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.
Impact of Market Competition and the Internet on Journalistic Performance in Developing and Transitional Countries • Adam Jacobsson, Stockholm university, department of Economics; Ann Hollifield, University of Georgia; Lee Becker, University of Georgia; Tudor Vlad, University of Georgia; Eva-Maria Jacobsson, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) • This study uses a sample of national media markets to examine the relationship between increasing competition in the advertising market and overall journalistic performance. The findings suggest that as the news media’s share of the advertising market falls in a country, so, too, does the quality of the journalism produced by that country’s news media. It suggests that as Internet penetration increases in a country, it negatively affects the overall quality of journalism produced.
Disruptors versus Incubators: How journalists covered the organizational change at the New Republic under techonology entrepreneur Chris Hughes. • Monica Chadha, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication, Arizona State University • The impasse between the editorial and managerial sides of a news organization is at the center of the study proposed here. In particular, this paper, through the theoretical lens of organizational change and professional/work identity, looks at how the news media perceived and reported on the differences between the editorial and management staff at the New Republic. This magazine has at its helm, one of the Facebook founders, Chris Hughes, with no historic ties to the news industry. Differences with his high profile editorial staff led to last minute resignations by editors and reporters en masse at the New Republic, and this issue made the news several times. This examination of the news coverage of these differences is an attempt to understand how news media portrayed this event and created a narrative around a key event as an interpretive community. Analyzing the media texts surrounding this issue will help scholars and professionals understand how journalists think of and discuss such differences between the business and editorial sides. This understanding then may lead to management and editorial staff navigating through organizational change more effectively, rather than leading to group behavior that would be detrimental to the company.
Marketing Theatrical Films for the Mobile Platform: The Roles of Web Content/Social Media, Brand Extension, WOM, and Windowing Strategies • Sang-Hyun Nam; Sylvia Chan-Olmsted, University of Florida; Byeng-Hee Chang • This study explored the effects of various marketing factors on the distribution of theatrical films on the mobile platform. Research questions related to certain marketing activities such as web content/social media, brand extension, eWOM, and windowing strategies were examined using the mobile movie industry data of South Korea. The result showed that certain web content activities, brand extension via star power and sequels, as well as movie length were significantly associated with mobile film performance.
An Economic Perspective on the Diffusion of Communication Media • John dimmick, School of Communication, Ohio State University • The diffusion curves representing media adoption have been repeatedly shown to fit the logistic growth equation. This paper gives an extended theoretical interpretation of r and K, the parameters of the equation in economic terms. The paper analyzes data representing one measure of K, the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index (CSI). Analysis of the link between the CSI and computer and cellphone change scores shows a positive relationship, indicating that the perceived state of the US economy influences diffusion patterns.
Profitability in Newspapers: Industry Benchmarking Data Shows Newspaper Industry Makes Money and is Less Risky Following Layoffs and Restructuring • Keith Herndon, University of Georgia • This study of proprietary financial benchmarking data shows the newspaper industry is profitable and that financial risk has diminished following years of consolidation and employee downsizing. It expands on recent public newspaper company research and confirms the industry is profitable across multiple revenue ranges. The study provides a timely financial review for an industry poised for more unsettling consolidation given that newspapers shed more than 260,000 workers since reaching peak employment in 1991.
Developing New Organizational Identity: Merger of St. Louis Public Radio and the St. Louis Beacon • Amber Hinsley • Using St. Louis Public Radio and the St. Louis Beacon as a case study, this research applies social identity theory to examine the pre- and post-merger identities of the organizations and their workers. The merger experience is a guide for other institutions considering similar moves. By understanding the impact of a merger, news organizations can better manage the process by reinforcing how changes align with the pre-merger organizations’ identity and the new emerging identity.
Success factors of news parent brand: Focusing on parent brand equity, online brand extension and open branding • J. Sonia Huang; Jacie Yang • The study examines the success factors that influence news parent brands and tested the applicability of brand-related concepts such as brand equity, brand extension, and open branding in the context of 4 national newspapers and their online extensions in Taiwan. Using data from a national online survey (N = 907), results show that 4 factors, i.e., extended brand loyalty, parent brand awareness, perceived quality of parent brand, and brand portfolio quality variance, have direct effects on parent brand loyalty and 2 factors, i.e., open branding and brand awareness, have indirect effects through third variables. Generally, the study provides evidence that online brand extension is the driving force in the explanation of readers’ loyalty toward news parents.
Over-The-Top services on mobile networks: Lessons from an international comparison of regulatory regimes • Krishna Jayakar, Penn State University; EUN-A PARK, University of New Haven • This paper is an international comparative analysis of emerging frameworks for the regulation of Over-The-Top content providers on mobile networks, specifically with respect to the prices that access providers may charge to content providers to transport and terminate the traffic to the end user. Selected national regulations or proposals are compared to identify major issues and potential solutions to the problems of OTT regulation. Four benchmarking principles are identified. The Federal Communications Commission’s (2015) Net Neutrality Rules are then assessed in light of these benchmarking principles.
The Internet and Changes in Media Industry: A Cross-National Examination • Sung Wook Ji, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale • Most studies concerned with the effect of the Internet on media industries have focused on the current reduction of revenues in an individual medium, rather than on the ways in which the Internet is changing the media industry as a whole. The present study explores the economic effects of the Internet on structural change in traditional media industries. Based on country-level, dynamic panel data from 51 countries between 2009 and 2013, this paper finds that an increase in broadband Internet penetration leads to a shift in the balance of the revenues from advertising toward direct payments: a 1% increase in broadband penetration will cause a 0.1% shift in revenues from advertising toward direct payments. These findings correspond with the trends that previous studies have found in the U.S. media industry.
Brand Extension in the Film Industry: Performance of Film Adaptations and Sequels • Dam Hee Kim, University of Michigan • Focusing on film adaptations and sequels as brand extension, this paper analyzed 2,488 films released between 2010 and 2013 in the U.S. to examine what types of films were successful. Results suggested that sequels generated more domestic box office gross than non-sequels. Among sequels, film adaptations appeared to generate more gross than non-film adaptations. Among adaptation sequels, those with new names, with their dissimilarity to parent brands, generated more box office gross than numbered ones.
Toward a Tyranny of Tweeters? The Institutionalization of Social TV Analytics as Market Information Regime • Allie Kosterich, Rutgers University; Philip M. Napoli, Rutgers University • Changes in the ways that audiences use television, and the ways in which such usage can be measured, raise the possibility of a transformation of the currency that fuels the audience marketplace. Specifically, it appears at this point that social media analytics are beginning to play a role in how television program success is measured, and in how advertising dollars are allocated across programs (Shively, 2014; Wright, 2014). Essentially, then, the emergence of social TV analytics represents the possibility of a new market information regime taking hold in the audience marketplace. Utilizing industry trade documents as a window into industry dynamics and discourses, this paper provides an account of the recent emergence and usage of social TV analytics in the U.S. television industry as a means of exploring the process of institutionalization of a new market information regime. An institutional theory framework is applied to the ongoing dynamics between established and emergent market information regimes in the television audience marketplace in an effort to better understand if and how a new market information regime can become institutionalized. As the analysis shows, traditional audience exposure metrics are insufficient for all stakeholders. Moreover, new social media metrics do appear to have genuine economic value for those engaged in the process of buying and selling audiences. Current evidence suggests that the television industry is at a point in its evolution at which it can – even must – operate under multiple market regimes and embrace multiple value criteria.
Crossing the Interregnum: Group Cohesion among Adaptive Journalists • Mark Poepsel, Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville • What keeps a cohort of journalists together working in the field at a high level through shifts in management, ownership, technology and medium? Using group cohesion theory and concepts of task and social cohesion, group pride, and the cybernetic model of group cohesion, this study answers with concrete qualitative data what qualities of the group, cherished norms, values and best practices were most helpful for fostering cohesion in the interest of survival and growth. The findings of this draft essay should ultimately prove useful for future theorizing in the areas of change management in the journalism field and in journalism pedagogy. Key findings include that task cohesion dominates over social cohesion in this group of veteran journalists and that bridging the gap to build support for the next generation group pride is key.
Netflix versus Hulu: A Comparative Analysis • Ronen Shay, University of Florida • The purpose of this mixed-methods case study is to provide a comparative analysis of the Netflix and Hulu business models in order to assess whether both business models are sustainable over time. The theoretical framework draws from conceptual business model analysis, Porter’s (1985) value chain, and Anderson’s (2006) long-tail economics. Secondary data from SNL Kagan is used in combination with an original content analysis to test Netflix’s and Hulu’s October, 2013 libraries for competitive advantages, the presence of the long-tail phenomenon, and whether or not the ownership structure of either firm affects the viability of their business models.
So Who Needs a Terrestrial Signal? Internet Radio Entrepreneurs Compete in Two Kansas Markets • Steve Smethers, Kansas State University • This case study focuses on the primary experiences of two Kansas media entrepreneurs using audio streaming to establish simulated radio services in markets where new terrestrial signals are not available. Buoyed by current consumer interest in streaming, subjects profiled here have fashioned their Internet radio stations into bonafide competitors for listeners and advertising dollars. Interviews and business artifacts reveal two different monetization models for these stations that emphasize local information and market-specific music programming.
Sharing the Pain? An Examination of CEO and Executive Compensation of Publicly Traded Newspaper Companies • John Soloski, U of Georgia; Hugh J. Martin, Ohio University • This paper examines compensation of newspaper company CEOs and other top executives and compares compensation with key measures of their companies’ financial performance and employment levels. Fixed-effects regressions found only a small relationship between CEO pay and companies’ market value for 2000-2013. There was no relationship between pay and return-on-assets or return-on-equity. Unobserved characteristics of individual companies are associated with CEO pay. Implications for the financial health of newspaper companies are discussed in the study.
Can net neutrality coverage maintain value neutrality? • Joseph Yoo, The University of Texas at Austin • Comcast, a media conglomerate providing Internet service, owns NBC Universal News Group, while parent companies for other television news stations are not Internet Service Providers. ISPs have been opposed to net neutrality because it can hurt their profit. This study examines whether parental ownership for broadcasting news influences net neutrality coverage. The results indicate that rather than ownership status, the political ideology for each broadcasting news outlet led to different attitudes towards net neutrality coverage.
How do ads mean? A mutualist theory of advertising ethics. • Margaret Duffy, Missouri School of Journalism; Esther Thorson, Missouri School of Journalism; Tatsiana Karaliova, Missouri School of Journalism; Heesook Choi • This gathered qualitative data about people’s responses to ads identified as ethically problematic based on guidelines and conventions established by advertising ethics critics and the FTC. It analyzed people’s responses to the ads using social constructionist, rhetorical, and dramatistic theoretical lenses. Applying Symbolic Convergence Theory, the study found significantly different communities of meaning as individuals interpreted video commercials. It suggests a new approach to studying advertising ethics.
The Press Complaints Commission is Dead; Long Live the IPSO? • Mark Harmon, University of Tennessee; Abhijit Mazumdar, University of Tennessee • The authors tally 57 monthly Press Complaint Commission complaint resolution reports, dating from January 2010 to September 2014. The sums from each category were expressed as a percentage of all 28,457 complaints. The data show that PCC was something of a paper tiger. This quantitive analysis led to a qualitative review of the ethical need for, potential best practices of, and opportunities facing the United Kingdom’s new Independent Press Standards Organization, the PCC successor organization.
Journalism Under Attack: The Charlie Hebdo Covers and Reconsiderations of Journalistic Norms • Joy Jenkins, University of Missouri; Edson Tandoc, Nanyang Technological University • The terrorist attack on the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo created an ethical dilemma for U.S. news organizations. In reporting on the attacks, news organizations had to decide whether to republish examples of the magazine’s controversial cartoons. This decision highlighted an otherwise taken-for-granted assumption — that the journalistic field is governed by a set of norms, but these norms may, at times, be at odds. This study used qualitative textual analysis to shed light on the journalistic norms involved in American journalists’ own discourses explaining their respective editorial decisions to republish or not to republish the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. The resulting analysis demonstrates how a shock to the journalistic profession can challenge existing norms as well as bring new norms to light.
