Code of Ethics

The AEJMC Code of Ethics was approved by the membership August 8 during the 2008 AEJMC Chicago Convention.

The Task Force on Ethics was appointed in spring 2004 by incoming president Mary Alice Shaver of Central Florida. The task force was charged to identify core values appropriate to members as well as identify ethical best practices related to training and developing the next generation of researchers and teachers.

Members of the Task Force on Ethics were: Linda Steiner of Maryland (chair), Alan Albarran of North Texas, Beth Barnes of Kentucky, Jay Black of South Florida, Sandra Borden of Western Michigan, Hub Brown of Syracuse, Cliff Christians of Illinois, Ted Glasser of Stanford, Ruth Walden of North Carolina, Dan Shaver of Central Florida and Lorna Veraldi of Florida International.

Tips from the AEJMC Teaching Committee

Five Tips to Make the Second Half of Your Class Better than the First

By Jennifer Jacobs Henderson
AEJMC Standing Committee on Teaching
Professor and Chair
Department of Communication
Trinity University


(Article courtesy of AEJMC News, March 2018 issue)

The first days of the new term are like visiting Disney World for the first time. Everything is new and shiny. All wishes can be granted and all hopes fulfilled. The second half of the semester is more like holding on to the seat in front of you on a roller coaster. There doesn’t seem to be any good way to change course as everyone careens toward the end of the term, screaming in fear.

The second-half of the term doesn’t have to be all panic and final exams, though. With a few small changes, you and your students can leave the academic term feeling accomplishment rather than anxiety.

1. Ask students what is working (and what isn’t). Midterm is an excellent time to find out how things in your class are going. Not what the students have learned or not learned (what you grade) but how your teaching is going (what they grade). These formative class assessments are helpful for both professors and students. Not surprisingly, students often see class much differently than we do. Time and again, we think class is going poorly when students are enjoying it, or we think it is amazing and they are lost, bored or both. Midterm is a great time to figure out the reality (which is often somewhere in between these extremes).

An assessment like this can easily backfire if not carefully planned, though, turning into a gripe session rather than a productive exercise. To avoid the piling-on that can occur, ask things like: “what do you like most about class so far?” and “What one thing would you change if you could?” These questions allow students to give useful feedback that can actually be integrated into your future class sessions.

2. Implement the best suggestions. If you ask students for feedback and then do nothing with it, you are actually harming both you and them. It is better not to implement a formative assessment at all than pretend you are listening to students. Trust is an essential classroom element. Like molecular binding, it connects professors and students in a symbiotic, stable balance. I tell students before they complete a midterm evaluation of the class that there are things that I won’t change (assigning readings, giving exams), things that I can’t change (the date of the final, the number of credit hours of the class), and everything else, which can be altered.

In past semesters, I’ve changed the amount of material we cover each session, the options for writing projects and the make-up of student teams, all because students said the change would make the class better. They were right. It did. Every time.

3. Remind students you listened. If you ask students for their input, and you’ve made changes based on that input, don’t forget to tell them so. Try to include as many students as possible in the praise, such as “Many of you suggested moving reading quizzes to Mondays when there is more time for reading. That’s really paid off in raising quiz scores. Great idea.”

When students feel their ideas are taken seriously, they move from recipients of information to participants in education.

4. Change it up. By the time you get to the second half of the term, everyone in the classroom has figured out the routine and the expectations. Of course, this is what we want. To an extent. There is a fine line between routine and boredom. So, change things up. Go outside. Do a team exercise. Let them use their phones. Add a guest speaker.

Students never complain that they didn’t do exactly what was on the syllabus for one day, but they always seem to remember the mock trial or ethics debate or television history timeline you added to liven things up after the thrill of Spring Break has faded. Low-stress surprises are a great way to improve productivity in the last weeks or months of the term. Like the groundhog, we all need to get out of the winter rut.

5. Plan an end-of-term celebration. I am a strong believer in marking occasions with celebrations. Birthdays. The Super Bowl. Ice Cream Day. My family makes fun of the fact that I have 17 door mats, one for each calendar holiday (and some for holidays I’ve invented). This philosophy has carried over to the classroom as well. While I have many colleagues who think my celebrations are beneath the dignity of the academy, I am a full professor, and I’m pretty sure that it’s okay to have fun while you learn.

Examples of celebrations? Breakfast tacos during final presentations (I live in Texas). An exam review game with media fandom prizes (who doesn’t like a Wonder Woman pencil?). A snack free-for-all where students bring their favorite childhood treats (Gushers, anyone?). The end-of-term celebration is not a reward for surviving your course; it is an acknowledgement that they have reached another milestone. Something to celebrate for sure.


Teaching Corner

2018 Best Practices Competition

Best Practices in Teaching Diversity in Journalism and Mass Communication

A teaching competition sponsored by the AEJMC Elected Committee on Teaching

Deadline: Entries should be received by 5 p.m. Eastern Time, March 16, 2018

For the 13th year, the AEJMC Elected Committee on Teaching will honor innovative teaching ideas from our colleagues. Each year, the committee selects three winners in a themed competition highlighting different areas across the journalism and mass communication curriculum.

The 2018 Best Practices competition will focus on diversity in journalism and mass communication; we seek entries that explain how you have used projects or tasks to teach about diversity in the context of journalism and mass communication, with respect to content and/or practice. This area is broad, and ideas are welcomed from all disciplines represented among our membership. Teaching areas appropriate for this competition include, but are not limited to, media and society; print, broadcast, reporting and editing; public relations; advertising; media law; media ethics; visual communication; and photojournalism.

The AEJMC Teaching Committee will select winning entries for publication in our 13th annual AEJMC Best Practices in Teaching competition, which will be published in an e-booklet. Winners are required to share their entries during a teaching session at the AEJMC annual conference in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 6-9, 2018. Winners also will receive certificates and a cash prize: First: $300, Second: $200, Third: $100. Honorable mentions may also be awarded, but no cash will be provided for those entries.

Submission Guidelines

  1. Your entry must be in one single Word file (.doc or .docx) or Text (.txt) file. PDFs will not be accepted, as we need text files to facilitate publication of the e-booklet containing the winning ideas.
  2. The first page of your entry should be a cover sheet with name, affiliation, contact information, entry title and a 125-word bio (written in third person). To facilitate blind judging, we will delete this cover sheet when we combine entries. Do not include author name or any other identifying information in the description section of your entry.
  3. The description section of your entry should be a TWO-PAGE executive summary and should include:
    a. Title
    b. 100-word abstract
    c. Explanation of the teaching practice or activity
    d. Rationale
    e. Outcomes
    Under no circumstances should the description exceed two pages in 12-point type with one-inch page margins.
  4. You may include up to two additional pages in the Word or Text document with examples of student work or other supporting materials. However, the entire entry should not exceed five pages and must be in a single Word or Text file with no identifying information other than on the title page.
  5. Submit your entry as an attachment by email to Amanda Sturgill at (The subject line should be “2018 AEJMC Online Teaching (YOUR NAME).”) Copy the e-mail entry to yourself as proof of submission.
  6. Confirmation of entry receipt will be sent via e-mail within 48 hours of your submission. If you do not receive this, please call Amanda Sturgill at 336 278 5790.

Criteria for Judging

  1. The criteria to evaluate entries are outlined below:
    Relevance of entry to the theme of Teaching Diversity in Journalism and Mass Communication (10 points).
  2. Creativity or innovation (30 points).
  3. Real-world applications of relevant teaching theories, concepts and principles (15 points).
  4. Evidence of impact. For example – how was the work produced, feedback from the audience or sources, etc. (25 points).
  5. Compliance with format in Call for Papers (10 points): (i). Explanation of teaching/methodology, (ii). Rationale, and (iii). Outcomes
  6. Overall impression or assessment (10 points)

The AEJMC Teaching Committee’s panel of judges will decide the winners. All entries will be blind judged. Judges will not have access to any identifying information about entrants. The judges reserve the right not to award prizes. Competition results will be announced by April 30.


