Candidate for Committee on Teaching
Mary T. Rogus is an associate professor of electronic journalism in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. She joined the faculty in 1999 and her primary areas of teaching are broadcast and online journalism, as well as media ethics. She regularly conducts international workshops and training for professional broadcast journalists, including workshops in Ukraine, Guyana, and Indonesia, and was one of the first American trainers for Alzajeera in Doha, Qatar. She has received multiple teaching awards including the AEJMC Edward Bliss Distinguished Broadcast Education award in 2014.
Her research interests include cross platform news gathering, production and distribution, and its impact on journalism quality and ethics. She has also investigated the impact of virtual duopolies on local television news diversity and production, and co-authored a text/trade book on television news producing, entitled, “Managing Television News: A Handbook for Ethical and Effective Producing” which was endorsed by Walter Cronkite.
Rogus has been involved with AEJMC for nearly 15 years serving in multiple offices for the Electronic News Division, presenting and producing dozens of panels, and presenting research.
Prior to joining Ohio University, Rogus spent 20 years working in local television news. She worked in seven different medium and large markets, ranging from Roanoke, VA to Minneapolis and Pittsburgh, as an award winning reporter, producer and executive producer.
Candidate for Committee on Research
George Sylvie is an associate professor of the School of Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin. A former reporter, columnist and editor, Sylvie earned his MA at the University of Missouri and PhD at the University of Texas. Focusing on decision-making, he studies newsroom management, diversity, ethics and management styles, in addition to the survival of the black press.
He is the co-author of the 5th edition of the upcoming Media Management: A Casebook Approach with Ann Hollifield, Jan Wicks, and Wilson Lowery and has authored, coauthored or edited 7 other books on media management, reporting, and writing and has chapters in 9 others. He was a visiting scholar at Jönköping International Business School, where he surveyed Swedish newsrooms. Sylvie has published in JMCQ, Journal of Media Economics, International Journal on Media Management, Journal of Media Business Studies, Howard Journal of Communications, Newspaper Research Journal, and Mass Comm Review and has presented 7 Top Three papers.
During his time as Chair, Vice Chair, and Research Chair of the Media Management & Economics Division, he worked for planning transparency, better relations with newsrooms, more paper submissions, and diversity in paper reviewers. He also pushed for better program assessment and more student-centered activities. A member of several journal editorial boards, he also chairs the Strategic Plan Implementation Committee, leading brainstorming for the development of more leadership, partnering and grant opportunities for all members.
Candidate for Committee on Professional Freedom & Responsibility
Fred Vultee (PhD, University of Missouri) is an associate professor in the journalism area of the Department of Communication. He teaches news editing, political communication, and content analysis, among other courses. His research looks at media content, media practice, and media effects, particularly in conflicts and crises, and he also coordinates the department’s research lab. His research appears in such journals as Journalism Studies; Media, War & Conflict; the International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters; and the Journal of Mass Media Ethics.
Before attending graduate school at the University of Missouri, Dr. Vultee was an editor at newspapers for 25 years, and he is a member of the executive board of the American Copy Editors Society.
Candidate for Committee on Professional Freedom & Responsibility
Jennifer Vardeman-Winter is an assistant professor in the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication at the University of Houston. She is the director of graduate studies and an affiliate faculty member in UH’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program.
Vardeman-Winter teaches public relations and issues management, and she researches the intersection of communication campaigns, publics (particularly women), power and culture, and health/crisis/risk. Recently, she’s examined the ethics and moral obligations of strategic communicators, governments, and corporations, particularly regarding the policies that affect marginalized communities. She was funded in 2013-2014 by the Arthur W. Page Center at Penn State University to study ethics in health public relations as well as the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs to communicate about affordable multifamily housing.
Within AEJMC, Vardeman-Winter recently served as PF&R chair for the Public Relations Division and the Commission on the Status of Women. She currently serves as CSW’s Research Chair and as a member of AEJMC’s Equity & Diversity Award Advisory Committee. She’s also a fellow with the Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication.
At UH, Vardeman-Winter serves on the University Commission on Women, the ADVANCE Committee (NSF-funded), and the Health Professions Advisory Committee. She is an editorial board member of the Journal of Public Relations Research, Public Relations Inquiry, and Public Relations Journal.
Previously, Vardeman-Winter worked as a public relations practitioner in the high-tech and public health industries. She earned her Ph.D. in communication from the University of Maryland in 2008.
Candidate for Committee on Professional Freedom & Responsibility
Dr. Dean Kruckeberg is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he had served as executive director of the Center for Global Public Relations from 2008 through 2013. Kruckeberg has served as Resolution Chair of AEJMC since his term began on the Professional Freedom & Responsibility Committee in in October 2012. He is co-author of the book Public Relations and Community: A Reconstructed Theory and of This Is PR: The Realities of Public Relations. Kruckeberg is author and co-author of many book chapters, articles and papers dealing with global public relations and international public relations ethics. He was the recipient of the Public Relations Society of America’s 2013 “Atlas Award for Lifetime Achievement in International Public Relations,” was PRSA’s “National Outstanding Educator” in 1995, was presented the 1997 Pathfinder Award by the Institute for Public Relations and was awarded the Jackson Jackson & Wagner Behavioral Research Prize in 2006. He has been head of the Public Relations Divisions of AEJMC, ICA, NCA and of the PRSA Educators Academy and was U.S. Chair of the Council of the International Public Relations Association. From 1997 through 2012, Kruckeberg was co-chair of the Commission on PR Education. He has given invited lectures about international public relations ethics in the Middle East, throughout Asia and Western and Eastern Europe.
Candidate for Vice President
Jennifer Greer is associate provost for administration for the University of Alabama. Previously, she was interim dean of the College of Communication & Information Sciences and chair of the Department of Journalism at Alabama.
Greer attended her first convention as a student in 1993 and has been active in AEJMC ever since. She became an officer in the Mass Communication & Society Division in 1997, serving as head in 2005-2006. She was a member of the Standing Committee on Teaching from 2007 to 2013 and represented the committee on the Board of Directors from 2011 to 2013. She organized the Midwinter meeting in Reno in 2007.
Greer is now a member of the AEJMC Finance Committee and serves on the advisory board for the Institute for Diverse Leadership in Journalism and Communication. She was a fellow in the Journalism Leadership Institute for Diversity, that program’s earlier iteration. She was a member and chair of AEJMC’s Emerging Scholars Program Steering Committee. Greer has been a member of many divisions and interest groups, including Newspaper and Online News, Scholastic Journalism, Magazine, Sports Communication and the Commission on the Status of Women.
Greer has worked in JMC administration for 15 years and is a member of ASJMC. She’s served as a graduate director, department chair, associate dean or interim/acting dean. She also directed UA’s Knight Fellowship in Community Journalism, working with The Anniston (Ala.) Star. She’s taught courses in writing, reporting, digital media, research methods, ethics and presentation methods at Alabama, the University of Nevada, and the University of Florida since 1992. She’s won college-wide teaching awards three times in her career and was recognized with Alabama’s university-wide award for academic advising. Earlier in her career, Greer worked as a business reporter for The Kansas City Star and as managing editor of The Gainesville (Fla.) Sun’s first online edition.