The Death of Corporal Miller: Omission, Transparency and the Ethics of Embedded Journalism • Miles Maguire, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh • The New York Times won acclaim for its coverage of the second battle of Falluja in November 2014. But its initial articles left out a crucial detail, that a Marine corporal was killed while aiding two of the paper’s journalists. Over four years the Times published four different versions of the death of the Marine without ever fully explaining the circumstances that surrounded the incident or attempting to reconcile the differences in its accounts. On the contrary the newspaper has refused to articulate what factors led to the withholding of information about Miller’s death, a position that is clearly at odds with its own code of conduct as well as with the growing emphasis on transparency as a cornerstone of journalism ethics. This study, based on a review of the written record and interviews with key participants, sheds new light on the ethical challenges of embedded journalism and shows how the embedding process can work to shape news accounts to support military objectives at the expense of traditional journalistic values. The paper includes an examination of the way that the military has adopted transparency as a key element of what it calls inform and influence activities, which are now identified as part of combat power. The conclusion suggests that a commitment to transparency on the part of news organizations would be a way to regain independence in battlefield reporting by embedded journalists.
Examining Intention of Illegal Downloading: An Integration of Social Norms and Ethical Ideologies • Namkee Park, Yonsei University, South Korea; Hyun Sook Oh, Pyeongtaek University, South Korea; Naewon Kang, Dankook University, South Korea; Seohee Sohn, Yonsei University, South Korea • This study investigated applicability of ethical ideologies reflected by moral idealism and relativism, together with social norms, to the context of illegal downloading. The study found that intention of illegal downloading was dissimilar among four groups of ethical ideologies; situationists, absolutists, subjectivists, and exceptionists. Injunctive norm was a critical factor that affected illegal downloading intention, yet only for situationists and absolutists. For subjectivists and exceptionists, ego-involvement played a critical role in explaining the intention.
Media Ethics Theorizing, Reoriented: A Shift in Focus for Individual-Level Analyses • Patrick Plaisance, Colorado State University • This project argues that multidisciplinary methods and work to reconsider key concepts are critical if media ethics scholarship is to continue to mature. It identifies three dimensions of a reoriented framework for media ethics theory: one that reconceptualizes inquiry at the individual level; another that situates media technology in assessments of autonomous agency and organizational affiliation; and a third that applies formalist virtue ethics as the best framework for normative claims arising from the first two.
NGOs as newsmakers: boon or bane? A normative evaluation • Matthew Powers, University of Washington – Seattle • In recent years, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have assumed a growing role in shaping – and in some cases directly producing – news. What are the normative implications of this development? Drawing on normative traditions of public communication, this paper identifies four roles NGOs are tasked with performing: expert, advocate, facilitator and critic. To date, research suggests NGOs align most closely with representative liberal and democratic participatory ideals of journalism, while marginalizing deliberative and radical traditions.
When White Reporters Cover Race: The news media, objectivity and community (dis-)trust • SUE ROBINSON, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Kathleen Culver, University of Wisconsin-Madison • When white reporters cover issues involving race, they often fall back on traditional, passive practices of objectivity, such as deferring to official sources and remaining separate from communities. Using in-depth interviews combined with textual analysis in a case study of one mid-western city struggling with race, we explore the ethical tensions between the commitment to neutrality and the need for trust building. This essay argues for an active objectivity focused on loyalty to all citizens.
An update on advertising ethics: an organization’s perspectives • Erin Schauster, Bradley University • Ethical problems in advertising continue to exist but an update on these problems from an organizational approach is needed (Drumwright, 2007; Drumwright & Murphy, 2009). Forty-five one-on-one interviews were conducted regarding perceptions of advertising ethics. Findings suggest that ethical problems exist such as treating others fairly, behaving honestly, respecting consumers’ privacy and maintaining creative integrity. The implications of creative integrity and an organizational approach as ethical relativism are presented.
Carol Burnett Award
Ethics in Design: The Public Sphere and Value Considerations in Online Commenting Development • Kristen Bialik, University of Wisconsin-Madison • Drawing on the work of Habermas’ public sphere and discourse ethics, as well as user-interface design and Value Sensitive Design theory in technology, this paper examines whether improved online comment system policies and design can help foster a more robust form of the public sphere. The study raises larger questions of how values within traditional journalism, as well as values underpinning democratic societies, can be emphasized in the structural spaces of online public forums.
The many faces of television’s public moral discourse? Exploring genre differences in the representation of morality in prime time television • Serena Daalmans, Radboud University • This study is focused on differences between TV genres (news, entertainment & fiction) in the representation of morality on television. We conducted a quantitative content analysis, based on a sample of prime-time television programs (2012) (N = 485). The results reveal distinct differences between the genres concerning the representation of moral domains, moral themes, types of morality and moral complexity, and striking similarities regarding moral communities as beacons of moral accountability.
Moderating Marius: Ethical Language and Representation of Animal Advocacy in Mass Media Coverage of the Copenhagen Zoo Saga • Christina DeWalt, The University of Oklahoma • Ethical theory is used in this study to assess news coverage of the Copenhagen Zoo’s decision to euthanize a healthy giraffe and the subsequent public outcry regarding the animal’s death. This paper examines twenty-six print, broadcast, and radio news pieces utilizing ethical frameworks derived from the widely used philosophies of Kant and Bentham. The types of news frames deployed as well as the willingness of mainstream media outlets to expand public exposure to broader social issues related to animal captivity and welfare, and their willingness to include non-traditional sourcing in meaningful and balanced ways was examined through in-depth, textual analysis. Findings indicate that while the mass media did extend moral considerations to the nonhuman subject through implicit means, news production norms, practices, and routines continued to hinder advancement of alternative voices and expansion of social exposure to broader ethical issues inherent in the story.
Aggregation and Virtue Ethics • Stan Diel, University of Alabama • As consumers increasingly look to the Internet to find news and traditional news organizations shed jobs, the demand for original news content online has come to exceed supply. To fill the void, websites, both digital-native and those associated with legacy news media, have turned to aggregation so quickly that the practice has developed faster than both legal and ethical standards that might moderate it. While deontological systems of ethics often guide traditional media, such rule-based codes are not easily applied to digital news practices. A system of virtue-based ethics grounded in an arch-virtue of truthfulness and moderated by the virtues of fairness, non- malevolence and temperance, and a standardized definition of terms, are proposed to help guide aggregation practices.
Analysis of moral argumentation in newspaper editorial contents with Kohlberg’s moral development model • Yayu Feng, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign • This study evaluates moral reasoning stages addressed in editorial pieces regarding rape culture from two newspapers in Athens, Ohio, with Kohlberg’s Moral Development Model. An analytical system was developed based on Critical Discourse Analysis and Moral Development Theory, which contributes a new approach to investigating media moral messages. The study details the different patterns of moral reasoning stages represented in the newspapers and offers a case study of editorials’ performance as moral educators.
Peace Journalism and Radical Media Ethics • Marta Lukacovic, Wayne State University • The radical characteristics of peace journalism position it as a model that expands the current understandings of normative media theory. Hence, peace journalism echoes the most innovative calls of media ethicists such as Ward’s proposition of radical media ethics. Peace journalists and citizens have to face constraints that are posed by cultural and structural violence when attempting to reflect on international conflicts and crises in peace journalistic/conflict sensitive manner.
The point of debating ethics in journalism: consensus or compromise and the rehabilitation of common sense as a way toward solidarit • Laura Moorhead, Stanford University • Philosopher and media gadfly Habermas in the newsroom? This paper — through the frame of Habermas’s discourse ethics — highlights a path for debating ethics in journalism using rational-critical discussion, which can lead to consensus or compromise through a move from individual to collective community interests. The paper considers the rehabilitation of common sense, through emerging technology and an interdisciplinary approach. The point of debating ethics in journalism surfaces as the hope for solidarity despite increasing pluralism.
Weekly Newsmagazines’ Framing of Obesity, Responsibility Attribution, and Moral Discourses • Lok Pokhrel, Washington State University • This paper presents a study of how obesity-related health issues in the United States are represented in four American weekly magazines: Newsweek, Time, The Weekly Standard, and National Review. The paper particularly examined the media’s attribution of responsibility for the problem of obesity, that is, whether the issue constitutes an individual or collective responsibility. The paper also argues that the news media’s framing of obesity-related health issues, through the use of various discursive and framing tactics, raises ethical concerns. Through analysis of weekly news magazine discourses, the study finds two themes that raise ethical concern: the weekly publications (a) primarily discussed the problem of obesity in terms of either individual or societal responsibility; (b) highlighted the ethical concerns from appeals to both personal responsibility and a sense of obligation to promote the health of others and fulfill the duty to avoid becoming an unfair burden to others.
Toward an ethic of personal technologies: Moral implications found in the fruition of man-computer symbiosis • Rhema Zlaten, Colorado State University • The impending fruition of man-computer symbiosis suggests a shift towards society’s acceptance of human partnership with technology. Increased intimacy between humans and machines creates a need for understanding individual rights in modern society’s transmedia paradigm. This paper calls for the creation of an ethic of personal technologies; a partnership of understanding how society grew to accept the full integration of technology into daily life and the rights of each digital footprint in a computer-mediated society.
Special Call For New Horizons in Media Ethics
A Duty to Freedom: Conceptualizing Platform Ethics • Brett Johnson, University of Missouri • This paper makes two arguments. First, the field of media ethics should incorporate ethical analyses of the relationship between digital communication intermediaries (e.g. Facebook and Twitter) and their users. Second, these intermediaries should abide by a primary duty to protect the users’ freedom to speak via their platforms, followed by a secondary duty to mitigate potential harms caused by users’ speech. The paper synthesizes theories of intermediary liability and corporate media ethics to make this argument.
The Ethical Implications of Participatory Culture in a New Media Environment: A Critical Case Study of Veronica Mars • Murray Meetze, University of Colorado Boulder • In a fast-paced media landscape where producer and consumer relationships are constantly being renegotiated, the ethical implications of this participatory culture must be addressed. This article explores current literature on participatory culture through the lens of a case study of the Veronica Mars 2013 Kickstarted film. The Veronica Mars Kickstarter provides a unique view of the strengths of audience involvement in media content production. The Belmont Report social science principles for human subject research will be utilized in this case study examination along with the ethical framework of W.D. Ross’ duty-based ethics. This analysis aims to establish tangible ethical guidelines for media industry production in an unstable media environment.
What Constitutes Good Work in Journalism Education • Caryn Winters, University of Louisiana at Lafayette • What is the good work educators –especially journalism educators –are obliged to do in consideration of their simultaneous roles as members of a democratic community and members of professional communities?Rather than focus on specific professional practices, I have chosen to emphasize the necessity for professionals –and especially those professionals who play key roles in building the democratic capacity –to understand the core principles of their professional realms. When journalists and journalism educators engage in professional activity that is informed by these principles, they have the potential to transform their professional realms and democracy.
Building Social Capital. The Role of News and Political Discussion Tie Strength in Fostering Reciprocity • Alberto Ardèvol-Abreu, University of Vienna; Trevor Diehl, University of Vienna; Homero Gil de Zúñiga, University of Vienna • This study explores the role of news and discussion network tie strength in developing the social and civic norm of reciprocity. It argues that interactions of mutual benefit and exchange are an outcome of media use and political discussion, which in turn, directly leads to an increase in community connectedness and social capital. Informational uses of media directly predicted attitudes of reciprocity and social capital, though only conversation with weak ties led to reciprocity.
News Media Literacy and Political Engagement: What’s the Connection? • Seth Ashley, Boise State University; Adam Maksl, Indiana University Southeast; Stephanie Craft, University of Illinois • Scholars and educators have long hoped and assumed that media education is positively related to pro-social goals such as political and civic engagement. Others worry about the possibility of alienation and disengagement. With a focus on news, this study surveyed 537 college students and found positive relationships between news media literacy and current events knowledge, political activity and internal political efficacy. News media education should be deployed widely to mitigate a news media literacy gap that limits democratic citizenship.