Tips from the AEJMC Teaching Committee

Drones: Just Another Tool

By Mary T. Rogus
AEJMC Standing Committee on Teaching
Associate Professor
E.W. Scripps School of Journalism
Ohio University



(Article courtesy of AEJMC News, July 2017 issue)

“Drone journalism? I didn’t know they could write.” Sometimes it takes someone completely unattached to journalism to cut right to the heart of an issue. Suddenly the thousand or so words already written to make a point seemed superfluous, but since they’re written, here they are.

Two summers ago, a television station in my local market, Columbus, OH, received one of the FCC waivers to operate a drone for commercial purposes (before the licensing rules were adopted). With great promotional fanfare, the drone was named and launched. Every night on the evening news there was at least one story with drone video and multiple live aerial shots for weather, traffic or beauty bumper shots. Only about one in four of the stories effectively used or needed the drone video, and the weather and traffic shots were no better than those the station already had from tower and traffic cameras.

I was immediately transported back to my years as a television news producer when some shiny new piece of technology came into our newsroom, and we were tasked with finding ways to use it. I vividly remember the frustration, shared by many, of having to kill legitimate stories so we could go to one more “Sky-7” chopper shot for breaking news, that often wasn’t news at all.

That same “finding ways to use our new technological toy” attitude seemed to be the focus of drone classes presented at a recent academic conference for educators in broadcast and digital media. We heard all about what equipment to buy, and teaching students to operate drones and pass the certification test. One class even received a grant to buy kits for each student to build his or her own drone. But it wasn’t until we got to ask questions that there was any mention of ethics, or when and why to use drone video.

There is no question that drones already are enhancing video journalism in the same way that helicopters did in the 1970’s and 80’s. It’s difficult to remember the days when we covered floods, tornado and hurricane damage, wild fires, crop damage from droughts, etc. without helicopter cameras. And that view from above provides an important perspective to coverage of marches and protests, while also being safer for journalists on the ground. More important, drones make aerial photography and videography accessible to a much wider range of journalism outlets because they are less expensive to own and operate.

Getting certified to fly a drone and having the skills to shoot video or pictures with it would be a valuable extra for a journalism student entering the job market. But the essential skill is knowing when drone video or pictures are the best way to visualize a story and when they are simply a distraction. You do not need to be a certified Apple trainer to edit a compelling video story. You do not need to know how to take apart and put together a Sony XDCAM to shoot good video stories.

University of Nebraska’s Drone Journalism Lab and University of Missouri’s Drone Journalism Program have the right idea in training students and professionals to use drones as one tool for visual storytelling. Both run regular workshops (although Missouri also is now teaching a full class) and have a professional staff, with certified and experienced pilots to operate and maintain the drone equipment. They have developed drone operation manuals, with safety and ethics prominently discussed. They also do what journalism schools should do with new technology — experiment and research the ways it can help journalists tell better stories. In addition, Poynter partnered with UN’s Drone Journalism Lab, Google News Lab and the National Press Photographers Association to provide intensive three-day workshops on using drones for journalism.

The Professional Society of Drone Journalists (yes, there is one!) developed what it calls a layered approach to drone ethics, layered on top of existing ethics codes from organizations such as SPJ, RTNDA and NPPA. There are five layers creating a pyramid — the foundation of the pyramid is Newsworthiness and the top of the pyramid is Traditional Journalism Ethics:

• Traditional ethics. “As outlined by professional codes of conduct for journalists.”
• Privacy. “The drone must be operated in a fashion that does not needlessly compromise the privacy of non-public figures…”
• Sanctity of law and public spaces. “A drone operator must abide by the regulations that apply to the airspace where the drone is operated whenever possible…”
• Safety. “A drone operator must first be adequately trained in the operation of his or her equipment. The equipment itself must be in a condition suitable for safe and controlled flight….”
• Newsworthiness. “The investigation must be of sufficient journalistic importance to risk using a potentially harmful aerial vehicle. Do not use a drone if the information can be gathered by other, safer means.”

As journalism educators, we struggle with the journalistic value and ethical considerations, not to mention the skills learning, of constant technological innovation. A digital editor for the New York Times provided very helpful advice during a Poynter seminar on the Future of Journalism. As we eagerly asked which software and hardware we should be teaching our students, he said, “None! Any technology they use in college will be obsolete by the time they enter the job market.” Instead he urged us to always emphasize the story. Then get them so adaptable to changing technology, that when they have an idea for a story element, it’s second nature to google search for the freeware tool they need and find the YouTube video that teaches them how to use it. The first thing I did when I got back to my office was delete every step-by-step cheat sheet I had painstakingly created for the tools my students use.

PSDJ Code of Ethics for Drone Journalists,
The Drone Journalism Lab, University of Nebraska-Lincoln,

Teaching Corner

Visual Communication 2017 Abstracts

Online Coverage of Brittany Maynard’s Death: Visual and Verbal Information • Kelsie Arnold; Kimberly Lauffer • This study examined textual and visual elements in web-based coverage of Brittany Maynard’s decision to exercise Oregon’s right to die in order to understand how the media framed their coverage using multimedia components. The authors used a qualitative perspective and a quantitative data collection instrument to synthesize data and key themes that emerged from the research. Culturally embedded frames, loaded language, and graphic elements were all deemed essential to telling the story of Brittany Maynard.

Attributes of Likable Organizational Logos: An Exploratory Study using Q Methodology • Angie Chung; Dennis Kinsey • Logos have a big impact on how people feel about an organization. The goal of this research is to identify the subjective perceptions when people evaluate logos and explore what elements affect the likability of organizational logos. This exploratory research used Q Methodology to quantitatively and qualitatively examine subjective preferences for different types of logos. Forty participants sorted 50 organizational logos (Q sample) from “most appealing” (+5) to “most unappealing” (-5). Three different factors emerged from the correlation and factor analysis—the first group expressed the importance of color, the second group thought logos with living creatures were appealing and the third group were attracted to logos suggesting dynamic movement. Findings are discussed in terms of practical implications for how organizations can choose logos that can be received more positively.

A reciprocal-networked model of the photojournalistic icon: From the print-television news era to the present • Nicole Dahmen, University of Oregon; David Perlmutter, Texas Tech University; Natalia Mielczarek, Virginia Tech • Millions of news images have been created, but only a relative few have become the fabled “icons” of photojournalism that have been popularly ascribed with extraordinary powers to mobilize national opinion, start or stop wars, or at least capture “decisive moments” in history. Since most of the photoicon era occurred when news was a wholly industrial (via print and then broadcast and cable) enterprise, media gatekeeping has been a critical component of the process of icon creation, distribution, and maintenance. Traditionally, news photographs became iconic, in large part, through their purposive, industrially defined, and prominent placement on elite newspaper front pages and lead position in broadcast/cable news across the globe. But as we rapidly move away from print news and towards a digital/internet/social news environment, what is the effect on the formation of iconic imagery? We argue that it is both a changed reality of news delivery formats and the democratization of news production and dissemination via social media that predicates a theoretical shift in the formation of iconic imagery. Using the historical research method, we draw from current theoretical tenets of iconic image formation and leading research on iconic imagery to present propositions of a model of iconicity that we term the “reciprocal-networked model of iconicity,” which presents four central and related stages: creation, distribution, acceleration, and formation. We conclude this philosophy of images with some speculative predictions about the development of photoicons within the evolution of our reciprocal-networked model, arguing that several trends are predictable.

Fire, ice or drought? Picturing humanity in climate change imagery • Kim Sheehan; Nicole Dahmen, University of Oregon; David Morris II, University of Oregon • Despite scientific evidence of climate change, Americans continue to minimize its importance. At the same time, research suggests that advocacy campaigns and news media coverage of climate change—both text and images—do not necessarily resonate with audiences. The current study brings together existing theory on the knowledge-deficit model and research findings on both climate change imagery and story personification to explore in a 3x3x2 experiment how photographs relating to climate change have the best potential to connect with people regarding emotion and engagement.

