructors at four institutions created and implemented a cross-institutional group project that required students to create and share an instructional video on a social media topic. Students then discussed the videos and teleworking experience through three subsequent cross-institutional Twitter chats. Results include suggestions for helping students learn through teaching, and a discussion of the benefits and drawbacks of teleworking.
Exploring diversity and client work in public relations education • Katie Place, Quinnipiac University; Antoaneta Vanc • This exploratory study examined public relations students’ meaning making of diversity and the role of diverse client work within the public relations curriculum. Findings are based on in-depth interviews with 19 students at two private universities who completed a public relations campaign course. Findings illustrate the evolution of students’ interpretation of diversity from passive exposure to active awareness to a new mindset. In addition, it offers insights regarding public relations and diversity pedagogy.
The Best of Both Worlds: Student Perspectives on Student-Run Advertising and Public Relations Agencies • Joyce Haley, Abilene Christian University; Margaret Ritsch, Texas Christian University; Jessica Smith, Abilene Christian University • Student-led advertising and/or public relations agencies have increasingly become an educational component of university ad/PR programs. Previous research has established the value that advisers see in the agencies, and this study reports student perceptions of agency involvement. The survey (N=210) found that participants rated the ability to work with real clients, the importance of their universities having agencies, and the increase in their own job marketability as the most positive aspects of the agency experience. Participants said that the most highly rated skills that agency participation built were working with clients, working in a team structure, and interpersonal skills.
An Examination of Social TV & OPR Building: A Content Analysis of Tweets Surrounding The Walking Dead • Lauren Auverset, University of Alabama • This study investigated a growing second-screen media phenomenon, Social TV, and examined how entertainment media organizations utilize Social TV to communicate with their publics. A content analysis was conducted using publicly available conversations (via Twitter) surrounding a popular television program, AMC’s The Walking Dead. Through the analysis of these Social TV dialogic exchanges, this study highlights how one entertainment media organization uses Social TV and Twitter to respond to and interact with their online publics.
Attribution Error of Internal Stakeholders in Assessments of Organizational Crisis Responsibility • Jonathan Borden, Syracuse University; Xiaochen Zhang, University of Florida • This paper sheds further light on the mechanics of responsibility attribution for organizations in crisis. Utilizing a two-group experimental design, relationships of organizational identification, evaluation, collective self-esteem, in-group preference, attribution bias, and attitudes regarding norm violation were examined among stakeholders in the post-crisis phase. Findings show that identification with and assessment of the organization are linked and significant predictors of attribution bias and violation minimization. Theoretical and professional implications are discussed.
SeaWorld vs Blackfish A Case Study in Crisis Communication • Ken Cardell • This case study examines SeaWorld’s strategic response following from the release of Blackfish. An analysis of SeaWorld’s communicative response to various reputational threats can be understood through the application of corporate apologia theory, by explicating the message strategies used within the discourse. Elements of Grunig’s conception of activist publics are also used to provide perspective as to the factors that contributed to the level of opposition that followed from Blackfish.
To whom do they listen? The effects of communication strategy and eWOM on consumer responses • Zifei Chen, University of Miami; Cheng Hong, University of Miami • This study examined the effects of corporate communication strategy and electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) valence on responses from an important stakeholder group—consumers on social media. A 3 (communication strategy: corporate social responsibility/CSR, vs. corporate ability/CAb, vs. hybrid) x 2 (eWOM valence: positive vs. negative) between-subjects experiment was conducted. Results showed significant interaction effects on consumers’ CSR associations and significant main effects of both strategy and eWOM valence on CAb associations, perceived reputation, and purchase intention.
A New Look at Organization-Public Relationship: Testing Contingent Corporation-Activist Relationship (CCAR) in Conflicts • Yang Cheng, University of Missouri • Content analyses of 696 news information on the conflicts between corporations (Monsanto and McDonald’s) and their activists provide a natural history of the use of contingent organization-public relationship (COPR) in public relations. By tracking the changing stances of each corporation and its activists longitudinally, results generate the frequency and direction of six types of contingent corporation-activist relationship (CCAR) over time. Findings show that CCAR is dynamic and contingent upon stances of both parties on a specific issue. No matter the conflict is finally resolved or not, competing relationship occurs more frequently than cooperating relationship does in the conflict management process, which supports the argument that both parties in conflicts maintain a competitive relationship for self-interests, and when possible may adopt strategies to achieve mutual benefits. Theoretical and practical implications of findings are discussed.
Public Relations’ Role in Trust Building for Social Capital • Shugofa Dastgeer, University of Oklahoma • Social capital is a building block of social and political communities. At the same time, trust is the foundational prerequisite for the formation of social capital. Public relations plays a role in fostering social capital and trust in society. This paper proposes a model for public relations in building trust for social capital. The model illustrates that trust, communication, and engagement are vital for the development of social capital.
Stealing thunder and filling the silence: Twitter as a primary channel of police crisis communication • Brooke Fowler, University of Maryland • Twitter can be used successfully by police departments as a channel for stealing thunder and establishing the department as a credible news source. A case study on the Howard County Police Department’s use of Twitter during the Columbia Mall Shooting was conducted. Results reveal the potential benefits and limitations of using Twitter to steal thunder and a new technique, filling the silence, is proposed for maintaining an audience once an organization has stolen thunder.
Between Ignorance and Engagement: Exploring the Effects of Corporations’ Communicatory Engagement With Their Publics on Social Networking Sites • Eun Go • Two-way communication tools have expanded and magnified the range and scope of interactions between an organization and its publics. To understand the value of such communication tools, the present study identifies significant psychological factors as outcomes of using these tools. Employing a series of mediation analyses (N=148), this study particularly explores how the commenting function on social networking sites can be strategically used to promote online users’ favorable attitudes toward an organization. The findings show that active communication by an organization via the commenting function promotes favorable attitudes toward the organization by way of heightening the organization’s social presence and creating enhanced perceptions of the organization’s relational commitment. On the other hand, an organization’s dismissal of its users’ comments leaves a negative impression, suggesting to the public that the organization has exaggerated its social commitment. Further theoretical and practical implications of the study are also discussed.
Crisis Response Strategies of Sports Organizations and Its Fans: The Case of Ray Rice • Eunyoung Kim, University of Alabama • This study employs a content analysis to examine how a sports organization and its fans interactively used social media and how they utilized crisis response strategies in the Ray Rice case. The study compares crisis response strategies by the Baltimore Ravens team and its identified fans through social media. The results confirm (a) interactive use of Twitter with hyperlink, (b) utilization of separation strategy, and (c) sports fans’ communicating role with various strategies.
CSR without transparency is not good enough: Examining the effect of CSR fit and transparency efforts on skepticism and trust toward organizations • Hyosun Kim, Univeristy of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Tae Ho Lee, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • In order to tackle recent challenges surrounding CSR initiatives—stakeholder skepticism—this study aims to understand how CSR fit and transparency affect the enhancement of trust and encourage organization advocacy while lessening skepticism. In a 2 (CSR fit) X 2 (levels of transparency) between-subject experiment, this study discovered a significant main effect of transparency on skepticism, trust, and organization advocacy. A significant interaction on trust was also found, suggesting that low fit with high transparency increases trust.
Institutional Pressure and Transparency in CSR Disclosure: A Content Analysis of CSR Press Releases at CSRwire.com • Tae Ho Lee, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • This content analysis examines CSR press releases from 2007 to 2014, finding that coercive institutional pressures as manifested in CSR press releases are significantly related to a low level of accountability—one of the three transparency dimensions. This confirms previous suggestions that coercive isomorphism would generate nominal compliance without substantive efforts. Additionally, the integration of global perspectives from institutional theory and the general representation of transparency in CSR press releases are investigated and discussed.
Reputation from the inside out: Examining how nonprofit employees perceive the top leader influencing reputation • Laura Lemon, University of Tennessee • In-depth interviews with nonprofit employees were conducted to examine how nonprofit employees perceive the top leader and the top leader’s influence on the organization’s reputation. Participant perceptions primarily focused on positive and negative personality attributes that contributed to or detracted from perceptions of leadership style. One emergent finding was that most participants considered the top leader responsible for employee engagement. Additionally, some employees perceived the organization’s reputation as starting with the top leader. The top leader’s ability to create an internal participatory environment was the primary influence on the organization’s internal reputation. Participants perceived the top leader as the face of the organization and being recognized as an expert influencing the organization’s external reputation. One significant contribution from this study was the role of supporting manager that emerged in the interviews. In the case of perceived poor leadership, a supporting manager stepped in to compensate for the top leader’s management weaknesses.