Reducing stigmatization associated with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency • Michelle Baker, Juniata College • Differences in response to three written narratives designed to reduce stigmatization associated with the genetic condition alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) were examined. Three protagonists were depicted: positive, transitional, and transformational. Positive protagonists, who did not stigmatize a person diagnosed with AATD, showed greater stigmatization reduction than transitional and transformational protagonists. Positive protagonists showed reduced advocacy for individuals to maintain secrecy about their diagnosis or withdraw from others and increased advocacy to educate others about AATD.
Beyond Empathy: The Role of Positive Character Appraisal in Narrative Messages Designed to Reduce Stigmatization • Michelle Baker, Juniata College • The psychological processes guiding the effect that protagonists in narrative health messages have on genetic stigmatization reduction has not been fully explored. This study (N = 170) empirically tests these processes in relation to positive, transitional, and transformational protagonists in messages designed to reduce stigmatization associated with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Findings reveal that positive character appraisal rather than empathy with the protagonist led to greater self-efficacy, transportation, and decreased desire for social distance.
Let Go of My iPad: Testing the Effectiveness of New Media Technologies to Measure Children’s Food Intake and Health Behaviors • Kim Bissell, University of Alabama; Lindsey Conlin, The University of Southern Mississippi; Bijie Bie; Xueying Zhang; Scott Parrott • This field experiment with just under 100 children at a school in the Southeast examined children’s use of an iPad app as a means of improving the measurement of their food consumption. Secondarily, external factors related to children’s food preferences and food consumption were also examined to determine how the iPad app could be further developed to help them become more aware of the foods they ate and also how they could become more proactive in their health and well-being. Results indicate that the app has enabled children to have more precision in recording the foods they ate, and children, across the board, expressed great appeal for the app. The foods reported in the app were compared to attitudes toward eating and nutritional knowledge; in both cases, more positive attitudes toward eating and stronger nutritional knowledge meant that a child was more likely to report eating healthy foods. Findings from this exploratory study contribute to knowledge in several areas because the findings represent the first of its kind in the discipline. No study, to our knowledge, has examined the usefulness of iPad app in recording children’s food intake, and no study, to our knowledge, has compared the recording of food consumption using traditional measures and the newer measures found on the app. Additionally, we learned a good bit about external factors that could be related to low-income children’s consumption of healthy or unhealthy foods.
Looking for the Truth in the Noise: Epistemic Political Efficacy, Cynicism and Support for Super PACs • Justin Blankenship, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Daniel Riffe; Martin Kifer, High Point University • Using a statewide cell and landline telephone survey (N=594) this study examines relationships among political efficacy, epistemic political efficacy (EPE), cynicism and North Carolina voter attitudes toward super PACS that have emerged as key players in political campaigns since the Citizens United decision. While older, higher-income, conservative voters support allowing super PACs to play a role in political campaigning, results also indicate that cynicism and EPE are related to support for super PACs.
Sensation Seeking, Motives, and Media Multitasking Behaviors • Yuhmiin Chang • This study examines the motives behind media multitasking, along with the relationships among sensation seeking, motives, onset timing behaviors, and frequency of media multitasking. An online survey recruited a total of 938 valid respondents across three regions and four universities. The results showed that the motives for media multitasking are different from other types of multitasking. The motives either perfectly or partially mediate the effect of sensation seeking on two types of media multitasking behaviors.
The effects of race cue and emotional content on processing news • Heesook Choi; Sungkyoung Lee, University of Missouri; Frank Michael Russell, University of Missouri School of Journalism • This experimental study with 2 (race cue) x 2 (emotional content) mixed design examined the effects of race and emotional content in news stories on discrete emotions, transportation, intention to share the story, and policy support. The results showed that stories with race cues elicited greater anger compared to those with no cues, and presence of emotional content led to greater anger and fear, and greater intention to share than those with no emotional content.
Underestimated Effect on Self but Overestimated Effect on Other: The Actual and Perceived Effects of Election Poll Coverage on Candidate Evaluations • Sungeun Chung, Sungkyunkwan University; Yu-Jin Heo, Sungkyunkwan University; Jung-Hyun Moon, Sungkyunkwan University • The present study investigated biases in the perceived effect of election polls by comparing it with the actual effect of election polls for those who experienced a bandwagon effect and those who experienced an underdog effect respectively. An online survey with a manipulated poll result (N = 308) showed that voters tended to underestimate the level of change in their evaluation and voters tended to overestimate the level of change in others’ evaluation.
The Effects of News Exposure, Amount of Knowledge, and Perceived Power of Large Corporations on Citizens’ Self-Censorship in SNS • Sangho Byeon, Dankook University; Sungeun Chung, Sungkyunkwan University • The present study investigated whether self-censorship regarding large corporations in SNS is affected by media exposure, the amount of knowledge, and perceived power of large corporations. A nationwide survey was conducted in South Korea (N = 455). As exposure to the news about large corporations increased, self-censorship regarding large corporations increased. The effect of media exposure was mediated by the amount of knowledge about large corporations and perceived power about large corporations.
There Goes the Weekend: Binge-Watching, Fear of Missing Out, Transportation, and Enjoyment of Television Content • Lindsey Conlin, The University of Southern Mississippi; Andrew Billings, University of Alabama • Binge-watching—the act of consuming multiple episodes of a TV show in a single sitting—has become increasingly popular among TV audiences. The current study sought to define and investigate binge-watching in terms of transportation theory and the outcomes associated with entertainment consumption (transportation and enjoyment). Additionally, the personality traits of transportability and fear-of-missing-out (FoMO) were analyzed. Results indicated that personality traits were strong predictors of the pace at which a person would choose to watch a TV show, while transportability and FoMO both predicted that a person would choose to binge-watch existing episodes of a TV show in order to catch up to live episodes. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Romance and Sex on TV: A Content Analysis of Sexual and Romantic Cues on Television • Elise Stevens, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Lu Wu, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; NATALEE SEELY, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Francesca Dillman Dillman Carpentier, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • Content analyses of sexualized content have been done with television shows, movies, and music videos. However, little research has analyzed content in ways that specifically differentiate between sex and romance. Therefore, using a content analysis with popular television programs, we examine sexual and romantic depictions, as well as whether or how sexual risk and responsibility depictions appear alongside other depictions of sex and romance. Twelve programs were analyzed by a total of three coders. The most prevalent sexual or romantic talk dealt with harming/ending a romantic relationships and liking/loving a person romantically. The most prevalent sexual or romantic behavior was light romantic kissing or touching. The dominant category in risk and responsibility was a show of an unwanted pregnancy; mentions of STIs or contraceptives were notably absent. Interesting, most scenes depicting risk and responsibility involved sexual talk or behavior, whereas risk/responsibility was hardly mentioned within the context of romance.
Seeking out & avoiding the news media: Young adults’ strategies for finding current events information • Stephanie Edgerly • This study uses in-depth interview data from 21 young adults to identify their strategies for locating current events information in the high-choice media age. During the interviews, participants responded to six hypothetical vignettes by articulating the steps they would take to find current events information. The data revealed two strategy patterns—one set of strategies that directly involved the news media, and another set that avoided the news media in favor of functional information alternatives.
NGOs, hybrid connective action, and the People’s Climate March • Suzannah Evans; Daniel Riffe; Joe Bob Hester • Studies of civic engagement through social media have often focused on horizontal, leaderless, and spontaneous demonstrations. Formal NGOs, however, have also moved into this space and combined their knowledge of classic collective action with the affordances of digital media to create a hybrid approach to civic engagement. Using Twitter data from the 2014 People’s Climate March, this study examines how successful NGOs were in penetrating the digital public sphere with their chosen messages.
Are You Connected? Evaluating Information Cascades in Online Discussion about the #RaceTogether Campaign • Yang Feng, The University of Virginia’s College at Wise • In the context of online discussion about the recent Starbucks’ Race Together cup campaign, this study aims to explore the central users in the online discussion network on Twitter and the factors contributing to a user’s central status in the network. A social network analysis of 18,000 unique tweets comprising 26,539 edges and 14,343 Twitter users indicated five types of central users: conversation starter, influencer, active engager, network builder, and information bridge. Moreover, path analysis revealed that the number of people a Twitter user follows, the number of followers a user has, and the number of tweets a user generates within a time period helped a user increase his/her in-degree connections in the network, which, together with one’s out-degree connections in the network, propelled a user to become a central figure in the network.
Expanding the RISP Model to Politics: Skepticism, Information Sufficiency, and News Use • Jay Hmielowski, Washington State University; Michael Beam, Kent State University; Myiah Hutchens, Washington State University • This study extends the research on skepticism and information insufficiency in several ways. First, this study tests the assumption that skepticism correlates with needing additional information about an issue. Second, it examines the relationship between insufficiency and news use by looking at the relationships between insufficiency and use of four media variables. Third, it examines whether the relationship between information sufficiency and use of these four outlets varies by political ideology. Lastly, this study puts these variables into a mediated-moderated model to understand whether there is an indirect effect of skepticism through information sufficiency, and whether this indirect effect varies by political ideology. We test these models using survey data from a quota sample collected during the 2014 US midterm elections.
Ambivalence and Information Processing: Potential Ambivalence, Felt Ambivalence, and Information Sufficiency • Jay Hmielowski, Washington State University; Myiah Hutchens, Washington State University; Michael Beam, Kent State University • Using cross-sectional data from the 2014-midterm elections in the US, this paper proposes a serial mediation model looking at the relationship between ambivalence and information processing. Results show that ambivalence is associated with higher levels of systematic processing of information and lower levels of heuristic processing of information. However, the benefits of ambivalence only occur when people feel the psychological discomfort associated with ambivalence (i.e., felt ambivalence) and people perceiving that they do not have enough information to competently participate in the election. In essence, there is a positive relationship between potential ambivalence and systematic processing of information through felt ambivalence and information sufficiency. We found a negative relationship for potential ambivalence on heuristic processing through the same two intervening variables.
The Effect of Partisanship on Changes in Newspaper Consumption: A Longitudinal Study (2008 – 2012) • Toby Hopp; Chris Vargo, University of Alabama • This study used three waves of General Social Survey panel data and a latent change score modeling approach to explore the relationship between partisanship and newspaper consumption across time. The results suggested that prior levels of partisanship were negatively and significantly related to newspaper consumption. Further analyses failed to identify a relationship between changes in partisanship and changes in newspaper consumption.
Narratives and Exemplars: A Comparison of Their Effects in Health Promotions • Zhiyao Ye; Fuyuan Shen; Yan Huang, The Pennsylvania State University • The study aims to compare the effects of narrative and exemplars in health promotions. A between-subjects online experiment (N =253) showed that although narratives were perceived as more convincing than exemplars, both message types had significant effects on issue attitude and behavioral intentions. However, the mechanisms underlying their persuasive effects were distinct. While identification and transportation mediated narrative effects, they did not mediate the influence of the exemplar message.
Diverting media attention at a time of national crisis: Examining the zero-sum issue competition in the emerging media environment • S. Mo Jang, University of South Carolina; Yong Jin Park, Howard University • Although scholars theorized that news topics compete against one another and are subject to the zero-sum dynamics in the traditional media, little research tested this with social media content. Analyzing datasets of Twitter, blogs, and online news, we found that media attention to the government related negatively to attention to another target for blame. This zero-sum principle prevailed in mainstream and social media. Time-series analyses hinted at the intermedia influence from mainstream to social media.
Erasing the scarlet letter: How media messages about sex can lead to better sexual health • Erika Johnson, University of Missouri; Heather Shoenberger, University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication • This study explores how positive media messages about sex could lead to better sexual health in young adults. Participants were students at a large university (N = 228). The research found that young women have higher stigma, lower sensation seeking, and higher condom embarrassment than young men and media exposure could lessen negative sexual behavior. The conclusion is that positive mediated messages could lead to better sexual health for young women in particular.