Greer researches online news delivery, media credibility, media effects, political communication, sports media and diversity. She has published numerous journal articles, book chapters and an edited book, Media Issues. She serves on the editorial boards of Mass Communication and Society, Journalism and Mass Communication Monographs and Journalism and Mass Communication Educator.
A Missouri native, Greer earned bachelor’s degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Missouri, a master’s degree in political science from the University of Kansas and a doctorate in mass communication from the University of Florida.
AEJMC 2015 Conference Paper Abstracts
San Francisco, California • August 6 to 9
The following AEJMC groups conducted research competitions for the 2015 conference. The accepted paper abstracts are listed within each section.
- Communicating Science, Health, Environment, and Risk (ComSHER)
- Communication Technology (CTEC)
- Communication Theory and Methodology
- Cultural and Critical Studies
- Electronic News
- International Communication
- Law and Policy
- Mass Communication and Society
- Media Ethics
- Media Management and Economics
- Minorities and Communication (MAC)
- Newspaper and Online News
- Public Relations
- Scholastic Journalism
- Visual Communication (VisCom)
- Community Journalism
- Entertainment Studies
- Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender
- Graduate Student (formerly Graduate Education)
- Internships and Careers
- Participatory Journalism
- Political Communication
- Religion and Media
- Small Programs (SPIG)
- Sports Communication (SPORTS)
Boobies Are Not Hooters: New Tests for Student Speech Rights • Genelle Belmas, Univ. of Kansas • The Supreme Court in 2014 declined to hear an appeal of the Third Circuit en banc decision in the “I ♥ Boobies!” case, B.H. v. Easton Area School District. However, the decision provided an innovative approach to future student speech cases with some interesting judicial interpretations. This paper examines this case and suggests that courts adopt one of several revised tests when faced with student speech issues that skirt the line between appropriate and inappropriate.
Diversity and journalism pedagogy: Exploring news media representation of disability • Shawn Burns, University of Wollongong • This paper explores diversity studies in broadcast journalism education and seeks to help answer a question faced by teachers: Does the material discussed in class make a difference in their lives? This research is a case study of university broadcast journalism students who took part in classes that explored the representation of people with disability (PWD) in the media. The research sought to explore whether diversity studies resonated in the post-university lives of journalism students.
Comparing National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker Finalists to the Average School with Student Media • Sarah Cavanah, University of Minnesota • This paper explores the differences between National Scholastic Press Association members, Pacemaker finalists, and different types of awardees to assess how much the organization and its awards represent school diversity among schools with student media opportunities. Logistic regression models show that the awards may be signaling to the general population of schools that scholastic media excellence is found in schools with fewer African American and Hispanic students, as well as schools located in metropolitan regions.
Why be a journalist? Students’ motivations and role conceptions in the new age of journalism • Renita Coleman, University of Texas-Austin; Joon Yea Lee, Department of Communications University of North Alabama; Carolyn Yaschur, Department of Communication Studies Augustana College; Aimee Meader, Mass Communications Winthrop University; Kathleen McElroy, School of Journalism University of Texas- Austin • This study of the motivations and role conceptions of today’s journalists has shown many similarities among students today and yesterday, but significant differences between students and professionals. A new motivation appeared, marked by having experience with journalism at an early age. The students’ ranking of the importance of journalists’ roles compared to professionals showed no significant correlation. Both ranked the Investigative/Interpretive as most important, but professionals ranked the Adversarial role as second while students ranked it last.
Competency-Based Education: Is it the Future of Journalism? • Rocky Dailey • This study examined the concept of competency-based education (CBE) and considered the practicality of its application in journalism education. Programs accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) were asked to participated in the study. The majority of respondents were familiar with CBE, yet did not believe such an approach would work within the ACEJMC standards. Issues with internal compliance, professional acceptance, and traditional higher education structure were also explored.
Influences of Prior Review in the High School Newspaper • Joseph Dennis, The University of Georgia; Carolyn Crist, The University of Georgia • Although not recommended by scholastic press advocates, administrative prior review is a common practice among many high school newspapers. A survey of 158 journalism advisers across the country finds that certain school and newspaper characteristics have no effect on the presence of prior review. However, statistically significant results found prior review more likely to occur among younger advisers, newer advisers, and advisers who believe an adult should have the final say in a newspaper’s publication.
From Print to Digital: Project-Based Learning Framework for Fostering Multimedia Competencies in Journalism Education • Debbie Goh, Nanyang Technological University; Ugur Kale, West Virginia University • This paper examines how project-based learning (PBL) facilitated print journalism students’ transition into producing multimedia news in an iBook. Findings show technological considerations and PBL elements – need to know, driving question, choice, 21st Century skills, inquiry and innovation, feedback and presentation – enhanced multimedia competencies and consciousness. Students met learning objectives when they perceived relevance and had clear driving questions. Choices cultivated ownership and accountability, collaboration and critical thinking. Weaker students expressed need for structured pedagogy.
Quantifying Control: Scholastic Media, Prior Review and Censorship • Mark Goodman; Shelley Blundell, Kent State University; Margaret Cogar, Kent State University • For decades advocates have engaged in an ongoing debate about the threat posed by censorship of high school student media. Yet over those years there have been few attempts to quantify the censorship experienced by these student journalists by asking the students themselves. This paper presents the results of surveys of student media advisers and student journalists at a national high school journalism convention relating to their experiences with prior review and external and self-censorship.
Effectiveness of Pretest/Posttest as an Assessment of Learning Outcome(s) in a Mass Communication Research Course • Jeffrey Hedrick, Jacksonville State University • This research explores longitudinal assessment as a valid indicator of student learning in an undergraduate capstone research course. Pretest/posttest results were gathered from juniors and seniors (N=134) over six semesters, accumulating evidence for compliance with ACEJMC Standard 9 to be included in an accreditation self-study report. The course-embedded assessment focused on three learning objectives: research, statistics, and diversity. The mean results indicated greater improvement in research than statistics, with statistics portion showing more consistent gains.
Exploring the use of corrections on college newspapers’ websites • Kirstie Hettinga, California Lutheran University; Rosemary Clark, The Annenberg School for Communication at University of Pennsylvania • A previous study indicated that college newspapers tend to enjoy perceived levels of credibility on par with their professional, local counterparts, but suggested that quality could be assessed through other means, such as “story accuracy.” This research sought to explore the use of corrections on college newspapers’ websites. Corrections are a mechanism used to amend the record. Previous research has documented the potential for corrections to increase readers’ perceptions of newspaper quality. In a content analysis of College Media Association members’ websites (N = 419), the researchers found that nearly half of the newspapers had no corrections that could be located through search functions. Additionally, the researchers found that the more professional a college publication is—based on frequency of publication, the presence of language regarding accuracy or ethics on its website, and the presence of corrections link—the more likely it was to have corrections on its website.
The iPad as a Pedagogical Tool: Effective or not? • Amanda McClain, Holy Family University • Through two focus groups, this study examines the efficacy of tablets as in-classroom pedagogical tools for a college-level communication course. It finds journalism and communication programs would benefit from providing students with iPads, or a similar Internet-enabled tablet. iPads diminish a potential digital divide; they open up a world of information, help organize students’ lives, and permit convenient participation and learning anywhere. Students participate in the public sphere, putting communication theory into action.