Another crisis for government after crisis: A case study of South Korean government’s crisis communication on the Sewol Ferry disaster • Se Na Lim, university of alabama; Eunyoung Kim, University of Alabama • The current study investigates the crisis response strategies of South Korean government organizations on social media after the Sewol Ferry disaster. By conducting content analysis of 288 posts on Facebook of 13 South Korean government organizations, this study assesses their communication response strategies based on framing and situational crisis communication theory. The findings indicate that South Korea government organizations perceive the crisis with various perspectives and accordingly use various crisis response strategies.
Enhancing OPR Management through SNSs: The Role of Organizations’ SNS Message Strategies and Message Interactivity • Xinyu Lu, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; Hao Xu, University of Minnesota • Heeding the limited research on the effects of corporate SNS communication strategies on relationship building, this experimental study examined the effects of two corporate SNS communication strategies—message strategies and message interactivity—on relationship building. The results suggest that both message strategies and message interactivity have strong effects on publics’ perception of organization-public relationship outcomes. Moreover, people’s identification with a company to some extent moderates the effects of these two strategies.
I am One of Them: A Social Identity Approach to Crisis Communication • Liang Ma • This study focused on how an individual’s ethnic and organizational memberships influence his/her emotional and cognitive experiences in a crisis. College students (N = 638) from a mid-Atlantic university participated in an online quasi-experiment. SEM was used to test the mediation model. Organizational membership protects organizational reputation and increases guilt. Shared ethnicity with victims has no effects on either organizational reputation or anger. Guilt threatens organizational reputation indirectly via anger. Reputation then predicts NWOM intentions.
Government Relationship-Building Practices Online: An Analysis of Capital City Websites • Lindsay McCluskey, Louisiana State University • Government public relations professionals have many opportunities to communicate directly with their publics; however, some practitioners have expressed concern about their website efforts. Websites are one popular and consequential medium for engagement and the government organization-public relationship. This study examines the website homepages of 50 capital cities through qualitative content analysis. The researcher assesses what website features and characteristics promote and advance Hon and Grunig’s relationship outcomes and Kent and Taylor’s dialogic public relations principles.
If Anything Can Go Wrong, It Will: Murphy’s Law, and the Unintended Consequences of Deliberate Communication • Timothy Penn, University of Maryland • Murphy’s Law popularly describes the unpredictable and often capricious relationship between humans and the modern technological world. The global media environment, changing cultural landscapes and changing social norms amplify this phenomenon. This case study explores this phenomenon by examining the JWT India, Ford Figo advertising campaign scandal. Poster cartoons, submitted for an advertising competition, that featured popular sport, celebrity and political figures kidnapping other celebrities, caused a worldwide media sensation, and led to the resignation of JWT executives. Borrowing from sociological theory, this exploratory study uses Merton’s (1936) typology of the unanticipated consequences of social action as a lens to analyze factors that led to JWT’s releasing the ads, and the worldwide reaction to them. The study used qualitative textual analysis of traditional and social media, on-line interviews and web logs. Analysis found five themes of Merton’s typology, lack of foreknowledge, habit, myopia, values, and self-defeating prediction, could partially explain or describe both the campaign’s release and the subsequent worldwide media reaction. Future research could lead to developing a typology of unintended consequences of deliberate communication for public relations.
Mobile Technology and Public Engagement: Exploring the Effects of College Students’ Mobile Phone Use on Their Public Engagement • Yuan Wang, University of Alabama • Mobile communication technology has been exerting a substantial impact on our society and daily lives. This study examined the effects of college students’ mobile phone use on their public engagement and the impacts of public engagement on behavioral intentions. More specifically, it conducted a survey of 409 college students in the United States to investigate college students’ use of mobile phone for information seeking and social media applications. The current study could advance the literature on public relations and mobile communication technology. Furthermore, this study could make some practical implications for university management to utilize mobile technology effectively to engage their students and establish relationships with them.
Ethical Approaches to Crisis Communication in Chemical Crises: A Content Analysis of Media Coverage of Chemical Crises from 2010 to 2014 • Xiaochen Zhang, University of Florida; Jonathan Borden, Syracuse University • Through a content analysis of media coverage of chemical crises in the U.S. from 2010 to 2014, this study examined chemical companies’ crisis communication strategies. Results revealed that, compared with large Fortune 500 corporations, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) were more likely to delay their response and to use more legal strategies and less public relations strategies. SMEs were also less likely to use base response strategies in their crisis response.
Framing Oil on the Media Agenda: A Model of Agenda Building • Mariam Alkazemi; Wayne Wanta, University of Florida • A path analysis tested an agenda-building model in which three real-world indicators – price of crude oil, U.S. production and U.S. consumption of oil) would lead to discussions of oil in Congress and media coverage of oil. The model showed the level of U.S. oil production produced the strongest path coefficients. Congress and the media formed a reciprocal relationship. The model worked better when oil was framed as an economic issue than as an environmental issue.
Error message: Creation and validation of a revised codebook for analyses of newspaper corrections • Alyssa Appelman, Northern Kentucky University; Kirstie Hettinga, California Lutheran University • This project seeks to create and validate a corrections codebook that accounts for modern-day content and technology. In Study 1, we qualitatively analyze applications of previous corrections codebooks and identify areas for revision. In Study 2, we apply our revised codebook to a new set of corrections (N = 104) and analyze its effectiveness. Based on these analyses, this study recommends its new typology for future analytical studies of corrections.
Who’s Responsible for Our Children’s Education? Framing a Controversial Consolidation of School Systems • Morgan Arant, University of Memphis; Jin Yang, University of Memphis • This content analysis found that newspaper coverage of a controversial consolidation of Memphis City Schools into Shelby County Schools was dominated by official government sources while the voices of ordinary citizens, students and teachers were absent in the coverage. Pro-consolidation sources far exceeded anti-consolidation and neutral sources. In terms of news frames used, the responsibility frame was the most prevalent, followed by the conflict frame, the economic consequences frame and the human interest frame.
Personalization without fragmentation: The Role of Web Portal and Social News Recommendations on News Exposure • Michael Beam, Kent State University; R. Kelly Garrett, The Ohio State University • This study investigates the over-time impact of receiving personalized news recommendations through web portals and social media on online and offline selective exposure. Some scholars have worried that the increased control given to users of online algorithmic and social news recommendation technologies might lead to increased fragmentation of news exposure and political polarization, while others have argued that digital technologies provide people a path to accessible and personally relevant news, which fosters increased news consumption. Nationally representative survey panel data collected over three-waves during the 2012 US Presidential election show that using news recommenders from web portals and social media is related to greater news exposure across the board, including pro-attitudinal & counter-attitudinal partisan news sources, and non-partisan news. Using online news recommenders is positively related to offline news exposure. Furthermore, over-time analysis show that, while pro-attitudinal news exposure drives over-time engagement in news, people are not likely to turn away from news sources that challenge their perspectives. We discuss these findings and their implications for the ongoing debate about the democratic consequences of technological selective exposure.
Following the leader: An exploratory analysis of Twitter adoption and use among newspaper editors • Kris Boyle, Brigham Young University; Carol Zuegner, Creighton University • Some media critics say Twitter use by newsroom leaders sends a strong innovation message to the rest of the newsroom. This exploratory study examined Twitter use among 74 editors at top U.S. newspapers to evaluate their adoption and use of the social media tool. A content analysis of Twitter accounts revealed many of them were not frequent users. Those who do are primarily using it as a tool to promote content from their own publications.
Disrupted Lives, Disrupted Media: The Social Responsibility Role of Newsprint 10 Years after Hurricane Katrina • Jan Lauren Boyles, Iowa State University • This study profiles how The Times-Picayune has operated in the social responsibility tradition of newswork, after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina and the disruptions of the paper’s digital shift to less-than-daily print publication. Through in-depth interviewing, fieldwork, content analysis and network mapping, this multi-method approach illustrates the extent to which New Orleans residents depend upon the circulation of civic information necessary to navigate urban life.