Life Satisfaction and Political Participation • Chang Won Jung; Hernando Rojas • This study examines people’s happiness and satisfaction both as an individual assessment of one’s own life and relates them to communication antecedents and political outcomes. Relying on a national representative sample of Colombia (N= 1031), our results suggest life satisfaction and quality of life are positively related to civic participation, but not to protest activities. Furthermore, only quality of life predicts voting and material satisfaction is negatively related to civic engagement.
Sexualizing Pop Music Videos, Self-Objectification, and Selective Exposure: A Moderated Mediation Model • Kathrin Karsay, University of Vienna, Department of Communication; Joerg Matthes, U of Vienna • This article presents an experimental study in which young women were either exposed to pop music videos high in sexualization or to pop music videos low in sexualization. Women’s self-objectification and their subsequent media selection behavior was measured. The results indicate that exposure to sexually objectifying media content increased self-objectification, which in turn increased the preference for sexually objectifying media content. Self-esteem, the internalization of appearance ideals, and BMI did not influence these relationships.
The State of Sustainability Communication Research: Analysis of Published Studies in the Mass Communication Disciplines • Eyun-Jung Ki, The University of Alabama; Sumin Shin, University of Alabama; Jeyoung Oh • This study examined the state of organization sustainability communication research in the mass communication disciplines between 1975 and 2014. Several main findings evolve from this analysis: (1) exponential growth of sustainability studies in recent years (2) contributions of a wide range of scholars and institutions (3) prevalence of environmental issues as a topic of research (4) under-development of definitions, conceptualization, and theoretical foundations (5) the growth of the methodological and statistical rigors.
A Reliable and Valid Measure of Strategic Decision • Eyun-Jung Ki, The University of Alabama; Hanna Park; Jwa Kim, Middle Tennessee State University • The goal of this investigation was to construct a comprehensive instrument for measuring strategic decision. Based on a literature review, eight dimensions—decision quality, decision routines, procedural rationality, understanding, decision commitment, procedural justice, affective conflict, and cognitive conflict—were developed to measure strategic decision by applying the development of multiple-item measurement procedures suggested by Churchill (1979) and Spector (1992) as a guideline and philosophy. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) validated the constructed measures.
Predicting Time Spent With News Via Legacy and Digital Media • Esther Thorson, Missouri School of Journalism; Eunjin (Anna) Kim, University of Missouri; Roger Fidler, University of Missouri • A model of is proposed to help explain how much time people will spend with legacy and digital media for news, and mobile media for non-news use. The model is tested with a national U.S. telephone sample of more than 1000 adults. News Affinity predicts news use across the media. Incumbent Media Habit Strength, instead of influencing digital media negatively, increases it. The more digital devices people own, the more they use smartphones and tablets for news, but not Web news. A new variable, Professional Journalist Importance is correlated with news use, but when demographics are controlled, its effect disappears.
The Impact of Political Identity Salience on the Third-Person Perception and Political Participation Intention • Hyunjung Kim, Sungkyunkwan University • This study investigates the influence of political identity salience on the third-person perception of polling reports and political participation intention. Results of two studies demonstrate that partisans in the political identity salience condition show greater third-person perception differentials between the in- and out-groups than those in the control group. Findings also show that political identity salience is indirectly linked to voting intention through the third-person perception particularly for the supporters of a losing candidate.
Factors and Consequences of Perceived Impacts of Polling News • Hyunjung Kim, Sungkyunkwan University • This study investigates how third-person perception of polling news is linked to behavioral intention change directly and indirectly through emotions by employing a survey experiment. Findings demonstrate that the third-person perception of polling news is associated with behavioral intention in two opposite directions depending on participants’ predisposition, and the association may be partially mediated by pride particularly for those who support the majority opinion. Implications of the findings are discussed.
Investigating Individuals’ Perceptions of Anti-Binge Drinking Message Effects on Self versus on Others: The Theoretical Implications for the Third-Person Perceptions • Nam Young Kim, Sam Houston State University (SHSU); Masudul Biswas, Loyola University Maryland; Kiwon Seo, SHSU • What makes people undervalue the impact of health campaign messages that promote positive behavioral changes? In the context of anti-binge drinking Public Service Announcement (PSAs), this study explores what happens if people’s prior alcohol consumption control beliefs and message attributes interactively cause dissonance, which make them feel uncomfortable and cognitively disagree with the PSAs. A 2 (Fear Appeal: High vs. Low) X 2 (Controlled-Drinking Belief: High vs. Low) experiment revealed that participants who experienced dissonance tended to estimate a greater PSA effect on others than on themselves (i.e., third-person effects) because of psychological defensiveness. The findings have partial and theoretical implications for future studies on third-person perceptions and persuasion.
Beauty or Business Queen– How Young Women Select Media to Reinforce Possible Future Selves • Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, The Ohio State University; Melissa Kaminski, Ohio State University; Laura E. Willis; Kate T. Luong, The Ohio State University • Young women (N = 181, 18-25 years) completed a baseline session, four sessions with selective magazine browsing (beauty, parenting, business, and current affairs magazines), and three days later a follow-up online. Their possible future selves as romantic partner, parent, and professional at baseline affected the extent to which beauty, parenting, and business pages were viewed. In turn, possible future selves as romantic partner and professional were reinforced through selective exposure to beauty and business magazines.
Memory Mobilization and Communication Effects on Collective Memory About Tiananmen in Hong Kong • Francis L. F. Lee, Chinese University of Hong Kong; Joseph Chan • People in a society share collective memories about numerous historical events simultaneously, but not every historical event is equally salient in the minds of individuals, and social processes may influence the salience of specific historical events over time. This study examines the implications of memory mobilization, defined as the organized efforts to bring the collective memory about the past or specific past events to the fore for the purposes of social mobilization, on recall of historical events. Memory mobilization is treated as a process involving communication activities via a wide range of platforms, creating an atmosphere of remembering for the historical event. Focusing on the case of Hong Kong people’s memory of the 1989 Tiananmen incident in Beijing, this study finds that more people indeed recall Tiananmen as an important historical event during the period of memory mobilization. Recall of Tiananmen is related to age cohorts and political attitudes. But during memory mobilization, communication activities, especially those involving interpersonal interactions, also significantly lead to recall of the event.
Predicting Tablet Use: A Study of Gratifications-sought, Leisure Boredom and Multitasking • Louis Leung, The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Renwen Zhang, The Chinese University of Hong Kong • Using a probability sample of 348 tablet users, this study found that relaxation, information seeking, fashion/status, and work management were instrumental reasons for tablet use, while social connection anytime/anywhere, large screen, and ease-of-use were intrinsic motives. Contrary to what was hypothesized, leisure boredom was not significantly linked to tablet use. Relaxation was the strongest motivation to predict multitasking with the tablet; however, people tend not to engage in cognitively unproductive multitasking.
What’s in a Name? A Reexamination of Personalized Communication Effects • Cong Li, Univ. of Miami; Jiangmeng Liu, Univ. of Miami • Personalized information has become ubiquitous on the Internet. However, the conclusion on whether such information is more effective than standardized information looks somewhat confusing in the literature. Some prior studies showed that a personalized message could generate more favorable outcomes than a standardized one, but others did not (sometimes with an almost identical study design). To provide a possible explanation why there existed such conflicting findings and conclusions in the personalized communication literature, the current study tested the moderating effect of involvement on personalization in an advertising context. Through a 2 × 2 × 2 between-subjects experiment, it was found that the superiority of a personalized message over a standardized message was much more salient when the message recipient was highly involved with the focal subject of the message than lowly involved.
The Link Between Affect and Behavioral Intention: How Emotions Elicited by Social Marketing Messages of Anti-drunk Driving on Social media Influence Cognition and Conation • Chen Lou, Michigan State University; Saleem Alhabash, Michigan State University • This study used a 3 (emotional tone: positive vs. negative vs. coactive) x 3 (message repetition) within-subject experimental design to investigate how affect elicited from persuasive messages may influence cognitive processing and behavioral intention. This study explicated the mechanism underneath the affect-attitude-behavioral intention relationship, and identified the process of how and in what circumstance emotional responses to persuasive messages could affect behavioral intentions via its effect on people’s attitude. Specifically, this study showed that people’s emotional responses elicited by negative emotional anti-drunk driving social marketing messages was effective in persuading them to refrain from driving while tipsy or drunk via affecting their attitude toward drunk driving.
The information exchangers: Social media motivations and news • Timothy Macafee • Individuals visit social media for a variety of reasons, and one motivation involves information exchange. The current study explores the relationship between individuals’ demographics, their information exchange motivations on social media and the extent to which they attend to different news media. Using a United States representative survey sample, the results suggest a strong, positive relationship between information exchange motivations and attention to news.
Media and Policy Agenda Building in Investigative Reporting • Gerry Lanosga, Indiana University Media School; Jason Martin, DePaul University • This examination of American investigative journalism from 1979 to 2012 analyzes a random sample (N=757) of 22,163 questionnaires completed by journalists for annual investigative reporting contest entries. This novel data source uncovers aspects of journalistic process rather than static product, resulting in methodological and empirical advances that better explain journalist/source relationships, policy outcomes, and agenda-building interdependence. A model for predicting policy agenda-building results based on attributes of investigative reporting is proposed and tested.
News framing and moral panics: Blaming media for school shootings • Michael McCluskey, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga; Hayden Seay • School shootings have triggered moral panics responses that blame popular media for real-world violence. Analysis of news coverage following 11 school shootings identified five frames, of which four reflect a moral panics perspective identifying popular media as a threat to society. Frames of media affect society, media help us understand the shooter, media are full of odd material and media behaved irresponsibly fit a moral panics approach, while media behaved responsibly provided an alternative perspective.
Closing of the Journalism Mind: Anti-Intellectualism in the Professional Development of College Students • Michael McDevitt; Jesse Benn • This paper represents the first attempt to measure anti-intellectualism in journalistic attitudes, and the first to document developmental influences on student anti-intellectualism. We propose reflexivity as a conceptual foundation to anticipate how students evaluate intellect and intellectuals in relation to an imagined public. While transparency in public reflexivity appears to sanction anti-intellectualism, craft reflexivity offers a resistant orientation conducive to critical thinking.
Identifying with a Stereotype: The Divergent Effects of Exposure to Homosexual Television Characters • Bryan McLaughlin, Texas Tech University; Nathian Rodriguez, Texas Tech University • Scholars examining homosexual television characters have typically come to one of two conclusions, either exposure to homosexual characters leads to increased acceptance, or homosexual characters serve to reaffirm negative stereotypes. We resolve these differences by introducing the concept of stereotyped identification – the idea that cognitively identifying with fictional characters can increase acceptance of minorities, while reinforcing stereotypes about how they look, act, and talk. Results from our national survey provide support for this hypothesis.
Processing Entertainment vs. Hard News: Cognitive and Emotional Responses to Different News Formats • Sara Magee, Loyola University-Maryland; Jensen Moore, Manship School of Mass Communication, LSU • How millennials process news is crucial to determining the growth of future news audiences. This 2 (message content: entertainment news/hard news) X 12 (message replication) experimental study found millennials not only encode and store entertainment news better, it is also more arousing, credible, and positive than hard news. Results are interpreted using Lang’s Limited Capacity Model of Mediated Motivated Message Processing. Our results suggest new ways of thinking about the Hardwired for News Hypothesis.
Effects of Embedding Social Causes in Programming • Pamela Nevar, Central Washington University; Jacqueline Hitchon, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign • Cause placement is a recent extension of the advertising strategy, product placement. This research examined the roles of cause involvement and message sidedness on the persuasiveness of cause placement in primetime entertainment programming. Two experiments found that high cause involvement (vs. low) tended to produce more favorable attitudinal responses and behavioral intentions. When cause involvement was high, one-sided messages triumphed over multi-sided messages; when cause involvement was low, multi-sided messages tended to be more persuasive.