Resignifying Alan Kurdi: News photographs, memes, and the ethics of visual representation • Meenakshi Gigi Durham, Iowa • The Turkish photojournalist Nilufer Demir’s photograph of the drowned refugee child Alan Kurdi attained worldwide recognition as a media spectacle, initially prompting humanitarian responses and political action, but later morphing into online memes and inciting public backlash as “war porn.” I argue here that the ethical motivations of photojournalism and memes are oppositional with regard to their representations of embodied vulnerability. While photojournalistic depictions of vulnerable bodies are motivated by an ethics of care intended to generate empathy and progressive social change, memes disrupt those affective connotations through processes of mimicry and replication. By means of a comparative semiological analysis, this paper examines the way the sign system of Demir’s photograph was mutated into a meme, radically changing the ethical connotations of the former. The differing ethical affordances of news photos versus memes, and their relationship, may help to explain the reversal of the cosmopolitan humanitarianism initially sparked by the Alan Kurdi photograph and tell us more about the ethical frictions and contrapositions at work in the contemporary media environment.

Access, deconstructed: An analysis of metajournalistic discourse concerning photojournalism and access • Patrick Ferrucci, U of Colorado; Ross Taylor, University of Colorado • This study examines metajournalistic discourse published surrounding the intersection of photojournalism and access. Researchers conducted a textual analysis of metajournalistic discourse published in articles by The Image, Deconstructed from 2011 to 2017 (N=70). Findings suggest that photojournalists define access differently than scholars. They obtain access through purposeful body language and verbal communication, clarity of intent and persistence. These findings are interpreted through the lens of the theory of metajournalistic discourse.

Using Angle of Sight to Confirm Media Bias of a Political Protest • Michael Friedman, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga • The study sought to understand if photographic media bias of political protest could be detected by applying the photographic principle of angle of sight to the pictures of the event. The investigation focused on the photographic news coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests from two competing and politically opposite New York City tabloid newspapers. The purpose of the study was to determine if there were any differences in the selection of angle of sight photographs, which could act as a subtle cue to either glorify or condemn the protests. Results show strong statistical support that both papers chose the angled photograph that matched with their political opinion of the protest and is relevant to other researchers who seek to understand our legacy of media coverage of political protests.

Professional Photographers and Platforms and the Perceived Credibility of Photographs on the Internet • Gina Gayle; Andrew Wirzburger, Syracuse University; Jianan Hu; Honey Rao • As the use of amateur journalists in place of professionals to photograph current events has begun to shape news content (Pantti & Anden-Papadopoulos, 2011), and people assign varying levels of credibility to the sources of news content (Bracken, 2006), understanding the effects of “professional” labels is growing increasingly salient. This study sought to investigate differences in perceived credibility of photographs on the internet depending on whether or not a professional had taken the photograph and whether or not it had been published by a professional media outlet. Definitions for the dimensions of perceived photograph credibility were adapted from previous research into general internet credibility (Metzger, 2007). The researchers hypothesized that people provided with information that the photograph was somehow “professional” would perceive it to have higher credibility. The study was designed as an experiment with four groups that evaluated photographs using a self-administered online questionnaire; each group was provided with different information about the photograph to stimulate differences between groups. Results produced no significant differences between groups for the concept of credibility but did yield significance for “authority,” one dimension of credibility. These results may be due to the influx of citizen journalism as well as diminishing public trust in mainstream news media.

Chaos, Quest and Restitution Narratives of Depression on Tumblr • Ali Hussain, Michigan State University • This paper studies how visuals from Tumblr might be used to evoke narratives of depression. Fourteen patients with moderately severe depression were interviewed using photo-elicitation method. Findings encompass three types of narratives: chaos, quest and restitution. Chaos narrative describe experiencing illnesses with no cure or unreliable treatments. Quest narrative are about patients’ fighting back. Restitution narrative points toward the belief that health is restorable. Study offers implications to use images during depression counseling sessions.

Show me a story: Narrative, image, and audience engagement on sports network Instagram accounts • Rich Johnson, Creighton University; Miles Romney, Brigham Young University • Social media is a growing space for interpersonal and masspersonal communication and the shared image that often accompanies these messages has become a factor in increasing audience engagement. This study seeks to understand what types of images generate more engagement from social media audiences. A group of communication scholars argue that narrative is the most basic form of human communication and therefore messages with strong narrative themes more easily connect the message from the communicator to the audience. This study performed a content analysis of nearly 2,000 images shared by Sports Networks on Instagram. Operating under Kress and Van Leeuwen’s (2006) methodology for determining narrative in image, the study found that images that contained narrative or metacommunicative messages (Bateson, 1951) resulted in greater interest and engagement by audiences through the manifestation of likes and comments. The study offers a methodology for organizations seeking greater engagement from social media audiences.

Cognitive Effects of Emotional Visuals and Company–Cause Congruence in Visual CSR Messages • Sun Young Lee, Texas Tech University; Sungwon Chung, Fort Hays State University • Using the limited capacity model of motivated mediated message processing (LC4MP), associative network theory, and expectancy violation theory as theoretical frameworks, this study seeks to explore the cognitive effects of two aspects of corporate social responsibility (CSR) messages: emotional visuals and company–cause congruence. We employed a 2 (emotional tone of visuals: positive vs. negative) × 2 (company–cause congruence: low vs. high) within-subjects experimental design. We tested these factors using three CSR issues: hunger in Africa, water shortage in Africa, and an environmental issue. The results showed interaction effects between the two factors for recognition sensitivity (d′) to company logos, ordered from being the highest when using a negative image and high company–cause congruence, to a negative image and low company–cause congruence, a positive image and low company–cause congruence, and a positive image and high company–cause congruence as the lowest. For cued recall of company names, we found that there were two main effects, with no interaction effects, and negative images were more effective than positive images: high company–cause congruence was more effective than low company–cause congruence. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of our findings.

Sleight of Hand, Slight of Truth: Deceptive Editing of Documentary Footage in The Look of Silence • Thomas Mascaro, Bowling Green State University • Abstract: The documentary film The Look of Silence conceals editorial sleight of hand involving a 1967 NBC documentary The Battle for Asia, Part III: Indonesia: The Troubled Victory. The editing, which is not disclosed to audiences, misrepresents the original report and contravenes documentary practice. This case illuminates libel law, with regard to DVD and interview statements accompanying a film’s release, and worrisome trend of “poetic” films eclipsing empirical reporting in documentaries.

Solutions in the shadows: The effects of incongruent visual messaging in solutions journalism news stories • Karen McIntyre, Virginia Commonwealth University; Kyser Lough, The University of Texas at Austin; Keyris Manzanares • This experiment examined the impact of story-photo congruency regarding solutions journalism. We tested the effects of solution and conflict-oriented news stories when the photo paired with the story was congruent or incongruent with the narrative. Results revealed that a solution-oriented story with a congruent photo made readers feel the most positive, but surprisingly readers were most interested in the story and reported the strongest behavioral intentions when the story was paired with a neutral photo.

The dead Syrian refugee boy goes viral: Funerary Aylan Kurdi memes as tools for social justice in remix culture • Natalia Mielczarek, Virginia Tech • The picture of the 3-year-old Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi, whose dead body washed up on a Turkish beach in September 2015, became iconic after it went viral on social media. Within hours, Aylan was a symbol, a hashtag and a meme. This project analyzes the most popular funerary Aylan memes to understand their meanings and functions as they proliferated cyberspace. Through visual rhetorical analysis, the project expands the functions of memes from the typically theorized visual jokes and social commentary to tools of social justice. The case study demonstrates how memes get deployed as rhetorical statements to subvert and re-negotiate reality, in this case to create a ‘better ending’ for the dead boy and to seek atonement for his death. The project also analyzes the paradoxical relationship between a news icon and its digital appropriations, suggesting a new metric for iconicity in digital participatory culture.