A Collaborative Approach to Experiential Learning in Journalism Newswriting and Editing Classes: A Case Study • Perry Parks, Michigan State University • This case study examines a creative approach by two journalism professors to enhance experiential learning in separate skills-based newswriting and editing courses by collaborating to produce a live online news report from campus each week under a four-hour deadline. The study seeks to build on previous findings that innovative classroom structures and projects that engage students in practical, published journalistic work can have a powerful positive effect for students.
Who are you in the classroom? Avatars for learning and education • Ryan Rogers • Based on recent research concerning avatars, this paper examines how avatars can be used to enhance students’ performance on education related tasks, specifically in journalism classrooms. Study 1 shows that avatar assignment impacts task performance (on reading skill) via perceived difficulty. Study 2 focuses on journalism specific course objectives and shows that avatar assignment can influence perceptions of progress on education tasks. These two experiments show practical tactics for improving performance on educational tasks and also show ways that content producers, like news producers, can enhance audience engagement with content.
Unnamed and at risk? Examining anonymous student speech in the college/university environment • Erica Salkin, Whitworth University; Lindsie Trego, Whitworth University; Kathleen Vincent, Whitworth University • Like many forms of protected speech, anonymous speech does not enjoy the same First Amendment protection when occurring in an academic environment. This paper examines the legal status of anonymous university student speech from a legal as well as practical perspective, exploring both the guidance of common law as well as the level of risk generated by a common forum for anonymous student speech today: Facebook “confessions” sites.
Personal Memory and the Formation of Journalistic Authority: Scholastic Media Coverage of Sandy Hook • David Schwartz, University of Iowa • Drawing on the concepts of journalistic authority, collective memory, and media memory, this study examined the way high school journalists covered the Sandy Hook killings as a means of establishing journalistic authority. Through a textual analysis, this study found that scholastic media used the event to redraw journalistic boundaries to include emotional, autobiographical articles that advocated on behalf of their readers. This study aims to improve understanding of scholastic media during nationally mediated tragedies.
An Online Learning Approach to Community Building among Asian Journalists • Violet Valdez, Ateneo de Manila University • This paper describes a master’s program in journalism designed for professional Asian journalists which has drawn students from 13 Asian countries and is run by faculty members from five countries. The program uses blended learning methods combining synchronous, asynchronous and classroom-based approaches. An exploratory study was conducted to describe the strategies used by the students and teachers to build a community of learners (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000) and hence achieve the program’s learning goals. The study took into consideration cultural differences, in particular, those referring to educational experiences. Results show that the respondents tended to use the strategies of social presence, cognitive presence and teaching presence that were appropriate to their respective class roles and that these strategies tended to reflect dominant cultural traits in Asia.
Patterns of paper productivity and thematic content in the Public Relations Division of AEJMC 2003-2012 • Giselle Auger • Research papers are an indicator of the work being done in academia and often reflect important social changes. Results of this investigation identified thematic differences between the content of top student papers and top faculty papers in the public relations division of AEJMC including differences in the number of nonprofit, relationship management, and corporate social responsibility studies. Moreover, 2009 appears to have been a watershed year as social media appeared for the first time and general research on the Internet peaked. The presence of an ‘invisible college’ of research and influence is also identified.
Perceived sincerity in CSR activities: The contribution of CSR fit, modality interactivity, and message interactivity • Eun Go, Penn State University; Denise Bortree, Penn State University • This study explored how CSR communication in social media can build message credibility and improve organizational attitudes. In particular the study investigated the role of CSR fit, modality interactivity, and message interactivity through a 2 x 2 x 3 experimental design (N=299). The results suggest that promoting good-fit CSR activities improves credibility and attitude. Additional analysis suggests an interaction between CSR fit and message interactivity that makes fit critical in low-interactivity settings. Implications are discussed.
You Know Me Well: A Coorientation Study of Public Relations Professionals’ Relationship with Bloggers • Justin Walden, College at Brockport, SUNY; Denise Bortree, Penn State University; Marcia DiStaso, Penn State University • Drawing from the coorientation framework, this study reports survey findings from two groups: bloggers and public relations professionals. Blogger attitudes toward the quality of their relationship with public relations professionals are compared to the attitudes about the organization-blogger relationship that are held by public relations professionals. Although considerable attention in the literature has been placed on the journalist/public relations professional relationship, scholars have yet to fully investigate the blogger/public relations professional relationship. Implications are discussed.
“Is Apology the Best Policy?” An Experimental Examination of the Effectiveness of Image Repair Strategies during Criminal and Non-Criminal Athlete Transgressions • Kenon Brown, The University of Alabama • Through the use of a 2 X 3 factorial experiment, the researcher examined the effects of response strategies on an athlete’s perceived image after they provide a response when faced with a criminal or a non-criminal transgression. Results showed that the attacking the accuser strategy was just as effective as the mortification strategy in the repair of the athlete’s image overall, as well as when the athlete is faced with a criminal transgression; The bolstering strategy was also the least effective strategy, regardless of the type of transgression. Implications for the empirical examination of response strategies and for strategic communication practitioners are provided.
The interactive role of political ideology and media preference in building trust: A PR perspective • Michael Cacciatore, University of Georgia; Juan Meng, University of Georgia; Alan VanderMolen, Edelman; Bryan Reber • Using survey data, this paper looks at predictors of business trust in the top five countries based on GDP ranking – the United States, China, Japan, Germany, and France. Demographics emerged as significant predictors of trust across countries, while political ideology was a key driver of trust in the U.S. Political ideology also interacted with preferred media choice in predicting trust. Theoretical and practical implications for the field of public relations and public practitioners are offered.
Communicating CSR on social media: Strategies, main actors, and public engagement on corporate Facebook • Moonhee Cho, University of Tennessee; Tiffany Schweickart, University of Florida; Lauren Darm, University of Florida • Based on content analysis of 46 corporate Facebook pages for a one-year period, this study found that corporations communicate non-CSR messages more frequently than CSR messages on social media. When communicating CSR activities, corporations employed the informing strategy more than the interacting strategy and included more internal publics’ activities than that of external publics. This study also found that publics engage more with non-CSR messages than CSR messages, which reflects public cynicism of CSR messages.
Renegade Girl Scouts or a Merit Badge for Spin: (Re)articulating Activism and Public Relations • Pat Curtin, University of Oregon • This paper answers Dozier and Lauzen’s (2000) call for critical theoretical examinations of activism and public relations to provide new perspectives and avoid the paradox inherent in organizational-level analyses. It also fills a literature gap by examining a case of internal activism, thus blurring organizational boundaries and rejecting Us/Other dichotomies. Articulation theory’s role within the cultural-economic model (Curtin & Gaither, 2005, 2007) is expanded to provide a more nuanced understanding of the public relations/activism relationship.
The Role Of Public Relations In Ethnic Advocacy And Activism: A Proposed Research Agenda • Maria De Moya, DePaul University; Vanessa Bravo, Elon University • This essay proposes a research agenda for exploring public relations’ role in ethnic advocacy and activism, as a way to build the field’s knowledge of ethnic public relations. To highlight the potential contribution of public relations to ethnic organizations, the use of media relations and public information tactics by Latino organizations in the U.S., is explored, and the use of public relations by two Latino organizations conducting advocacy efforts in favor of immigration reform are described. Additionally, the authors propose an agenda for exploring how public relations is used by ethnic organizations to advance their goals.