The They in Cyberbullying: Examining Empathy and Third Person Effects in Cyberbullying of Young Adults • Cynthia Nichols, Oklahoma State University; Bobbi Kay Lewis, Oklahoma State University • The 21st century has seen rapid technological advances. Although these advances bring a multitude of benefits, there are also drawbacks from the technology that has become an integral part of daily life—such as cyberbullying. Although online bullying has becoming as common as in-person bullying, cyberbullying is not understood nearly as much as its counterpart. Due to its characteristics, it can be hard to recognize, prevent, or stop online bullying. Certain characteristics have emerged in cyberbullying research as indicators of bullies—lack of empathy toward cyberbullying, lack of parental mediation, high social media use, and third person effects toward the impact of media. The following paper looks to explore the relationships between these variables. Data (N=436) indicated that young adults believe other people are more susceptible to bullying than themselves, empathy influences attitudes toward cyberbullying, and athletes are more empathetic toward others being cyberbullied.
Commercialization of Medicine: An Analysis of Cosmetic Surgeons’ Websites • Sung-Yeon Park, School of Media and Communication, Bowling Green State University; SangHee Park, Bowling Green State University • This study examined the homepages of 250 cosmetic surgeons’ websites. Common elements on the webpages were pre-identified as indicators of medicalization or commercialization and their presence and salience were examined by focusing on the service provider, service recipients, and the practice. Overall, the providers were highly medicalized and moderately commercialized. The recipients were moderately medicalized and commercialized. The practice was moderately medicalized and highly commercialized. Implications for doctors, regulators, and consumer advocates were discussed.
Women with disability: Sex object and Supercrip stereotyping on reality television’s Push Girls • Krystan Lenhard; Donnalyn Pompper, Temple University • We respond to critical neglect of disability representation across mass media by evaluating characterizations of women who use wheelchairs on the U.S.-based reality show, Push Girls. Content analysis and a hermeneutic phenomenological theme analysis revealed findings which suggest that Sex object and Supercrip stereotypes enable producers to create programming for audiences otherwise repelled by images of women using wheelchairs. Implications of stereotype use for audiences and the disabilities community are offered.
Disclosure or Deception?: Social Media Literacy, Use, and Identification of Native Advertising • Lance Porter; Kasey Windels, Louisiana State University; Jun Heo, Louisiana State University; Rui Wang, Louisiana State University; YONGICK JEONG, Louisiana State University; A-Reum Jung • The rise of native advertising presents a number of ethical issues for today’s audiences. Do social media audiences recognize native advertising as paid messaging? Does media literacy make a difference in this ability to distinguish editorial and user generated from paid advertisements? An eye-tracking experiment found that while most can identify native advertising, certain types of native advertising are more difficult than others to identify and that Facebook is not fully disclosing paid content.
Impact of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and active mediation on preschoolers’ social and emotional development • Eric Rasmussen, Texas Tech University; Autumn Shafer, Texas Tech University; Malinda Colwell, Texas Tech University; Narissra Punyanunt-Carter, Texas Tech University; Shawna White, Texas Tech University; Rebecca Densley, Texas Tech University; Holly Wright, Texas Tech University • 127 children ages 2-6 either watched or did not watch 10 episodes of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood over a two-week period. Those in the viewing condition exhibited higher levels of empathy, self-efficacy, and emotion recognition, under certain conditions. Without exception, children benefitted from watching the show only when their viewing experiences were frequently accompanied by active mediation. Preschoolers’ age, income, and home media environment also influenced children’s reactions to exposure to the show.
Probing the role of exemplars in third-person perceptions: Further evidence of a novel hypothesis • Mike Schmierbach, Pennsylvania State University; Michael Boyle • Despite strong evidence of its existence, the third-person perception remains incompletely understood. This paper expands previous research that added an important variable to models explaining perceived influence: availability of exemplars. Employing a 2 x 2 experiment and a diverse U.S. sample (N = 523), the study confirms that this variable is a robust predictor regardless of thought-listing procedures or primes shown to reduce the heuristic reliance on media examples.
Portable Social Networks: Interactive Mobile Facebook Use Explaining Perceived Social Support and Loneliness Using Crawled and Self-Reported Data • mihye seo; Jinhee Kim, Pohang University of Science and Technology; Hyeseung Yang • The present study examines if Facebooking using mobile devices could generate gratifying social relationships and contribute psychological well-being. Matching crawling data with self-reported data from mobile Facebook users, this study found that more social interactions mobile Facebook users had with their friends and faster friends’ reactions to users’ postings increased mobile Facebook users’ perceived social support and ultimately alleviate their loneliness. Implications of living in always on and connected mobile society are discussed.
Keeping up with the audiences: Journalistic role expectations in Singapore • Edson Tandoc, Nanyang Technological University; Andrew Duffy, Nanyang Technological University • Scholarly work on journalistic role conceptions is growing, but the assumption that what journalists conceive of as their roles depend in part on what they believe audiences expect from them remains underexplored. Through a nationally representative survey (N=1,200), this study sought to understand journalistic role expectations in Singapore. The study found that Singaporeans, in general, expect their journalists to serve the public, the nation, and the government—and in that order.
What did you expect? What roles audiences expect from their journalists in Singapore • Edson Tandoc, Nanyang Technological University; Zse Yin How • This study seeks to understand the role expectations Singaporeans have for their journalists. Ten categories of role expectations emerged from the analysis of open-ended responses from a nationally representative survey of Singaporeans (N= 1,200). Some role expectations, such as the disseminator and interpreter, were conceptually similar to earlier typologies of journalists’ own role conceptions. But two new roles emerged: protector of the people, and being a good citizen. The role of cultural context is discussed.
And they lived happily ever after: Associations between watching Disney movies and Romantic beliefs of children • Merel van Ommen; Madelon Willems; Nikki Duijkers; Serena Daalmans, Radboud University; Rebecca de leeuw • Disney movies are popular among children and depict a world that is very romantic. The question is what role popular Disney movies play, as a cultivating resource. This survey study (N=315) aimed to explore if Disney’s depictions of romance are related to children’s romantic beliefs, as assessed by the Romantic Beliefs Scale. Findings fromregression analyses are the first to show that the more children watched Disney movies the stronger they endorsed the ideology of romanticism.
Issue publics, need for orientation, and obtrusiveness: A model on contingent conditions in agenda-setting • Ramona Vonbun, University of Vienna; Katharina Kleinen-von Königslöw, University of Zurich; Hajo Boomgaarden, University of Vienna • This study investigates the role of contingent conditions in the agenda-setting process introducing issue public membership as a mediating factor in opinion formation. The model is tested on five issues, based on a content analysis of 28 media outlets and a panel study in the context of a national election. The findings hint to a stable public agenda, NFO as an important antecedent in the agenda-setting process, and a mediating role of issue public membership.
Turned off by Media Violence: The Effect of Sanitized Violence Portrayals on Selective Exposure to Violent Media • T. Franklin Waddell, Penn State University; Erica Bailey; James D. Ivory, Virginia Tech University; Morgan Tear; Kevin Lee; Winston Wu; Sarah Franis; Bradi Heaberlin • The current study examined whether prior exposure to non-sanitized media violence affects viewers’ subsequent preference for violent media. Exposure to traditional, sanitized media violence increased the likelihood of selecting a clip that featured the prevention of violence and decreased the likelihood of selecting a clip that featured retributive violence. Our study thus offers the novel finding that exposure to some forms of media violence can actually inhibit, rather than foster, additional exposure to violent media.
Minnie Mouse, Modern Women: Anthropomorphism and Gender in Children’s Animated Television • Stephen Warren, Syracuse University; YUXI ZHOU, YUXI ZHOU; Dan Brown; Casby Bias, Syracuse University • This study examines the extent to which anthropomorphism influences gender representation of characters in children’s television programs. Results revealed that anthropomorphic characters were presented more physically gender-neutral than humans, and observed female characters were underrepresented. No significant differences were found between anthropomorphic and human characters in terms of personalities and behavior. The researchers propose that because physical appearance is more ambiguous, anthropomorphic characters’ personalities and behaviors may be overcompensated to make their gender clearer.
Social Media, Social Integration and Subjective Well-being among Urban Migrants in China • Lu Wei; Fangfang Gao, Zhejiang Univesity • As Chinese urban migrants are increasingly dependent on new media, particularly social media for news, entertainment, and social interaction, it is important to know how social media use contributes to their social integration and subjective well-being. Based on an online survey, this study revealed that social media use can indeed contribute to urban migrants’ social integration, particularly their perceived social identity and weak social ties, but helps little with strong social support and real-world social participation. While social media use can indeed influence urban migrants’ subjective well-being, different types of use may have different effects. Finally, urban migrants’ social integration, particularly their level of social identity, is significantly associated with their subjective well-being.
Blogging the brand: Meaning transfer and the case of Weight Watchers • Erin Willis, University of Memphis; Ye Wang, University of Missouri – Kansas City • Brand communities are becoming increasingly more popular online. The current study examined the Weight Watchers online brand community to understand the role consumer engagement plays in shaping brand meaning and how brand meaning is transferred through consumer-generated content. Social and cultural meanings are discussed. Practical implications for online brand strategy are included and also how to engage consumers with content delivered through brand communities.
Exemplification in Online Slideshows: The Role of Visual Attention on Availability Effects • Bartosz Wojdynski, University of Georgia; Camila Espina, University of Georgia; Temple Northup, University of Houston; Hyejin Bang, University of Georgia; YEN-I LEE, University of Georgia; Nandita Sridhar, University of Georgia • Although research has shown that human examples in news stories wield a high level of influence on the way users perceive story content, the role of attention in these effects has not been tested. Furthermore, it is not clear if exemplification effects identified in traditional linear story forms extend to newer news formats that are more list-based. An eye-tracking experiment (N=87) examined the effects of content type (human exemplar/ no exemplar) and exemplar distribution (early / late / evenly distributed) in online health news slideshow stories on visual attention, exemplar availability, issue perceptions, and behavioral intent. Results showed that the presence of exemplars early in a slideshow significantly increased visual attention throughout the slideshow. Furthermore, availability of slide topic was highly significantly correlated with perceived persuasiveness of slide topic. Implications of the findings for the extension of exemplification theory and the production of list-based informational content are discussed.
Credibility Judgments of Health Social Q&A: Effects of Reputation, External Source, and Social Rating • Qian Xu, Elon university • Social Q&A websites have gained increasing popularity for health information seeking and sharing. This study employs a 2×2×2 between-participants experiment to explore the effects of three interface cues in health social Q&A – reputation, external source, and social rating – on credibility judgments of the answerer and the answer. The study discovered that different cues contributed to different dimensions of perceived answerer credibility. The three cues also complemented each other in influencing perceived answer credibility.
A Multilevel Analysis of Individual- and Community-Level Sources of Local Newspaper Credibility in the United States • Masahiro Yamamoto, University of Wisconsin-La crosse; Seungahn Nah • Existing research has identified salient individual- and community-level factors that systematically account for variations in audience credibility of news media, including an audience’s political orientation, media use, social and political trust, community structural pluralism, and political heterogeneity. The purpose of this study is to test whether audiences’ perceptions of local newspaper credibility are explained by these theoretical variables, using a multilevel framework. Data from a community survey in the United States show that structural pluralism is negatively related to local newspaper credibility. Data also reveal that conservative ideology, social trust, and political trust significantly predict local newspaper credibility. Implications are discussed for the production of news content.
The Need for Surveillance: A Scale to Assess Individual Differences in Attention to the Information Environment • Chance York, Kent State University • Individuals vary with regard to their need to psychologically attend to the information environment, including the information provided by immediate surroundings, interpersonal relationships, and news media. After I outline theoretical explanations—both biological and cultural—for individual differences in environmental attention, I develop a unidimensional scale called Need for Surveillance (NSF) to measure this construct. I show that NSF predicts news use and adhering to the correct news agenda. Implications for media effects are discussed.