What Makes a Meme a Meme? Five Essential Characteristics • Maria Molina, Pennsylvania State University • During the 2016 presidential elections (December 2015-2016), the term “meme” had a higher search interest in the U.S. than the word “election” (Google Trends, 2016). But what makes an Internet meme a meme? And what attracts users to not only view memes, but also create and share them? This article reviews the existent literature, explicates this form of user-generated content, and provides a set of characteristics to differentiate Internet memes from other type of content also shared online. The goal of this exercise is to provide the study of Internet memes with an integrated definition, encompassing the mutually understood set of characteristics of memes. As Chaffee (1991) describes, a concept explication plays a vital role for the advancement of a field as it helps uncover the different components of the term, provides a description of the studies that have been done in the field, and postulates areas of future research and how to move in a cohesive direction. More specifically, it will provide a tool, or measure for the analysis of the uses, motivations, and effects of this new media trend.

The Graphicness of Renowned Imagery: A Content Analysis of Pulitzer Prize Winning Photography • David Morris II, University of Oregon; Nicole Dahmen, University of Oregon • An ongoing journalistic debate centers on the extent of acceptability of graphic imagery in the news media. In order to provide a more complete understanding of this ongoing debate, it is essential to conduct research that provides insight into the content of such imagery, especially renowned imagery. The current research uses a content analysis to explore the visual themes and type of graphicness present in the census of 763 Pulitzer Prize winning photographs from 1942 to 2015.

Closing the Gap Between Photojournalist Research and Photojournalism Practice: Exploring the Motivations of the Subjects of Sensitive Photo Essays • Tara Mortensen; Brian McDermott; Daniel Haun, University of South Carolina • There have always been challenges to pursuing photo essays, including the wariness of potential photo subjects who are often in the midst of personal hardships themselves, as well as a commitment of months or years to a single story. But contemporarily, there is a shrinking number of photojournalists and resources in the newsroom, as many have been replaced with iPhone-armed reporters and the abundance of citizen-shot photography (Allan, 2013; Hartley, 2007; Örnebring, 2013; Stelter, 2013; White, 2012). Citizens are more willing than ever to share thousands of photos a second on Snapchat and millions of photos on instagram every day (Biale, 2016; Schlosser, 2016), but an irony to this phenomenon and additional blow to photojournalists who are struggling to maintain their professional status (Gade & Lowrey, 2011; Mortensen, 2014) is that these same people are often hesitant allow professional photojournalists to tell their story (McDermott, 2012). This study is the first to inquire about the factors that influence peoples’ willingness to allow professional photojournalists tell their story, including topics such as sexual assault in the military, a woman’s struggle with losing her legs, and a mother’s struggle with losing a child. Guided by uses and gratifications theory, ten in-depth interviews with subjects of peer-judged contest winners from 2014 – 2016 in the multiple picture story categories of the NPPA Monthly Clip Contest, the NPPA Best of Photojournalism Contest, and the World Press Photo Contest were conducted and analyzed using a constant comparative method (Lincoln & Guba, 1985).

Priming effects on Instagram: An analysis of how pictures on Instagram affect individuals’ risk perceptions and information seeking behaviors • NIcole O’Donnell • This research explored how images on Instagram affect individuals’ information processing and seeking. Participants viewed Instagram posts that discussed the natural flavors added to processed foods. Individuals in a science-image condition had higher risk perceptions than individuals in a health image condition; however, this effect was moderated by nutrition label usage. Additionally, 45% of participants choose to seek further information on the topic. Implications for the integration of priming effects and information processing theories are discussed.

Profile Pictures and Political Expression: The Perceived Effectiveness of Avatar Activism (an Austrian Case). • Judith Schossboeck, City University Hong Kong • This paper investigates the phenomenon of avatar activism (AA), understood as changing one’s profile picture in a social media (SM) or online social network (OSN) for political reasons or a good cause from a quantitative perspective. Specifically, the effectiveness of avatar activism as perceived by users engaging in this practice, as well as its relation to factors like age, participation in OSNs, online social capital and political engagement are investigated. An online questionnaire of n = 210 was distributed before the Austrian Presidential Elections in December 2016, and the topic AA was placed within the context of the elections, but also addressed other examples of AA. After increasing the variable perceived effectiveness of AA along several levels related to cognitive or actual impact, results show that most people do see this activity as a good form of self-expression, but doubt the actual political impact. Age, participation in OSNs and online social capital could not be identified as influencing factors of perceived effectiveness of AA. However, engagement in AA is related to other forms of political engagement. The limitations of the study and possible further directions are discussed.

Networked photographic repertoire and capital: Prosumption of selfies among Taiwanese gay men on Instagram • Hong-Chi Shiau, Shih-Hsin University • This study attempts to illustrate identity performance and consumption by Taiwanese gay men through their behavior of posting and commenting on selfies. This study selects a gay community on Instagram as a site for fieldwork because millennials are quitting Facebook, once Taiwan’s most popular social networking site, but now in a steep decline. The prosuming of selfies on Instagram is analyzed as a particular form of speech community, adjusted to the orientation of users towards initiating social bonding, corporal aesthetic regulation, or even sexual encounters. Through ethnographic interviews with 17 gay male college students from Taiwan and textual analysis of their correspondence though texting on Instagram, this study contextualizes how the rituals and social processes engaged in on Instagram help constitute a collective identity pertaining to Taiwanese gay men on Instagram. The prosuming of selfies is examined as an identity-making process involving three nuanced types of cultural capital. These uploaded representations of the self are referenced to the collective past. Three typological personae are identified to illuminate the notions of cultural, aesthetic and emotional labor. The conclusion offers an alternative sociological intervention that goes beyond the notion of digital narcissism to help understand how the labor of presenting selfies is invested and reproduced.

‘Sight Beyond My Sight’ (SBMS): Concept, Methodology, and a Tool For Seeing • Gabriel Tait, Arkansas State University • Sight Beyond My Sight (SBMS), a new visual research method, aims to empower individuals to participate in the photographic communication and social science research process. This introductory study examines local people taking pictures to share knowledge about topics. This SBMS case study of photos from eleven participants (eight men and three women) between the ages of 18-65 from Liberia, West Africa, explains the method, discusses the participants, highlights some photographs taken, and offers an encapsulated analysis of what was learned from Liberians about Liberia. Advancing the participatory research methods of “Photovoice” (Wang and Burris 1994) in public health communication education, “Shooting Back” (Hubbard 2009) in photojournalism, and “Autophotography” (Ziller 1990) social psychology, SBMS bridges a gap in communication and social science research practices.

The evolution of story: How time and modality affect visual and verbal narratives • T.J. Thomson, University of Missouri • A majority of Americans distrust the news media due to concerns over comprehensiveness, accuracy, and fairness. Since many interactions between journalists and their subjects last only minutes and can be published within minutes, if not live, research is needed to explore how journalists’ understandings of their subjects’ narratives evolve over time and how much time is necessary to avoid surface-level coverage. Also, since people are now exposed to more image-based rather than text-based messages, additional research is necessary to explore how the verbal narratives spoken by subjects compare to their nonverbal narratives as captured by news photographers in visual form. Through a longitudinal, interview-based approach, a photojournalist working on a 30-plus-day picture story was interviewed weekly for six weeks over the course of his project to track perceptions of how his subjects’ verbal narratives changed. At the conclusion of the projects, the photojournalist’s subjects were also interviewed to explore how their verbal and nonverbal narratives compared. Informed by literature in role theory, narrative, and visual journalism, the findings explore how news media narratives can be more nuanced and how people shape their visual and verbal narratives consciously and unconsciously.

Parsing photograph’s place in a privately public world • T.J. Thomson, University of Missouri; Keith Greenwood, University of Missouri • Billions of personal cameras exist globally that capture more than one trillion images each year. In contrast to studies that focus on cameras in a particular industry or field, such as body cameras in law enforcement or diagnostic imaging in medical settings, this study adopts a comparative and integrative approach using the public-private distinction to explore 1) how people in different social spheres perceive cameras and those who operate them, 2) what factors influence those perceptions, and 3) how technological convergence, camera access, and digital dissemination ease are impacting social life. Through in-depth interviews with individuals in the public and private spheres, an understanding of camera operators as primarily disruptive or primarily affirmative emerged and participants and factors that influenced their perceptions were gathered. Participants also said more cameras and converged technology are blurring the lines between public and private, that exposure in public seems to reduce inclination for private exposure, that cameras are shifting the nature of experience, and that cameras are becoming increasingly regulated.