Identifying strategic disconnect: Social media use by banks and its impact on trust • Marcia DiStaso, Penn State University; Chelsea Amaral • This study explored the adoption and use of social media by banks and identified if it corresponds with what the public wants in social media from banks. The results show that social media adoption by the top banks is strong, but that the content is contrary to what the public wants. Connecting with a bank on social media was found to result in slightly higher perceptions of trust.
Communicating Ethical Corporate Social Responsibility: A Case Study • Heidi Hatfield Edwards, Florida Institute of Technology • Corporate philanthropy receives mixed reviews among supporters and critics of corporate giving. With a societal push for corporations to give back to their communities, supporters cite the importance of corporate social responsibility. Critics argue some companies use their giving to mask suspect financial dealings or to buy the public’s good will and counter damage caused by their products or practices. This paper identifies three competing views regarding the ethics of corporate philanthropy, and discusses a framework from which to examine a company’s communication about its social responsibility efforts. Using that framework, this paper examines the ethics of corporate giving using a case study to identify if and how a multinational company (Harris Corporation) communicates ethical principles of corporate philanthropy through its website and annual report, and how philanthropy fits in the corporate priorities.
Refining the Social-Mediated Crisis Communication Model: Expanding Understanding of Cognitive and Affective Disaster Responses • Julia Daisy Fraustino, University of Maryland; Brooke Liu, University of Maryland; Yan Jin, University of Georgia • This study details an experiment using a random, nationally representative sample of 2,015 U.S. adults. Refining the social-mediated crisis communication model, a 3 (disaster information form: Twitter vs. Facebook vs. static web post) x 4 (disaster information source: local government vs. national government vs. local news media vs. national news media) between-subjects design investigated effects of information form and source and impacts of demographics on publics’ cognitive and affective responses to a hypothetical terrorist attack.
Using the Riverside Situational Q-Sort (RSQ) to Construct an Expert Model of a Crisis • Karen Freberg, University of Louisville; Kristin Saling, United States Army; Laura Freberg, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo • Behavior in response to a crisis will result from a combination of individual and situational variables. However, the Riverside Situational Q-sort (RSQ; Funder et al., 2012; Sherman, Nave, & Funder, 2010) provides a method for quantifying and comparing subjective impressions to create an expert crisis and layperson model with their personal definition of a “crisis.” Differences in their perceptions illustrate how crises managers and their intended audiences perceive same situations in very different ways.
Can Ghost Blogging Disclosure Help an Organization? A Test of Radical Transparency • Toby Hopp; Tiffany Gallicano, University of Oregon • Advocates of radical transparency believe that organizations may benefit from a “radical” approach to sharing increased levels of information about their organizational practices. To test one application of radical transparency, this study experimentally explored the effect of disclosing CEO ghost blogging practices on reader attitudes. The results of this study provide preliminary support for the notion that radical transparency does not hurt reader attitudes toward a CEO or brand in the context of ghost blogging.
Public Relations and Digital Social Advocacy in the Justice for Trayvon Campaign • Linda Hon, University of Florida • This study examined the digital media ecosystem that developed during the Justice for Trayvon campaign prior to George Zimmerman’s arrest. Research literature in public relations, social advocacy, and digital communication as well as content relevant to the campaign in Lexis/Nexis and on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube were used to develop a theoretical model of digital social advocacy within the context of public relations.
Activist Message Discrepancy and Value-Involvement • Seoyeon Hong, Webster University; Rosie Jahng, Hope College • This study examined whether publics evaluate activists differently when they perceive discrepancy in their promoted causes (public relations statement) and their actions (news coverage of activists) in the lens of social judgment theory. In addition, the role of value- involvement in how publics evaluate activists is examined. Results found that the higher the level of message discrepancy between the public relations statement and news coverage of activists, the more negative participants’ attitude toward activists and the less donation intention participants were. Even though participants with high involvement with issues showed more positive attitude and greater donation intention to activists than low involvement participants for all level of message discrepancy, there was no moderation effect detected. The findings and theoretical implications are discussed in terms of how activists can maintain and promote further relationships with general public and public with high value-involvement.
Leading in the Digital Age: A Study of How Social Media are Transforming the Work of Public Relations Leaders • Hua Jiang, Syracuse University; Yi Luo, Montclair State University; Owen Kulemeka • This study took one of the first steps to examine how public relations leaders’ understanding of social media’s strategic role relates to their active social media use and how strategic social media management may lead to the development of public relations leadership abilities. By analyzing data from a national survey of public relations leaders (n = 461), we found that (1) leaders’ years of professional experience, organizational type and size, size of communication staff, and leaders’ primary role as managers vs. front-line social media professionals significantly impacted the way social media were used in public relations work; (2) public relations leaders’ strategic vision of social media predicted their use of Facebook, RSS Feeds, Blogging, YouTube, and their active social media use in media relations and environmental scanning; and (3) social media use ultimately resulted in the advancement of public relations leadership abilities. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings and suggestions for future research were discussed.
Mediation of Employee Engagement on Symmetrical Internal Communication, Relationship Management, Employee Communication Behaviors, and Retention • Minjeong Kang, Indiana University; Minjung Sung, Chung-Ang University • The purpose of this study is to examine the mediation effects of employee engagement between employee management efforts (i.e., symmetrical internal communication and employee relationship management) and employee communication behaviors and employee retention. For this purpose, this study collected the data from a survey of 438 randomly selected employees working for a corporation in South Korea. The findings of this research clearly demonstrate: (1) employee/internal communication management is linked with employee engagement; (2) employee engagement enhances supportive employee communication behaviors as well as employee retention. Implications and suggestions for future studies are discussed.
Trust, Distrust, Symmetrical Communication, Public Engagement, and WOM • Minjeong Kang, Indiana University; Young Eun Park, Indiana University • The purpose of this study is to examine how public engagement mediates the relationships across organizations’ symmetrical communication efforts, public trust and distrust toward organizations, and publics’ positive and negative WOM (word-of-mouth) behaviors. This study analyzed the data from a survey (N = 704) of a randomly selected sample of U. S. consumers. The results showed strong links between symmetrical communication and trust/distrust and between symmetrical communication and public engagement. Also, this study found that public engagement strongly mediated of the effects of symmetrical communication efforts and trust on publics’ positive WOM. Implications and suggestions for future studies were discussed.
Relationship management in networked public diplomacy • Leysan Khakimova • The purpose of this study was to explore relationship management in networked public diplomacy. The network view of public diplomacy emphasized relationships as important links between organizations, governments, publics. Data included 32 in-depth qualitative interviews with 31 communication officers in governments and organizations. Results reflected limited use of relationship cultivation strategies, both online and offline. In addition, findings suggested a new offline relationship cultivation strategy, i.e. communicated long-term commitment.
Message strategies and public engagement in corporate Facebook pages • Cheonsoo Kim, Indiana University; Sung Un Yang, Indiana University • By employing the six-segment message strategy and hierarchical categorizations of public engagement on social media, this study investigated the link between message strategies and the levels of Facebook engagement. Content analysis of posts (N = 600) was conducted on Facebook pages of 20 companies sampled. Findings showed different message strategies led to different levels of public engagement (i.e., like, comment, share) on Facebook. The theortical and practical implications of the study are discussed.
