Graduate Education 2006 Abstracts

Graduate Education Interest Group

Cultivating Political Activism Online: A Case Study of Democratic Meetup Groups in the 2004 Presidential Election • Carole V. Bell, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • Political interest groups and candidates are increasingly turning to the Internet for a variety of political communication functions, from fundraising to volunteer mobilization. Much of this renewed attention results from the successes of the 2004 presidential primaries, most spectacularly the growth of Meetup.com, an online service that enables people with common interests to meet.

The Media’s Role in Declining Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections, 1960-2004 • Andrew Kaplan, University of Maryland • Voter turnout has declined precipitously in the past 45 years for presidential elections, from about 73% of the non-South in 1960 (the South is not counted due to discriminatory practices) to 54% in 2000 and 60% in 2004. In 1996, nearly half the country did not vote. For decades, scholars asserted that as education levels rose, voter participation would also increase. Yet, it has sharply declined.

Triple play competition in U.S. telecommunications industry: Exploring factors affecting cable operators’ adoption of triple-play services • Sangho Seo, Penn State University • The primary purpose of this study is to estimate empirically factors affecting adoption of triple-play bundled services of a cable operator in U.S. local telecommunications market and discovered what factors are important in order to lead to additional convergence in the future.

“Hidden cameras” in Bollywood: Indian responses to the journalistic ethics of undercover reporting of celebrities • Jaya Shroff and Mansi Tiwari, Ohio University • The paper discusses the serious and the ethical issues associated with the methods of investigation and news gathering namely the hidden cameras and changed identities. It looks at several cases from India and the United States with a focus on the IndiaTV controversy of March 2005 and analyses the responses from across the media to the newsgathering methods involved. The main concerns raised in the article deal with deception and invasion of privacy.

Supervision and Accuracy in an Online Newsroom: A Pilot Study • David Stanton, Diane Hickey and Keith Saliba, University of Florida • The current study examines supervision of a Web-driven news production and editing course at a large, southeastern university. The course, which has been taught for over a decade, recently transitioned from a static HTML Web site to a dynamic site driven by a relational database and XML. Content management systems (CMS) allow journalists to remotely input content, edit and deliver the final product to print and Web-based publications.

“I’m confident I’ll vote for you, but only if you go to church with me:” Motivated message processing, religious ideology and evaluation of political candidates • John Wirtz and Penelope Sheets, University of Minnesota • The current paper examines the relationship between commitment to religious beliefs, need for closure (Kruglanski, Webster, & Klem, 1993), and the level of confidence individuals place in the inferences they draw when given limited information about a political candidate. A statistically significant relationship (F(1, 74)=4.103, p<.O5) was found between participants’ commitment to Christian orthodox beliefs and the level of confidence they placed in their inferences about a political candidate.

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Community Journalism 2006 Abstracts

Community Journalism Interest Group

Weekly Dilemmas: A Study of Community Journalism, Connections, and Ethics in Small Towns • Lisa Coble-Krings, Kansas • Small-town journalists are able to connect with their communities by practicing community journalism. This form of journalism is explained by examining community ties and the potential problems close connections can cause for small-town journalists. The data used in this study was gathered during visits to five weekly newspapers and from interviews with journalists and non-journalists. Conclusions developed from this study show how small-town journalists answer ethical questions and how community members feel about their newspapers.

The Historical Mission and Evolution of the Capital Outlook Newspaper • Yanela Gordon, Florida A&M • This study explores the history and mission of the Capital Outlook, Tallahassee’s only African-American owned newspaper. Established in 1975, the Capital Outlook has existed under five-periods of ownership. For thirty years, the newspaper has been a voice of victory and vision for African Americans living in Florida, especially within the North Florida region. The Capital Outlook has distinguished itself having been awarded, three times, the A. Philip Randolph Messenger Award, known as the Black Pulitzer.

No Union in Humboldt, Kansas: Readers’ Perceptions of Loss When a Community Loses Its Newspaper • J. Steven Smethers, Bonnie Bressers, Amber Willard, Linda Harvey and Gloria Freeland, Kansas State • This study seeks to gauge perception of loss among newspaper readers in Humboldt, Kansas, in the aftermath of losing their community newspaper, the Humboldt Union. Variables relating to newspaper use and the degree to which readers miss certain features in the Union are examined, along with perceptions about the role of the newspaper in the community and the effectiveness of other area media outlets in filling the communications void left by the Union’s demise.

The Rumble in the Dark: Regional Newspaper Coverage of the West Virginia Buffalo Creek Mine Disaster of 1972 • Rita Colistra, North Carolina-Chapel Hill • The flood caused by the Buffalo Creek coal mine disaster was one of the worst on record in West Virginia history. This paper examines news coverage of the disaster by two regional newspapers with historically different stances on the coal industry and unions.

Toward a measure of community journalism • Wilson Lowrey, Amanda Brozana and Jean Mackay, Alabama • This paper represents a first step toward an index measure of community journalism. Academic literature over the last 10 years that focuses on the relationship between news media and community were systematically explored. Definitions of “community” and of “community journalism” from the literature were organized, and models of community and community journalism are proposed.

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Public Relations 2006 Abstracts

Public Relations Division

College students and Creatine: Are Fear Appeals Effective in Communicating Health Risks? • Hyang Sook Kim, Donna Sheffield and Talal Almutairi, Kansas State University • This study looks at the effect of fear appeals on self-protective behavior. A total of 121 college students viewed advertisements depicting side effects of creatine consumption. Comparing three groups with different levels of knowledge, we found that messages were most effective on those who were familiar with creatine, but had never used it. Primary results suggest that previous knowledge is a factor to be considered when presenting threatening health information.

Examining the Social Context of the College Learning Environment for the Growing Population of Older Adult Students • Terri Ann Bailey, University of North Carolina • Age-based nontraditional students, defined as students 25 years old or greater, represent the fastest growing postsecondary educational group in the United States. The size and growth of the population of older adult students suggests that information about their unique experiences has implications for public relations faculty in developing more open pedagogies and mentoring strategies.

A Sense of Agency: Utilizing Firms in the Public Relations Campaigns Course • Vince Benigni, College of Charleston and J. Christopher Wood, University of Georgia and Glen T. Cameron, University of Missouri • Extending Benigni and Cameron (1999) and subsequent works, this essay espouses the notion of agency partnership in the public relations campaigns course. Because 90 percent of campaigns professors utilize an “agency structure” in this capstone course, it stands to reason that area firms are a natural bridge to fully embracing the concept. The authors examine pedagogical, role definition, and careerist literature, and offer a 10-part list of best practices for agency partnership.

An Investigation of Public Relations’ Role in Supporting Corporate Culture: A Case Study of a Regional Healthcare Facility • Pamela G. Bourland-Davis and Beverly L. Graham, Georgia Southern University • Tapping into the stories of an organization provides an opportunity to capture an organization’s culture. This study examined an organization’s culture to assess the public relations role in regard to the culture. Focused interviews of employees and a content analysis of newsletters identified recurring cultural themes. The results provide support for public relations playing an integral role in advocating for or supporting the culture of the organization as identified in the key themes generated.

The Power of Public Relations in Media Relations: A National Survey of Health PR Practitioners • Sooyoung Choo, University of South Carolina • Based on the typology of power suggested by French and Raven, this study identified five types of power PR practitioners have in media relations. The survey results suggest that PR practitioners working for health organizations have “expert power” in the media relations. Especially, those who work for non-profit organizations, who have frequent contacts with reporters, and who develop close relationships with reporters have “expert power.”

The Role of Public Relations Practitioners’ Communication Networks: A Social Network Perspective on Public Relations Management • Joungwha Choi, Michigan State University • This study examines the relationship between public relations practitioners’ and departments’ communication networks and organizations’ public relations performance. Based on the social network approach and the Excellence theory of public relations, theoretical propositions are provided on the relationships between the network structure that PR practitioners have and public relations excellence.

Effects of Entertainment Television Program Viewing on Student’s Perceptions of Public Relations Functions • Youjin Choi, University of Florida • This study conducted a survey with students in an introductory public relations course to examine the effects of television viewing of entertainment programs with public relations characters on the perceptions about public relations functions. A factor analysis classified students’ perceptions into five categories: two-way communications, political communication, spokesperson, writing, and informal media relations.

Excuse us, please: Examining the Effect of Excuses on Corporate Credibility after an Adverse Incident • Colleen Connolly-Ahern, Penn State University • Crisis communication is an important area of public relations research. This paper details the results of an experiment that examined the effectiveness of different types of excuses and different delivery formats for those excuses on the credibility of a fictitious company after an adverse incident. Results indicate that excuses help corporations regain some their credibility after an adverse incident.

Persuasion and Ethics: Towards a Taxonomy of Means and Ends • Brenton Danner and Spiro Kiousis, University of Florida • The literature on persuasion ethics either largely ignores the distinction between the means and ends of ethical persuasion or at least does not recognize the finer distinctions at work. This paper provides a review of the current literature on persuasion ethics with particular attention to the distinction between when it is ethical to engage in persuasion and the ethical boundaries when performing persuasive acts in a public relations context.

Relationship Types and Outcomes: A Case Study of Internal Military Relationships • Tiffany Derville and Teresa Heisler, University of Maryland University College • Internal military base relationships were examined through 18 interviews and a focus group. The researchers found that the order of importance for relationship outcomes is either situational or in need of adjustment; publics with long relationships with organizations evaluate them against their histories with them; and the need to carry concerns up a chain of management results in dissatisfaction, even when needs are ultimately met. A three-tiered method for classifying relationship types is proposed.

Building an Understanding of the Main Elements of Management in the Communication/ Public Relations Context: A Study of U.S. Practitioner Practices • Barbara DeSanto, University of North Carolina-Charlotte and Danny Moss, Manchester Metropolitan University and Andrew J. Newman, Manchester Business School • This study is the U.S. stage of an international research program identifying the managerial elements of public relations work. Building on previous research studies, this study had two aims: (1) examining the efficacy of the five-factor model emerging from the previous U.K. study, and (2) identifying and exploring the U.S. practitioners’ managerial elements. The results include the validation of the five-factor model among U.S. practitioners, along with identification of managerial role characteristics in U.S. organizations.

Transparency in Government Communication • Jenille Fairbanks, Kenneth Plowman and Brad Rawlins, Brigham Young University • Basic to a successful democracy is the existence of a public informed about government actions. This requires government information to be open and accessible to the public. This study sought to understand how communicators in government value and practice transparency. Constant comparative thematic analysis of 18 semi-structured interviews of government communicators revealed a transparency model for government communication. This paper outlines that model and identifies practices and structures that promote transparent communication practices.

Man or Mouse – Which is Better: Proctored or Online Exams? A Comparison of Test Score Among a Graduate Public Relations Management Course • Lisa T. Fall, University of Tennessee • The purpose of this study is to determine if online exam administration is inferior to traditional face-to-face proctored (pen and paper) administration. The population for this sample consists of 186 graduate students enrolled in an online Master’s degree in Science Administration program at a mid-sized Midwestern state university. In particular, these students have all taken JRN 670 (Public Relations Management) as an elective course toward their degree.

The Intersection of Administration Support for the Faculty Advisor and Student Need Satisfaction • Vincent F. Filak and Robert S. Pritchard, Ball State University • This paper investigates a “motivation transference” wherein instructors receiving administration support are likely to perceive greater student motivation and need satisfaction. A survey of PRSSA faculty advisors (n=104) found that higher levels of administrative support and self-determined motivation predicted the advisor’s own rating of how positive they thought their students would be in rating their performance as the advisor.

Extending Models of International Public Relations Practice: An Analysis of the Arla Foods Crisis • T. Kenn Gaither, Elon University and Patricia A. Curtin, University of Oregon • This study examines communications materials from the Arla Foods case to test models of international public relations practice, extend theory in the discipline, and provide suggestions for international practice. It begins by classifying the models according to their underlying macro-level philosophical assumptions and outlining the ramifications of those assumptions.