The Third-Person Effect of News Story Comments • Gina Masullo Chen, The University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism; Yee Man (Margaret) Ng, The University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism • Results of an experiment (N = 301) showed that people thought civil disagreement comments posted on a news story about abortion were more persuasive than uncivil disagreement comments. In addition, results showed a third-person effect (TPE) of the comments, whereby people felt comments had greater persuasive power over others compared with themselves. Findings also supported the TPE social distance corollary such that subjects perceived comments as having the largest TPE perceptual gap between the self and those who disagreed with them. Results are discussed in relation to TPE and face and politeness theories.
Getting Their Stories Short: News Aggregation and the Evolution of Journalistic Narrative • Mark Coddington, Washington and Lee University • With its emphasis on stripping out key facts and quotes from stories, news aggregation might seem to represent a breakdown of the narrative conventions that have undergirded professional journalism. Using participant observation and interviews with aggregators, this study explores the use of narrative in aggregation, conceptualizing news narrative as a three-tiered phenomenon extending beyond individual texts. It finds that narrative is a crucial part of aggregation, shaping news’ trajectory more broadly than in traditional forms.
Who Makes (Front Page) News in Kenya? • Steve Collins • This content analysis of articles (n = 118) in Kenya’s three leading English language newspapers explored issues of balance and source diversity. Only slightly more than half of stories were balanced. About two-thirds of stories included a government source but those directly affected by government policies were seldom included. Front page articles were more balanced, more likely to include a government source and less likely to include an average citizen than were stories teased on the front page. Finally, stories from press conferences and other pre-planned events were ubiquitous. The results are considered in the context of Gatekeeping Theory.
How is online news curated? A cross-sectional content analysis • Xi Cui, Dixie State University; Yu Liu, Florida International University • This paper examines journalists’ curatorial practices on linked and embedded sources in various types of online news platforms. It aims to understand the curatorial practices in online journalism and explicate the continuity and changes in journalistic principles in the online environment. Differences in the prevalence of the curatorial treatments to linked sources as references, quotations or interpretations are found and can be attributed to the news platforms’ institutional history, journalistic orientations, and technological features.
Imaginary Travelers: What do travel journalists think their readers want? • Andrew Duffy, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information • Travel journalists cannot know each traveler who they work for, so they must imagine what a reader wants. Starting from an agenda-setting perspective, this paper uses a modernist/post-modernist framework to identify how they imagine readers’ interests. It finds that the reader is more often imagined as modernist and adventurous than post-modernist and concerned with tourist sights. However, the latter were more common in Asia, which suggests that travel writers across the globe imagine readers differently.
Interactivity in Egyptian newspapers • Ahmed El Gody, Örebro University • The utilisation of information and communications technologies (ICTs) in Egypt has irrevocably changed the nature of the traditional Egyptian public sphere. One can see the Egyptian online society as a multiplicity of networks. These networks have developed, transformed and expanded over time, operating across all areas of life. Nonetheless, in essence they are sociopolitical and cultural in origin. This trend changed the way audiences consumed news, with traditional media –especially independent and opposition – started to utilise ICTs to access online information to develop their media content to escape government control. Several media organisations also started to expand their presence online so that, as well as providing news content, they also provided them with a space to interact amongst themselves and with media organisations. Audiences started to provide detailed descriptions of Egyptian street politics, posting multimedia material, generating public interest and reinforcing citizen power hence democratic capacity.
Strangers on a Theoretical Train: Inter-Media Agenda Setting, Community Structure, and Local News Coverage • Marcus Funk, Sam Houston State University; Maxwell McCombs, The University of Texas at Austin • Agenda setting and community structure theories are conceptual inverses of one another that are rarely considered in tandem. This study employs DICTION 6.0 and McCombs and Funk’s (2011, 2013) research design to compare news coverage of immigration and abortion over a 10-year period in national, high demographic interest, and low demographic interest newspapers. Although only modest support is found for inter-media agenda-setting, considerable support is found for community structure effects.
Tailoring the Arab Spring to American Values and Interests A Framing Analysis of U.S. Elite Newspapers’ Opinion Pieces • Jae Sik Ha, Univ Of Illinois-Springfield • This study investigated the portrayal of the Arab Spring by conducting a qualitative framing analysis of editorials and columns in two U.S. elite newspapers —The New York Times and The Washington Post. It found that the American papers filtered the unfolding events in the Middle East through a lens of national interest. Specifically, the democratic transformation of the Middle East was the most prominent ideological package in the American coverage. Overall, the American papers epitomized the viewpoints of American political elites, ex-officials, newspaper columnists and scholars. By contrast, they marginalized the viewpoints of guest columnists –such as activists and Arab scholars– who may be prone to highlight the faults and wrongdoings of successive U.S. administrations. Overall, the Arab Spring coverage in the American press strongly coincided with the worldviews of U.S. elites and government officials, with little mention of their country’s immense economic interests in the region.
Hubs for innovation: Examining the effects of consolidated news design on quality • Matthew Haught, University of Memphis; David Morris II, University of Memphis • In an effort to cut costs, newspaper chains nationwide have consolidated design operations at a few sites. These design hubs have changed the newspaper production process and removed designers from newsrooms; yet, top designers are able to work with their peers in a major city to produce all titles for a chain. This study uses a quantitative analysis of front pages collected from 435 newspapers throughout the United States to examine the quality of newspaper designs at hub and non-hub designed newspapers. It concludes that hub designed newspapers are generally better designed than non-hub newspapers.
Picturing the Scientists: A Content Analysis of the Photographs of Scientists in The Science Times • Hwalbin Kim, University of South Carolina; Sei-Hill Kim; Christopher Frear, University of South Carolina; Sang-Hwa Oh, Appalachian State University • Analyzing photographs of scientists in The Science Times, this study examines how scientists have been portrayed visually in the newspaper. The results showed that the actual gender distribution among U.S. scientists was quite accurately represented in the newspaper. However, a race gap still existed at least in newspaper photographs, with non-white scientists being significantly underrepresented. The analysis of visual framing indicated that The Science Times portrayed scientists as expert professionals.
Exploring the influence of normative social cues in online communication: From the news consumers’ perspective • Jiyoun Kim • This quantitative study investigates how the presented normative social cues influence people’s cognitive processing. Findings of this research indicate a positive effect of normative social cues on news processing in the online space. The online content with a high numbers of likes and shares (i.e., normative social cues) show significant direct and interactive effects on respondents’ news consumption intention, presumed different levels of others’ engagement with news content, and perceived importance of the news story.
Social Media as a Catalyst for News Seeking: Implications for Online Political Expression and Political Participation • Yonghwan Kim, University of Alabama; Joon Yea Lee, University of Alabama; Bumsoo Kim, University of Alabama • Employing 2-wave national panel survey data, this article investigates whether and how individuals’ general social media use is associated with their further news/information seeking behaviors. It further examines how such information seeking behaviors influence citizens’ online political expression and political participation. The results show that the more individuals use social media, the more they tend to seek news and information through social media platforms. The findings also demonstrate that such further information seeking behaviors have a significant implication for political expression and political participation. In other words, general social media use positively influences news/information seeking behaviors via social media, which, in turn, influences online political expression, which consequently increases individuals’ participation in politics.
Conceptualizing the Impact of Investigative Journalism: How a Prominent Journalistic Nonprofit Talks About Its Work • Magda Konieczna, Ursinus College; Elia Powers, Towson University • Journalists are typically wary of discussing the impact of their work, often articulating perspectives that suggest their responsibility for what they do ends at getting the story right. Not only can this be disingenuous, some commentators argue that it could be costing journalists an opportunity to regain respect from the public and to be more deeply involved in democracy. This article focuses on a project by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a collaborative, journalistic nonprofit. We conduct a discourse analysis of the organization’s own language around one particularly high-profile project and discover that these journalists embrace discussing the impact of their own work, while stopping short of articulating particular goals. We posit that this could be a result of the consortium’s nonprofit funding, as well as its desire to push journalism to perform better. Given that news organizations in 120 countries made use of the reporting in this project, we argue that mainstream journalists are already engaging with impact-oriented work. We suggest that investigative journalists be more forthcoming about their impact orientation.