Testing the buffering and boomerang effects of CSR practices on corporate reputation during a crisis: An experimental study in the context of an obesity campaign by a soft drink company • Hark-Shin Kim; Sun-Young Lee, Individual Purchaser • The present study seeks to explore the effects of CSR practices on corporate reputation and consumers’ degree of supportive intention toward the corporation, and also to examine whether CSR practices produce buffering effects (help to reduce reputational damage) or boomerang effects (increase reputational damage). The results suggest that CSR activities might be more effective in improving people’s favorable attitudes toward the corporation, even the perceived image of CSR activities and the supportive intention as expressed in word-of-mouth referrals or purchasing its products. Second, the results supported the marginal evidence of a boomerang effect. Moreover, this study examined the effects of a crisis on consumers’ emotions under different conditions in order to explore consumers’ cognitive processes and shed light on why consumers respond to a crisis differently in different situations.
How do we perceive crisis responsibility differently? An analysis of different publics’ perceptions of crisis responsibility through news framing in crisis communication • Young Kim, Louisiana State University; Andrea Miller, Louisiana State University; myounggi chon • This study explores the dynamics of crisis communication by examining how publics differently perceive crisis responsibility through different crisis news framing. The study aims to identify and analyze the relationship between public segmentation, news framing, and perceived crisis responsibility. In spite of the importance of an interwoven relationship, there is a lack of such systematic analysis of perceived crisis responsibility based on public segmentation and news framing in crisis communication. An online experiment with 1,113 participants found that their perceptions of crisis responsibility were in consistent with the news framing they read; those who read a news story framed as a preventable crisis perceived high levels of responsibility to the organization, and others who read a news story framed by accidental crisis perceived a low level of crisis responsibility to the organization. Moreover, different publics perceived crisis responsibility differently as latent publics were more susceptible to crisis news framing. Thus, the results shed light on how news framing affects publics’ perceptions of crisis responsibility which could lead to varying crisis response strategies of an organization. Theoretical and practical implications for future research and practices are discussed.
A Content Analysis Of Facebook Responses To Abercrombie And Fitch’s Post-Crisis Message • Emily Faulkner, Saint Louis University; Vallory Leaders; Hyunmin Lee, Saint Louis University • Guided by the Situation Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT) and emotions literature, this paper content analyzed Facebook users’ responses to Abercrombie and Fitch’s (A&F) post-crisis response message. The findings showed that the majority of Facebook commenters attributed crisis responsibility to A&F, expressed negative emotions, and expressed nonsupport towards the organization. Additionally, there were significant differences between the type of expressed crisis attribute and behavioral intention, expressed emotions type and expressed behavioral intention, and expressed emotions type and crisis attribution.
How to win foreign publics’ support? Invisible battle over history and politics and the role of public diplomacy • Hyun-Ji Lim, University of Miami • The use of soft power and the support of the foreign public are increasingly important in this age of public diplomacy and global public relations. When a country faces a historical and political conflict with another country, this invisible battle needs a strategy from within this context. Through the employment of a 2 x 2, between-subjects experimental research method, this study aims to examine a causal relationship by analyzing the influence of participants’ perception of the reputation of the involved country and the level of involvement they feel toward the issue on their attitude and behavioral intentions on behalf of the country involved. Implications for global public relations practice and theory are discussed.
Communicating Compassion: A Narrative Analysis of Compassion International’s Blogger Engagement Program • Lisa Lundy • A narrative analysis of Compassion International’s blogger engagement program reveals lessons for nonprofits seeking to partner with bloggers. Compassion went beyond just reaching new sponsors through blogger engagement, but also sought to retain and educate existing sponsors, equipping them as ambassadors for the organization. Compassion’s blogger engagement program demonstrates the social capital to be garnered for nonprofit organizations when they partner with likeminded bloggers who can help tell their story.
Infusing social media with humanity: The impact of corporate character on public engagement and relational outcomes on social networking sites • Rita Linjuan Men, Southern Methodist University; Wanhsiu Sunny Tsai, University of Miami • This study links the factors central to social media communications, including perceived corporate character, parasocial interaction, and community identification, to public engagement and organization–public relationships. Based on American users’ engagement behaviors on corporate Facebook pages, the study underscores the effectiveness of a personification approach in social media communication to construct an agreeable corporate character for enhancing public engagement and inducing intimate, interpersonal interactions and community identification, which in turn improves organization-public relationships.
Engaging Employees in the Social Era in China: Effects of Communication Channels, Transparency, and Authenticity • Rita Linjuan Men, Southern Methodist University; Flora Hung-Baesecke, Hong Kong Baptist University • This study examines the internal communication landscape in the social era in China and investigates how organizations’ use of various communication channels fosters organizational transparency and authenticity, which in turn drives employee engagement. Surveying 407 working adults via the web, this study showed that face-to-face and social media channels are most effective in building organizational transparency, authenticity, and engaging employees. Organizational transparency and authenticity perceived by employees demonstrated strong positive effects on employee engagement.
Filner and Ford, a tale of two mayors: A case study of sex, drugs and scandal • patrick merle, Florida State University; Nicole Lee, Texas Tech University • In 2013, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner each faced a public crisis, scandals deemed preventable based on human errors, use of illegal drugs for the former and sex misconduct for the latter. Reviewed through the traditional Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT) lens, this comparative case study examined the appropriateness of response strategies used by each political figure. Future research directions and practical implications are presented.
15 Years of Ethics in Peer Reviewed Public Relations Journals: A Content Analysis • Michael Mitrook, University of South Florida • Content analysis concerning the nature of ethical discussion in peer reviewed public relations journals was performed on a total of 1405 articles from four scholarly journals covering the period 1998-2012. Of the 1405 articles, 134 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.
Social media use during natural disasters: Using Q Methodology to identify millennials’ surveillance preferences • Kristen Meadows, CARAT USA; Jensen Moore, Louisiana State University • Due to the inevitable occurrence of natural disasters and their ability to affect millions of people, it is increasingly important to understand how individuals prefer to gather information regarding potential harms or threats. Approached from the hardwired for news hypothesis, developed by Shoemaker (1996), this research examined how millennials preferred to gather information during natural disasters thereby fulfilling surveillance needs. The use of Q-Methodology allowed for surveillance types to emerge among millennials based on attitudes toward use of traditional and social media during natural disasters.
Reevaluating Propaganda in PR History: An Analysis of Propaganda in the Press 1810 to 1918 • Cayce Myers, Virginia Tech • Analysis of U.S. press coverage of propaganda indicates that the term propaganda had a largely negative connotation in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Propaganda’s association with religious, political, and grassroots organizations are identified and discussed. This analysis concludes that Edward Bernays’s assertion that propaganda was a neutral term for PR practice prior to 1918 is inaccurate. Implications for PR historiography are discussed.
Who is Responsible for What? Examining Strategic Roles in Social Media Management • Marlene Neill, Baylor University; Mia Moody-Ramirez, Baylor University • This study examines the strategic roles associated with social media management through the lens of role theory. By analyzing the responses from participants in two focus groups and a survey of public relations and human resources practitioners, we identified nine strategic roles and the associated responsibilities including policy maker, internal collaborator, technology tester, communications organizer, issues manager, relationship analyzer, master of metrics, policing, and employee recruiter. Public relations leads most of these activities, but human resources is a close collaborator. Study findings also provide specific insights into online reputation management processes, exact content of social media policies, and the most common metrics used for social media channels.