Communicating During Times of Crises: An Analysis of Press Releases from the Federal Government Before, During, and After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita • Amanda Hall Gallagher, Maria Fontenot and Kris Boyle, Texas Tech University • This paper examines crisis communication strategies before, during, and after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Press releases from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, Homeland Security, and U.S. Senators and Governors from Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas were analyzed using Coomb’s (1995; 1996; 1998; 1999) symbolic approach to crisis communication. Findings from the study demonstrate that the tactic used most commonly by state officials were suffering and attacking the accuser.

Predicting Media Coverage of Corporate Performance • Soo Yeon Hong, Kiuli Wang, Syracuse University • This study collected and analyzed 838 news stories to identify predictors of corporate performance coverage in the media. A context of company’s quarterly earnings reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission was used. The hierarchical regression analyses found that economic power and earnings per share surprise are significant predictors.

Contemporary Attitudes Toward Integrated Marketing Communication • Jeffrey D. Hutson, Ball State University • This research explored whether attitudes regarding integrated marketing communication (IMC) among both educators and practitioners can place IMC in an inductive or pre-theory stage of theory development. The analysis indicates an acceptance of IMC methods. However the data does not place attitudes regarding IMC in an inductive or pre-theory stage of development. This then permits the conclusion that IMC at present is a communications management approach, not a nascent communication theory.

What you Don’t Know will Hurt You: Information Literacy, Service Learning, and Future Public Relations Practitioners • Ann D. Jabro, Robert Morris University • Students’ information literacy skills of “know” and “access” were determined to be inadequate during a 15-week course titled “Writing for Advertising and Public Relations,” a writing and research-intensive course featuring a service learning component. Pre- and Post- course assessment surveys, weekly student journals, and research portfolio analyses support that students’ information literacy skills can be enhanced by altering pedagogic practices, consulting with experts and empowering students to seek assistance.

Building Online Dialogic Relationship: The U.S. Fortune 500 versus China 500 Corporate Web Sites • Jing Jiang, California Lutheran University • This study explored the similarities and differences of corporate Web sites in the use of dialogic principles to build online dialogic relationship by the U.S. Fortune 500 and China 500 companies. Consistent with previous studies, the results show that both the U.S. Fortune 500 and China 500 companies corporate Web sites do meet the prerequisites of dialogue, namely, they are easily navigated, contain useful information for customer, investor, and media publics, and provide features to maintain visitors on the site.

An Analysis of the Literature on Third-Person Effect for Implications in Public Relations Strategic Message Design • Deena G. Kemp, University of South Florida • Third-person effect (TPE) theory states that people respond to messages based on the expectation that others will be more influenced than themselves. For public relations, TPE can result in unintended outcomes or may be used strategically to achieve communication goals. This paper reviews seven studies that examine TPE for strategic communication in order to formulate a TPE research agenda for public relations in the areas of audience analysis, message design, and program evaluation.

Exploring the Effects of Negative Publicity: News Coverage and Public Perceptions of a University • Sei-Hill Kim, John P. Carvalho and Christy E. Cooksey, Auburn University • Using content analysis of a local newspaper and data from a survey of local residents, this study examines the effects of negative publicity on public perceptions of and support for a university. Our data indicated that greater exposure to unfavorable news articles was associated with lower levels of perceived reputation and trust in the university. Unfavorable perceptions were also related to decreased support for the university.

Differences in Gender Roles in Public Relations and South Korea • Sora Kim and Roxanne Hovland, University of Tennessee • This study examined gender differences in the roles of public relations practitioners, inclusion in influential networks, and relationships with mentors in South Korea. Altogether 102 South Korean public relations practitioners participated in the survey from January to February 2006. The results of the study confirm some of the findings of Western research as well as suggest new insights about important cultural differences in the roles of practitioners as managers and technicians.

The Portrayal of Public Relations Practitioners in The West Wing • Emily Kinsky, Texas Tech University • An investigation of the portrayal of public relations practitioners was performed using content analysis of the 22 episodes in the debut season of The West Wing. The practitioners were coded based on demonstrated traits and work performed or discussed. Significant differences were found between male and female practitioners being included or disciplined, appearing as major characters, dealing with government officials and the media, discussing speech writing, and appearing silly.

Understanding Influence on Corporate Reputation: An Examination of Public Relations Efforts, Media Coverage, Public Opinion, and Financial Performance from an Agenda-Building and Agenda-Setting Perspective • Spiro Kiousis, Christina Popescu and Michael Mitrook, University of Florida • This study investigates public relations efforts and media coverage beyond message outputs and media placement, by tracing the impact of public relations efforts and media coverage on corporate reputation through the theoretical grounding of first- and second-level agenda-building and agenda-setting. A triangulation of research methods compared public relations content, news coverage, public opinion, and corporate financial performance for 28 companies from the annual Harris Interactive (2005) Reputation Quotient.

Going Public to Restore a Tarnished Image: A Content Analysis of President Bush’s Major Post-Katrina Speeches • Brooke Fisher Liu, University of North Carolina • When Hurricane Katrina swept the Gulf Coast, President Bush’s newly formed Department of Homeland Security received its first test and failed. In this paper, I apply image repair discourse theory to analyze the major speeches Bush gave after Katrina. I examine: (1) how Bush presented his response to Katrina in his speeches; (2) how Bush responded to the public’s criticism in his speeches; and (3) how effective the speeches were in repairing Bush’s tarnished image.

Practicing Public Relations in China: An Examination of Multinational Public Relations Firms • Yi Luo, University of Maryland • This study of five multinational public relations firms in China seeks to (a) examine the multinational public relations firms’ sensitivity to societal culture and (b) explore three core concerns in public relations management: function, gender diversity and communication models. Results with 16 practitioners in the firms supported global public relations theory. Suggestions for specific application of global public relations theory are recommended.

Challenging the Monolithic View of Ethnic Minorities in Public Relations Strategies: Hispanic Culture-frames of the Healthcare Issue • Belio A. Martinez, Jr., University of Florida • Framing, and etic/emic concepts are combined to formulate a culture-framing model to discern between minority subgroup issue-frames. An analysis of 21 in-depth interviews with Colombian, Cuban and Puerto Rican Americans in the state of Florida resulted in five unique healthcare frames for these Latino subgroups. Findings in this study challenge the myth of a monolithic Hispanic community and call for more nuanced public relations research and campaign efforts targeting multicultural publics.

The Secret Key to Beautiful Skin is not a Secret Anymore: A Case Study of SK-II’s Image Restoration Strategies • Juan Meng, University of Alabama • SK-II, a high profile beauty line of Proctor & Gamble, was sued by a Chinese consumer in 2005, which raised serious questions about SK-II’s product safety and the credibility of its advertisements. The theory of image restoration discourse was applied in this case to analyze SK-II’s attempts to restore its tarnished reputation in the Asian market. More rigorous image restoration strategies for multinational corporations (MNCs) in the Asian market were also recommended.

Digging Deeper: Crisis Management in the Coal Industry • Barbara Miller and J. Suzanne Horsley, University of North Carolina • Through an analysis of the coal industry, this study provides insight into the unique considerations associated with responding to crises among risk-related industries. Given the often-negative image associated with risk industries, crises may be a context for improving existing public perceptions by demonstrating a commitment to responding to crises effectively.

The Academy versus the Profession: A Comparative Analysis of Ethical Discussion in Public Relations Publications • Michael A. Mitrook and Benton Danner, University of Florida • Content analysis concerning the nature of ethical discussion in both peer reviewed public relations journals and public relations industry publications. Of the 35,944 articles from four scholarly journals and four industry publications covering the period 1998-2005, 1057 mentioned ethics in some substantive way and were further analyzed in four categories: appeal to a normative ethical theory; mention of a code of ethics; mention of metaethical issues; and relating ethics to a particular public relations theory.

Cultivation of Relationships as Resource Management: Employee-organization Relationships (EOR) in the Context of Globalization • Lan Ni, University of Texas at San Antonio • Applying the framework of resource management to the cultivation of relationships for achieving organizational goals, this study examined how the cultivation of employee-organization relationships (EOR) was influenced by globalization strategies. Findings from 60 interviews in 14 organizations suggested that the process of cultivating EOR indeed reflected the demands of globalization strategies. Organizations focused on different dimensions of EOR cultivation, demonstrating a visible effort of public relations to build resources that could contribute to organizational effectiveness.

The Link Between Strong Public Relationships and Donor Support • Julie O’Neil, Texas Christian University • Based upon a mail survey completed by 275 donors of a non-profit organization, this study measured the association between perceptions of public relationships and donor support. A modified version of Hon and J.E. Grunig’s (1999) relationship scale was used. Results of one-way analyses of variance indicate that strong public relationships are not related to amount donated, but they are associated with years of support, happiness to continue donating, and happiness to recommend others to donate.

A New Typology of Risk Communication Process Variables • Michael J. Palenchar and Elizabeth A. Crisp, University of Tennessee • Risk communication process variables are a potentially useful typology for examining the strategic creation of risk communication messages and audience responses. Based on a literature review across disciplines, this meta-analysis identifies a new typology of psychometric and other risk communication process variables categorized by control, trust, context, uncertainty and knowledge. The authors also advocate for more reflection and review of risk communication research literature to systematically address present and future research needs in the field.

Roles and Blogs in Public Relations • Lance V. Porter, Kaye D. Trammell, Louisiana State University and Deborah Chung, University of Kentucky • A national email survey of public relations practitioners investigated the use and perceptions of weblogs or blogs and how that use is related to roles and status. Cluster analysis challenged Porter and Sallot’s 2003 roles typology, reverting to the previous manager-technician dichotomy. While blog use was on par with national audiences, practitioners were maintaining mostly personal blogs and using blogs professionally at low levels. Furthermore, women lagged behind men in the strategic use of blogs.

Public Participation: An Experimental Test of Stage of Involvement and Power Sharing on Satisfaction • Kristina M. Ray, David M. Dozier, Glen M. Broom and C. Richard Hofstetter, San Diego State University • The normative literature on public participation suggests that stakeholder satisfaction increases (a) when decision-making power is shared and (b) the public participates early in the decision-making process. In an experiment, 804 subjects were randomly assigned to groups and exposed to four treatments where power sharing and stage of public involvement were systematically manipulated.

The Dialogic Characteristic of NGO Web sites and The Concept of Interactivity • Hakimeh Saghaye-Biria and Foad Izadi, Louisiana State University • This study examined the interactive potential of the Web sites of 50 non-governmental organizations to understand how they are building dialogic relationships online. The data suggest that while most NGO organizations meet the technical and design aspects of dialogic communication – here referred to as user-to-system interactivity – they are not taking full advantage of the two-way communication potential of the Internet.

Claimsmaking and Mountaintop Removal Mining: A Frame Mapping Analysis of PR Material from the Coal Industry and Environmental Activists • Marc C. Seamon, Marshall University • This study is a computer-assisted analysis of how claimsmakers frame mountaintop removal mining in PR materials designed to influence public opinion and policy. The frames used by competing claimsmakers and the words that comprise those frames are identified. Abstract patterns of usage and association among the frames are documented and made visual through 3-D interactive graphs. Interpretation is provided of the frames and their associative patterns. Implications for PR practitioners and researchers are discussed.

A Qualitative Analysis of Fund Raiser Roles and Experiences at Public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) • Natalie T. J. Tindall, University of Maryland • According to fund raising theory, the chief fund raiser should be a member of the dominant coalition for any advancement of fund raising effort to succeed (L. A. Grunig, J. E. Grunig, & Dozier, 2002; J. E. Grunig, 1992; Kelly, 1998). This paper examines the experiences of 27 institutional advancement officers at public historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).1 The fund raisers enacted the expert prescriber, problem-solving facilitator, and technician roles described by Kelly (1998).