Location, Location, Location: Visual Properties and Recognition of Video Game Advertising. • Russell Williams • Videogame placements are important for advertising and there is limited cognitive capacity available to players during a game to notice these ads. This is a quasi-experimental study using a commercial videogame and the Limited Capacity Model as an exploratory mechanism. It demonstrates that positioning in the focal visual block enhanced recognition, and that integrated ads and landmarks are better recognized than interruptive advertisements. Practical implications are discussed.


Public Relations 2017 Abstracts

What’s the “Right” Thing to Do? How Ethical Expectations for CSR Influence Company Support • Lucinda Austin; Barbara Miller, Elon University; Seoyeon Kim, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • This study investigated a new concept in corporate social responsibility (CSR) research—publics’ perceived ethical obligation of companies to address CSR, comparing low- and high-fit CSR programs when companies contribute negatively to social issues through their products or processes. Through a mixed-design experiment, findings revealed that participants placed higher expectations for ethical obligation on corporations in high-fit CSR scenarios. Additionally, ethical expectations—when met—influenced participants’ attitudes about and supportive intentions towards the company.

Risky Business: Exploring Differences in Marketplace Advocacy and High-fit CSR on Public Perceptions of Companies • Barbara Miller, Elon University; Lucinda Austin • A between-subjects experiment explored differences in outcomes for high-fit corporate social responsibility (CSR) versus marketplace advocacy programs. Findings revealed that marketplace advocacy, as compared to high-fit CSR, led to increased skepticism and attributions of egoistic motives, and decreased attributions of values-driven motives, company attitudes, attitudes about the social initiative, and supportive intentions.

Testing Perceptions of Organizational Apologies after a Data Breach Crisis • Joshua Bentley, Texas Christian University; Liang Ma, Texas Christian University • This study used a 2x2x2x2x2 experimental design (1,630 participants) to test stakeholder reactions to four apology elements in two data breach scenarios. All four elements, expressing remorse, acknowledging responsibility, promising forbearance, and offering reparations contributed to participants’ perception that the organization had apologized. In a high blame scenario, remorse and forbearance were even more important. Acknowledging responsibility did not have a significant effect on organizational reputation, future purchase intention, or negative word of mouth intentions.

Giving from the heart: Exploring how ethics of care emerges in corporate social responsibility • Melanie Formentin, Towson University; Denise Bortree, Penn State University • Public relations-based corporate social responsibility (CSR) research largely focuses on organizational goals; scholars rarely examine CSR impacts. In this paper, nonprofit-organization relationships are explored, illustrating how ethics of care is an appropriate normative perspective for encouraging CSR that privileges the beneficiary’s needs (Held, 2006). Depth interviews with 29 nonprofit representatives addressed scholarly gaps. Inductive analysis revealed that nonprofit practitioners describe good CSR as being concerned with themes related to trust, mutual concern, promoting human flourishing, and responsiveness to needs.

Whose responsibility? Connecting Organizational Transgressors with Government Regulating Institution • ZHUO CHEN, The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Yi-Hui Huang, The Chinese University of Hong Kong • This study examines the underlying logic of situational crisis communication theory (SCCT), i.e., the concept that organizational transgressors are independent from the broader “institution” of their environment. Based on analysis of a case of false medical advertising (the Baidu-Wei Zexi case), our study contends that the responsibility attributed subject of a crisis should be extended from the corporate transgressor (Baidu and the hospital involved) to an institutional subject— the government regulating institution. Accordingly, we believe that the intensifying factors (consistency and distinctiveness) and consequential factors (affective and behavioral) should be modified. Using structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis, the empirical findings support this argument; for example, attributing responsibility to the government regulating institution rather than to a corporate transgressor can provide a more powerful predictor of activist action. Similarly, negative emotion about corporate transgressors can damage affective attitudes towards the government regulating institution. All in all, this study expands the theoretical scope of attributed subjects in SCCT—linking corporate wrongdoers to their government regulating institution. Thus, our study calls for revisiting the underlying logic of SCCT and contends that a corporate actor is indeed intertwined with the broader institution.

President Donald Trump Meets HBCU Presidents: A Public Relations Post-Mortem • George Daniels, The University of Alabama; Keonte Coleman • When President Donald Trump welcomed more than 60 presidents of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to the Oval Office for a photo opportunity in February 2017, he made history in the size of the crowd in his office. A textual analysis of 44 news articles and 22 statements of the HBCU presidents shows national media played up controversies while local media gave the HBCU leaders an opportunity to advocate for more resources.

Linking SNS and Government-Citizen Relationships: Interactivity, Personification, and Institutional Proximity • Chuqing Dong; Hyejoon Rim, University of Minnesota • Recent years have seen an increasing adoption of social network sites (SNS) in governments at all levels, but limited research examined the effectiveness of the government using SNS that may differ by institutional proximities (e.g., federal, state, and local). To fill the gap, the study explored the interactive and interpersonal approaches of relationship management in the context of government SNS communication. Specifically, two experiments were employed to examine the effects of interactivity, organizational characters, and institutional proximity in predicting the public’s perceived government transparency, engagement intention with government SNS, and trust in government. The study found that agencies at the state and local levels would benefit to different degrees in the government-citizen relationship quality based on the two communication strategies. Moreover, the results encouraged authorities to embrace SNS as a relationship-building tool by replying more to individual citizens’ comments, use a personal tone in conversations, and post more of citizen-oriented contents instead of organization-centered information. Theoretical and practical contributions are discussed in the context of the Organization-Public Relationships (OPR) in the public sector.

Using Real and Fictitious Companies to Examine Reputation and News Judgments in Press Release Usage • Kirstie Hettinga, California Lutheran University; Melanie Formentin, Towson University • This study uses an experimental design to explore working journalists’ (N = 253) willingness to use or reference press releases that contain typos. The authors explore whether company reputation can overcome errors. The use of both real and fictitious companies yielded interesting findings for future public relations research. The reputations of existing companies, Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, were rated more favorably than a fake company, and press release judgments most strongly predicted potential usage.

CSR, Hybrid, or Ability Frames: Examining How Story Frames Impact Stakeholders’ Perceptions • Michel Haigh, Texas State University; Frank Dardis, Penn State University; Holly Ott, University of South Carolina; Erica Bailey, Penn State University • This study examines the impact of corporate social responsibility messaging strategies and messages frames on stakeholders’ perceptions of organizations through a 3 (ability/CSR/hybrid) x 2 (thematic/episodic) online experiment. Results indicated that corporate social responsibility and hybrid strategies perform significantly better than the ability strategy when thematic framing is employed, but that the ability strategy performs well in the episodic-framing condition. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Is social media worth of investment? Seeking relationship between social-mediated stakeholder engagement and nonprofit public donation–a big data approach • Grace Ji; Don Stacks • The majority of investigations in nonprofit public relations have been continuously studying how and whether nonprofit organizations (NPOs) can maximize the full potentials of social media to engage stakeholders online. Yet few have questioned if social media-based stakeholder engagement can impact organizational outcomes that happen both on and offline, such as public donation. Taking the stakeholders’ perceptive, this study attempts to examine the effect of Facebook-based stakeholder engagement with NPOs on organizations’ fundraising success. Using Ordinary Least Square estimation method with lagged variables, the authors modeled nine-year longitudinal social media and financial penal data from the largest 100 NPOs in the United States. Results suggest that not all stakeholder engagements are significant predicators for charitable donation. Only liking and commenting engagement behaviors are positively associated with public donation, but sharing behavior does not improve fundraising success. More interestingly, over posting could associate with a decrease in public donation. The findings bring new empirical insights to existing literature and also practical implications to non-profit public relations professionals.

An Examination of Social Media from an Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) Perspective in Global & Regional Organizations • Hua Jiang; Marlene Neill, Baylor University • Communication executives perceive internal social media as a channel that should be integrated and consistent with other communication messages, and also understand the necessity of coordinating with other communication disciplines. Through in-depth interviews with 28 internal and social media communication executives working in the United States, we found evidence of both true collaboration and functional silos. We also examined social media policies and resources provided to empower employees as social media ambassadors. Implications and recommendations were discussed.