Navigating the Leadership Challenge: Inside the Indian Public Relations Industry • Padmini Patwardhan, Winthrop University • This study examined public relations leadership in India as perceived by practitioners. Both Western concepts and Indian approaches are explored. 140 respondents took an industry survey; 13 experienced professionals participated in depth interviews. Importance of Meng and Berger’s excellent leadership model was endorsed in India. Culture-specific leadership roles such as nurturer, seer, and mentor along with practices such as “the personal touch” were also observed. Strengthening soft skills was considered important to developing future PR leaders.
Integrated Influence? Exploring Public Relations Power in Integrated Marketing Communication • Katie Place, Saint Louis University; Brian Smith; Hyunmin Lee, Saint Louis University • Public relations and marketing experience turf wars to determine ownership of new communication frontiers, including digital and social media (Delaria, Kane, Porter, & Strong, 2010; Kiley, 2011). Integrated marketing communication (IMC) prescribes that effective communication hinges on building consistent messaging around stakeholder needs through collaboration between functions (Kliatchko, 2008). Few, if any, other studies have identified the supposed power imbalance in IMC, or the influence of IMC on public relations power. This pilot study builds on the exploratory research by Delaria, et al. (2010) and Smith and Place (2013) to evaluate public relations power in IMC, and the mediating effect of social media expertise on that power. An online survey was distributed to 391 public relations professionals, ultimately surveying 21 public relations professionals in IMC environments. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted to analyze if the responses grouped into different types of perceived roles. Additional descriptive statistics and regression analysis were implemented to test the hypotheses and research questions. Results of this pilot study suggest that public relations’ influence in IMC is situated at the nexus of structural power and influence-based power, drawing upon manager versus technician typologies of public relations’ roles. Findings imply that individuals associated with social media expertise hold more “technician” roles and responsibilities, and therefore, do not have the legitimate, coercive or reward power associated with “management” roles. These findings contradict previous studies (i.e. Diga and Kelleher, 2009) that found a positive association between social media use and prestige power, structural power, and expert power.
Trust, Transparency, and Power: Forces to be Reckoned with in Internal Strategic Communication • Mandy Oscarson; Kenneth Plowman, Brigham Young University • In 2011, internal strategic communication was not improving as quickly as one might hope in one office of the Department of Defense. The literature supported the need for improved internal strategic communication, but during the lead author’s summer internship, she noted that the communication team struggled to make this happen. Why were these communication professionals not successful? What was hindering their success? Earlier research showed that trust and transparency were connected to internal strategic communication—either positively or negatively. But one new theme arose from the current study: power. The authors took a closer look at why power may play a role in understanding why internal communication was not improving very quickly in this one office. To do this, the authors asked current and former members of the strategic communication team for their opinions through open-ended survey questions about their experiences. This study illustrates that a lack of trust, transparency, and empowerment—and the inappropriate use of power—are all factors in the success or failure of internal strategic communication.
The relationship between personal technology use and the donor/volunteer: A parasocial approach • Geah Pressgrove, West Virginia University; Carol Pardun, University of South Carolina • An online questionnaire completed by 660 nonprofit stakeholders supported the idea that having a social media based personal connection to the nonprofit, resembling a parasocial friendship, had a significant impact on the stakeholder’s intentions to support the organization in the offline community (e.g. volunteer, donate). Findings also indicate that when a stakeholder has a higher level of social connections and time spent online, there is a decrease in the intention to behaviorally support the organization.
Nonprofit Relationship Management: Extending OPR to Loyalty and Behaviors • Geah Pressgrove, West Virginia University; Brooke McKeever • Through a survey of organizational stakeholders (N=660), this study contributes to our understanding of nonprofit public relations in three key areas. First, a new five-factor scale to measure perceptions of the relationship cultivation strategies of stewardship was tested. Second, group differences between organization stakeholder types were explored. Third, a new working model that extends previous OPR models to include variables of loyalty and behavioral intentions was advanced. Findings revealed theoretical, measurement and practical applications.
Addressing the Under-Representation of Hispanics in Public Relations: An Exploratory Quantitative Study • David Radanovich, High Point University • While the Hispanic population in the United States has grown dramatically, the number of Hispanics in public relations has not kept pace. This exploratory quantitative study surveyed Latino public relations professionals to quantify perceived barriers to entry and evaluated ideas for increasing interest in pursuing public relations as a career among Hispanics. The research identified opportunities for educators, professional organizations, public relations agencies, nonprofits and businesses to work together to help address this under-representation.
Skepticism toward CSR: Developing and Testing a Measurement • Hyejoon Rim, University of Minnesota; Sora Kim, The Chinese University of Hong Kong • The study attempts to develop a measurement of CSR skepticism and identify a strongest predictor among the refined CSR skepticism constructs by testing the relationships between skepticism constructs and public responses. Through testing competing models, this study concludes that four factors should be considered to measure CSR skepticism: 1) skepticism toward a CSR communication’s informativeness, 2) skepticism regarding discrepancy: CSR communication motives and CSR motives, 3) skepticism toward a company’s altruism (sincerity), and 4) skepticism regarding image promotion. Skepticism toward a company’s altruism is identified as the strongest predictor in determining negative public response to CSR, whereas cynicism, in contrast to past research, does not have much predictive power to explain public attitude toward CSR.
Time-lag Analysis of Agenda Building between White House Public Relations and Congressional Policymaking Activity • Tiffany Schweickart, University of Florida; Jordan Neil, University of Florida; Ji Young Kim; Spiro Kiousis, University of Florida • This study examined the agenda building process between White House political public relations messages and Congressional policymaking activity during the first six months of the Obama administration’s second term. Using a time-lag design, this study explored three levels of agenda building for issues, issue frames, and the co-occurrence of issues with eight information subsidy types. Theoretical and practical implications for the three levels of agenda-building and advancing the study of political public relations are discussed.
Relationships as Strategic Issues Management: An Activist Network Strategy Model • Erich Sommerfeldt, University of Maryland; Aimei Yang, University of Southern California • This paper argues that activist relationship building is likely to be influenced by the nature of the issue for which a group advocates and the stage of that issues’ development. Informed by issues management perspectives as well as theories of framing and institutionalization, this paper proposes a model of activist networking strategies that explains and prescribes the nature of network relationships an activist group maintains at different stages of an issues development.
Does social media use affect journalists’ perceptions of source credibility? • Dustin Supa, Boston University; Lynn Zoch, Radford University; Jessica Scanlon, Boston University • Changes in the media landscape have put social media in the forefront of interpersonal and organizational communication. This study investigates whether the same is true of the journalists’ relationship with media relations practitioners. A nation-wide survey of journalists (n=535) found that although journalists use social media to generate story ideas, they rarely use them to communicate with practitioners, and perceived greater source credibility in practitioners with whom they had a face-to-face rather than online relationship.