The Role of Twitter in Speed-driven Journalism: From Journalists’ Perspective • Angela Lee, University of Texas at Dallas • This study examines the effectiveness of Twitter as a social media tool connecting news workers and users. Through interviews with 11 journalists, this study revealed different ways in which Twitter is useful in journalists’ pursuit for speed. However, most interviewees used Twitter to interact with other journalists while paying little attention to audiences. They also believed Twitter promotes news use but does not contribute to news organizations’ bottom line. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
To the backburner during crisis reporting: Citizen journalists and their role during the Boston Marathon bombings • Josh Grimm; Jaime Loke, University of Oklahoma • This study examined the role of user-generated content during the coverage of the Boston marathon bombings. In-depth interviews were conducted with the interactive team at the Boston Globe who were in charge of the live blog during the week-long coverage. The study identified the perceptions journalists held of user-generated content during crisis reporting. The findings suggest that user-generated content is still perceived as fluff within the confines of a traditional newsroom.
Death Threats, Workplace Stress and the American Newspaper Journalist • Jenn B. Mackay, Virginia Tech • Workplace stress and journalistic death threats were studied using the Effort-Reward Imbalance Model. The model suggests that an imbalance of the efforts used on the job in comparison to the rewards is associated with poor health. A survey was administered to a random sample of American newspaper journalists (n=185). Women had higher effort-reward imbalances and overcommittment scores than men. Participants who had received a death threat (20.9%) described how the threat affected coverage.
The Affective Gap: Response to news of humanitarian crisis differs by gender and age • Scott Maier, University of Oregon; Marcus Mayorga, Decision Research; Paul Slovic, Decision Research • Using an online survey with embedded experimental conditions, the study examines gender and generational differences in reader reaction to news reports of mass violence in Africa. Affective response from women was found stronger than for men on 9 of 10 measures of emotion. Women also more strongly supported government intervention and charitable relief. Depending on story framing, older readers tended to express greater affective response than Millennials, and more strongly supported intervention and aid.
Likeable News: Three Experimental Tests of What Audiences Enjoy About Conversational Journalism • Doreen Marchionni, The Seattle Times • This exploratory study tested a new theoretical measurement model for online conversational journalism in terms of newspaper story likeability in a trio of controlled experiments. The conversation feature perceived similarity to a journalist, or coorientation, proved to be a powerful predictor of likeability across the studies. But a reader’s sheer interest in the story topic, along with a sense that the journalist is a real person who is open to citizen interaction, also was key.
Small Town, Big Message Strategy: Media Hybridity at the Hyper-local Level • Laura Meadows, Indiana University Bloomington • This ethnographic study transports Chadwick’s (2013) analytical approach of the hybrid media system into the study of social movements, viewing the movement activities of North Carolina’s LGBT activists through the lens of a system of interactions between older and newer media in order to reveal the complex media strategies deployed by contemporary movement actors at the hyper-local level.
Employing Transparency in Live-blogs • Mirjana Pantic, University of Tennessee; Erin Whiteside; Ivana Cvetkovic • As news outlets strive to adapt to the changing economic landscape, many have engaged in an ongoing process of innovative news reporting and delivery strategies. Among these evolving practices is the live-blog – an ongoing stream of updated information that is a pointed shift from the inverted pyramid format. As a fairly recent journalistic innovation, live-blogs not only provide a logical format for presenting breaking news, but also facilitate a sense of transparency among readers. Transparency may be especially important for the health of news organizations, as it enhances the news outlet’s credibility and trust among readers by drawing back the proverbial curtain that has traditionally masked the production of news (Karlsson, 2010). This research uses a content analysis to measure the quality of live-blogs incorporated by The (UK) Guardian, with a focus on examining how live-blog creators utilize various news elements that are available online. The researchers contextualize the findings within the broader concept of transparency, with a focus on the format’s utility for producing quality journalism.
Examining Interactivity Between Florida Political Reporters and the Public on Twitter • John Parmelee, University of North Florida; David Deeley, University of North Florida • A content analysis of Florida political reporters’ tweets examines the degree to which local and regional journalists interact with the public on Twitter. Interactivity was measured using a four-level model of cyber-interactivity (McMillan, 2002) that was adapted for this study. Findings indicate little of the most genuine form of interactivity between journalists and citizens but more of another type of engagement with fellow journalists.
Using time series to measure intermedia agenda setting in China • Kun Peng • This study sought to explore the intermedia agenda setting relationship between traditional newspapers and microblogs in China. Specifically, it aimed to examine a) whether intermedia agenda setting takes place between newspapers and Microblogs; b) who has the initiatives of the two media, the nature of the relationships; c) the time span needed to generate linkages between two media agendas. Four Chinese newspapers and two microblogs were content analyzed to test for the intermedia agenda-setting relationships. The MH370 event, a time-sensitive and event- driven news event, was used as a case study. This study worked within the traditional methodology of time series to conduct intermedia agenda-setting analysis. As a result, no significant correlation was found between the newspapers’ and microblogs’ agendas, however the intermedia agenda-setting effects vary depending on the type of the news stories. Overall, newspapers need more time to granger causes microblogs’ agendas.
Radically objective: The role of the alternative media in covering Ferguson, Missouri • Mark Poepsel, Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville; Chad Painter, Eastern New Mexico University • This paper, based on in depth interviews with journalists at alternative and advocacy papers in St. Louis as well as interviews with live streaming protestors, a new breed of citizen journalist, applies six characteristics commonly associated with the alternative press to coverage of the protests and police crackdown in Ferguson, Missouri between August 9, 2014 and March of 2015. Journalists from the alternative newspaper in St. Louis focused on progressive or radical values less than the literature predicted, but by treating radical actions objectively they still presented readers with viewpoints that differed from the onslaught of mainstream media coverage. The African American newspaper in St. Louis found itself influencing the national and global agenda regarding Ferguson and the ongoing oppression of blacks in the city and surrounding municipalities while at the same time helping to hold St. Louis together behind the scenes against the most radical elements. Mobile media savvy protestors broadcast police actions from the front lines of dissent in nearly constant live streams day after day from August to November, altering the scope of counternarrative and providing distilled, detailed dissent. In this study, researchers take on a major news event that in some ways is not yet finished and provide a snapshot of the alternative/advocacy press as it rose to fill in gaps in coverage and to find untold stories in one of the most widely broadcast events of 2014.
Social responsibility a casualty of 21st century newspaper newsroom demands • Scott Reinardy, University of Kansas • For newspaper journalists, social responsibility is protected by the First Amendment, outlined in newsroom mission statements, and enforced by a culture entrusted to produce truthful, comprehensive and fair information. The purpose of this study was to examine the social responsibility mission of newspaper journalists following extensive newsroom downsizing, and the incorporation of new and different work demands. Results from a survey of more than 1,600 news workers and depth interviews with 86 indicate that while newspaper journalists continue to embrace the notions of social responsibility, fulfilling the mission has become far more complex amid internal (burnout, job satisfaction) and external (workload, resources) pressures. Additionally, journalists indicate that despite their efforts, the quality of work suffers, particularly among journalists experiencing burnout.
The Buzz on BuzzFeed: Can readers learn the news from lists? • Tara Burton, University of Alabama; Chris Roberts, University of Alabama • Among the Internet’s new forms of news delivery is BuzzFeed.com, which mixes information with humor using text blocks and unrelated images. This storytelling technique raises questions about information retention and credibility compared to traditional news messages and messengers. An experimental study on college-age students, using Elaboration Likelihood Model and credibility theories, compared a BuzzFeed story treatment to a USA Today treatment. Most participants preferred BuzzFeed but retained less information than traditional treatment. Implications are discussed.
Assessing the Health of Local Journalism Ecosystems: Testing new metrics on three New Jersey communities • Sarah Stonbely, New York University; Philip M. Napoli, Rutgers University; Katie McCollough; Bryce Renninger • This research develops a set of scalable, reliable metrics for assessing the health of local journalism ecosystems. We first distinguish different levels of ecosystem analysis, allowing precision regarding the area of analytical focus. We then identify three layers of the journalism ecosystem by which its health may be assessed: infrastructure, output, and performance. We find marked differences in the journalism ecosystems studied here, suggesting further evidence for the digital divide and pathways for future research.