Perception of Public Relations: An Experiment Testing the Impact of Entertainment Portrayals of the Profession on Students and Practitioners • Kaye D. Trammell, University of Georgia and Lisa K. Lundy, Louisiana State University • In this pre/posttest experimental design involving practitioners (n =28), public relations majors (n=39), communication majors (n=33), and non-majors (n=40), researchers investigated the impact of entertainment portrayals of the public relations profession. Findings indicate that while all groups believe the portrayal of the profession in the stimulus was inaccurate, participants allowed the entertainment program to cloud their perception of public relations. Respondents experienced third-person effects but the phenomenon dissipated as one’s connection to the profession decreased.

Impact of Blogs on Relationship Management during a Crisis • Kaye D. Trammell, University of Georgia and Emily Metzgar, Louisiana State University • Using a post-test only experimental design with control group, this study investigated the impact of blogs on relationship management during a crisis. Participants (N = 109) were exposed to a personal blog (n = 45), organizational blog (n = 46), or control (n = 18). Results indicate blogs impact the perception of the level of crisis an organization experiences. Additionally, relationships created through blogs impact the perception of crisis. Use and credibility were also investigated.

Toward a Social Construction of the Field of Global Public Relations: A Case of Female Practitioners in Russia • Katerina Tsetura, University of Oklahoma • Social construction was used to develop a theoretical framework for studying multiple identities of public relations practitioners, based on professional, cultural, and gender characteristics, as a foundation for reconceptualization of the public relations field. Results of interviews and focus groups with female practitioners from Russia reported. This project provided baseline to systematically explore multiple identities of professionals and showed how the proposed framework can be used to understand public relations as a socially constructed field.

Women’s Meaning-making of Cervical Cancer Campaigns: Using a Cultural Approach to Reframe Women’s Involvement with their Health • Jennifer Vardeman, University of Maryland • This study extended the situational theory of publics to understand how women from different racial and ethnic backgrounds seek information about cervical cancer. Qualitative focus groups and in-depth interviews were employed with African American, Hispanic, Indian, and White women. Findings suggest that women represent both aware and latent publics because of differences in problem recognition and level of involvement. Furthermore, women tend to group reproductive health issues together rather than separating them.

“My Grandmother Ate Fish Her Whole Life and There Isn’t Anything Wrong With Her”: An Exploratory Study of How Women Perceive Contradictory Messages in Media about Fish Consumption • Jennifer Vardeman and Linda Aldoory, University of Maryland • This study employed focus groups with women to examine their perceptions of contradictory information portrayed in media about fish consumption. The situational theory of publics provided a theoretical framework in that women’s perceptions were understood in terms of how much they recognized eating fish to be a problem, how personally relevant the problem of eating fish was for them, and whether they perceived barriers to eating fish safely.

Priming, Framing and Position on Corporate Social Responsibility • Alex Wang, University of Connecticut-Stamford • This study tested the effects of priming, framing, and position on how participants judged a target corporation: effects produced by statements that focused on issues of corporate social responsibility (CSR) within a context without mentioning a target corporation (priming) and effects produced by stories that linked the target corporation to CSR issues through negatively framed news (framing).

Telling the American Story to the World: The Purpose of U.S. Public Diplomacy in Historical Perspective • Jian Wang, Purdue University • This paper seeks to provide a critical reflection on the mission and function of U.S. public diplomacy through an examination of the manifest mandate of the three major institutional settings for such international outreach programs, i.e., Committee on Public Information, Office of War Information, and the United States Information Agency. Through historical synthesis, this discussion aims to enrich our understanding of current and long-standing issues regarding the concept of public diplomacy.

Blogging 101: Issues and Approaches to Teaching Blog Management in Public Relations Courses • Richard D. Waters and Jennifer A. Robinson, University of Florida • As the social impact of blogging continues to grow, public relations practitioners must be prepared to develop and manage constituency relationships by managing and responding to blogs. This paper highlights how blog writing/management can be purposefully incorporated in public relations curricula, including a sample assignment. Results of informal interviews (n = 28) with students enrolled in a public relations writing course are reported and a variety of issues raised by students are discussed.

Measuring the Donor-Nonprofit Organization Relationship: The Impact of Relationship Cultivation on Donor Renewal • Richard D. Waters, University of Florida • Through the use of organization-public relationship measures developed by Grunig and Hon (1999), this project examined the value of the donor-nonprofit organization relationship. A survey of donors (n = 120) for a California-based healthcare organization revealed that major gift donors and repeat donors were more likely to have stronger feelings of trust, satisfaction, commitment, and balanced power than normal donors and one-time donors, respectively.

Beyond Counting: The Use of Press Clippings as a Measurement Tool • Brinn Wellise and Jennifer Greer, University of Nevada, Reno • A survey of a randomly selected sample of PRSA members found that practitioners deem press clippings, despite their simplicity, as an important and frequently used measurement tool. Practitioners counted press clippings and used more complex levels of clip analysis; those techniques combined ranked near the top of a list of what some have seen as “more sophisticated” PR measurement tools. Long-time and more upper-level practitioners placed less value on clippings than other professionals surveyed.

Constructing a Cultural Definition of Public Relations: A Textual Analysis of The New York Times • Candace White and Cheryl Ann Lambert, University of Tennessee • This study examined how public relations is contextually defined, using newspaper articles as cultural texts, to determine how readers would derive meaning of the term. Public relations was frequently used as an adjective to ascribe negative meaning to the noun it modified, and the media definitions, and therefore the cultural perceptions of public relations, do not often match textbook definitions. Newspaper readers would make negative inferences about public relations.

The Moral Development of Public Relations Practitioners: A Comparison with Other Professions • Lee Wilkins, University of Missouri and Renita Coleman, University of Texas-Austin • This study gathered baseline data on the moral development of 84 public relations professionals. The PR practitioners in this study scored sixth highest among professionals tested, ranking behind seminarians/philosophers, medical students, physicians, journalists, and dental students, but above nurses, graduate students, undergraduate college students, veterinary students, and adults in general. They performed significantly better when the ethical dilemmas were about public relations issues than when they were not.

<< 2006 Abstracts

Media Ethics 2006 Abstracts

Media Ethics Division

The Virtuous Advocate versus The Pathological Partisan: A Model of Opposing Archetypes of Public Relations and Advertising Practitioners (A Virtue Ethics Approach to Applied Ethics for Public Relations and Advertising Practitioners) • Sherry Baker, Brigham Young University • Drawing upon contemporary virtue ethics theory (including care, dependency, humility, humane concern, v-rules, and narrative unity) a graphic model of diametrically opposed archetypes of public relations and advertising practitioners is developed. Profiles of the Virtuous Advocate (representing advocacy virtues) and the Pathological Partisan (representing opposing vices) are introduced. One becomes a Virtuous Advocate or Pathological Partisan by habitually enacting the virtues or vices in the context of practices. Includes suggestions for further virtue ethics research.

A Theory of Journalism • Sandra L. Borden, Western Michigan University • This paper attempts to define journalism by sketching a theory that links the purpose and product of journalism in a meaningful way. Relying on a communitarian account of participatory citizenship and Code’s (1987) notion of epistemic responsibility, this theory proposes that journalism’s purpose is to help citizens know well in the public sphere.

Separating rumors from news but not entirely from journalism • Karen Boyajy and Lee Wilkins, University of Missouri • This study is the first to examine how journalists evaluate rumors. Respondents connected investigating and reporting on rumors with issues of craft—particularly standards of verification—and with truth telling. However, rumors about celebrities were ranked first in terms of stories that need investigation, surpassing topics such as the private lives of public figures and bomb threats. Respondents generally supported debunking rumors but not educating audiences as important journalistic roles.

Propaganda Analysis: A Case Study Of The U.S. Department Of Education’s Minority Outreach Campaign Promoting The No Child Left Behind Act • Bonnie Ann Cain, Oklahoma State University • This study provides a comprehensive examination of the Department of Education’s controversial promotion of No Child Left Behind by employing Jowett and O’Donnell’s 10-point propaganda framework. Arguments that the campaign is propaganda are supported by the campaign’s fit with expectations of propaganda. This case study provides a backdrop for discussion of PR’s role in promoting policy and emerging guidelines for future government PR contracts.

Walking the (Border) Line: Press Coverage of Activist Groups on the Arizona/Mexico Border • Cari Lee Skogberg Eastman, University of Colorado • A battle over migration is brewing in the Arizona desert as advocates of opposing approaches to border policy reform vie for media publicity of their ideals. Through content analysis and correspondence with journalists, this study examines the representation of three activist groups in Arizona’s two largest newspapers, and argues that a civic journalism – through its deep involvement with the community – naturally includes a wider, more equitable representation of voices than traditional utilitarian newsroom approaches.

Political Consulting: The Rise of Professionalism, The Question of Ethics • Michelle Honald, University of Oregon • Content analysis concerning the nature of ethical discussion in political consulting was conducted on a total of 1066 articles from two scholarly journals and one professional trade publication during the period 1995-2005. Of the 1006 articles, 32 mentioned ethics in some substantive way. The articles were further divided into four categories: normative appeals; mention of a code of ethics; discussion of meta-ethical issues; and relation of ethics to academic theory.

Anonymous sources and readership credibility: A qualitative investigation of the barriers to newspaper believability • Tom Hrach and Stephen Siff, Ohio University • Media professionals have reacted to recent declines in media credibility by calling for a reduction of the number of anonymous sources used in news articles. Despite journalists’ belief that anonymous sources present a credibility problem, nonjournalists in focus groups said anonymous sources were only one issue affecting media credibility. More important barriers to credibility included inadequate branding, sourcing and quality of information.

The Green River Confession: News Treatment of Victims and Co-victims • Sue Lockett John, University of Washington • The November, 2003, confessions of Northwest serial killer Gary Ridgway focused intensive media attention on the deaths of more than 48 female victims many years before. In such situations, journalists’ deadline-driven demands to inform the public can conflict with survivors’ needs to avoid re-victimization though loss of privacy, painful word associations, and other triggers of post-traumatic stress.

To Publish or Not to Publish: The Muhammad Cartoon Dilemma • Jenn Burleson Mackay, The University of Alabama • Newspapers inspired Middle Eastern violence and controversy after they published political cartoons depicting Islam’s Muhammad. This paper considers how newspaper editors could have used several ethical models to decide whether they should publish the cartoons. Several ethical models are discussed and applied to the cartoon dilemma. The paper concludes with a comparison of how the models arrive at different decisions that allow the journalist to be ethical regardless of whether he publishes the cartoons.

Transparency: An Assessment of the Kantian Roots of a Key Element in Media Ethics Practice • Patrick Lee Plaisance, Colorado State University • This study argues that the notion of transparency requires reconsideration as an essence of ethical agency. It provides a brief explication of the concept of transparency, rooted in the “principle of human dignity” of Immanuel Kant, and suggests that it has been inadequately appreciated by media ethics scholars and instructors more focused on relatively simplistic applications of his categorical imperative.

Dimensions of Journalistic Messenger Transparency • Chris Roberts, University of South Carolina • While other disciplines have operationalized the term “transparency,” journalism scholars have not explicated dimensions of transparency. This paper suggests that media scholars should use David Berlo’s “source-message-channel-receiver” communication model to discuss a continuum of journalistic transparency attributes. It uses that model to explicate nine dimensions of journalism messenger transparency, notes transparency’s connections to Rawls’ “Veil of Ignorance,” and suggests further research is needed to explore the assumed relationship between transparency and credibility.

“Secret” Casualties: Images of Injury and Death in the Iraq War Across Media Platforms • B. William Silcock and Carol B. Schwalbe, Arizona State University and Susan Keith, Rutgers University • This study examined more than 2,500 images from U.S. television news, newspapers, news magazines, and online news sites during the first five weeks of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in and found that only 10 percent showed injury or death. The paper analyzes which media platforms were most willing to show casualties.