Social Pressure for Social Good? Motivations for Completing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge • Jared Brickman, Washington State University • The incredibly successful ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dominated social media in summer 2014. This study, guided by the ideas of diffusion, peer pressure, and concertive control systems, explores the motivations for participating in the challenge using interviews and a survey of more than 300 undergraduates. Logistic regression revealed that peer pressure, charitable intent, and a lack of perceptions of negativity surrounding the event were all significant predictors of participation.
A New Look at Agenda-Setting Effects: Exploring the Second- and Third-level Agenda Setting in Contemporary China • Yang Cheng, University of Missouri • Through two separate studies in a Chinese context, this research tests and compares the second- and third-level agenda setting effects, examines the differences between the explicit and implicit public agendas. A total of 1,667 news media coverage and 680 effective public surveys are collected and analyzed. Evidence from both studies shows strong attribute agenda setting effects at the second- and third-level, no matter the focus of issue is obtrusive or unobtrusive. Results also demonstrates that the media agenda is positively associated at a higher level with the implicit public agenda than the explicit one.
The silencing of the watchdogs: newspaper decline in state politics • Juanita Clogston • This paper analyzes the pattern in newspaper closures in state capitals to help assess the impact on democracy from the declining watchdog role of the media over state politics. Findings reveal papers in state capitals are at 1.7 times greater risk of failure than papers not in state capitals from 1955 to 2010. Based on analysis of 46 failed papers, risk factors included PM circulation and being one of two papers in the capital.
Sourcing health care reform: Exploring network partisanship in coverage of Obamacare • Bethany Conway, University of Arizona; Jennifer Ervin • Social network analysis was used to examine source use in coverage of the health care reform by CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. While 72% of sources were unique to a particular news organization, findings indicate that in the three months prior to the bill’s passage similarities existed across networks. Further, MSNBC was much more varied in their source use. Correlations amongst sources and networks change in magnitude and significance over time.
Above the Scroll: Visual Hierarchy in Online News • Holly Cowart, University of Florida • This study considered the usefulness of hierarchical presentation of news content. It compared the news content presented as the top story on five major news website homepages three times a day for one month. Results indicate some level of agreement on what to present as the top story as well the use of conventional visual cues to identify those stories.
Outpouring of success: How the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge engaged Millennials’ narcissism toward digital activism • Andrea Hall, University of Florida; Lauren Furey, University of Florida • Jumping off the popularity of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a survey of 500 Milliennials explores how social media use could lead to narcissistically induced activism. Results revealed a strong correlation between social media use and narcissism, and motives for participating were supported by social comparison theory. Results also revealed that participating in the ALS campaign was perceived as activism, which suggests it behaved as a bridge between traditional and digital activism.
Visual gender stereotyping and political image perception • Tatsiana Karaliova, Missouri School of Journalism; Valerie Guglielmi; Sangeeta Shastry; Jennifer Travers; Nathan Hurst • This online experiment aimed to explore the impact of visual stereotypical and non-stereotypical representations of political candidates on young voters’ political image perception and voting intention. It confirmed the existence of predispositions about male and female political candidates in the evaluation of their practical and emotional traits. Gender had a significant effect on how the candidates were evaluated for practical traits and type of representation had a significant effect on how they were evaluated for emotional traits.
Selfies: True self or Better Self?: A qualitative exploration of selfie uses on social media • Joon Kyoung Kim, Syracuse University • Despite of increased popularity of selfies on social media, little is known about media users’ uses of selfies. Understanding social media users’ uses of selfies in terms of self-presentation is fundamental because use of individuals’ own pictures on social media can be an important mode of self-expression. Use of selfies on social media can be useful for examining individuals’ self-presentation because an individual’s picture on his or her profile is most frequently exposed to other users on social media, it can be used to examine how individual users express themselves. The purpose of this research is to explore how social media users use selfies and perceive them. In-depth interviews were conducted to collect data from social media users in a university in the Northeastern United States. A snowball sampling strategy was used to recruit eleven participants because this study aimed to research certain users who post or share their selfies on social media. In addition, because most social media users who frequently use selfies belong to younger generation such as teenagers, this study focused on young college students who aged 19 to 22 from different majors. Four themes emerged from analysis of in-depth interview data. Selective exposure, frequency, extraversion/introversion, and feedback management emerged under the major theme of impression management. These themes explain how social media users use their selfies to give favorable impression to others and to avoid conveying unfavorable impression to others.
Cultivating gender stereotypes: Pinterest and the user-generated housewife? • Nicole Lee, Texas Tech University; Shawna White, Texas Tech University • Through a survey of 315 women, this study explored the relationship between Pinterest use, gender stereotypes and self-perceptions. Results indicate a link between Pinterest use and stereotyped views of gender roles in a relational context. The same link was not found between Pinterest use and self-esteem or body image. Open-ended questions explored cognitive and emotional effects of Pinterest use. A mix of motivation, inspiration, guilt and jealousy were reported. Directions for further research are discussed.
HPV Vaccination in US Media: Gender and regional differences • Wan Chi Leung, University of South Carolina • This study examines newspaper articles and television news transcripts about the HPV vaccine in the U.S. from 2006 to 2014. Findings reveals that media presented HPV vaccine as more beneficial to women’s health instead of men. In the South of the U.S. where the vaccination rate was the lowest among all regions, newspapers tended to talk less about HPV vaccination, and presented less benefits of vaccination, and fewer positive direct quotes.
Putnam’s Clarion Call: An Examination of Civic Engagement and the Internet • Lindsay McCluskey, Louisiana State University; Young Kim, Louisiana State University • The purpose of this research is to develop and test models of civic engagement. We examined various dimensions of civic engagement for antecedents and determinant factors related to the Internet, controlling for effects of a wide range of other variables. Using 2010 national survey data, this study found that significant and different factors (e.g., trust, satisfaction, the location of Internet use, and perceived Internet impact) for dimensions of civic engagement in full multivariate logit models.
The Audience Brand: The Clash Between Public Dialogue and Brand Preservation in News Comment Sections • Meredith Metzler • The tensions between news organizations operating in the public interest and as a business operation have not changed online, and, in fact have become more complicated. In this paper, I examine how comment sections architecture is modified to encourage a particular type of dialogue from the now visible audience. The findings in this paper indicate that the news organizations shape conversational environments occurring within the boundaries of its site.
Let’s Keep This Quiet: Media Framing of Campus Sexual Assault, Its Causes, and Proposed Solutions • Jane O’Boyle, University of South Carolina; Jo-Yun Queenie Li • This study analyzes ten American newspapers across the country (N = 500) to examine how they present stories about sexual assault on college campuses. We explore attributions for causes and which entities are framed most responsible for creating solutions to the problem: individuals, universities, fraternities, sports teams, or society. Findings indicate media attribute causes to individuals such as victims and perpetrators, but solutions to universities. Liberal newspapers framed the victim as most responsible for causes, and were overall favorable toward universities.
The Discourse of Sacrifice in Natural Disaster: The Case Study of Thailand’s 2011 Floods • Penchan Phoborisut, University of Utah • This paper investigates how the discourse of a natural disaster such as a flood is formed and featured in the Thai media. The paper adopts a textual analysis of news about the floods in 2011, reported in two major Thai mainstream newspapers during the three- month long floods. The emerging theme is sacrifice and repeated coverage on being good citizens. Meanwhile, the issues of environment and social justice were absent. I argue that the articulation of sacrifice can perpetuate social injustice imposed on the vulnerable population.
#JeSuisCharlie: Examining the Power of Hashtags to Frame Civic Discourse in the Twitterverse • Miles Sari, Washington State University; Chan Chen, Washington State University • Using the Charlie Hebdo shooting as a case study for exploratory analysis, this paper bridges the link between framing theory and the power of hashtags to frame civic discourse in the Twitterverse. Through an inductive qualitative content analysis and a critical discourse analysis, we argue that the hashtag Je Suis Charlie constructed a dichotomy of opposition that symbolically placed the massacre in the context of a rhetorical war between free expression and global terrorism.
The Third-Person Perception and Priming: The Case of Ideal Female Body Image • Jiyoun Suk • This paper explores how priming affects the third-person perception in the case of ideal female body image. Through a posttest-only control group experiment, this study reveals that after reading an article about media’s effect on shaping women’s view about their body, the third-person perception was weakened among women. This is because the perceived media effect on self has increased after the priming. It implies how the third-person effect can be easily manipulated through priming.
Is Social Viewing the New Laugh Track? Examining the Effect of Traditional and Digital Forms of Audience Response on Comedy Enjoyment • T. Franklin Waddell, Penn State University • Participants watched a comedy program that randomly varied the presence of social media comments (positive vs. negative vs. no comment control) and the sound of a laugh track (present vs. absent) during programming. Results find that negative social media comments lead to lower levels of program enjoyment through the mediating pathways of lower bandwagon perceptions and lower humor. Surprisingly, canned laughter also had an inhibitory effect on enjoyment via the mechanism of lower narrative involvement.
Heaven, Hell, and Physical Viral Media: An Analysis of the Work of Jack T. Chick • Philip Williams, Regent University • This paper advances the concept of physical viral media: that virality is not limited to digital media, and that examples of media virality predate the digital era. The work under analysis is that of Jack T. Chick, the controversial tract publisher. The paper uses media characteristics and behavior analysis to establish the viral nature of Chick’s work and demonstrate the possibility of virality with the physical form.
The Effects of Media Consumption and Interpersonal Contacts on stereotypes towards Hong Kong people in China • Chuanli XIA, City University of Hong Kong • This study examines the effects of both media consumption and interpersonal contacts on Chinese mainlanders’ stereotypes towards Hong Kong people. The framework was tested with a survey data of 314 mainlanders. Results reveal that media consumption is negatively associated with mainlanders’ positive stereotypes about Hong Kong people, while interpersonal contacts with Hong Kong people result in positive stereotypes about Hong Kong people. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
The Uses and Gratifications Theory and the Future of Print Magazines • Elizabeth Bonner, University of Alabama • In the midst of the persistent discussion that print journalism is dying, data suggests many magazines are still thriving, particularly with Millennial audiences. The uses and gratifications theory emerges as a pivotal tool for magazines hoping to make it through this time of technological transformation. If print magazines wish to survive, they must make efforts to understand how this instrumental Millennial demographic uses magazines and what gratifications its members seek in those uses.
Finding the Future of Magazines in the Past: Audience Engagement with the First 18th-Century Magazines • Elizabeth Bonner, University of Alabama • In the midst of the discussion that print journalism lacks value today because it cannot provide the interactive platform modern audiences desire, data suggests many magazines are thriving. Assessing this print versus digital debate in the context of historical magazines reveals readers’ desire for interactivity is actually age old. This study examines the audience engagement efforts of America’s first two magazines founded in 1741 and seeks to shed light on the future of print magazines.
Survivors and Dreamers: A Rhetorical Vision of Teen Voices magazine • Ellen Gerl, Ohio University • This study explores how Teen Voices, a magazine written and edited by teenage girls, created a rhetorical vision of empowerment through its text and photographs. Using social convergence theory and fantasy theme analysis, the researcher identified four fantasy types: 1) I am a survivor, 2) I am a dreamer, 3) I am an activist, and 4) I can do anything. Findings discussed within the framework of third wave feminism show the rhetorical community established within Teen Voices magazine valued individualism and personal strength.
App Assets: An Exploratory Analysis of Magazine Brands’ Digital Drive for Audience Attention • Elizabeth Hendrickson, Ohio University; Yun Li • This research examines the evolution of today’s consumer magazine content distribution and considers how a media organization’s digital developments might reflect a further tapering of consumer demographics. This study applies the diffusion of innovation framework to magazine media convergence trends and explores how the industry’s leading publishing organizations respond to the changing needs and expectations of its already-niche audiences.