The Effects of Homepage Design on News Browsing and Knowledge Acquisition • Natalie Stroud; Alexander Curry; Cynthia Peacock; Arielle Cardona • Previous research shows that information seeking and knowledge acquisition differ depending on whether people use print or online news. Instead of contrasting online versus print news, we compare two different news homepage designs: a streamlined homepage design that resembles a tablet layout and a traditional homepage design that replicates a common layout for newspaper homepages. Scholarship on clutter and cognitive load suggested that the streamlined site would yield more page views and information recall compared to the traditional site. An experiment (n=874), fielded in February of 2015 using an online panel, found that the streamlined site did result in more page views and greater recall of the details from the articles compared to the traditional site. The results did not vary depending on the respondents’ education or history of using different news formats.
A Little Birdie Told Me: Factors that influence the diffusion of Twitter in newsrooms. • Alecia Swasy, University of Illinois • Twitter has become a global, social media platform that is reshaping the way journalists communicate, gather information and disseminate news. This study builds on the relatively young field of research by using diffusion of innovation theory to gauge what factors influence the spread and adoption of Twitter. Case- study and in-depth interview methods were used in collecting data from 50 journalists at four metropolitan newspapers. Results show that the adoption and implementation of Twitter relies on peer pressure and coaching to get reluctant journalists to try Twitter. Adoption is then immediate because journalists see how Twitter is a gateway to new sources of information and story tips. Ultimately, journalists embrace Twitter because it provides instant gratification because it allows them to build a following and share their stories with a broader, global audience.
Variation in the Media Agenda: How newspapers in different states covered the ‘Obamacare’ ruling • Brandon Szuminsky, Waynesburg University; Chad Sherman, Waynesburg University • This 485-newspaper study investigated the substantive differences in the media agenda of the 2012 Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), as represented by newspaper front page coverage, with emphasis on differences in coverage between red and blue states. This news event provided a rare opportunity to examine how newspapers from all over the country — representing readerships located in all parts of the red-blue spectrum — would present the media agenda on the topic. Attention was paid to framing decisions expressed through headline word choice and space allocation as examples of how the media agenda was portrayed in areas with differing political tendencies. While many agenda-setting studies treat the media agenda as a monolithic entity, the present study found that there were significant variation in the portrayal of a news event within the media agenda. The data showed statistically significant relationships between the political tendencies of a newspaper’s state and county and its framing of the news event. This suggests that agenda-setting studies that treat the media agenda as a singular entity may be missing important nuance in the amount of variance within the media agenda in various parts of the country.
Credibility of Black and White Journalists and their News Reports on a Race-Coded Issue • Alexis Tan, Washington State University; Francis Dalisay, University of Hawaii at Manoa; Zhang Yunying, Austin Peay University; Lincoln James, Washington State University; Han Eun-Jeong, John Carroll University; Marie Louis Radanielina-Hita, McGill University; Mariyah Merchant • Two experiments examined the effects of a newspaper reporter’s name on his perceived race and credibility. Results show that White readers of a newspaper article are able to identify a reporter’s race based on his name alone. A reporter perceived to be Black and his news story on racial profiling were rated as more biased than a reporter perceived to be White and his news story. The White reporter also was rated as more rational and friendly than the Black reporter. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
What’s the big deal with big data? Norms, values, and routines in big data journalism • Edson Tandoc, Nanyang Technological University; Soo-Kwang Oh, William Paterson University • Through a content analysis of data journalism stories from The Guardian (n=260), a pioneer in contemporary big data journalism, we sought to investigate how the practice of big data journalism compare with traditional news values, norms and routines. Findings suggest that big data journalism shows new trends in terms of how sources are used, but still generally adhere to traditional news values and formats such as objectivity and use of visuals.
Objective, opaque, and credible: The impact of objectivity and transparency on news credibility • Edson Tandoc, Nanyang Technological University; Ryan Thomas, University of Missouri-Columbia • This study compared the effects of objectivity, a dominant standard in journalism, and transparency, argued to be replacing objectivity, on perceived news credibility and newsworthiness. An online experiment (n=222) found that objective articles were rated more credible and more newsworthy than opinionated articles. Non-transparent stories were rated more credible than transparent stories. Objective articles were more credible when they appeared on blog sites while opinionated articles were more credible when they appeared on news sites.
Channel Characteristics and Issue Types in the Agenda-Building Process of Election Campaigns • Ramona Vonbun, University of Vienna; Joerg Matthes, U of Vienna • This study investigates the agenda-building process between newswire, television news, newspapers, online news-sites, and political parties during the 2013 Austrian national election campaign. A special focus is on the stability of the agendas, the role of online news-sites as media and policy agenda-setters, the channel characteristics, and types of issues. The findings indicate an important agenda-setting role of newswire and online news-sites challenging the role of newspapers as agenda-setters.
Gatekeeping and unpublishing: Making publishing and unpublishing decisions • Nina Pantic, University of Missouri; Tim Vos, University of Missouri • This paper uses in-depth interviews to study decision-making within newspaper newsrooms regarding the handling of unpublishing requests as well as the influences on editors’ decision-making. The research addresses how editors deal with unpublishing and what factors, including the threat of legal action, influence decisions to publish or unpublish. The paper builds on gatekeeping theory, which catalogues multiple ways that editorial decisions are influenced by external factors.
Writing Ideology: Journalists’ Letters to Editors • Wendy Weinhold, Coastal Carolina University • The word journalist, and the domain of producers and texts that inhabit its boundaries, often lacks a clear and agreed definition. This analysis builds on and extends the depth of definitions afforded the American print journalist offered in literature that dominates journalism studies. This analysis utilizes critical textual analysis to study journalists’ letters to editors of journalism trade magazines published between 1998 and 2008. Deuze’s (2005, 2007) theory of the ideological definitions of journalists provides a framework for the qualitative analysis that identifies the patterned ways journalists define journalists when they write to journalism trade magazines, which perform a special role as watchdogs of the press. Drawing from the corpus of 2,050 letters published in American Journalism Review, Columbia Journalism Review, and Editor and Publisher, critical textual analysis identifies how discourses in the letters reflect or reshape traditional print journalists’ self definitions. The result is a catalog of information that shapes an understanding of the letters within the individual ideological framework of the community of people who volunteer their opinions for publication in these journals.
The Influence of Twitter Sources on Credibility in Online News • Taisik Hwang, University of Georgia; Camila Espina, University of Georgia; Bartosz Wojdynski, University of Georgia • This experimental study explores to what extent the use of Twitter as a news source affects the way audiences perceive the credibility of online news information regarding mass emergency events. A 3 (source format: interviewed sources, paraphrased tweets, embedded tweets) × 2 (source type: official, nonofficial) × 2 (number of retweets: few, many) between-subjects design is designed with 244 participants to implement the test. The results include that source type and system-generated cues do not have significant effect on perceived credibility of a news story about a natural disaster. The interaction between source type and number of retweets, however, occurs at the message level. The practical implications of these findings for journalists are discussed.
Framing E-Cigarettes: News Media Coverage of the Popularity and Regulation of Vaping • Lu Wu, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Rhonda Gibson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • This study used content analysis to explore how mainstream media frame e-cigarettes, a popular smoking device that has caused concern among public health advocates and raised questions for policy makers. The result showed that leading daily newspapers identified the most problematic issue with of e-cigarettes was underage smoking and their content is largely supportive of tobacco control policy initiatives on e-cigarettes.
Incivility, Source and Credibility: An Experimental Test of How University Students Process a News Story • Yanfang Wu; Esther Thorson, Missouri School of Journalism • Civility crisis has been a big concern of the Americans and transmitted worldwide since the 1990s. Uncivil attacks in political communication turned into a big threat to political trust. Administering a 3×2 mixed subjects experiment, the study seeks to find out whether source and uncivil commentary in a news story can predict the level of credibility of a news story. An online survey with a 3 (Source: newspaper, blog, student’s class writing) x 2 (Incivility: civil and uncivil) mixed subjects design experiment embedded in was conducted in a large Midwestern University. 447 undergraduate students took part in the experiment. Factor analysis shows that news credibility can be divided into two dimensions–message credibility and news organization credibility. The study found that the gauging of news credibility, both message credibility and news organization credibility, is influenced by both source and the perceived incivility of the story. Party ID is not a significant predictor of neither message credibility nor news organization credibility of a news story. A TPE was found on perceived incivility and news organization credibility but not message credibility.