Confidence in the Press, Attitudes about Press Freedom, and the Third Person Effect: A Preliminary Exploration using Secondary Survey Data • Derigan A. Silver, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • Third-person effect—the hypothesis that people overestimate the influence that communications have on the attitudes of others—suggests the possibility that individuals will want to censor the press if they view its messages as having a negative impact on others or if they view media coverage of their group or cause as being biased.

Loath to admit: pressures on ethical disclosure of news release sources • Peter Simmons, Charles Sturt University, AUSTRALIA • Non-disclosure of third-party news sources deceives the public and is ethically objectionable. The S.967 Pre-packaged News Stories Bill endorsed the principle of self-regulation by US journalists when disclosing the source of government news releases. The PRSA and RTNDA advocate disclosure of source to the public, but their members perceive advantages in non-disclosure. PR values the credibility of implied news organization endorsement. Journalists resist being seen to be using PR as a source for their news.

Truth and Transparency: Bloggers’ Challenge to Professional Autonomy in Defining and Enacting Two Journalistic Norms • Jane B. Singer, University of Iowa • Commitments to truth and to “transparency” or public accountability are two central normative aspects of professional journalism. This paper considers ways in which both are challenged and complemented by other communicators, particularly bloggers. It proposes that while all professions claim autonomy over articulation and enactment of their own norms, the Internet environment is one in which definitions of professional constructs are open to reinterpretation and in which oversight of professional behavior is shared.

Construction of the Truth and Destruction of A Million Little Pieces: Framing in the Editorial Response to the James Frey Case • Nicole Elise Smith, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • The notion of truth is central to our modern principles of objective journalism. A recent case has called into question the value that we, societally speaking, place on the truth. This study seeks to understand how editorial writers reacted to and subsequently framed the notion of “truth” within the context of the James Frey case. The qualitative, framing analysis examines editorials with the purpose of providing an understanding of the news frame surrounding the “truth.”

Stakeholder Theory and Media Management: An Ethical Framework for News Company Executives • Reuben J. Stern, University of Missouri • Contrary to stockholder theories that place the interests of profit-seeking owners above all else, stakeholder theorists argue that corporate executives have moral and ethical obligations to consider equally the interests of a wide range of stakeholders affected by the actions of a corporation. This paper argues that the stakeholder approach is particularly appropriate for the governance of news media companies. The paper then outlines an ethical framework to guide news company executives.

The TARES Test as an Ethical Analysis Tool: Assessing the Ethicality of Direct Response Television Programs • Ken Waters and Jamie Melton, Pepperdine University • In recent years, scholars have proposed several “tests” for determining the ethicality of persuasive mediated messages. Baker & Martinson (2001) suggest a five-part test called the TARES test. Eight one-hour special reports prepared by international aid organization World Vision were studied. The researchers note that the TARES test can be used to assess the ethicality of persuasive messages, but dialogue with the messages’ creators is necessary to achieve a useful assessment for pedagogical purposes.

Media Literacy as Trust Builder: How media education can foster critical and sympathetic news audiences • Wendy N. Wyatt, University of St. Thomas • One root of journalism’s credibility crisis can be found in the media illiteracy of its audiences. Therefore, part of the solution rests in educating audiences about the work journalists do. This calls for adjustments to conventional wisdom about media literacy. In addition to providing adversarial tools to critique the press, media literacy should also provide sympathetic tools to understand it. Efforts at foundational media literacy are steps toward reestablishing trust between the media and citizens.

<< 2006 Abstracts

Communication Technology 2006 Abstracts

Communication Technology Division (CTEC)

Municipal Broadband Services: Government Supply as Panacea to Market Failure in the Provision of High Speed Internet service to Underserved and Unserved Communities • Abubakar Alhassan, Florida • Broadband’s higher speed and greater bandwidth distinguishes it from the hitherto slow, limited bandwidth dial-up service. Although the US is the cradle of the Internet, but OECD reports show that it now lacks behind other nations in broadband deployment, a development blamed on market failure characterized by the commercial ISPs’ refusal to deploy broadband to certain communities. This paper examines the provision of broadband by municipalities as the policy panacea for the market failure.

Utility vs. Commodity: Framing the Provision of Broadband • John Anderson, Illinois at Urbana-Champaign • The importance of broadband connectivity is growing, and while universal service is a national priority incumbent telecommunications service providers are not moving in this direction. This leads to public and non-profit entities working to correct this market failure. Incumbents have responded with a political offensive swiped largely from the playbook of the electric power industry some 100 years ago. Ultimately, the question of broadband provision may be settled at the national level.

Revisiting the Issue of Blog Credibility: A National Survey • Stephen Banning, Bradley and Kaye Trammell, Louisiana State • This study investigated the relationship between credibility, third-person effect, and blog use. Through a national phone survey (N = 575), researchers found support for all hypotheses. While credibility was neutral overall, blog authors assessed blogs as being more credible than non-bloggers, and credibility correlated with likelihood to act (behavior). Third-person effect was found in reference to blogs and it correlated with blog credibility and likelihood to act. Findings and future research are discussed.

Value and Digital Rights Management: A Social Economics Approach • Benjamin Bates, Tennessee-Knoxville • Current copyright overemphasizes financial return compared to alternative sources of value (both social and private) deriving from information use. I use an approach designed to emphasize those other aspects of value and consider the implications of current and proposed Digital Rights Management (DRM) approaches for the creation of social value. I conclude that while most DRM approaches actually exacerbate conditions, DRM also offers the potential for an irights system that more fully incorporates social value.

Generation iPod: An Exploratory Study of Podcasting’s ‘Innovators’ • David Brown, Texas at Austin • Podcasting has become one of the most heavily hyped media concepts in recent years, billed as the latest digital-age threat to “old-media”. Yet almost nothing is known about listeners, their habits, or podcast demand. This exploratory study offers one of the first snapshots of real-world podcast use among its earliest adopters. The results suggest surprising gender and other distinctions between listeners and non-listeners, barriers to experimentation, and fading interest after initial podcast use.

Pioneers in the Blogosphere: Profiling the Early Adopters of Weblogs • Byeng-Hee Chang and Trent Seltzer, Florida • Weblogs, or “blogs,” are increasing in their use, visibility, and impact. Using the Innovation Diffusion Theory literature as a theoretical framework, a secondary analysis of data gathered by the Pew Internet and American Life Project indicated that there are significant differences between adopters and non-adopters of weblogs in terms of demographic profile, innovativeness, use of other new communication technologies, and Internet use.

A Multinational Study on Online Privacy: Global Concerns and Local Responses • Hichang Cho, Rivera Milagros and Sun Sun Lim, National University of Singapore • Using a survey on 1261 Internet users from five international cities—Bangalore, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, and New York, we examined international Internet users’ perception and behavioral responses concerning online privacy. We found that online privacy was a “global human rights issue” affecting almost all Internet users worldwide, but the way individuals perceived and coped with it varied across a host of micro-macro level factors such as demographics, Internet expertise, nationality, and cultural values.

Extending Technology Acceptance Model With Social And Organizational Variables • Siyoung Chung, National University of Singapore • The purpose of this study is to empirically examine the differential influences of a comprehensive set of technology acceptance attributes on both adoption and usage behavior. A mail survey was conducted with the employees (n = 108) who were the active sales of a large corporation in the U.S, which recently introduced a web-based sales system. The findings demonstrated that attitudinal, social, and organizational variables selectively influenced technology adoption and usage behavior.

News as a Process: A New Approach to the Political Economy of Communication • Lori Cooke-Scott, Ryerson • This paper proposes a unified theory of the political economy of news communication, encompassing changing realities in technology, market capitalism and everyday life. A central feature is its treatment of news as a process of exchange rather than a product to be exchanged. A processive approach is needed to understand the structural transformation of the news industry, the shift in power relations among producers and consumers, and the revolution in audience agency and community formation.

Is Seeing–or Hearing–Believing?: Reactions to Listening to the 2004 Presidential Debates With and Without Video • Mike Dorsher, Wisconsin-Eau Claire • In a quasi-experimental study inspired by the Kennedy-Nixon “Great Debate,” 175 participants from a mid-size Midwestern university either watched the 2004 presidential debates on TV or listened to them without the video. The data yielded few significant differences between debate viewers and listeners. Candidate debate performances rated high on “presidential” qualities and eloquence best predicted the debate winner.

Can Billie-Jo sell wine? The Effects of Social Category Cues and Rich Media in E-commerce Websites • Edward Downs, Sampada Marathe, Bimal Balakrishnan and Suellen Hopfer, Penn State • Do social category cues and richness of media affect website perceptions and memory in E-commerce? If so, how do these variables relate to product price sensitivity? An eight-condition mixed-model experiment was designed to test these questions. A significant three-way interaction effect was detected, driven by a rich media by product interaction effect when holding source constant. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed as well as limitations and directions for future research.

Sociology of News and New Media: How the Blogosphere Transforms Journalism and Changes News • Ivan Dylko and Gerald Kosicki, Ohio State • Political blogs have recently demonstrated an ability to affect public discourse, especially during the 2004 presidential election. In this paper we examined implications of the blogosphere for the sociology of news. A case study of the CBS’ 60 Minutes segment about George W. Bush was used to demonstrate that journalists used information from blogosphere and that blogs could break stories faster than traditional media and successfully push them onto media’s agenda.

Is the Internet an Agent of Empowerment in News Making? A Case Study of Chinese Journalists • Li Fu, Chinese University of Hong Kong • This study adopts the mediationist perspective to explore the impact of the Internet on Chinese journalists. It finds that, the Internet has made an impact on news making, however, its power is limited, affected by constraining and facilitating factors at the individual, organization, and institutional levels; the Internet therefore empowers journalists in a situational way, characterized as time-specific, genre-specific, media status-specific, and location-specific. Such situational empowerment is mainly driven by commercialization and propaganda reforms.

A Ten-Year Profile of the Democratic Agency of the Internet in 152 Countries • Jacob Groshek, Indiana • Since its inception, the internet has been lauded as a potent democratizing agent. Using macro-level data from 1994 to 2003, this study examined the extent to which the internet has fulfilled this promise. In the 152 countries included in this study, increased internet diffusion was not shown to be a meaningful predictor of more democratic regimes or diminished government control of the press. It did, however, show strong, positive relationships with economic growth.

Unraveling Uses And Effects Of An Interactive Cancer Communication System • Jeong-Yeob Han, Robert Hawkins, Bret Shaw, Suzanne Pingree, Fiona McTavish and David Gustafson, Wisconsin • As part of an effort to understand uses and effects of an Interactive Cancer Communication System (ICCS), the purpose of current study is to explore the relationships between different use patterns and subsequent changes in patients’ health outcomes. By examining different use patterns, this study revealed effective styles of use that are associated with benefits. Both theoretical and practical implications for eHealth research and evaluation are discussed.

Blogs in the Media Conversation: The Knowledge Factor in the Diffusion Process • Nanette Hogg, Carol Lomicky, Ruth Brown and Syed Hossain, Nebraska-Kearney • A content analysis of 1,168 stories in seven media outlets found blogs first mentioned in 2000. The number of stories mentioning blogs tripled every year until 2004 when the rate of increase slowed. Researchers concluded media provided knowledge about blogs as an innovation, consistent with the first step identified by Rogers in the innovation-decision process. Qualitative analysis revealed media generally discussed blogging in positive terms.

Exploring E-gov Online Structures for Citizen Participation • Min Jiang, Purdue • Acknowledging that Internet architecture, far from being value free, are results of deliberate choices, the paper utilizes website content analysis to examine the online structures for citizen participation on 30 Chinese provincial government websites. Their potentials and limits for democratic practices in the neo-authoritarian state are evaluated through a revised UN e-participation framework. Although not implemented to promote democracy, some features of the websites online structures grant cautious optimism for more open and responsible governance.