Joining the Movement?: Investigating Standardization of Measurement and Evaluation Within Public Relations • Kjerstin Thorson, University of Southern California; Emily Gee, University of Southern California; Jun Jiang, USC; Zijun Lu, University of Southern California; Grace Luan, University of Southern California; David Michaelson, Teneo Strategy; Sha-Lene Pung, University of Southern California; Yihan Qin, usc; Kaylee Weatherly, University of Southern California; Jing Xu • This paper draws on a new survey of public relations professionals to explore (1) the extent to which respondents report adopting standardized measures recommended by professional organizations; (2) predictors of measurement standardization; and (3) links among measurement practices and self-reported influence of public relations within the broader organization.
Survivor-to-Survivor Communication Model: How Organizations can use Post-Disaster Interviewing to Facilitate Grassroots Crisis Communication • Jennifer Vardeman-Winter, University of Houston; Robyn Lyn; Rakhee Sharma • Public relations and crisis communication research focuses largely on post-crisis communication from the organizational standpoint. Problems arise like jurisdictional conflicts, miscommunications because of cultural differences, and inefficiencies in crisis recovery because national groups don’t have intimate knowledge of the disaster site like local groups do. Thus, it is important to theorize and practice public relations with the knowledge of the publics’ standpoint. In this essay, we look to a recent post-crisis anthropological project conducted with survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to highlight the important of local, grassroots efforts of recovery. We suggest that public relations practitioners can facilitate some of the concepts used in this process, such as survivor-to-survivor interviewing and sharing narratives. We provide a roadmap that moves our field from a traditional organizational-based post-crisis model to a survivor-to-survivor communication model to be utilized by organizational communicators.
Creating Social Change with Public Relations: Strategically Using Twitter to Turn Supporters into Vocal Advocates • Jeanine Guidry, Virginia Commonwealth University; Richard Waters, University of San Francisco; Gregory D. Saxton, SUNY-Buffalo • Communication scholarship has shown that peer-to-peer communication has the most influence on individuals. Organizations must learn how to engage audiences and facilitate discussions between individuals about organizational messages on social media platforms. Through a content analysis of 3,415 nonprofit Twitter updates, this study identifies message types that are more likely to be retweeted, archived, and discussed. Through these stakeholder behaviors, public relations practitioners have stronger influence as it transitions from organizational to interpersonal messaging.
Dialogic communication and organizational websites: An analysis of existing literature and recommendations for theory development • John Wirtz, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Thais Menezes Zimbres • This paper presents the results of a systematic analysis of studies applying Kent and Taylor’s (1998; 2002) dialogic theory of public relations to organizational websites and social media presence. We identified 34 studies that applied the five-fold dialogic communication framework to organizational websites and an additional 12 studies that applied the framework to some aspect of social media (e.g., blogs, Facebook, Twitter). We then analyzed the papers, paying particular attention to common themes in Methods, Results, and theory testing and development. In general, we found a consistent emphasis on the role of websites and social media as facilitators of dialogic communication and as useful tools for managing organizational-public relationships. However, we found a relatively low degree of consistency across the studies in how dialogic communication was measured, as less than half of the studies (41%) used the same measures. We also found a relatively narrow range of fields represented, with most papers focusing on nonprofit (74%) or government (14.7%) websites. Finally, a surprisingly high proportion of the studies (28%) did not include any research questions or hypotheses, while only 26% of the studies tested a relation between some aspect of the dialogic communication framework and another variable (e.g., responsiveness to inquiry, corporate performance). The paper concludes with recommended areas of future research and theory testing.
An Analysis of How Social Media Use is Being Measured in Public Relations Practice • Don Wright, Boston University; Michelle Hinson, University of Florida • This paper reports on a six-year, longitudinal analysis exploring if and how social and other new media use is being measured in public relations practice. With more than three thousand respondents (n=3,009) – an average of more than 500 per year – the study found fewer than half of the public relations practitioners surveyed work with organizations or have clients that have conducted research measuring what is being communicated about them via social media, blogs and other emerging media. The percentage of organizations conducting these measures grew from 38.6% in 2009 to 45.9% in 2014. Results indicate those who work in public relations strongly support the idea of conducting new media research and measurement. However, most of the research actually taking place involves basic measures of communication outputs and content analysis rather than communication outcomes studies exploring the impact this communication might be having on opinion leaders and other influential people or its role influencing attitude, opinion and behavior formation, reinforcement and change.
The Internet in Public Relations Research: An Analysis and Critique of Its Temporal Development • Yi-Hui Huang, The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Fang Wu; Qing HUANG, School of Journalism and Communication, The Chinese University of Hong Kong • This study develops a holistic and up-to-date description of Internet public relations research by analyzing 123 academic journal articles published between 2008 and 2013. Three developmental stages of Internet public relations research are identified: the Budding Stage (1992-2003), the Diversification Stage (2004-2008), and the Advancement Stage (2009 to present). Comparisons among the three different stages are made. Major findings include: 1) research has been expanding and diversifying; 2) recent theoretical development makes a shift from description to theorization; 3) dialogic theory, excellence theory, interactivity, and dialogicity have been the most frequently studied theories and characteristics; 4) asymmetrical research agenda exists in terms of its lack of diversity in locality, perspective, and cultural sensitivity. Improvements can and should be made by moving toward a research agenda that is more methodologically diverse, culturally sensitive, and symmetrical. Reflections, critiques, and suggestions for how to advance Internet public relations research are offered.
Effects of source credibility and virality on evaluations of company response via Facebook: An experiment in online crisis communication • Shupei Yuan, Michigan State University; Saleem Alhabash, Michigan State University • Social networking sites have become important tools to communicate with publics during crises. This study investigated the how source credibility predicted attitudes toward the apology response and the company in crisis as a function of source type and number of likes. Findings showed that the strength of association between trustworthiness and attitudes varied as a function of source type and virality. Findings are discussed within the persuasion models, crisis response typologies, and new communication technologies.
Chinese Milk Companies And The 2008 Chinese Milk Scandal: An Analysis Of Crisis Communication Strategies In A Non-Western Setting • Lijie Zhou, Arkansas State University; Li Zeng, Arkansas State University; Gilbert Fowler • Study analyzed how four major Chinese companies (Sanlu, Mengniu, Yili, and Bright Group) used press releases to respond to the 2008 Chinese Milk Scandal. Analyzed in stages, findings show during pre-crisis, all displayed similarities — keeping silent / covering-up. In crisis, strategies varied dramatically as companies became involved — looking for government protection and apologizing. In post-crisis, survivors adopted bolstering strategy. Study suggests Chinese companies employed western crisis communication strategies, although with distinct Chinese characteristics.
Examining the Influence of Public Relations Message Strategy Use on Student Attitude Through Facebook • Alan Abitbol • Experimental methods were used to examine the influence of public relations strategies, derived from Hazleton and Long’s (1988) public relation process model, disseminated over Facebook on student attitude. Results revealed that negative messages posted on Facebook had the most significant effect on participant attitude, and that using Facebook as a medium did not affect attitude significantly. These findings indicate that the message content is especially important since the platform itself does not impact attitude.
Framing for the cure: An examination of self and media imposed frames of Susan G. Komen • Caitrin Cardosi, Kent State University • The following study examines the frames created about Susan G. Komen for the Cure® both by the foundation itself and by major national news outlets. A qualitative analysis, grounded in framing theory, identified frames around the foundation formed by the media both in 2008 and during the months of January, February, and March of 2012. Then, it compared those frames with frames that emerged from press releases published by the foundation during the same times. The study found that brand strength is a key component to influencing media framing, as is grounding messaging in issues larger than the individual organization. Future research could examine the relationship between national headquarters of nonprofits and media outlets in comparison with the relationship between local chapters and media outlets.