Newspaper Editors’ Perceptions of Social Media as News Sources • Masahiro Yamamoto, University of Wisconsin-La crosse; Seungahn Nah; Deborah Chung, University of Kentucky • Social media platforms where billions of interlinked users post and share events and commentaries to the larger public can be a useful newsgathering tool for journalists. Based on data from a nationwide probability sample of newspaper editors in the United States, this study investigates the extent to which newspaper editors consider social media as an influential news source. Results indicate that variations in editors’ perceptions of social media as a news source were associated with multiple levels of influence including professional experience as a journalist, organization size, community structural pluralism, and citizen journalism credibility. Implications are discussed for the role of social media in news production.
On Click-Driven Homepages: An analysis of the effect of popularity on the prominence of news • Rodrigo Zamith, University of Massachusetts Amherst • The homepages of 14 news organizations were analyzed every 15 minutes over 61 days to assess the relationship between an item’s popularity and its prominence. The results indicated a large divergence between popular and prominent items, and limited effects of popularity on subsequent prominence. The findings give pause to fears of a shift toward a turn toward an agenda of the audience and underscore the importance of journalism’s occupational ideology and logic.
Inter-Media Agenda Setting Between Government and News Media: Directions and Issues MacDougall Student Paper Award • Abdullah Alriyami, Michigan State University • Intermedia agenda setting is the main focus of this study. This empirical study aimed at identifying the relationship between news media and institutional media through the method of content analysis. To determine how influential the US government’s foreign policy decisions on the reporting of traditional news media, fifty two variables were coded on over 600 items obtained from the White House press briefings, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today during the first seven months of 2011. Cross lag correlation was used to correlate both types of media over two time periods. Results indicate an influence of institutional media over news media bringing an attention to the need to have specific language by the institutions to maintain and enhance such influence. Theoretically, the study adds to the existing literature on intermedia agenda setting research while at the same time applying Rozelle-Campbell Baseline to establish direction of correlation.
Effect of Negative Online Reader Comments on News Perception: Role of Comment Type, Involvement and Comment Number • Manu Bhandari, University of Missouri; David Wolfgang, University of Missouri • Scholarly research on online reader comments (ORCs), a form of user-generated content on online news sites, is growing but still remains rudimentary. To contribute to this pool of literature, a two-part study was done using the Elaboration Likelihood Model as the main theoretical framework. Study 1 experimentally investigated subjects’ perception of online news in the presence of negative ORCs of different types –– testimonial or informational –– and the moderating effect of involvement with the issue or topic of the news story. Since the first study used three ORCs for each ORC type, to disentangle the role of ORC number from that of ORC type, Study 2 examined the possible moderating influence of ORC number on the effect of testimonial vs. informational ORC type. Although results showed some variation, they generally indicated that informational ORC could be more persuasive than testimonial ORC in an online textual health news context, involvement at high levels could moderate the effects of ORC type, higher ORC number has stronger effects than lower numbers of ORC, and the advantage of negative informational ORC in impacting news credibility appears to be more at low (single) rather than high (three) ORC numbers.
The New Norm: Publicness and Self-Disclosure Among U.S. Journalists on Social Media • Justin Blankenship, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • Traditionally, journalists demonstrate their credibility and objectivity by creating a distance between their personal opinions and their professional work. This article examined the potential conflict between the traditional distance norms of journalism and the more author-centric nature of social media communication through a survey (N= 201) of local journalists. Results indicate that age and how integrated social media is in one’s daily life lead to more favorable opinions of sharing personal information and reported sharing behavior.
An issue divided: How business and national news differ in Affordable Care Act coverage • Lauren Furey, University of Florida; Andrea Hall, University of Florida • This study seeks to understand how business news covers the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in comparison to national newspapers. Using second-level agenda setting and framing as a theoretical base, content analysis results revealed that business news coverage was highly critical of the ACA, as these publications often highlighted issues and frames related to the financial consequences of the law, while depicting ACA-opposing sources and a negative tone in a majority of their coverage.
The Adoption of Technology and Innovation Among Colombian Online News Entrepreneurs • Victor Garcia, University of Texas at Austin • Media researchers have been interested in investigating how digital technology has shaped journalistic practices and content in online newsrooms. The purpose of this study is to contribute to that discussion by analyzing how native online newsrooms in Colombia are implementing technologies and innovation in their workspaces. This article uses the constructivist approach of the Actor Network Theory and Journalism Practices to investigate four relevant cases of study. In-depth interviews were used as a method. Results show online news entrepreneurs are flexible and creative in the adoption of technologies. They value the quality of content and their journalistic standards more than tools. The integration of users into their editorial process is still limited. The implications of these findings are discussed.
Determinants of issue salience • Catherine Huh, UC Davis • The current study attempted to explore the agenda-setting effects using data mining of publicly available search query data and its determinants. Consistent with the previous studies, transfer of salience between the media and search agendas was confirmed for the prominence of a foreign country in the news. Economic factors were the key determinants of both news coverage and online issue salience.
Taking it from the team: Assessments of bias and credibility in team-operated sports media • Michael Mirer, University of Wisconsin; Megan Duncan, University of Wisconsin-Madison • Team- and league-operated media play a growing role in the sports media system. Few have looked at how audiences perceive the credibility of in-house content, which often mimics traditional sports journalism. Using experimental methods this paper finds that even among fans, independent media content still is rated more credible than that produced in-house. Fans view stories accusing their team of wrongdoing as biased even as they find them credible.
Is the Internet portal an alternative news channel or another gatekeeper? • KYUNG-GOOK PARK, University of Pittsburgh; Eunju Kang, University of Florida • This study explored visual framing effects of online newspapers on readers and how candidates in the 2012 Korean presidential election were covered by the Internet portal as a news aggregator and provider. Three major portal websites (Naver, Daum, and Nate) were utilized as they are currently the primary online news channels. Furthermore, each online newspaper was categorized as conservative, neutral, or liberal/progressive. The data sample (N = 1024) focused on the visual coverage of Park Geun-hye, the candidate for the conservative ruling Saenuri Party, and the opposition Moon Jae-in, the candidate for the liberal Democratic United Party. The findings demonstrated that the news media aimed to generate a balance in their visual coverage of the presidential candidates in the 2012 campaign, whereas some bias also existed among each portal and online newspaper. More specifically, Naver as well as conservative and liberal/progressive online newspapers was not trying to balance the visual images used. These findings provide evidence that the Internet portal and online newspapers might in fact play a significant role in media agenda setting and visual framing.
Real Significance of Breaking News: Examining the Perception of Online Breaking News • Joseph Yoo, The University of Texas at Austin • With a plethora of online breaking news, there is a concern that the increase in the amount of breaking news could impoverish the quality of journalism. This study ascertained the perception of online breaking news by conducting a 2 (news with/without breaking label) x 2 (high and low news value) experiment. Neither breaking labels nor newsworthiness altered the credibility rating scales. Journalists should keep in mind that calling something breaking news neither helps nor hurts.
Faculty Research Competition
Predictors Of Faculty Diversification In Journalism And Mass Communication Education • Lee Becker, University of Georgia; Tudor Vlad, University of Georgia; Oana Stefanita, University of Georgia, Grady College • Based on data gathered between 1999 and 2013, this paper provides up-to-date information on faculty diversity in journalism and mass communication education. It examines the predictive power of four key institutional characteristics in producing diversification: accreditation status, type of control of the institution, type of mission, and region of the country. It shows diversification is increasing, but progress, particularly in terms of racial and ethnic diversity, is slow.
Stereotype, tradition, and Carmen Luna: The Puerto Rican woman in Lifetime TV’s Devious Maids • Melissa Camacho, San Francisco State University • This paper argues that Puerto Rican women are portrayed on US mainstream television according to traditional Hollywood stereotypes that group Latinas into a homogeneous category that reinforces the hegemonic values of a collective non-Latino/a community. These portrayals fail to accurately to represent Puerto Rican’s unique hybrid culture, which pulls together a national heritage and American cultural values resulting from the island’s colonial status. Yet, these representations also reflect values established by traditionally patriarchal island culture. The result is a distorted image of Puerto Rican political and cultural citizenship within the United States. Guided by social criticism, this qualitative deconstruction of the two first seasons of the Lifetime TV series, Devious Maids, demonstrates how the Puerto Rican character Carmen Luna negotiates this complicated position.