Creating a Web of Trust and Change: Testing the Gamson Hypothesis on Politically Interested Internet Users • Tom Johnson, Southern Illinois and Barbara Kaye, Tennessee-Knoxville and Daekyung Kim, Southern Illinois • Creating a Web of Trust and Change This study used an online survey of politically interested Internet users to examine the Gamson hypothesis that those who are low in political trust and high in political self-efficacy can be most easily mobilized into political action. Internet users in general were almost equally divided between being an Assured (high in trust and efficacy) and a Dissident (low in trust and efficacy).

Posting and Reading Personal Messages: The Motivation of Personal Blog Use and The Effects of Personal Blog Use on Users’ Loneliness, Belonging and Well-Being in Real Life • Younbo Jung, Hayeon Song and Peter Vorderer, Southern California • The purpose of the current paper is to develop a theoretical model that explains the motivation of personal Blog use (Impression Management, Voyeuristic Surveillance, and Social Comparison) and the effects of personal Blog use on offline life (loneliness, belonging, and psychological well-being). The proposed model for Study 1 (N=73) and Study 2 (N=531) were tested via an online survey of Blog users in Cyworld. Implications based on the findings are discussed.

Influences of Online Chat Use on Social Support and Psychosocial Well-Being • Seok Kang, Arkansas Tech • This study explores the role of disembodiment—telepresence in cyberspace—in online chat use and its effects on social psychosocial well-being. Results suggest that disembodiment in online interaction is a compelling contributor to increased loneliness and depression and decreased social support.

Abandoning Traditional News Media?: Factors Influencing the Time Displacement Effects of Online News • Daekyung Kim and Tom Johnson, Southern Illinois • This study surveys 266 college students to examine which factors, such as reliance, interactive use, motivations, and credibility of online news, predict perceived displacement effects of mainstream, portal news sites, and blogs on traditional news media. The study shows mixed findings and suggests that displacement effects vary by reliance, motivations, and credibility of each online news sites. Discussions about the relationship between online news sites and traditional media are followed.

When the Public Has the Press: An Analysis of Bloggers and Their Blogging Activities in the 2004 U.S • Eunseong Kim, Indiana • This study examines bloggers and their blogging activities during the 2004 U.S. presidential campaign. The analysis of an online survey of 270 bloggers provides valuable information about bloggers’ weblog activities, their motivations for blogging, political orientation, and the pattern of media use. The findings indicate that bloggers played active roles as information providers (or communicators in the participatory media) and as contributors of civic discourse.

Effects of Cognitive Busyness and Computer Modality on Gender Stereotyping of Computers • Eun-Ju Lee, California-Davis • Two experiments tested the mindlessness explanation for the Computers Are Social Actors paradigm. In Experiment 1, participants played a trivia game with a computer, which they thought generated random answers. They attributed greater competence and conformed more to the male than the female computers, but only when cognitively busy with a secondary task. However, when the computer produced its output in synthesized speech, as opposed to written text, such advantages of the male computer dissipated.

Philosophy and Network Structure: A Case Study of Japan’s i-Mode and Wi-Fi in the U.S. • Hoon Lee and Yong Jin Park, Michigan • This study examines how philosophical outlooks of societies influence the development of network systems. A comparison between i-Mode and Wi-Fi demonstrates that culture, which conspired to either hamper or accelerate the Internet diffusion, influences the configuration of wireless networks in each country. Hierarchical Japanese culture transformed the architecture of the Internet. In the US, the legacy of hacker reanimated grassroots movements toward free Wi-Fi network. Policy implications of technological designs are discussed.

Blog agenda: What did they blog about in the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election? • Jae Kook Lee, Texas at Austin • This study investigates the way that political blogs prioritize a variety of public issues in comparison with mainstream media. With an analysis of news coverage of blogs and mainstream media in the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election, the study found that the priority, or the agenda, of blogs are similar to that of mainstream media. Furthermore, the study found that political blogs cover the election with virtually the same agenda, regardless of their political leaning.

Viewer Privacy over Cable, Satellite, the Internet, and other MVPDs: The Need for Uniform Regulator • Laurie Lee, Nebraska-Lincoln • Television viewers can now watch shows over a variety of distribution formats, including telephone, broadband Internet, and cellular phone, from many multichannel video program distributors (MVPDs). Unfortunately, subscribers also risk their privacy to MVPDs capable of collecting vast amounts of viewing data. Federal laws protect cable and satellite subscribers, but do not necessarily extend to all MVPDs. This paper examines these laws and proposes uniform federal legislation protecting all video consumers regardless of transmission medium.

The Effects of 3G License Fees on the Mobile Markets in OECD Countries • Sangwon Lee, Florida • Over the last several years, a large number of licenses for 3G services have been awarded through various approaches. This article presents an empirical analysis of the potential effects of 3G license fees on mobile markets in OECD countries. The findings herein reveal that 3G license fees have affected mobile prices in OECD countries, which may imply that large initial down-payments have an adverse effect on the growth of 3G services.

The Development of Mobile Television: Examining the Convergence of Mobile and Broadcasting Services • Sangwon Lee and Sylvia Chan-Olmsted, Florida • The convergence of mobile and broadcasting services may deliver a driver for dramatic growth in the telecommunications sector. It is said that Korean DMB system is the most commercially successful mobile television services worldwide today. We explore the factors that influence the development of the Korean DMB market and their implications. It was found that the combination of broadcasting and mobile telephone in the context of mobile television presents a classic case of “complementary convergence.”

Mobile Phone Diffusion in Developed and Developing Countries: Digital Divide, Factor, and Difference • Yang-Hwan Lee, South Carolina • This study identified the exist of digital divide between 23 developed and 54 developing countries in mobile phone diffusion during 1996-2002. In addition, factors that known to the influential affecting ICT diffusion were tested. According to the empirical test, the digital divide in mobile phone diffusion still existed and had been widen. Based on the panel regression, it was found that economy, technology, and regulation factors affected mobile diffusion. Time effect existed, but was minimal.

Predictors of Cell Phone Use as a News Device • Xigen Li, Southern Illinois • Building on the theoretical framework drawn from diffusion of innovation, technology acceptance model and expectancy-value model, this study proposed and tested a model of cell phone use as a news device. Technology functionality, information accessibility and user technology initiative were found to be significant predictors of cell phone use as a news device. Perceived value of information, news reliance and news consumption were not significant predictors of cell phone use as a news device.

College Students’ Use of iPods: Connecting iConsumption to iPiracy • Lisa Marshall, Bowling Green State • The purpose of this paper is to analyze the iPod as a tool of communication for college students and explore connections it has to the Diffusion of Innovations Theory. This paper provides an iPod overview, shows connections to piracy and the theory, and presents findings to a survey completed by 100 college students. Seventy-three percent of students reported they never pay music used on the iPod, seeking ways other than purchase to obtain iPod media.

The Source Cycle: Intermedia Agenda-Setting Between the Traditional Media and Weblogs • Marcus Messner and Marcia Watson, Miami • This study examined the intermedia agenda-setting effects between the traditional media and weblogs based on the use of one as a source by the other. A content analysis of 2,059 newspaper articles was combined with a separate content analysis of 120 weblogs. It was found that the newspapers increasingly use weblogs as sources and that weblogs heavily rely on the traditional media as sources. Thereby, traditional media and weblogs engage in a source cycle.

Online Journalism and the War in Cyberspace: A Comparison between U.S. and International Newspapers • Matt Neznanski and Daniela Dimitrova, Iowa State • The 2003 Iraq War was the first military conflict in which online media played a significant role. This study explores how the Internet was used to disseminate war news and information by comparing a number of international newspaper Web sites (N=791). Through a content analysis, the study shows some differences in the use of Web-specific features such as hyperlinks, animations, multimedia content, and interactive elements. Differences between U.S. and international Web sites are also discussed.

Uses of the Internet by College Students: Implications for Political Involvement • Kristine Nowak, David Atkin, Christian Rauh and Mark Hamilton, Cleveland State • In this emerging online environment, an intriguing avenue for research involves the relationship between Internet use and political involvement. In an effort to fill that void, the present study explores the extent to which college students rely on the Internet as a channel for political information and the influence that such uses have on their levels of political involvement.

Ruling the Cyber-Cities: When the West and the East Walk Together • Yong Jin Park, Michigan • This study examines the moderating role of culture in promoting or curtailing the convergence of online marketplaces. Drawing upon international regime theory, this study challenges the viability of ‘industry self-regulation’ regime that neglects cultural differences in privacy. A survey compared regulatory perceptions of the US and Korean participants. The aim is to explore the nature of a consensus among policymakers and to measure the effectiveness of the policy in its operation.

The Political Shaping of Municipal Wi-Fi Networks: A Case Study of Hermosa Beach • Namkee Park, Southern California • This study examines the role of local government and its impacts on the municipal Wi-Fi networks’ deployment and operation from the perspectives of social/political shaping of technology and path dependency. By employing a case study method, the study investigates the ways in which the network in Hermosa Beach, CA, has been implemented. It uncovers that the role played by local government still matters even in the era of deregulation and privatization in communication technologies.

Information Technology and Information Literacy in Journalism-Mass Communication Libraries: • Patrick Reakes, Barbara Semonche and Fred Thomsen, Florida • The last decade has been a time of sweeping change in journalism education as well as in the research facilities that support it. The management and use of information technology are critical factors in the promotion and development of information literacy within the journalism-mass communication curriculum. This research was undertaken in an effort to investigate information technology use and information literacy programs in Journalism/Mass Communications libraries and to establish a “baseline” for future research.

The Internet Immersion Divide: A Barrier to Inclusive Online Communities • Louis Rutigliano, Texas at Austin • The concept of Internet immersion looks at the relationship between online access and online activities. It considers Internet immersion as a continuum from passivity to interactivity. This paper finds that people who go online more frequently are more likely to use the Internet for interaction and after comparing offline factors such as income to this continuum, this paper presents a new form of digital divide.

Is it More Fun to Kill Other People? Exploring Video Game Enjoyment in a Variety of Game Modes • Mike Schmierbach and Thomas Butler, College of Charleston • Video games exist to provide players with enjoyment, yet little research has explored what makes a game enjoyable. In this study, we consider how college students (N = 102) respond to one of three play modes in a first-person shooter. Enjoyment is fostered by greater excitement and attachment to avatar and lower frustration, all of which points to the importance of engagement or flow. Gaming experience shapes some responses, but game mode has minimal effects.

Online Citizens and Consequences of Internet Use for Political Participation • Daniel Schneider, Stanford • The Internet offers new opportunities for political dialogue and communication with possible implications for political participation. Using data from General Social Survey of 2000, 2002 and 2004 characteristics of Internet users with and without interest in political online content are investigated and the consequences of Internet use for political participation are examined. Results suggest a selection process for use of the Internet and political online content and that Internet use can increase political participation.

Frame-up: An Analysis of Arguments Both For and Against Municipal Wi-Fi Initiatives • Gwen Shaffer, Temple • Dozens of cities plan to build wireless broadband networks. This textual analysis compares documents used to bolster and break down the case for municipal Wi-Fi. It examines how Wireless Philadelphia uses “public good” principles to frame its argument for a potentially massive taxpayer investment, while the telecommunications industry frames city-run wireless networks as “risky” and unnecessary. Contradictions and inconsistencies in these documents highlight how information is manipulated to influence the debate over Wi-Fi policy.

Dear Radio Broadcaster: Fan Mail as a Form of Perceived Interactivity • Charlene Simmons, Tennessee-Chattanooga • In an attempt to learn more about perceived interactivity this study explores the perceptions of broadcast radio listeners. Early broadcast radio provides an interesting example for exploring interactivity because although the medium lacked interactive features millions of listeners perceived that the opportunity to ‘interact’ with radio personalities existed through fan mail. This study examines listener fan mail as well as radio programs to determine whether radio encouraged a level of perceived interactivity.