Global Networks, Social Media and the Iceland Ash Cloud: A Crisis Communication Case • Maxine Gesualdi, Temple University • The Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull erupted in April 2010 causing a large cloud of ash, which moved across Europe created a crisis situation for many stakeholders including airlines, nation-state governments, and individual consumers. The ash could was a non-deadly natural disaster that had no human cause, responsible party, or recovery effort. This study explores the Iceland ash cloud as a networked global communication crisis and reveals implications for management of crises via social media.
Comprehending CSR Message Effects: An Application of the Elaboration Likelihood Model • Osenkor Gogo, University of Georgia; Nicholas Browning, University of Georgia; Marvin Kimmel, University of Georgia • Although CSR initiatives generally elicit positive consumer reactions, a recent study showed that most people find CSR messages confusing. This experiment examined the information processing dynamics at play in the relationship between CSR messages and consumer perceptions of corporate reputation. Based on ELM, the results indicated that CSR’s influence on reputation is unaffected by message complexity. This effect is, however, intensified by involvement, information processing ability, and brand familiarity. The implications are discussed.
Internet-Mediated Relationship Management in Local Nonprofit Fundraising • Yi Ji • While organizing Pedal 4 Kids charity bike ride, Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Florida primarily adopted online communication to manage relationships with its stakeholders. However, neither recruitment nor fundraising goals were achieved. In-depth interviews with event participants revealed integrated application of message interactivity and functional interactivity would enhance public engagement in local charity event. Findings provide theoretical and practical implications in local nonprofit public relations management through fundraising event in a new media context.
“Culturing” Generic/Specific Theory: Relocating Culture in Generic/Specific Public Relations • Amanda Kennedy, University of Maryland • This study asked how culture in generic/specific theory (GST) (traditionally applied to international public relations) can be reconceived, and whether GST can also apply to domestic public relations to inform culturally reflective and effective national campaigns. I conducted seven in-depth interviews and thematic analysis to explore how national CDC campaigns were adapted to local publics by community organizations, finding that deeper theories of culture can enhance GST and makes GST useful for domestic public relations.
The More Informative, The Better: The Effect of Message Interactivity on Product Attitudes and Purchase Intentions • Holly Ott, The Pennsylvania State University; Sushma Kumble, The Pennsylvania State University; Michail Vafeiadis, The Pennsylvania State University; Thomas Waddell • Social media increasingly allows consumers to interact with businesses, although the effects of this novel technology in the context of public relations is under-examined. The present study conducted a 2×3 experiment to examine the effect of message interactivity and source authority on consumers’ ad attitudes, brand attitudes, and purchase intentions. Message interactivity had a positive effect on ad effectiveness via the indirect pathway of perceived informativeness. Theoretical and practical implications of study results are discussed.
Set It and Forget It: The One-Way Use of Social Media by Government Science Agencies • Nicole Lee, Texas Tech University; Matthew VanDyke, Texas Tech University • Research suggests that one-way message dissemination is not an adequate means of improving knowledge or changing attitudes about science. Informed by public relations literature on the use of social media for dialogic communication, the current study examined how United States federal government science agencies communicate about science and the strategies they enact on social media. Findings suggest they underutilize social media’s potential for dialogue and treat new media platforms as broadcast media.
Publics’ Preference-Consistent and -Inconsistent Judgments of Crisis Response: A Preliminary Examination of Expectancy Contrast Theories in Crisis Management • Xiaochen Zhang, University of Florida • This study attempted to use expectancy contrast theories to explain and predict publics’ response to organizational crisis response strategies in an experiment. It tested the effects of prior attitude valence (positive, negative) and crisis response strategies (denial, bolster, combined) on publics’ attitudes and blame. An interaction effect was found on attitude but not on blame. Bolstering was found to be more effective for positive condition but less effective for negative condition than denial and combined.
How do Leading Companies in Greater China Communicate Their CSR Practices through Corporate Websites? A Comparative Study of Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan: 2008-2013 • Mengmeng Zhao, The Chinese University of Hong Kong • This study explores how corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices are presented and communicated on corporate websites of 204 top companies in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan during 2008-2013. The analytical focuses of content analysis include presence, prominence and extent of communication, as well as CSR issues and modes reported on the websites. The results indicate that CSR communication has gained great attention in the Greater China area, as nearly two-thirds of top companies communicated CSR on their corporate websites. However, significant discrepancies exist among three regions in terms of CSR perception, perceived importance of CSR issues, and the adoption of CSR modes. Specifically, more than one-third of Hong Kong companies use term “Sustainability”, a more advanced form of CSR, as the section title to refer to responsible behavior. Whereas the majority of companies in Mainland China and Taiwan still use “CSR” or “Social Responsibility”. Furthermore, as for CSR issues and modes, Mainland Chinese companies put much efforts on poverty and disaster relief as well as philanthropic act, while Hong Kong companies attach great importance to community’s sustainable development and implement CSR activities through more institutionalized ways such as volunteering, sponsorship and partnerships, and Taiwan companies embrace humanist spirit, as their CSR projects involve more in arts and culture, health and safety of workers, and employee engagement. This study represents the first comparative study of CSR communication amongst businesses in Greater China, providing a preliminary observation of the status of CSR implementation and communication in these three convergent-and-divergent societies. Limitations and implications for future research were also discussed.
“Can every class be a Twitter chat?”: Teaching social media via cross-institutional experiential learning • Julia Daisy Fraustino, University of Maryland; Rowena Briones, Virginia Commonwealth University; Melissa Janoske, University of Maryland • Using the framework of experiential learning theory, instructors of social media strategy classes at three universities implemented Twitter chats as a way to build students’ social media and public relations knowledge. Creating topical case studies and discussing them during the chats, students applied course theories and concepts, built professional networks, and broadened understanding of how to communicate using a new tool in a unique digital culture. Best practices for teaching using similar assignments are offered.
Considering Certification?: An Analysis of Universities’ Communication Certificates and Feedback from Public Relations Professionals • Julie O’Neil, Texas Christian University; Jacqueline Lambiase • Working professionals may need post-baccalaureate education, but finding time and resources to do so may be difficult. An analysis of 75 university master’s programs in public relations found 22 related programs offering communication certificates. A web audit of these programs, plus a survey and depth interviews, indicated professionals are interested in earning certificates, particularly in social and digital media strategy and measurement. Professionals want to attend certificate programs that combine online and face-to-face instruction.
In Their Own Words: A Thematic Analysis of Students’ Self-Perceptions of Writing Skills in Mass Communication Programs • Scott Kuehn, Clarion University; Andrew Lingwall, Clarion University • This study explored student self-perceptions of writing skills in mass communication programs at thirteen public state universities in the Mid-Atlantic region. Responses to three open-ended questions revealed heavy student concern with their basic skills, a desire for extensive faculty contact and feedback, and for many respondents, an immaturity or naiveté regarding professional standards. This study addresses implications for faculty members who wish to better understand their students in order to devise more effective writing instruction.