Complicating Colorism: Race, Gender and Space in Dark Girls • Nicola Corbin • This study examines the discursive production of colorism in the documentary Dark Girls, using articulation as a theoretical and methodological foundation. Locating colorism within the historically raced and gendered discourses of respectability politics, it concludes that colorism reveals a complex articulation of race with gender and the patriarchal politics of space. It is precisely because of this deep complexity that critical challenges to colorism have been inhibited, and its perpetuation persists.
Cross Cultural Political Persuasion: Assessing The Moderating Role Of Candidate Ethnicity And Strength of Ethnic Identification On Candidate Evaluation • Mian Asim, Zayed university; Troy Elias, University of Oregon; Alyssa Jaisle, University of Florida • Results reveal that neither Hispanics nor Anglos use the ethnicity of political candidates as a major determinant for attitude formation, voting intentions, or similarity perceptions. However, as Hispanic’s strength of ethnic identity increases they demonstrate more favorable attitudes, intentions to vote for, and perceptions of similarity towards a candidate that endorses same-sex marriage. Conversely, stronger ethnic identity of Anglos increases their likelihood of voting for, perceiving similarity to and holding more favorable attitudes toward advocates of anti same sex messages.
Roughing the passer: Audience-held and applied stereotypes of NFL quarterbacks • Patrick Ferrucci, University of Colorado-Boulder; Edson Tandoc, Nanyang Technological University • This experiment tested stereotypes and message credibility associated with Black and White quarterbacks. Participants were asked to rate quarterbacks based on stereotypes identified in previous literature and then were asked to rate the credibility of stereotype- consistent or inconsistent messages. The study found that participants stereotyped both races, but Black participants actually stereotyped more strongly. Only messages concerning stereotype-consistent descriptors of White quarterbacks were rated as more credible. These results are interpreted utilizing social identity theory.
How Twitter User’s Framed Sebastien De La Cruz’s Anthem Singing at the 2013 NBA FInals • Melita Garza, Texas Christian University, Bob Schieffer College of Communication, School of Journalism • This study examines the way new and legacy media curated Twitter reaction to fifth grader Sebastien De La Cruz’s performance of the Star-Spangled Banner at the NBA Finals in 2013. Using framing theory, the author identified positive and negative frames, many embedded in stereotypes. The author argues that Twitter is a new medium conveying an old othering message: Mexican Americans are not truly Americans, making them illegitimate interpreters of the nation’s authentic tune.
Framing #Ferguson: A comparative analysis of media tweets in the U.S., U.K., Spain, and France • Summer Harlow, Florida State University; Lauren Antista, Florida State University • Events in #Ferguson, Missouri brought race relations under a global spotlight. This computerized content analysis of thousands of Twitter posts from the public, media outlets, and journalists in the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, and France indicated the U.S. was more likely to negatively frame protestors. As protests continued, media outlets’ and journalists’ use of racism frames and positive protest frames increased, suggesting they might take cues from global Twitter discussions and public discourse.
The Black Press Tweets: How the Social Media Platform Mediates Race Discourse • Ben LaPoe; Katie Lever • This study analyzed 46,216 Black press tweets and 46,226 mainstream press tweets. The Black press tweeted more about race and history. The mainstream press tweeted about race less than 1% of the time; instead, the mainstream press focused on issues such as education and crime. These findings suggest that news organizations like the Black press are still very much needed and are using social media to interact on a more personal level with their audience.
More Sources, Greater Harm: Source Magnification of Racist Hate Messages on Social Media • Roselyn J. Lee-Won, The Ohio State University; Hyunjin (Jin) Song, The Ohio State University; Ji Young Lee, The Ohio State University; Sung Gwan Park, Seoul National University • This research examined source magnification of racist messages in social media contexts. An online experiment was conducted with a non-college sample of Black participants (N = 115). Relative to those who viewed single-source anti-Black tweets, those who viewed multiple-source anti-Black tweets experienced greater emotional distress, which in turn increased attribution of negative social outcomes to prejudice. Overall, the findings suggest that multiple sources magnify the psychological harm inflicted by racist messages upon target minority members.
Latino youth, digital media and political news • Regina Marchi, Rutgers University • This paper discusses how low-income Latino youth use digital technologies to network with communities of interest, in the process learning about current events and political issues. Contrary to previous assumptions about the digital divide, this study found that these youth were very plugged in to the Internet, getting most of their news information online. Yet, a different digital divide was evident, in which Internet-savvy youth had access to a timelier variety of news than their parents, many of whom had low levels of formal education and worked in jobs that did not cultivate digital skills. In a reversal of typical parent-child roles, youth in this study were found to be news translators for their parents, explaining US news stories and their implications. In seeking information and creating or posting diverse types of content online, they gained participatory and deliberative skills useful for civic engagement in a democracy.
Celebrity capital of actresses of color: A mixed methods study • Yulia Medvedeva, University of Missouri; Cynthia Frisby, University of Missouri; Joseph Moore, University of Missouri • This mixed-methods study explored the coverage of two Oscar-winning actresses of color, Lupita Nyong’o and Halle Berry, to identify how their celebrity capital was conveyed by entertainment news. Contrary to expectations set by understanding of the concept of colorism, darker-skinned Nyong’o’ racial capital was stated in the news less prominently than was racial capital of lighter-skinned Berry. Actresses’ celebrity capital and ways of conversion of capital is visualized in Venn diagrams.
Blogging Ferguson in Black and White • Doug Mendenhall, Abilene Christian University • Blog posts and appended comments about the shooting of a black teen in Ferguson, Missouri, are analyzed for differences based on the race of the authors. Using Diction 7.0, a common word-counting program, seven differences are seen, with black-authored posts higher in commonality, cognition, hardship, human-interest, satisfaction, and self-reference, while white-authored posts are higher in use of collectives. From a social identity perspective, tonal differences do not appear to constitute differing levels of incivility.
Who’s in Charge Here? Leadership Attributions Between African American Coaches and White Quarterbacks • James Rada, Ithaca College; K. Tim Wulfemeyer, San Diego State University • Previous research has demonstrated that mass-mediated coverage of professional and intercollegiate sports often presents biased coverage of African American athletes vis-à-vis white athletes. This research sought to determine whether Super Bowl media coverage was more likely to ascribe leadership qualities to African American head coaches or white quarterbacks. The content analysis of the coverage of four Super Bowls found that ten news organizations did a satisfactory job of providing equal coverage of both groups.
Immigration News in the U.S. African American Press and the Legacy of the Black Atlantic • Ilia Rodriguez, University of New Mexico • This research focused on coverage of immigration in the U.S. Black press between 2006 and 2014 to examine how news discourse activates positions of identification for members of the African diaspora by invoking the thematic cluster of the Black Atlantic as a cultural formation–as conceptualized by Paul Gilroy (1993). The research questions guiding the analysis were: How does news coverage of immigration in African-American newspapers construct geospatial mappings, identity boundaries, and cultural referents for members of the African Diaspora? How does coverage maintain the legacy of the Black Atlantic? The analysis draws on models of critical discourse analysis of news media (Fairclough, 1995; Richardson, 2000; Reisigl & Wodak, 2001) to discuss thematic clusters in coverage and, within these, rhetorical constructions and referential strategies used to avow and ascribe positions of identification. The discussion is based on a thematic analysis of 2,161 items and close linguistic analysis of 98 articles in English-language newspapers serving U.S. African-Americans as well as Haitian, Jamaican, greater Caribbean, and African immigrant communities in the United States.
Applying Health Behavior Theories to the Promotion of Breast Tissue Donation Among Asian Americans • Kelly Kaufhold, Texas State University; Autumn Shafer, Texas Tech University; Yunjuan Luo, Texas Tech University • Asian-American women are underrepresented in the donor pool of healthy breast tissue samples used by breast cancer researchers, despite communication efforts that have resulted in an increase in Caucasian donors. Based on the health belief model and the theory of planned behavior, a survey of adult women in the U.S. (n = 1,317), oversampling for Asian women, found key differences in beliefs related to breast cancer and breast tissue donation between Asian and Caucasian women.