Political Web sites: An Equalizer for Candidate Gender and Race Disparities? • Melissa Smith, Mississippi State and Barry Smith, Alabama • This study examines the roles candidate race and gender may play in the evaluation of candidates presented via campaign Web sites. Apparent race and gender of a candidate were manipulated while issue information was held constant on a campaign Web site. The candidate’s gender was shown to affect evaluations of the candidate (positively for female candidates). The candidate’s race did not affect evaluations of the candidate.

Blogging for Better Health: Putting the “Public” Back in Public Health • S. Shyam Sundar, Heidi Hatfield Edwards, Yifeng Hu and Carmen Stavrositu, Penn State • Weblogs are a relatively new and unique online communication tool. This paper examines blogs that focus on mental health issues to better understand the function and content of these particular types of blogs. The researchers discuss theoretical issues surrounding technological and psychological aspects of health blogs and employ quantitative content analysis as well as qualitative textual analysis to determine who mental health bloggers are, why they blog, and the nature of mental health blogs.

Framing of Tsunami Bloggers: A Study of Print Newspapers from Four Countries • Renuka Suryanarayan, Ohio • The purpose was to see if blogs had become important journalistic sources in newspaper reporting of the tsunami, 2004. The coverage by the New York Times, the Daily Mail, London, the Times of India, and the Daily News, Sri Lanka, was content analyzed. Two findings were 1) that technology does not change journalists’ routine in Eastern and in Western countries; and 2) that the number of tsunami deaths in a country had no correlation to media salience.

An Experiment Testing the Agenda-Setting Effect of Blogs • Kaye Trammell, Louisiana State • This study explored the agenda-setting effect of communication style and interactivity on blogs among young people. As a multi-cell experiment on undergraduate students, this study exposed participants to blog posts that discuss an issue in 1). an anecdotal manner told from a first-person perspective or 2). report-like manner discussing facts and statistics about an issue. Results confirm the agenda-setting power of blogs, but find mixed results regarding the hypothesized impact of communication style and interactivity.

Credibility and the Uses of Blogs Among Professionals in the Communication Industry • Kaye Trammell, Lance Porter, Deborah Chung and Eunseong Kim, Louisiana State • Communication professionals are beginning to take note of blogs as more turn to them for information and deem blogs “credible.” Using an online survey of professionals in journalism and public relations, this study investigated the use of blogs within the communication industry. Factor analysis revealed simplistic blog use categorizations as being either passive or active. Results also indicate that those who are labeled “high users” in both factors assign more credibility to the medium.

From Yahoo! to AAARGH: Developments in the French Approach Towards Blocking Hate Speech • Bastiaan Vanacker, Minnesota • This paper discusses a recent case in which a French court ordered local ISPs to block certain American Web sites because they violate French hate speech law. It discusses how French courts have dealt with similar issues in the past and compares these approaches with the recent one. It also discusses the technological issues relating to destination ISP blocking brought up by such blocking orders.

Ethical and Strategic Messages: Frames and Learning in a Mixed Media Context • Aaron Veenstra, Ben Sayre, Dhavan Shah and Doug McLeod, Wisconsin • Many people consider strategic framing harmful to democracy because it erodes citizen interest in the democratic process. Our results demonstrate that this is not always the case. Testing the effects of textual strategic frames and video processing in a digital environment, we show that strategic frames may also provide a context that is more conducive to learning in mixed media news environments than that provided by ethical or value frames.

The Diffusion of GIS in Journalism • Ben Wasike, Texas at Brownsville • This study looked at the likelihood of journalists to adopt GIS and the future of the technology’s diffusion in journalism. In-depth interviews and a Web survey were used. Sixty-three percent of reporters were aware of GIS but only 11% use GIS. OLS regression showed that gender, age, and the use of other technologies affect the likelihood to adopt GIS. The availability of map data, competition, and use of secondary GIS products will affect diffusion.

Internet Gratifications, Media Use and Technology Cluster as Predictors of Wi-Fi Adoption • Ran Wei, South Carolina • The Internet becomes portable thanks to Wi-Fi and Wi-Max. However, existing research shows use of wireless Internet was low. This study explores factors predicting adoption of Wi-Fi powered WLAN. Findings show that low level of Wi-Fi awareness is a hurdle to adoption. Results of multivariate analyses indicate that newspaper reading is a predictor of Wi-Fi awareness. The motivations of information learning and social escapism are the strongest predictors of Wi-Fi interest and adoption likelihood.

The Adoption and Use of Mobile Phone in Rural China: Behavioral and Psychological Factors • Lu Wei, Washington State and Mingxin Zhang, Hubei University • Based on a theoretical model adapted from perceived need theory and original diffusion theory, this study demonstrated that both behavioral and psychological factors may significantly predict Chinese rural resident’s adoption and use of mobile phone. The effect of psychological factors, however, is very limited in the prediction of adoption and use of new media technologies, especially in the context of rural society. The relationships among demographic, behavioral, and psychological factors were discussed.

The Big Three’s Prime Time Decline: The Technological and Social Context • Kenneth Wiegand and Douglas Hindman, Washington State • This paper is an analysis of factors associated with the 25 year decline in the prime time shares of the top three television networks. Time series analysis revealed that share decline was associated with multiple video programming distribution (MVPD) penetration. MVPD penetration and network profits were associated with social differentiation, indicating organizational adjustment to the social environment. Findings were discussed in terms of the principle of relative constancy and open systems models of organizational change.

Perception Gaps of Cyber Public Sphere • Xu Wu, Arizona State • The focus of this research is to explore and compare people’s perception of online sphere as opposed to print media sphere and broadcasting media sphere. Nine attributes were summarized from Jürgen Habermas’s original discussions. A comparative survey study was conducted among some 150 undergraduate journalism students in China and in the United States, respectively. Findings exposed significant perception gaps on cyber sphere’s capacity and performance as a genuine public sphere.

Weblogs as Agents of Political Participation: Mobilizing Information in Weblogs and Print Newspapers • Masahiro Yamamoto, Washington State • Considering the growing popularity of Weblogs for journalistic use, the present study investigated the possibility that Weblogs could become a catalyst for political participation. Examining Weblogs and print newspapers, this content analysis study found more tactical mobilizing information in Weblogs than in print newspapers. This result suggests that Weblogs can potentially function as an alternative information source that encourages citizens to engage in political activities.

Perceived Anonymity and Online Public Disclosure • Haejin Yun and Robert LaRose, Michigan State • This study redefined anonymity as perceived anonymity based on a critique of previous, pertinent empirical studies. The redefined construct of perceived anonymity adopted the Social Information Processing (SIP) model’s approach to computer-mediated communication (CMC). Two competing models of perceived anonymity affecting online public disclosure – a deindividuation model and a SIP-based model – were built and tested with real online social support community data. The SIP-based model was supported with perceived anonymity negatively affecting public disclosure.

<< 2006 Abstracts

Science Communication 2007 Abstracts

Science Communication Interest Group

Print Media Coverage of Passive Smoking: A Content Analysis Study of Mainstream Newspapers • Asya A. Besova, Louisiana State University • The primary objective of this research study was to assess the extent and content of newspaper coverage of passive smoking. The researcher found that passive smoking was portrayed as a controversial issue. Twenty nine percent of articles concluded that passive smoking is not harmful. Although the majority of people quoted in articles were scientists, physicians, and academicians; reporters devoted a considerable amount of quotes to tobacco company representatives.

Perspectives of African Americans and Dentists on Oral Cancer and Dentist-Patient Communication • Youjin Choi, Virginia Dodd, Jennifer Watson, Scott Tomar, Henrietta Logan and Heather Edwards, University of Florida • Oral cancer is one of the most pressing diseases that disproportionately affect African American men and White American men. Dentists’ role in delivering oral cancer information and explaining the importance of early detection exams is vital in reducing the disparities. Using focus groups with African Americans and dentists, this study compared African American’s knowledge about oral cancer and its exams, and perceptions of dentist-patient communication with dentists’ perspectives on the same topics.

To booze or not to booze? Newspaper coverage of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders • Colleen Connolly-Ahern, Penn State University and S. Camille Broadway, University of Texas at Arlington • This paper reports the results of a qualitative framing of the coverage of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Findings indicate that media discourse about FASD is characterized by differing story types and competing frames. The study also documents the recent emergence of a news frame in opposition to the prevailing abstinence frame in health coverage. This frame has shown physicians to be conflicted in their advice about drinking during pregnancy.

Precision of Information, Sensationalism, and Self-Efficacy as Message-Level Variables Affecting Risk Perceptions • Michael Dahlstrom and Anthony Dudo, University of Wisconsin-Madison • Risk studies often investigate how risks are processed psychologically, but few have investigated the effects of message-level variables on risk perception. This study examined the effects of three message-level constructs, risk precision, sensationalism and self-efficacy, on general and individual fear toward the risk of sick building syndrome. Results show that risk precision significantly affects general fear, but is moderated by sensationalism. Individual fear was not affected by any of the constructs.

News Frames of Hormone Replacement Therapy Before and After the Women’s Healthy Initiative Report in 2002 • Kenneth Kim, University of Florida • Until July 2002, Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is widely recommended by physicians for reducing the symptoms of menopause. However, in July 2002, there were alarming reports on the long-term HRT use from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), a national health study for postmenopausal women. The WHI reported that any potential benefit of HRT might be offset by potential harms, including an increase in the risk of breast cancer, stroke, and heart disease.

Misunderstanding Public Understanding of Nanotechnology: Nanotechnology Researchers’ Views of Ordinary People, Media and Public Discourse • Victoria Kramer, University of South Carolina • Nanotechnology is an emerging technology predicted to have major impacts on society. There are those within the nanotechnology community calling for public involvement, yet there appear to be no studies examining nanotechnology researchers’ views of the public and science communication. This exploratory study examines how nanoresearchers perceive ordinary people, media coverage of nanotechnology and science’s role in society. The findings’ implications for how nanoresearchers are likely to approach science communication are discussed.

Public Concern, Risk Delineation and Source Use in Newspapers’ Coverage of Genetically Modified Food • Xigen LI, Southern Illinois University Carbondale • This study examined ten U.S. newspapers’ coverage of genetically modified food during 1994 and 2004,and attempted to answer several important questions on how U.S. newspapers covered issues of public interest, how media dealt with risk information, and to what degree source used was associated with the key aspects of the coverage.

Understanding Public Support for Stem Cell Research: Media Communication, Interpersonal Communication and Trust in Key Actors • Hui Liu and Susanna Priest, University of South Carolina • This paper analyzes data from a 2005 telephone survey of 1200 people in the U.S. that included questions about attitudes toward stem cell research and a broad range of communication variables. After all controls, trust in university scientists and religious leaders, exposure to national television news, familiarity, and religious service attendance produced statistically significant main effects on perception of research benefits, together explaining about 31% of the variance. Interpersonal communication may have contingent effects.

The Perceived Justice of Local Scientists and Community Support for their Research • Katherine McComas, Cornell University, John Beesley, University of South Carolina and Zheng Yang, Cornell University • This study investigates the relationship among measures of justice and attitudes toward local scientific research. It uses results of a mail survey of residents in two upstate New York counties (N=1306) that host substantial biotechnology and nanotechnology research facilities. Predictor variables are distributional, procedural, interpersonal, and informational justice. Controls include demographics, media use, basic science knowledge, and technology awareness.

Intersections of Health Literacy and Media Literacy: An Explication of Concepts • Paula Rausch, University of Florida • Mass media are the primary means through which most Americans obtain health information, yet research examining their role in health literacy is rare. This explication provides overviews of both health literacy and media literacy and identifies the overlap between them. It then proposes a conceptual definition and an operational model of health literacy that links the two concepts and takes into account mass media as significant providers of public health information.