The Ethics of Common Sense: Considering the Ethics Decision-Making Processes of Freelance Magazine Journalists • Joy Jenkins, University of Missouri • Freelance journalists face many of the same ethical dilemmas as journalists working in newsrooms. Because they work independently for various organizations, they may develop different strategies for making ethical decisions. This study used in-depth interviews with freelance magazine journalists (N = 14) to explore how they define ethical dilemmas and the individual and organizational frameworks guiding their decision-making. The study sheds light on the forces shaping ethical decision-making, particularly in the context of magazine journalism.
Picturing Cities: A Semiotic Analysis of City and Regional Magazine Cover Images • Joy Jenkins, University of Missouri; Keith Greenwood • City and regional magazines serve multiple functions in communities, providing ideas for how residents should spend their time and money and offering insight into the people and experiences that define urban life. The covers of these publications both promote this content and reveal the images of cities these magazines perpetuate. This study used content analysis to examine the covers of nine award-winning city and regional magazines. The study aimed to assess the philosophy of selection the magazines used when choosing cover content, particularly whether covers were created to accurately reflect the community and the challenges and opportunities it faces or to enhance sales through promoting a limited vision of urban life. The analysis indicated that city magazines focused on items to be consumed over depictions of people, but when people did appear, they reflected a narrow demographic slice of city’s populations. The magazines also emphasized lifestyle topics and more often represented generic backdrops than specific locations. Lastly, the covers relied on photographic approaches through which readers could establish social connections with the subjects presented. These findings suggest that city magazines emphasize depictions of affluent urban lifestyles over representing more diverse images of city life.
Looking Westwards: Men in Transnational Men’s Magazine Advertising in India • Suman Mishra • This study examines advertising content of four top-selling Indian editions of transnational men’s lifestyle magazines (Men’s Health India, GQ India, FHM India, Maxim India) to understand how it is constructing masculinity for urban Indian men. Through content analysis, the study finds greater presence of international brands and Caucasian models than domestic Indian brands and models in the advertisements. Male models often appear alone and in decorative roles as opposed to professional roles promoting clothing and accessories. Advertisements with sexual explicitness and physical contact are few, which is in line with global trends and local conservative Indian culture. The study discusses the emergence of class-based masculinity that helps to assimilate the upper class Indian men into global consumer base through shared ideals, goals and values.
A Boondoggle in Space: Themes in 1960s Era Space Exploration Journalism • Jennifer Scott, Regent University; Stephen Perry • The success of Sputnik I in 1957 both propelled Russia to the forefront of the Space Race and challenged the United States to invest more time, resources, manpower, and finances into space exploration. By the 1960s, skepticism grew concerning the United States’ objectives and ability to enter space and eventually reach the moon. This study examines articles published in The Saturday Evening Post that editorialize on the U.S. space program. A fantasy theme analysis shows exaggerated and negative language used to inflate the severity of the Space Race and criticize the United States’ failures and disorganization. Themes emerge in the articles that construct a rhetorical vision of the United States far behind Russia in the highly dangerous, overly expensive, and severely wasteful arena of space travel.
Sexuality and Relationships in Cosmopolitan for Latinas Online and Cosmopolitan Online • Chelsea Reynolds, University of Minnesota SJMC • Since 2012, leading publishers have launched magazines targeting Latina readers. This study positions those titles within the larger Latino marketing boom and problematizes their representations of Latina women. This qualitative framing analysis contrasts frames of sexuality and relationships in Sex & Love articles published on Cosmo For Latinas online with those from Cosmopolitan online. While CFL stereotyped Latinas’ bodies as caught up in political and family struggles, Cosmo focused on readers’ sexual and romantic autonomy.
The Right to be Forgotten and Global Googling: A More Private Exchange of Information? • Burton Bridges • The lack of privacy regulation remains a concern in the United States and abroad. With the European Union’s introduction of the Right to be Forgotten, people are requesting to hide data and search engines are being forced to comply. This paper will explore how the unregulated flow of information is being balanced with the innate desire for individual discretion. Additionally, the implications of the EU’s law will be contrasted and theoretically applied to the U.S.
Difficulties and Dilemmas Regarding Defamatory Meaning in Ethnic Micro-Communities: Accusations of Communism, Then and Now • Clay Calvert, University of Florida • This paper examines the complicated issues of community and defamatory meaning that arise in libel law when plaintiffs allege reputational harm within ethnic and geographically-bound micro-communities. The paper uses three recent cases involving false accusations of communism targeting Vietnamese war refugees residing in the United States as analytical springboards for tackling this issue. Although some scholars seemingly presumed libel-by-communism to be a relic of the Cold War era, the issue is very much alive and well in ethnic enclaves. The paper also contrasts the public policy concerns of libel-by-communism cases with the ones that animate the defamation-by-homosexuality disputes that are garnering significantly more scholarly attention.
Begging the Question of Content-Based Confusion: Examining Problems With a Key First Amendment Doctrine Through the Lens of Anti-Begging Statutes • Clay Calvert, University of Florida • This paper examines numerous problems now plaguing the fundamental dichotomy in First Amendment jurisprudence between content-based and content-neutral speech regulations. The troubles were highlighted by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 divided decision in McCullen v. Coakley. Building from McCullen, this paper uses a quartet of federal court rulings from 2014 and 2013 involving anti-begging ordinances affecting the homeless as analytical springboards for examining these issues in depth. Ultimately, the paper proposes a three-step framework for mitigating the muddle and calls on the nation’s high court to take action to clarify the proper test for distinguishing between content-based and content-neutral regulations.
Calling Them Out: An Exploration of Whether Newsgathering May Be Punished As Criminal Harassment • Erin Coyle, Louisiana State University; Eric Robinson, Louisiana State University • Newsgathering requires repeated telephone calls, aggressive questions, and investigation of matters that can cause emotional distress. Some sources threaten to file or file harassment charges on the basis of such actions. This study explored whether state criminal harassment laws may be applied to punish newsgathering. This study found that the wording of most harassment laws should prevent their application to newsgathering. Nonetheless, journalists have been threatened to be charged or charged with harassment for newsgathering.
To Pray or Not to Pray: Sectarian Prayer in Legislative Meetings • Mallory Drummond, High Point University • The purpose of this research paper is to explore the Supreme Court’s seemingly inconsistent application of the First Amendment to sectarian prayer at legislative meetings. Recently, the Supreme Court reacted to prayer practices in Forsyth County, North Carolina and the Town of Greece, New York in what appears to be contradictory ways. This paper attempts to reconcile these decisions and offer suggestions to guide future decisions by local governments.
A First Amendment Right to Know For the Disabled: Internet Accessibility Under the ADA • Victoria Ekstrand, UNC – Chapel Hill • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2015. Enacted by Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, the ADA was designed to ensure that people with disabilities are given independence, freedom of choice, control of their lives, the opportunity to blend fully and equally into the rich mosaic of the American mainstream. Title III of the ADA defines what kinds of public and private spaces must provide access and accommodations to the disabled. Missing from that list, because of the ADA’s timing, is the Internet, effectively shutting the disabled out of the rich marketplace of ideas online. This paper examines both the case law surrounding this omission and the foot-dragging of the executive and legislative branches in extending Title III to the Internet. It argues that extending Title III to the Internet may be bolstered by First Amendment right to know principles.
Network Neutrality and Consumer Demand for Better Than Best Efforts Traffic Management • Rob Frieden, Penn State University • This paper assesses whether and how Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can offer service enhancements for video traffic while still fully complying the new rules and regulations established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in March, 2015. The paper concludes that the FCC exacerbated regulatory uncertainty by failing to identify whether and how ISPs can provide higher quality of service treatment for high speed, bandwidth intensive video traffic. The paper concludes that the FCC should identify how ISPs can reduce the potential for degraded delivery of mission critical, must see video content. The Commission should permit better than best efforts traffic routing provided it does not degrade conventional best efforts routing and serve anticompetitive goals.
The Angry Pamphleteer: Borderline Political Speech on Twitter and the True Threats Distinction under Watts v. United States • Brooks Fuller, UNC-Chapel Hill • Since the 1969 Supreme Court case Watts v. United States, courts have consistently held that politically motivated speech to or about public figures if the speech may be punished if it qualifies as true threats rather than protected political hyperbole. Criticism of public officials lies at the core of First Amendment protection, even when that criticism is caustic or crude. Such caustic speech appears on Twitter with increasing frequency, often pushing the boundaries of the constitutional guarantees of free speech. This paper explores the borderlines of protected political expression on Twitter. Through an analysis of the political speech-true threats cases that interpret Watts, this paper identifies and assesses three modes of analysis that lower courts use to distinguish political speech from true threats: 1) criteria-based analysis; 2) pure First Amendment balancing; and 3) line-crossing analysis. This paper concludes that of these three tests, criteria-based analysis is the most restrictive of borderline political speech and demonstrates how First Amendment balancing and line-crossing analyses appropriately address the speech realities of new media and political participation.
Scrutinizing the Public Health Debates Regarding the Adult Film Industry: An In-Depth Case Analysis of the Health-Based Arguments in Vivid Entertainment, LLC v. Fielding • Kyla Garret • In an effort to curb the spreading of sexually transmitted infections from the adult film industry to the surrounding community, the citizens of Los Angeles County, California, home to where 80 percent of all pornographic films are produced, passed the Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act in November of 2012. Also known as Measure B, the ordinance requires the use of condoms during the production of all vaginal and anal sex scenes in hardcore porn. Posing significant obstacles for adult film production, industry leader Vivid Entertainment, LLC, responded by filing suit against Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Health in January of 2013 to obtain an injunction against the ordinance, claiming that the measure unconstitutionally infringes on the industry’s and its actors’ First Amendment Rights to freedom of speech and expression. Much of the debate surrounding Vivid Entertainment, LLC v. Fielding concerns the constitutionality of the ordinance, but little discussion reviews the underlying health claims presented in the case and the ordinance itself. This is an important case to explore as it is a case of first impression and could set a key precedent regarding health policy and First Amendment protected expression. The case is also likely to set precedent for future regulations specific to the adult film industry. Therefore, this paper first identifies the health-based arguments presented in Vivid Entertainment, LLC v. Fielding and then, utilizing a public health and health communication lens, analyzes the validity of these arguments to ultimately consider the constitutionality of Measure B.
Native Advertising: Blurring Commercial and Noncommercial Speech Online • Nicholas Gross, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Journalism & Mass Communication • Mixing advertisement with art, entertainment, news, social commentary, and/or other content in the digital ecosystem, native advertising straddles the boundary between commercial and noncommercial speech. Similar forms of mixed-speech are examined through the lens of case law that has faced the task of separating commercial from noncommercial speech. This paper speculates on where native advertising might fall within this divide and what level of First Amendment protection this practice might merit under existing case precedent.
A Theory of Privacy and Trust • Woodrow Hartzog, Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law; Neil Richards, Washington University School of Law • The way we have talked about privacy has a pessimism problem. Privacy is conceptualized in negative terms, which leads us to mistakenly look for creepy new practices and focus excessively on privacy harms. This article argues that privacy should be thought of as enabling trust in information relationships. Privacy rules based on discretion, honesty, loyalty, and protection can promote trust in information relationships. There is a better path for privacy. Trust us.
Differential Reasonableness: A standard for evaluating deceptive privacy-promising technologies • Jasmine McNealy, University of Kentucky; Heather Shoenberger, University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication • This paper reconsiders the Federal Trade Commission’s reasonable person standard with respect to deception in light of advances in technology, and the general lack of foundational understanding of how digital technologies work with respect to private information. We argue that the FTC should consider those technologies promising privacy to consumers under special analysis, much like the Commission examines those products and services targeting special groups like children, the elderly, and infirmed. Our argument is directed at what we call privacy-promising technologies. We define privacy-promising technologies as those mobile apps, software, online tools, etc., that claim privacy enhancement as part of their marketing strategies.