The Rashomon Effect of an Air Crash: Examining the Narrative Battle over the Smolensk Disaster • Liudmila Khalitova, University of Florida; Barbara Myslik, University of Florida; Agnieszka Turska-Kawa, University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland; Sofiya Tarasevich, University of Florida; Spiro Kiousis, University of Florida • The study explores the agenda-building efforts by Russian and Polish governments in shaping international news coverage of the airplane crash near Smolensk, Russia, which killed the Polish President. Compared to the two governments’ public relations messages, Polish and Russian news outlets played a more significant role as their countries’ advocates in determining the international media agenda. Moreover, the Russian media seemed more influential than the Polish outlets in shaping the international narrative about the crash.

Growth of Public Relations Research Networks: A Bibliometric Analysis • Eyun-Jung Ki, University of Alabama; Yorgo Pasadeos, University of Alabama; Tugce Ertem Eray, University of Oregon • This research reports on a 6-year citation study of published scholarly research in public relations between 2010 and 2015 in comparison with Pasadeos, Berger, and Renfro (2010) and Pasadeos, Renfro and Hanily’s (1999) works, which examined the literature’s most-cited works in the 2000s and 1990s respectively and identified a research network. Like the two earlier studies, this study identifies current authors and their publication outlets, taxonomizes most-cited works, and draws a co-citation network. Comparing the current study’s findings with those of ten and twenty years earlier helps us understand how the field has evolved as a scholarly discipline and offers future directions for study.

Enhancing Employee Sensemaking and Sensegiving Communication Behaviors in Crisis Situations: Strategic Management Approach for Effective Internal Crisis Communication • Young Kim, Marquette University • Understanding employees and their communication behaviors is essential for effective crisis communication. Such an internal aspect of crisis communication, however, has been undervalued, and the need for research has been recently growing. To fill the research gap, the aim of this research is to explore effective internal crisis communication within the strategic management approach, considering employee communication behaviors for sensemaking and sensegiving and their antecedents. A nationwide survey in the U.S. was conducted among full-time employees (N =544). This study found that two-way symmetrical communication and transparent communication were positively strong antecedents of employee communication behaviors for sensemaking and sensegiving in crisis situations, controlling for other effects.

Bless or Curse: How Chinese Strategic Communication Practitioners Use Social Media in Crisis Communication • Sining Kong; Huan Chen, University of Florida • This paper aims to examine how Chinese strategic communication practitioners use social media in crisis communication. In-depth interview was used to collect data from twenty Chinese strategic communication practitioners, who have experience in dealing with crises and issues via social media. A model was advanced and depicted how to use social media to monitor and respond to crises, and how to use social media, especially the live broadcast, to mitigate publics’ negative emotions to rebuild positive relationship with publics.

Unpacking the Effects of Gender Discrimination in the Corporate Workplace on Consumers’ Affective Responses and Relational Perceptions • Arunima Krishna, Boston University; Soojin Kim, Singapore Management University • The purpose of this study was to investigate (a) how allegations of gender discrimination impact consumers’ relationship with the brand in question, and (b) individual-level factors that impact consumers’ negative affective response to the allegations and eventually, consumer-brand relationships. Findings from a survey conducted among U.S. Americans indicate that individuals’ relational perceptions with a corporate brand whose products/services they consume are negatively affected by allegations of misconduct, in this case, gender discrimination. Results revealed that individuals’ moral orientation and anti-corporate sentiment predicted their perceptions of moral inequity of corporate behavior, which in turn impacted their negative affective response to the allegations. Such negative affective response then impacted individuals’ consumer-corporate brand relationships. Theoretical and practical implications of this work are discussed (120 words).

Crisis Information Seeking and Sharing (CISS): Scale Development for Measuring Publics’ Communicative Behavior in Social-Mediated Public Health Crises • Yen-I Lee, University of Georgia; Yan Jin, University of Georgia • Although publics’ information seeking and sharing behaviors have gained increasing importance in crisis communication research, consistent conceptualization and reliable scales for measuring these two types of communicative behavior, especially in social-mediated crises, are lacking. With a focus on public health crisis situations, this study first refined the conceptual framework of publics’ communicative behavior in social-mediated health crises. Then two multiple-item scales for measuring publics’ crisis information seeking and sharing (CISS) in public health crises were developed and tested by employing online survey dataset from a random national sample of 559 adults in the United States. Results indicate that there are eight types of crisis information seeking behavior and 18 types of crisis information sharing behavior, online and offline, crossing over platforms, channels and information sources. The two CISS scales reveal underlying processes of publics’ communicative behavior and provide a valid and reliable psychometric tool for public relations researchers and crisis communication managers to measure publics’ information seeking and sharing activities in social-mediated public health crisis communication.

Enhancing Empowerment and Building Relationships via Social Media Engagement: A Study of Facebook Use in the U.S. Airline Industry • Zhiren Li, University of Florida; Rita Linjuan Men, University of Florida • Born in the Web 2.0 era, social media platforms have altered the way people communicate and collaborate with others and with organizations. This study uses Facebook to examine the U.S. airline companies’social media engagement with their consumers. By conducting a web-based quantitative survey, our findings suggest that social media engagement in the U.S. airline industry has a positive influence on airline-customer relationships. Social media empowerment also mediates the effect of social media engagement on overall organization-public relationships. However, the results of our findings differ somewhat from previous studies, hence, we call for further research on social media engagement and organization-public relationships.

Is Experience in Fact the Best Teacher? Learning in Crisis Communication • Clila Magen, Bar Ilan University • The following study deals with the crisis communication learning process of organizations in the private sector. It indicates that if there is any crisis communication improvement it is primarily on the exterior layer. In the cases analyzed in the study, very few profound changes were apparent when the organizations faced recurring crises. Despite the promising potential which lies within the Chaos Theory for crisis communication, the research demonstrates that a crisis will not necessarily lead to self-organizing processes which push the organization to improvement and advancement.

How Should Organizations Communicate with Mobile Publics on Social Messengers: An Empirical Study of WeChat • Rita Linjuan Men, University of Florida; sunny tsai, university of miami • Mobile-based social messengers are overtaking social networking sites as the new frontier for organizations to engage online stakeholders. This study provides one of the earliest empirical studies to understand how organizations should communicate with mobile publics to enhance public engagement and improve organization-public relationships. This study focuses on WeChat—one of the world’s most popular social messaging apps. Organizations’ information dissemination, interpersonal communication, and two-way symmetrical communication are found to effectively drive public engagement, which in turn enhances relation outcomes. Strategic guidelines based on the study findings are provided.

Crisis Management Expert: Elements and Principles for Measuring Expert Performance • Tham Nguyen, University of Oklahoma; Jocelyn Pedersen, University of Oklahoma • Crisis management or crisis communication has become an important research area and recommended course for college students studying public relations and communication. Yet, it takes time for students or average professionals to transfer knowledge into practice in order to be considered an expert in the field. In a study of twenty-five in-depth interviews with Belgian crisis communication practitioners, Claeys and Opgenhaffen (2016) found that practitioners relied mainly on experience, scientific research, gut feelings and intuition rather than theories to respond to a crisis. This study also noted that decision-making about crisis communication depends on the circumstances, particularly, when the crisis involves potential legal issues or when it threatens to damage an organization’s reputation and its many important relationships. Organizational decision makers sometimes call on experts to help them reduce the uncertainty and ambiguity of the situation they face. Yet, when is it appropriate to call an expert in a crisis situation? And how can decision makers gain the most from what a crisis management expert can offer? By reviewing literature in crisis management and expert performance, this conceptual paper discusses what experts and decision makers are, the relationship between crisis experts and decision makers, and it outlines elements and principles to consider in developing a measurement system for expert performance. In addition, the paper proposes a general model for crisis management expert performance. Concluding thoughts will provide suggestions about what to consider before calling a crisis management expert and what decision makers should expect from crisis experts.