Citizen Framing of Ferguson in 2015- Visual Representations on Twitter and Facebook • Gabriel Tait, Arkansas State University; Mia Moody-Ramirez, Baylor University; LIllie Fears; Ceeon Smith, Arizona State University; Brenda Randle, Arkansas State University • Using a critical race lens and both framing and medium theories, this study explores the cultural narratives citizens used in their framing of the Ferguson riots in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death in 2014. Findings indicate citizens posted their photographs, texts, and videos after Michael Brown’s death in 2014, and how the messages differed across platforms. Furthermore, the research grappled with the fact pictures do not lie, but they can be misinterpreted. At least that is what researchers argue, particularly when it comes to interpreting depictions of African Americans.
Active Video Game Play in African American Children: The Effect of Gender and BMI on Exertion and Enjoyment • Xueying Zhang; Bijie Bie; Dylan McLemore, Univ of Alabama; Lindsey Conlin, The University of Southern Mississippi; Kim Bissell, University of Alabama; Scott Parrott; Perrin Lowrey • Applying the Health Promotion Model (HPM), this study tested the influence of gender, BMI type and past exercise experience on African American children’s Wii game-playing experience and heart rate. A field experiment was conducted with a convenience sample of 51 African American children. Overall, the findings supported the proposition of using Wii games as alternative means of physical activity in African American children and suggested choosing games based on children’s background information to maximize the effectiveness.
With Liberty and Justice for Some: The Cultural Forum of Black Lives Matter • Laurena Bernabo, University of Iowa • This paper interrogates the dramatization of themes central to the Black Lives Matter movement. Ideological analysis and textual analysis are applied to recent scripted programming, according to the cultural forum model, in order to examine verbal and visual cues. A number of dominant themes are made apparent through this research: programming dealing with current race-related concerns take up issues of (1) the innocence or guilt of Black men; (2) the justifications made by White participants; (3) the nature of incidents as isolated or systemic; (4) prior indication of White participants’ bigotry; (5) aftermath of events, and (6) prognoses for the future. This study conclude that these programs work ideologically and visually to circulate competing and even contradictory discourses, and to disturb racial binaries that prohibit post-race discourses.
Picture a Protest: Analyzing Images Tweeted from Ferguson • Holly Cowart, University of Florida • The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri created a media storm that coalesced around a series of events. This research examines nine major media outlets’ depiction of those events on Twitter using visual framing analysis. Findings suggest that the images of Ferguson were of divided forces working against each other. On one side stood white police. On the other, black protestors were in motion. The two sides rarely existed in the same image.
Unaccompanied Immigrant Children: An Exploration of the Presidential Influence on Media Agenda-Building and Framing • Lourdes Cueva Chacon, University of Texas at Austin • An examination of the media coverage of the influx of unaccompanied immigrant children through the US Southern border between 2012 and 2014, by national and border-state newspapers, suggests that the president of the United States may strongly influence the media agenda-building, moderately influence the process of media framing, and confirms that border-state newspapers are more likely to portray immigrants negatively.
Mirror, Mirror on the wall, are you treating minorities fair at all? An analysis of channel and genre differences in minority representation on television. • Serena Daalmans, Radboud University; Ceciel ter Horst, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands • This study focused on the representation of minority groups on television, following the idea(l) that television as a mirror of society should convey a well-balanced representation of society. Previous research has shown that television can have an impact on how the public at large perceives the world and influences individuals’ self-image and image of others. Results reveal an underrepresentation of women, seniors and sexual minorities and stereotyping in the representation of women and ethnic minorities.
Defend More, Exploit Less: African Americans on Media Trust and News Use After Ferguson • Shane Graber, The University of Texas-Austin • In August 2014, an unarmed African American teenager was fatally gunned down by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo. Considering the poor history of race reporting in the past, this study seeks to explore the impact that the mainstream news media’s Ferguson coverage had on African Americans. Based on in-depth interviews, respondents’ perceptions suggest that news trust might not impact consumption habits as acutely as previously thought.
‘Wilding’ Revisited: How African American and Hispanic Newspapers Covered the Central Park Jogger Story • Robin Hoecker, Northwestern University • Using Critical Race Theory as a lens, this paper examines the Central Park Jogger case, where five black and Latino teenagers were convicted of raping a white woman and later acquitted. I argue that not only did the original media coverage rely on deeply-rooted racial stereotypes, but much of the scholarship about race, crime and news has also privileged white perspectives. This project looks specifically at how black and Spanish-language newspapers covered the case.
Integrating Disability: Increasing and Improving the Portrayal of People with Disabilities with Positive Media Images • Davi Kallman, Washington State University • Disabled individuals comprise the largest minority group in the world, yet they are the most underrepresented minority group. Despite their large numbers, disabled individuals not only encounter individual prejudice, this prejudice is institutionalized in society. In an effort to reduce negative attitudes toward disabled individuals, this study used a video clip showing positive disability exemplars. Implicit and explicit measures of prejudice were compared to find that ablebodied student implicit bias was more entrenched than expected.
The Influence of individuals’ racial identification with media characters in crime dramas on moral judgment: the moderating role of emotional reactions • Jisu Kim; Yiran Zhang • This study explored the effects of racial identification among White people with media characters in crime dramas on moral judgment toward criminals from different racial groups. Additionally, two distinct emotions are employed as moderators in the relationship. The result of racial identification was opposed to our expectation, but subsequent analysis showed White people with activated racial identity had more feelings of anger toward the Black criminal, but judged the crime itself less morally wrong.
Self-referencing and ethnic advertising effectiveness: The influence of ad model ethnicity, cultural cues and acculturation level • Xiaoyan Liu • Asian minorities’ market attracts more and more attentions from scholars and advertisers today. This study investigated the effect of the race of ad characters, cultural cues in advertising and acculturation level on advertising and brand evaluation among Asian ethnic minorities. Additionally, this study explored the self-referencing as a mediating role of the effectiveness of the model ethnicity and cultural cues portrayed in advertising. A 2 (Asian characters vs. White characters) by 2 (Asian cultural cues vs. American cultural cues) by 2 (low acculturated minorities vs. high acculturated minorities) between-subjects factorial design was employed to test the hypotheses. The results indicated that the congruent advertising activated more self-referencing than the incongruent advertising among Asian minorities. In addition, acculturation level only increases self-referencing under majority cultural cues. Moreover, self-referencing mediates the effect of model ethnicity and cultural cues on the attitude toward the advertising and brand.
How Long, Not Long: The Disappearance of the Selma to Montgomery Marches in Anniversary Coverage • Meagan Manning, University of Minnesota • In spite of its weeks long grip on the nation’s conscious, the rare support of rights leaders, the American populace, and federal government officials, as well as its instrumental role in the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Selma anniversaries are not moments when we collectively reflect on the state of American race relations. We do not revisit the text of speeches by Hosea Williams and Rosa Parks given in March 1965 like we revisit the Dream. Nor do we mourn the deaths of Jimmie Lee Jackson, James Earl Reeb, and Viola Liuzzo collectively as a nation in the way we recollect Malcolm X or Martin Luther King. As scholars, it is important not only to document the recent past, but also to examine which facets of that past fall out of memory as time progresses. The Selma to Montgomery march represents a nationally recognized, yet marginally commemorated lieux de memoire of the civil rights era. As such, it represents an important component for analyzing what facets of the movement we as a society neglect to commemorate. To that end, this research traces how six dominant press outlets cover Selma’s anniversary. Analyzing coverage of a prominent, yet infrequently commemorated civil rights event sheds light on why some historical events are not significant forces in the cannons of public memory and provides insight into what types of contemporary social, political, and cultural circumstances influence that compromised position.
#STEMdiversity: Utilizing Twitter to Increase Awareness about Diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics • Leticia Williams, Howard University • The purpose of this study is to explore whether communication technologies such as Twitter, can increase knowledge and awareness of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) diversity. A textual analysis of 1,520 tweets that contained the hashtags #STEMDiversity and #BlackandSTEM was used to explore the type of content shared on Twitter about STEM diversity, and the standpoint of the individual posting the tweet. This analysis was supported by the theoretical framework of standpoint theory. Findings are consistent with previous research that found information sharing is a primary function of Twitter. Tweets about information and role models were the most discussed topics. Additionally, minorities, specifically African Americans and women, did tweet information about STEM diversity in ways that were influenced by their multiple standpoints of race, gender, and STEM.