Access to Information About Lethal Injections: A First Amendment Theory Perspective • Emma Morehart, University of Florida; Kéran Billaud, University of Florida; Kevin Bruckenstein • This paper examines, through the lens of First Amendment theory, current judicial debate regarding the access rights of inmates and the public to detailed facts about lethal-injection drugs, personnel and procedures. The paper uses several 2014 appellate court disputes as analytical springboards, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s groundbreaking decision in Wood v. Ryan. The paper argues that the First Amendment doctrine developed in Press-Enterprise II too narrowly cabins and confines access rights in lethal-injection data cases. In contrast, three venerable theories of free expression – the marketplace of ideas, democratic self-governance and self-realization/human dignity – support the establishment of both an inmate’s and the public’s right to such information.
Cultural Variation on Commercial Speech Doctrine: India Exhibits Stronger Protections than the U.S. • Jane O’Boyle, University of South Carolina • India’s Constitution is younger than that of the United States, and this paper argues that it provides greater protections for commercial speech. This analysis reviews the major court decisions about commercial speech in both India and the United States, and compares the cultural distinctions of the two nations in defining its protections. Perhaps it is due to Americans’ sense of exceptionalism and their paternalistic government, but the U.S. Supreme Court has restricted commercial speech far more often than has the Supreme Court in India.
The Government Speech Doctrine & Specialty License Plates: A First Amendment Theory Perspective • Sarah Papadelias, University of Florida; Tershone Phillips, University of Florida; Rich Shumate, University of Florida • This paper examines, through the lens of First Amendment theory, the timely question of whether specialty license plates constitute private expression or government speech. In December 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans to address this issue. Walker arises in the wake of substantial doctrinal disorder and confusion regarding the government speech standard since the Court’s 2009 ruling in Pleasant Grove City v. Summum. This paper argues that three venerable First Amendment theories – the marketplace of ideas, democratic self-governance and self-realization/human autonomy – pave a path for the Court to better understand the interests at stake in Walker and, in turn, to help resolve the doctrinal muddle.
Injunction Junction: A Theory- and Precedent-Based Argument for the Elimination of Speech Codes at American Public Universities • Barry Parks, University of Memphis • The issue of implementing speech codes on American public college campuses for the sake of regulating what should and should not be acceptable expression in the academic environment has been an intense legal debate for over 30 years. Arguments from the perspective of critical race theory—which calls for limits on expression for the sake of marginalized groups and voices—and First Amendment absolutism—which champions few limits on expression for the sake of a robust academic marketplace of ideas—have waged the two sides of the ongoing battle regarding speech on campus. However, in every instance where college speech codes have been challenged for constitutionality in the courts, free speech rights on campus have won. This study details the battle between opposing theoretical forces in the debate and chronologically surveys case law pertaining to American public college speech codes. Based on consistent legal precedent pointing to unconstitutionality on grounds of overbreadth, vagueness, and content-based restriction, this study argues that speech codes on college campuses should be eliminated.
First Amendment Protection or Right of Publicity Violation? Examining the Application of the Transformative Use Test in Keller and Hart • Sada Reed, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • The United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and Third Circuit Court of Appeals administered the transformative use test in Keller v. Electronic Arts, Inc. (2013) and Hart v. Electronic Arts, Inc. (2013), respectively. This paper analyzes sports-related misappropriation cases before Keller and Hart, examining the tests used, the courts’ justification for the test, and how the use differs from Keller and Hart. Results suggest inconsistent application of this test, particularly in video game-related cases.
Examining the Theoretical Assumptions Found Within the Supreme Court’s Use of the Marketplace Metaphor • Jared Schroeder, Augustana College • Supreme Court justices have employed the marketplace-of-ideas metaphor to communicate how they understand freedom of speech for nearly a century. The meanings behind metaphors, however, are not static. This study examines whether justices’ references to the metaphor in twenty-first-century cases remain primarily tied to the original meaning, one related to the Enlightenment ideas at the heart of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’s first use of the metaphor in 1919, or if the meaning has shifted to represent more discourse-based understandings of communication in democratic society, such as those put forth by John Dewey and Jürgen Habermas. The theoretical assumptions behind Enlightenment ideas and those of the discourse model differ substantially in regard to the nature of truth, the rationality of the individual, and the role of society. This study, through an analysis of recent Supreme Court decisions that referred to the marketplace metaphor, identifies evidence of a shift in the Court’s understanding of the foundational theoretical concepts behind the meaning of the metaphor. Importantly, the narrative that emerged from the analysis of the opinions suggested that when justices refer to the marketplace metaphor in contemporary decisions, they are commonly communicating meanings that relate with theoretical assumptions that differ from those that were at the heart of the metaphor as Justice Holmes introduced it into the Court’s vocabulary in 1919.
A Contextual Analysis of Neutrality: How Neutral is the Net? • Dong-Hee Shin; Hongseok Yoon; Jaeyeol Jung • This study compares and contrasts the U.S. and Korea in the context of network neutrality, focusing on debates among stakeholders and regulatory approaches. Similarities and differences are highlighted by comparisons within the broadband ecosystem framework: government functions, histories, people’s perceptions, regulatory approaches, legislative initiatives, and implementation. In Korea, a regulatory framework with suggested guidelines exists, and it can be used to address net neutrality in a case-by-case fashion. The U.S. follows a regulatory approach by creating enforceable non-discrimination rules. The findings in this study suggest that the issue is not only complicated because it is embedded contextually, but also because the respective parties’ diverse interests are multifaceted and vague. It is concluded, therefore, that a coherent and consistent approach is an effective way to govern neutrality.
Internet Governance Policy Framework, Networked Communities and Online Surveillance in Ethiopia • Tewodros Workneh, University of Oregon • The September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States unleashed an array of counter-terrorism initiatives across the world. Following the footsteps of the United States that adopted the Patriotic Act of 2001, many countries drafted and ratified anti-terrorism legal frameworks that targeted, among other things, communication systems and flows, on one hand, and journalistic reporting practices, on the other. In the past five years, traditionally democratic states like Australia, Great Britain, United States and New Zealand have come under attack for using these legal frameworks to undertake rampant online surveillance practices that significantly affected media freedoms. A more alarming trend, however, involves the broad and random interpretation of these laws in a number of states with authoritarian and quasi-authoritarian complexions. Anti-terrorism laws are increasingly used to tighten an already closed political space in many of these countries through criminalizing legitimate dissent and critical content. Under these anti-terrorism legal provisions, the most notable losers are journalists, bloggers and other media practitioners that have experienced attacks that range from verbal and physical abuses to torture and killings. This study attempts to discuss the chilling effect anti-terrorism laws brought to online communities in Ethiopia, and attempts to address (1) the metamorphosis of these laws in defining what an act of terrorism involves; (2) the ways the adoption of these laws condition networked communities and media freedoms.
The Digital Right to Be Forgotten in EU Law: Informational Privacy vs. Freedom of Expression • KYU YOUM; Ahran Park • The right to be forgotten allows an individual to demand that Google and other search engines erase links to information that he regards as prejudicial to him. In a landmark ruling, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has read a right to be forgotten into the EU Data Protection Directive. Given that data protection as a global privacy vs. free speech issue deserves more systematic attention than ever, this paper examines the right to be forgotten in the European Union. Three questions provide the main focus: What’s the legal and theoretical framework of the right to be forgotten? How has the right to be forgotten evolved in EU law? What impact will the right to be forgotten exert on freedom of expression?
This is Just Not Wroking For Us: Why After Ten Years on the Job – It Is Time to Fire Garcetti • Jason Zenor • In Lane v. Franks, the U.S. Supreme Court held that public employees who give truthful testimony in court are protected so long as it was outside their ordinary job duties. This issue arose after ten years of the Garcetti rule which does not protect employee speech pursuant to their job duties- a nebulous topic in the digital era. In applying Garcetti, lower courts have extended it to include any speech that is a product of job duties. As a result, public employee speech that would serve the public interest is not protected as it is inherently a product of job duties. This paper applauds the new exception, but argues that the Court’s ruling was too narrow. Using the principles espoused in the case, this paper argues that the Court should have amended the Garcetti rule and refocused the test on the public trust rather than the employee-employer relationship
Debut Faculty Paper Competition
Feiner v. New York: How the Court Got it Wrong • Roy Gutterman, AEJMC member • When Irving Feiner was pulled off a soapbox while giving a speech, his disorderly conduct arrest would ultimately lead to a Supreme Court case and precedent which changed the law. The heckler’s veto, emerged and changed the law of free speech. The heckler’s veto is alive and kicking in contemporary cases today.
The value and limits of extreme speech in a networked society: Revitalizing tolerance theory • Brett Johnson, University of Missouri • This paper argues that Bollinger’s tolerance theory of freedom of expression should be revitalized as the core theory to guide analyses of issues of harmful or extreme speech in an era of networked communication. The paper first analyzes traditional negative First Amendment theories and legal doctrines that delineate the values and harms of speech, and then synthesizes these theories with tolerance theory. The paper then applies this synthesis to issues of extreme speech in networked communications.
Facebook’s Free Speech Growing Pains: A Case Study in Content Governance • Brett Johnson, University of Missouri • This paper examines the evolution of Facebook’s rules governing users’ speech on its platform, from its earliest terms of service to its most recent Community Standards (March 2015). The goal is to highlight Facebook’s ongoing identity conflict between being a platform that promotes speech and one that offers a safe community for its users. Ultimately, this paper argues that Facebook must be more transparent about the operations of its entire system of governing users’ speech.
A right to violence: Comparing child rights generally to child First Amendment freedoms • William Nevin, University of West Alabama • This paper argues that children should have the right to consume and produce violent speech for two reasons: because (1) children have restricted rights only where there are serious risks and consequences and that does not apply in the speech setting and (2) where child speech rights are limited, they have been done so only in the area of sexually explicit material.
Racial slurs and ‘fighting words’: The question of whether epithets should be unprotected speech • William Nevin, University of West Alabama • This paper seeks to answer two questions: first, whether racial slurs are considered fighting words under the law and second, whether they should be. In answering both questions in the affirmative, the paper traces the development of the fighting words doctrine before examining contemporary fighting words prosecutions and cases involving slurs. The paper also compares racial slurs as fighting words to race-based defamation in order to address whether slurs should be fighting words.
ISP Liability for Defamation: Is Absolute Immunity Still Fair? • Ahran Park • Since the mid-1990s, American Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have enjoyed immunity from liability for defamation under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. As Congress originally intended in 1996, Section 230 has strongly protected freedom of online speech and allowed ISPs to thrive with little fear of being sued for online users’ comments. Such extraordinary statutory immunity for ISPs reflects American free-speech tradition that freedom of speech is preferred to reputation. Although the Internet landscape has changed over the past 20 years, American courts have applied Section 230 to shield ISPs almost invariably. ISPs won in 83 of 85 cases in 1997 to 2014. Nearly all types of ISPs have been held to be eligible for immunity unless they are original online speakers. Even when ISPs have operated websites that have left digital scarlet letters on individuals, they have not been liable if the ISPs did not create or develop the defamatory contents. Bloggers, as website operators, could be immunized even when they exercised the traditional editorial functions unlike the traditional journalists. This paper suggest that CDA Section 230 of the United States should be revised to rebalance reputation with freedom of speech.
FoIA in the Age of Open. Gov: A Quantitative Analysis of the performance of the Freedom of Information Act under the Obama and Bush Administrations. • ben wasike • Using government transparency as the conceptual framework, this study used six standard FoIA parameters to quantitatively analyze and compare FoIA performance between the Obama and Bush administrations in terms of: Efficiency, disposition, type of exemptions, redress, staff workload and overall demand. Results indicate that while efficiency is higher under Obama, agencies are releasing information only in part. While appeals were processed faster under Bush,petitioners have had more success under Obama. Additionally, FoIA staff workload has dramatically reduced under Obama. Demand for public records was also higher under Bush. One notable finding was that contrary to popular outcry, neither administration emphasized the national security and law enforcement exemptions to deny information. Legacy and commonality were also findings indicating that certain trends transcend the incumbent. The implications to government transparency are discussed within.