A Qualitative Analysis of How People Assess the Credibility of Sources Used by Public Relations Practitioners • Julie O’Neil, Texas Christian University; Marianne Eisenmann, inVentiv Health; Maggie Holman, Texas Christian University • This study examined how people assess the credibility of sources used commonly by public relations practitioners—earned news stories, traditional advertisements, native advertisements, independent blogs and corporate blogs. Researchers conducted five groups with 46 participants and implemented a survey with 1,500 participants recruited from a consumer panel. Participants view earned media stories as the most credible. Regardless of source utilized, people value strong writing, copious facts and balanced perspectives when processing public relations messaging.

Examining the role of Culture in Shaping Public Expectations of CSR Communication in the United States and China • Holly Ott, University of South Carolina; Anli Xiao, the Pennsylvania State University • This study examines the role of culture in shaping publics’ expectations for CSR communication through survey research in the United States (N = 316) and China (N = 315). Results highlight differences in each public’s expectations of what and how companies should communicate CSR. Among Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, uncertainty avoidance and masculinity are identified as the strongest predictors for CSR variables. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Where are the women? An examination of the status of research on women and leadership in public relations • Katie Place, Quinnipiac University; Jennifer Vardeman-Winter, Univ. of Houston • Despite evidence that there are no significant differences in leadership ability among women and men in public relations, women are still largely absent from leadership and senior management positions. Furthermore, very few studies about leadership in public relations have considered the affect gender has on leadership enactment and success. Therefore, this secondary analysis examined the state of women and gender scholarship about leadership in public relations as part of a larger study about the state of women in the communication discipline. Specifically, our research found that the majority of the research about leadership and gender highlights women’s lackluster leadership presence, factors contributing to women’s lack of presence, leadership styles and preferences, and leadership and management roles of women. This manuscript provides recommendations for improving women’s presence in leadership roles, particularly in providing a roadmap for future research opportunities. These include considerations for methodological approaches, leadership approaches and roles research, types of leadership, cultural change, and education.

Changing the Story: Implications of Narrative on Teacher Identity • Geah Pressgrove; Melissa Janoske, University of Memphis; Stephanie Madden, University of Memphis • This study takes a qualitative approach to understanding the connections between narrative, professional identity and reputation management in public education. Central to the findings are the factors that have led to a reputation crisis for the profession of teaching and thus contribute to the national teacher shortage. Ultimately, this study points to the notion that increasing retention and recruitment can be effected when narratives are understood and the principles of reputation management are applied.

Spokesperson is a four-letter word: Public relations, regulation, and power in Occupy New York • Camille Reyes, Trinity University • “This case study analyzes interviews with members of the press relations working group of Occupy Wall Street in New York. Using critical cultural theory as well as history, the group’s media relations tactics are discussed with an emphasis on the role of spokesperson, revealing contested meanings about public relations work in the context of a social movement. The moments of regulation and production in the circuit of culture explain the constraints experienced by many of these activist practitioners as they navigate the horizontal structure/ideal of their movement with hierarchical norms of more institutional public relations practices—creating a paradox of sorts. How does one defy the status quo when seeking to engage with a mainstream media system that—to their eyes—is co-opted by the wealthy elite, while using tactics that are seen as equally problematic? Historical analysis lends a comparative frame through which to view a critical cultural interpretation of public relations in an understudied context.

Distal Antecedents of Organization-Public Relationships: The Influence of Motives and Perceived Issue and Value Congruence • Trent Seltzer, Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication; Nicole Lee • Using an online survey of 514 US adults, this study identified which relational antecedents motivated individuals to enter organization-public relationships (OPRs) across a variety of organization types. Additionally, we examined the relative influence of motives, perceived issue congruence, and perceive value congruence on OPR perceptions. Findings suggest social/cultural expectations and risk reduction are the primary motives influencing perceptions of OPRs; however, perceived issue and value congruence with the organization are more influential antecedents than motives.

Does an Organization’s CSR Association affect the Perception of Communication Efforts? • Kang Hoon Sung, Cal Poly Pomona • Organizations often utilize interpersonal communications tactics on social media such as responding to customer comments or adopting a human conversational voice for better evaluations. Past studies have shown that these interpersonal communication tactics could indeed lead to positive outcomes and give the organization a more human and sincere face. The study examined whether the organization’s perceived CSR associations could have an influence in this process. Grounded in prior research on suspicion and organization’s personality dimensions, the current study investigated the influence of organization’s prior CSR associations on the organization’s interpersonal communication efforts that are associated with increasing the sincerity personality dimension (e.g., increased interaction, enhanced conversational tone). The results of the online experiment revealed that CSR activities significantly increased the organization’s perceived sincerity personality dimension and decreased suspicions about motives of the organization’s communication efforts. The mediation analysis suggests that less suspicion leads to more perceived sincerity toward organization, eventually leading to increased relationship quality.

The ‘New York World,’ Byron C. Utecht, and Pancho Villa’s Public Relations Campaign • Michael Sweeney, Ohio University; Young Joon Lim, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley • This paper attempts to assess Francisco “Pancho” Villa not as a general or quasi-politician, but rather as a practitioner of public relations. It investigates, by close observation of his actions and words, his strategy and tactics to build support among three specifically targeted audiences: the people of Mexico, American war correspondents, and the people of the United States. This paper examines secondary literature about public relations and about Pancho Villa’s life for evidence of his practicing public relations as we understand it today. Supplementing this literature review are primary documents from the archives of Byron C. Utecht at the University of Texas at Arlington. Utecht’s collection consists of his original photographs of his travels in Mexico on behalf of the New York World; telegrams to and from the World; typewritten notes and stories; clippings of his articles in the World and the clients of its wire service; and published interviews with Utecht about his trips into Mexico both as a lone journalist and as an accredited correspondent. It seeks to answer the key question: How did Villa practice public relations?

Ten years after The Professional Bond: Has the academy answered the call in pedagogical research? • Amanda Weed, Ashland University • CPRE is scheduled to release its next report of the status of public relations education in September of 2017. In anticipation of the report, this research seeks to determine if the academy has answered the call of The Professional Bond through an examination of pedagogical research published from 2007 to 2016 in four academic journals including the Journal of Advertising Education, the Journalism & Mass Communication Education, the Journal of Public Relations Education, and Public Relations Review. By conducting a meta-analysis of published research through a content analysis of article types, themes, and topics, this research determined that pedagogical research in public relations is lacking, especially among the topics specifically addressed in The Professional Bond.

The Role of Dissatisfaction in the Relationship Between Consumer Empowerment and Their Complaining Behavioral Intentions • Hao Xu, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities; Jennifer Ball, Temple University • This experimental study examined the mechanism of how consumer complaining behavioral intentions are driven by social media empowerment, and the role of dissatisfaction in this mechanism. The results revealed that dissatisfaction has both mediating and moderating effects in the relationship between consumer empowerment and some of the specific complaining behavioral intentions. Both theoretical and practical implications in terms of the dynamics of consumer dissatisfaction and power-induced complaining intentions were discussed.

Partisan News Media and China’s Country Image: An Online Experiment based on Heuristic-Systematic Model • Chen Yang, University of Houston – Victoria; Gi Woong Yun, University of Nevada, Reno • Based on Heuristic-Systematic Model, this research used a 2×2 pretest-posttest experimental design to measure China’s image after participants’ exposure to the news stimuli about China from a partisan media website. Two manipulated factors were media partisanship (congruent or incongruent partisan media) and news slant (positive or negative coverage of China). The results did not demonstrate any priming effect of news coverage. However, media partisanship had a significant influence on country beliefs. Significant interaction effects on country beliefs and desired interaction were also found.

NGOs’ humanitarian advocacy in the 2015 refugee crisis: A study of agenda building in the digital age • Aimei Yang, University of Southern California; Adam Saffer • In the 2015 European refugee crisis, humanitarian NGOs offered help and actively advocated for millions of refugees. The current study aims to understand what communication strategies are most effective for humanitarian NGOs to influence media coverage and publics’ social media conversations about the crisis. Our findings reveal that agenda building on traditional media and in social media conversations require different strategies. Specifically, although providing information subsidies could powerfully influence traditional media coverage, its effect waned in the context of social media conversations. In contrast, NGOs’ hyperlink network positions emerged as the one of the most influential predictor for NGOs’ prominence in social media conversations. Moreover, stakeholder engagement could influence agenda-building both in traditional media coverage and social media conversations. Finally, organizational resources and characteristics are important factors as well. Theoretical and practical implications are also discussed.