How Attention to Local Newspaper and Television Environmental News Relates to Risk and Knowledge • Daniel Riffe and Thomas J. Hrach, Ohio University • Survey data compared influence of local television and newspaper environmental coverage, exploring how environmental risk and value of environmental knowledge are related to exposure to news and attention to environmental news and beliefs about its quality. Respondents perceiving greater risk paid more attention and were more critical. Value of environmental knowledge was negatively related to perceived quality of television coverage and positively correlated with attention to newspaper environmental coverage.

Newspaper coverage of genetic modification events in China, Thailand and the United States: Across-cultural analysis • Lu Lu Rodriguez and Zheng Xiang, Iowa State University • This study compares how the English-language newspapers of three countries covered two genetic modification cases, the genetic engineering of rice in China and the US, and the genetic alteration of papaya in Thailand and the US. The intensity of newspaper coverage of each genetic modification event, the pattern and the tone of the coverage, the sources cited, and the frames employed were determined through a content analysis.

Environment Reporters and U.S. Journalists: A Comparative Analysis • David Sachsman, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, James Simon, Fairfield University and JoAnn Valenti • Reporters assigned to covering a beat like the environment might be expected to be more experienced and better educated in their subject area. However, a comparison between 652 environmental journalists working at daily newspapers and television stations and more than 1,000 U.S. journalists in general found that these reporters share many individual and work-related characteristics, perhaps due in part to their similar backgrounds and to the basic professional training received by most journalists.

At the Frontiers of Faith and Science: News Media Framing of Stem Cell Research • Nicole Smith, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill • Framing research has shown that media framing of issues has real implications for both policy makers and audiences. As the ethical debate surrounding stem cell research presents a problem of choice to the American people, how that choice is framed is a fundamental determinant of what the American people think, and ultimately decide, about the future of stem cell research. This study presents a framing analysis of newspaper coverage of the issue.

Sourcing Patterns in the Crisis Phases of a Bioterror Attack • Kristen Swain, University of Kansas • This study examined attribution in U.S. news coverage of the anthrax attacks across disaster phases, uncertainty factors, and types of media, attribution, advice, and explanations. Overall, 833 stories from AP, NPR, 272 newspapers, and four television networks were analyzed. Nearly half of attributions were unnamed sources. Prominent sourcing shifted from federal politicians to federal health officials shortly after journalists began receiving tainted letters. Fire-rescue/health care workers emerged as the top source after the attacks ended.

Health on the Web: A content analysis of mobilizing information on local TV Web sites • Andrea Tanner, Daniela Friedman and Kim Smith, University of South Carolina • This study explored the volume and scope of health coverage on local television news Web sites as well as the mobilizing information contained within the online health content. Data revealed that health stories were present on 64% of the sites examined. Little mobilizing information was presented. Health stories were significantly more likely to contain locational MI than identificational or tactical MI. There were also significant differences between large and small markets regarding specific health content.

Power, Knowledge, and Hope: The Framing of Breast Cancer in Women’s and Consumer Health Magazines • Kim Walsh-Childers and Heather Edwards, University of Florida • This framing analysis examined breast cancer articles from five popular consumer magazines read by women. The analysis revealed three primary frames – power, knowledge and hope – and two themes, fear and risks to young women, that were pervasive regardless of the dominant frame. The three frames, power, knowledge, and hope, suggest that while breast cancer is a real threat to women, they have good reason to feel that useful, risk-reducing actions are within their ability.

Media effect, political interests, and other social cultural factors: The making of China’s environmentalists and their view on their societal cultural environment • Qingjiang Yao, University of South Carolina • Using data from China part (2001, N=1000) of the World Value Survey, this research found a positive impact of news media use on environmental concern. However, political interest, income and postmaterialist value are found to have stronger and more consistent predicting power of being a Chinese environmentalist. The research also found that Chinese environmentalists who like to voluntarily work for environment protection with no pay tend to be more skeptical on government and media.

<< 2007 Abstracts

Resolution Three 2011

Resolution Three: To affirm the ethical practice of journalism and mass communication in a global age.

2011 Conference, St. Louis

The London-based newspaper, News of the World, published since 1843, was closed this year by its owners, the Murdochs, as a consequence of the scandal involving the newspaper’s unethical and illegal actions involving both the hacking of a 13-year-old murder victim’s cell phone account and payment to Scotland Yard for information.

Whereas, hacking into online or cell phone accounts of citizens, victims of crime or others under investigation damages the credibility of journalism and violates privacy rights;

Whereas, it is unethical to compensate sources for interviews, purchase gifts for sources, or pay for other unpublished material;

Whereas, checkbook journalism damages the credibility of journalism;

Whereas, blatant disregard for the ethical practices and standards of journalism not only erodes the credibility of media, but it also creates an incentive for sources to falsify information in the hopes of potential payment or other benefit from media;

Therefore, be it resolved that:

The members of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) formally affirm the ethical practice of journalism and mass communication in a global and digital era, and condemn all such ethical breaches wherever committed.

<< 2011 Resolutions

AEJMC 2011 Resolutions

AEJMC Members approved four resolutions during the 2011 Convention in St. Louis, MO.

  • Resolution One: To Recognize and Honor Pamella Price, AEJMC Membership/Subscription Manager, for her 25 Years of Service to AEJMC.
  • Resolution Two: To Recognize and Honor Lillian Coleman, JMC Quarterly and JMC Educator Production Manager, for her 25 Years of Service to AEJMC.
  • Resolution Three: To affirm the ethical practice of journalism and mass communication in a global age.

<< AEJMC Resolutions

Tips from the AEJMC Teaching Committee

Thwarting Trouble: Creating an ethical foundation through a good syllabus and meaningful conversation

(Article courtesy of AEJMC News, September 2011 issue)

Looking back at some of my Indiana University undergraduate syllabi from the late 1960s and early 1970s, I see how much the world of syllabus-making has changed. In those days, professors provided a single sheet that gave their names, titles (sometimes; mine generally just said things like Mr. Lohmann, rarely “Professor” or “Dr.”), office-hour info and a description of the course. Dates were noted with a two- or three-word phrase to let students know what the topic of the week would be. Abbreviated reading lists were included, as well. A purplish-blue page from the mimeo machine was all we got, and we did just fine. My courses were, in fact, awfully good.

These days, our syllabi are more like term papers. We include descriptions of the course; ACEJMC values and competencies; elaborate schedules that include readings, viewings, assignments and more; often a paragraph promoting our own great achievements; an every-growing section about classroom rules and behavior (turn off cell phones, don’t surf the Web, be civil to one and all); and a section about academic misconduct (sometimes called “academic integrity”).

It’s this last item that I address here: how to provide your students with an adequate mix of support and threat regarding the rules of academic and professional endeavors. Support to learn the difference between acceptable and unacceptable practices; threat, to understand the consequences of screwing up.

Academic misconduct, as it is usually defined, covers a range of issues. At IU, the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities includes sections on cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, interference, violation of course rules and facilitating academic misconduct.

I think there are a number of ways to set the stage at the beginning of the semester and then to reinforce lessons during the term. Nothing’s failsafe, but here are some ideas.

1. Use your syllabus to define the terms and clarify policies. As a written document handed out at the beginning of the term, the syllabus may later provide you with support you need. (“Recall the section on the syllabus that addresses plagiarism?” you may find yourself asking a student at term paper time.)

2. Make sure you yourself have reviewed the campus misconduct definitions and policies. Make sure you are clear about your own unit’s policies. Refer to both in your syllabus.

3. Include, too, the ACEJMC Values and Competency statement (#4) that speaks to ethics and integrity: — “all graduates should be aware of … And able to demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness and diversity.”

Presumably this will be one of a number of the values and competencies you include on your syllabus.

4. Spend some time in class on Day 1 or Day 2 talking about the importance of doing your own work and making sure to reference the work of those from whom you borrow information. Use real examples from the journalism world and from academics to make your points. Talk about why students and why journalists may be tempted to take shortcuts. Provide suggestions for reducing those temptations and dealing with time and grade pressures that are likely the root of temptation.

5. In your talk, make sure your students know that your job is not that of prison warden. Rather, you are there to help them understand and succeed. Provide avenues for them to talk with you privately, or in class, and to have you preview their work BEFORE a deadline.

6.  Refer students to Web sites that can help them. (The Teaching & Learning program at my university – teaching.iub.edu/policies_misconduct.php?nav=policies –  has a good site, which includes definitions, tips for instructors and links to other useful sites.) If your campus has Turnitin (turnitun.com) or another software program that detects plagiarism, make your students aware of the program. Consider bringing in an expert to show them how to make the program work for, and not against, them.

7.  Depending on the class, create an assignment that has students investigate cases of journalistic or academic misconduct. A colleague of mine has reporting students choose from a list she has created of journalistic transgressors. Each student prepares a short presentation for class that describes the case and the consequence.

Alternatively, sending students on a Google search to “academic misconduct” or something more specific such as “internet plagiarism” will yield a class period full of examples and opportunities for exploring issues. A Google search for “news about academic misconduct” yields a host of examples, from college football players (and sometimes their coaches) to college provosts to journalists for small and large news organizations.

I’ve never been as confident as some colleagues that one can construct assignments that render misconduct impossible. In any case, the real world we are sending our graduates into is filled with temptations to skirt the rules. To me, our campus classrooms are as good a place as any to provide a solid ethical foundation.

By Bonnie J. Brownlee,
Indiana University,
AEJMC Teaching Committee

<< Teaching Corner

Commission on the Status of Women 2011 Abstracts

The Male Gaze and Online Sports Punditry: A Case Study of the Ines Sainz Controversy • Aidan Bryant, Syracuse University; Kenneth Merrill, Syracuse University; Emily Dolan, Syracuse University; Siying Chang, Syracuse University • On September 11th, 2010 Ines Sainz, a sports reporter for TV Azteca (a Spanish language Mexican network), was allegedly harassed by members of the New York Jets. Controversy erupted around the role of women in sports broadcasting and the myriad attendant dimensions involved, including issues of credibility, dominant beauty ideals, and the male gaze, among others. This case study assesses how sports blogs covered the controversy, using a combination of in-depth interviewing and textual analysis of four popular sports blogs. This study examines themes of the male gaze, credibility, the role of women in sports broadcasting, and the political/sexual economy of sports blogs.

Sexual Messages in Black and White: A case study of Essence and Cosmo • Carolyn Byerly, Howard University; Rebecca Reviere, Howard University • The study examined the discourse on women’s sexual freedom as it appeared in the advice columns of two popular American magazines, Essence and Cosmopolitan — the first oriented toward Black women, the second to White women. The study situated its concerns historically by asking whether the discourse in these columns reflected the tenets of second wave feminism, which advanced new tenets of women’s sexual liberation. Next, it sought to learn whether the discourse engaged sexual themes of transgression, pleasing the other and go-getting, as posed by Machin and Thornborrow. Black feminist theory and critical discourse analysis provided the theoretical framework and methodology. Findings revealed that readers of Essence are more likely to see tenets of sexual liberation embedded in advice columns, which give women a wider range of sexual choices than are those of Cosmo. Cosmo readers are more likely to be advised to excite and keep their men and to be more flexible if they stray.

Don’t Call Me That: Examining the Discourse the Precedes the Term “Mommy Blogger” • Gina Masullo Chen, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University • A textual analysis of 29 women’s blog posts and 653 blog comments debating the meaning of the term mommy blogger reveals that these women feel the term reinforces women’s hegemonic normative role as nurturers, thrusting women into a virtual private sphere in the blogosphere. The use of mommy, versus mother, highlights this subjective norm, although some women pointed out the term was useful for marketing and creating a sense of community with other women online.

An Analysis of Attributes Students Use to Describe Good Male and Female Instructors • Katie Clune, Rockhurst University • The purpose of this study was to analyze ways students describe those instructors they consider to be “good” instructors and to assess how well male and female instructors meet the expectations for a good instructor. Male instructors were more frequently described as engaging, focused on student learning, knowledgeable, and ethical. Female instructors were more frequently described as caring, helpful, and friendly than their male counterparts. Results indicate students may have gendered expectations for their instructors.

“Vicious assault shakes Texas town:” The politics of gender violence in The New York Times’ coverage of a schoolgirl’s gang rape • Meenakshi Durham, University of Iowa • This paper analyzes public discourse around The New York Times coverage of the gang rape of a schoolgirl in Cleveland, Texas. After the story broke, bloggers, commentators and editorial writers launched searing critiques of the story’s victim-blaming and sexist perspective. Using critical textual analysis, this study analyzes the ways in which feminist media scholarship formed an implicit framework for the response. The analysis revealed that lay critics examined sourcing, language use, and racial stereotyping to dissect and dissent with The Times’ reportage. The paper reflects on feminist praxis as it is articulated in online media to bring about changes to a rape culture.

Women to Watch speak out: Looking behind the curtain of mentoring, networking and gender • Kali Flewellen, University of North Texas; Sheri Broyles, University of North Texas; Jean Grow, Marquette University • Senior women in advertising from Advertising Age’s 1997 to 2009 Women to Watch lists were asked open-ended questions about the award. A content analysis of responses identified thematic categories pointing to the importance of mentors and networks for women. Parity in the workplace and whether the “Plexiglas” ceiling is still firmly in place are also discussed. Rich verbatim comments give insights to both the past and hope for the future for women in advertising.

Paying Her Dues: The Early Career of Pioneering Broadcaster Pauline Frederick • Marilyn Greenwald, Ohio University • By the time she died in 1990 at 84, Pauline Frederick had been the first women to broadcast news from overseas and the first women to cover the United Nations as a fulltime beat. By the time she was 39, Frederick had extensive newspaper, syndicate and radio experience, but she was still hired only as a stringer in an era and an industry that marginalized women. This paper examines her early career and outlines how she persevered and navigated a male-dominated industry to become a pioneering journalist.

“Ronald Reagan in Heels”: How Tea Party “Mama Grizzlies” Framed Gender and Public Issues in the 2010 U.S. Mid-Term Election • Jaesik Ha, Indiana University • This study examined how, in the 2010 election, female Tea Party candidates frequently attacked both the “femininity” of male candidates and some of President Obama’s policies, such as immigration and health care. It used a discourse analysis of news media interviews with female Tea Party candidates, as well as the candidates’ television debates, campaign advertisements and web-site content during the course of the mid-term election of 2010. One salient tactic by female Tea party candidates was to attack the manhood of their opponents. A second, recurring strategy favored by female tea partiers was to construct a public persona linked to widely known conservative luminaries in order to appeal to voters. They purposefully tried to depict themselves as disciples of Ronald Reagan and of Sarah Palin. By doing so, they framed themselves as determined, strong, and courageous politicians. The tactical choice to align their public personas with Reagan and to become Palinesque “mama grizzlies” came from their judgment that such personas could be advantageous to their campaigns. Also, even though female Tea Party candidates expressed strong opposition to government intervention, they nonetheless advocated the state’s involvement in individuals’ private lives in moral and cultural issues such as abortion and gay rights. This study shows that the campaign by female Tea Party candidates in the 2010 election was driven by not “women’s” issues, but by the economic distress felt by the American public.

The Symbolic Annihilation of Women in Globalization Discourse: The Same Old Story in U.S. Newsmagazines • Dustin Harp, University of Texas at Austin; Summer Harlow, University of Texas at Austin; Jaime Loke, University of Oklahoma • This quantitative and qualitative analysis of Time and Newsweek explores how women are incorporated into a globalization discourse that often is seen as a masculinized public sphere. Results indicate that while female journalists integrate women into the news more than their male counterparts, females are invisible in globalization coverage. When discussing female empowerment via globalization, it is through an economic lens with an eye to the impact on women’s traditional roles as wives and mothers.

What’s the Problem? Newspapers Explain Global Sex Trafficking • Anne Johnston, School of Journalism & Mass Communication, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Barbara Friedman, School of Journalism & Mass Communication, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Autumn Shafer, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • This study content analyzed all sex trafficking-related stories appearing in major U.S. print news sources in 2009. A total of 281 news articles were analyzed for the differences occurring in stories that focused on the domestic aspect of sex trafficking from those that focused on transnational dimensions of trafficking. Findings indicated that transnational stories were more likely to cover a range of solutions, causes and consequences to sex trafficking than did domestic focused stories.

Feminist pornography as cultural variation: Using Judith Butler to analyze its potential for resistance • Rachael Liberman, University of Colorado at Boulder • The following paper takes up an analysis using the work of feminist philosopher Judith Butler—specifically Gender Trouble (1990), Bodies That Matter (1993), and The Psychic Life of Power (1997)—as a point of entry for analyzing the work of feminist pornography as resistance. Butler’s commitment to the deconstruction of normative assumptions concerning gender and sexuality, as well as her related conceptualizations of subjectivity, performance, and cultural intelligibility offer an alternative to the long-standing argument that feminist pornography is either a “good” or “bad” project for feminism. As feminists have begun to embrace the postmodernist ideas, a trend easily identified in third wave feminism and navigations though identity politics, it should follow that feminist praxis, such as feminist pornography, should be analyzed in a similar fashion. Butler (1993) points out that gender and sexuality as not static conditions of the body, but are rather processes of materialization or intelligibility that are informed by changing cultural conditions (p. 2). The questions therefore become: Where does feminist pornography fit within the “matrix of gender relations?” (p. 7). To what extent does feminist pornography disrupt the process of sexual norm stabilization? And finally, why does feminist pornography matter for feminism? In order to answer these questions as well as provide a general analysis of feminist pornography vis-à-vis Judith Butler’s theories on performance, subjectivity, and materialization, this paper will analyze the work of three feminist pornographers: Candida Royalle, Tristan Taormino, and Joanna Angel.

Gender Stereotypes and Citizen Journalism: Exploring what effect, if any, gender match has on story credibility for citizen journalism and staff written news • Hans Meyer, Ohio University • Researchers have suggested that gender stereotypes help determine the credibility of news stories, but the Internet may help mitigate that effect, especially for citizen journalism. Through an online experiment that manipulates story authorship – either staff or audience – and the author’s gender, this study suggest other cues on the Web have more of an effect than gender for staff written stories. Audience written stories appeal and are more credible to women if they are written by other women. This reflects that citizen journalism sites work as an alternative to traditional media online.

Feminist Media Literacy and Underserved Girls • Micah Carpender; Leigh Moscowitz, College of Charleston • This project reports on the results of a semester-long feminist critical media literacy initiative targeting underserved fourth- and fifth-grade girls at a Title I school in South Carolina. The goal of this project – an after-school club for girls- was to help students think critically about their relationships with and responses to media messages, particularly in terms of race, gender, and class. Specifically, this club aimed to privilege girls’ voices, experiences, and agency by culminating with the girls’ own media production, zines (hand-made, hand-distributed booklets based around the girls’ own interests and experiences). This study assesses this initiative using the scholarly frameworks of media studies, girls’ studies and feminist critical media literacy. Through examining before and after focus group interviews conducted with participants and analyzing the content of their zines, we ascertain what effect the initiative had on girls’ self-image, critical thinking skills, and media relationships. This study thus provides media educators, scholars, and activists with a case study of the effects of feminist media literacy and cultural production on underserved girls of color. Ultimately, our findings both emphasize the need for feminist critical media literacy education and cultural production and articulate its pedagogical challenges. It is our hope that our assessment of this project will function as a starting point, encouraging educators and activists to continue creating and practicing relevant and meaningful forms of critical media pedagogy with girls.

Anorexia on the Internet: A Look at the Pro-Ana Community Through Feminist, Social Comparison, and Uses and Gratifications Theories • Rachelle Pavelko, University of Memphis • “Pro-ana” refers to those who view anorexia nervosa as a “lifestyle choice” rather than a disease, and is a community rooted within social networking. A thorough review of feminist, social comparison, and uses and gratifications theories was conducted and applied to both pro-ana participants and websites. A content analysis was then executed to determine which females are more prone to join the pro-ana community, and what types of information are available through the websites.

Gender and power at the crossroads: Examining the nexus of gender and power in public relations • Katie Place, Saint Louis University • This qualitative study of 45 women public relations practitioners in the United States examined how gender and power intersect in the public relations industry. One research question was posed: What are the intersections of gender and power in public relations for women practitioners? Results suggest that gender and power intersect through gendered appearances, management style, women’s bonding together for power, expectations and stereotypes, and women’s self-realization and choices. This study contributes to the body of public relations and gender scholarship by illustrating that gender and power are inherently intersectional and forged through discourse, socialization and resulting solidified stereotypes, expectations and workplace standards. Ultimately, gender and power exist in a push-pull system of simultaneous empowerment and oppression.

The Gendering of Weight-Loss Advertisements in the Beginning of the Obesity Age • Deanna Pogorelc, Ohio University • A content analysis of more than 400 weight-loss advertisements published in men’s and women’s magazines between 2001 and 2005 revealed that weight-loss advertising demonstrated patterns of gendered stereotypes and may contribute to weight problems in the United States by driving a preoccupation with food and flaunting idealized male and female bodies.

Coverage of Domestic Violence: A Pilot Study • Megan Ward, Therese Lueck and Heather Walter, The University of Akron • Mediated reality that draws on cultural myths for gendered narratives reinforces patriarchy. This study explores the coverage of domestic violence as a culturally constructed journalistic narrative. A research team assessed journalism students’ understanding of domestic violence before and after presentations and workshops. Overall, the students showed a heightened awareness of domestic violence and an ability to discern the quality of journalistic practices in its coverage.

A False Start, a Heavy Burden and Hugs: A Study of the Female “Firsts” in Newspaper Management • Kimberly Voss, University of Central Florida; Lance Speere, University of Central Florida • This is an examination of the promotions and the aftermath for three significant women in newspaper management: Gloria Biggs, Carol Sutton and Janet Chusmir. Their stories are important to understand how progress was made and how it was slowed. It also provides perspectives about the different paths to management for women. To truly understand the time period, this study will also address the intersection of these women’s careers with feminism. Material was drawn from interviews with former colleagues and family members, media coverage of their promotions, archival materials for Biggs and an oral history for Sutton.

From Inept Intruders to Suspicious Sex Vixens: The Problem of Heterosexuality in Sports Information • Erin Whiteside, University of Tennessee • This research expands on the ways sexuality as a discourse can be understood as an expression of power with a specific effect on women through the exploration of what I call the problem of heterosexuality. As deviants in the space of sports, women stand before a constant “panoptical gaze” (Bartky, 1988). Their presence is questioned and their motives are framed as suspect, two concepts explored in this research. In escaping the lesbian stigma, women may earn acceptance from men and freedom from suspicion regarding their sexuality. Yet, that acceptance may result in a cost to their professional credibility in the form of sexual harassment and suspicion regarding their ethics and virtue as SIDs. Ultimately, in proving their heterosexuality, women must also manage it in a way as to not invite unwanted advances or the perception that their presence in sports information is the product of unethical motives in the form of a desire to meet men. I conclude this article by arguing that sexuality discourses are problematic for women in that female SIDs find themselves in a kind of maze with no way out: Their presence raises constant questions about their sexuality that forces women into a constant state of angst about their appearance and public presentation.

Culture Changes as Reflected in Portrayals of Women in Chinese Magazines Published in Three Eras • Yue Yin, Iowa State University • This study examines how women’s roles and gender were portrayed in magazines published during three epochs of Chinese history: before, during, and after the Cultural Revolution. A content analysis and discourse analysis of articles that discussed the role of women and gender were conducted to determine and describe the most commonly occurring frames applied over time. The findings suggest more attention to the combined impact of the mainstream culture and sub-cultures on media content.

<< 2011 Abstracts