Using Facebook efficiently: Assessing the impact of organizational Facebook activities on organizational reputation • Lan Ye, State University of New York at Cortland; Yunjae Cheong, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies • This study analyzed 22 companies’ efficiency of using Facebook in reputation management by using data envelopment analysis (DEA). Results reveal that overall, the efficient companies (n =8) posted less frequently than did the inefficient companies (n = 14); companies receiving more engagements were more efficient than those receiving fewer engagements; and companies adopting one main Facebook Page were more efficient than those adopting multiple Facebook Pages. Size and length of history of an organization were not found to affect efficiency outcomes significantly.

The Effects of Behavioral Recommendations in Crisis Response and Crisis Threat on Stakeholders’ Behavioral Intention Outcomes • Xiaochen Zhang, Kansas State University; Jonathan Borden, Syracuse University • This experiment investigates the intersection between crisis threat, self-efficacy, affect and organizational messaging strategies on stakeholder behavioral outcomes in crises. Behavioral recommendations in crisis messages affected stakeholders’ behavioral outcomes through self-efficacy. Negative emotions also mediated behavioral recommendation and threat’s influence on stakeholders’ behavioral outcomes. Results imply that the extended parallel process model has significant implications for crisis management, however increases in stakeholder self-protective behaviors come at the expense of organizational reputation.

Issues Management as a Proactive Approach to Crisis Communication: Publics’ Cognitive Dissonance in Times of Issue-Related Crisis • Xiaochen Zhang, Kansas State University • Through an experiment, this study examines effects of issues management (issues attribution framing) on publics’ response to issue-related crisis. In Coca-Cola and obesity crisis’s case, public-organization identification and issues involvement were identified as predictors of blame, corporate evaluation, and purchase intentions. Results indicated that high identification and high issue involvement publics may experience cognitive dissonance and are more likely to support the organization under the external attribution frame (framing the obesity issue as personal responsibility).

The First Generation: Lessons from the public relations industry’s first university-trained social media practitioners • Luke Capizzo, University of Maryland • Public relations educators are grappling with the best methods to prepare undergraduates for the constantly shifting world of social media practice. The recent graduates (2011-2016) interviewed for this study constitute the first generation of practitioners with robust, formal social media training. Their experiences in school and in the workforce reinforce some current best practices—such as the value of internship experiences, the resonance of case studies, and the importance of excellent writing skills—but also point toward the need for increased emphasis on strategic social media, brand writing, visual communication, and the continued importance of a deeply integrated curriculum. Using social cognitive theory as a guiding framework, this study examines the salience of observational learning, behavior modeling, and self efficacy for building pedagogical theory for the social media classroom.

Unearthing the Facets of Crisis History in Crisis Communication: Testing A Conceptual Framework • LaShonda Eaddy, The University of Georgia • Coombs’s (2004) Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT) identifies performance history, which includes crisis history and relationship history, as an intensifier of attribution of responsibility during crises. The proposed model examines crisis history and its possible roles among various stakeholder groups as well as possible impact on organizational control, crisis emotion and crisis responsibility. The study also offers a crisis history salience scale that was developed based on a thorough literature review as well as in-depth interviews with public relations practitioners, public relations scholars, journalists, and the general public. The crisis history salience scale can assist crisis communicators consider the multiple facets of crisis history during their crisis communication planning and implementation.

Dominant coalition perceptions in health-oriented, non-profit public relations • Torie Fowler, University of Southern Mississippi • Unlike many departments within an organization, public relations is often faced with the task of proving their importance to the dominant coalition. In health-oriented, non-profit organizations, leaders may find it hard to prove their value when patients, research, or life-saving technology takes precedent. This study examined the perceptions of public relations leaders in this specific field regarding their inclusion in the dominant coalition, how they are able to influence decision-making in their organization, and what barriers could keep leaders from obtaining membership into the coalition. This qualitative study included nine in-depth interviews, where four of the nine participants, perceived they were included in the dominant coalition of their organization. Several themes were identified when participants were asked how they were able to influence decision-making, such as: being included early, having credibility, practicing proactive public relations, and devising a strategic plan. Although less than half of the participants believed they were included in the dominant coalition, all of them thought they could influence the decisions made by the dominant coalition in some capacity. There were two consistent barriers to inclusion: a misunderstanding of public relations and an uneducated or inexperienced practitioner. This study contributes to the body of knowledge about public relations by bringing additional insight into how health-oriented, non-profit public relations leaders perceive that they are able to influence decision-making of the dominant coalition. The study also shows how current literature about public relations inclusion in the dominant coalition does not align with actuality for this group of leaders.

Constructing Trust and Confidence amid Crisis in the Digital Era • Jiankun Guo • Using a hypothetical food-poisoning crisis on campus, this qualitative research explored college students’ construction of trust and confidence online/offline via in-depth interviews. It applied the Trust, Confidence, and Cooperation (TCC) Model as a conceptual lens, but added new insights pertaining to the altering media landscape. Results showed that students constructed trust/confidence online according to a variety of factors (message features, sources, sites, and targets), but virtually all of them valued offline “facetime” due to its ability to convey emotional cues. Multimedia, therefore, offered an advantage in offering emotional reassurances via online channels. Participants also viewed trust-/confidence-building from the authority as a fluid process accumulated slowly overtime, regardless of channels. This study contributes to crisis communication scholarship in the digital era, particularly with an aim to facilitate community resilience.

Understanding the Donor Experience: Applying Stewardship Theory to Higher Education Donors • Virginia Harrison, The Pennsylvania State University • This study examines how stewardship strategies and involvement impact organization-public relationship outcomes for higher education donors at three different levels of giving. Findings suggest that stewardship strategies positively predict OPR outcomes, and that donors at different giving levels experience stewardship strategies and OPR outcomes differently. Also, findings reveal that stewardship may include only three strategies. Involvement only slightly moderates the relationship between stewardship and OPR outcomes. Implications for fundraising practice and theory are made.

Stakeholder relationship building in response to corporate ethical crisis : A semantic network analysis of sustainability reports • Keonyoung Park; Hyejin Kim, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities • This study explored how a corporation’s ethical crisis affects the way of sustainability reporting as a crisis communication tool. Especially, this study sheds light on the relationship building with stakeholders after the ethical crisis. To do so, we examined the Korean Air’s sustainability annual reports (SAR) before and after the ‘Nut Rage’ incident using a series of semantic networking analyses. Asiana Airline’s SARs before and after the crash at the San Francisco International Airport were also analyzed to find distinctive characteristics of the ethical crisis. The result suggested that the Korean Air’s SAR seemed to show the importance of relationship with stakeholders after the ethical crisis, while there was no meaningful change after the non-ethical crisis of Asiana Airlines. The results were discussed in relation to the situational crisis communication theory.

What Did You Expect? How Brand Personality Types and Transgression Types Shape Consumers’ Response in a Brand Crisis • Soyoung Lee, The University of Texas at Austin; Ji Mi Hong; Hyunsang Son • The current research examined how different types of brand personality play a role to develop a specific consumers’ expectation toward a brand, and how this expectation works in various ways in different types of brand transgressions. Based on expectancy violation theory and brand transgression research, a 2 (brand personality types: sincerity vs. competence) × 2 (brand transgression types: morality-related vs. competence-related transgression) factorial design was employed. Corporate evaluations and purchase intention toward the brand were considered as dependent variables. The results revealed that a brand having a sincerity personality is more vulnerable to a morality-related transgression. However, there is no difference in consumers’ responses by transgression type for a brand with a competence personality. Findings showed that brand personality types and transgression types can be critical factors to influence consumers’ responses in times of crisis. Theoretical and empirical implications are discussed.

What Makes Employees Stay Silent? The Role of Perceptions of Problem and Organization-Employee Relationship • Yeunjae Lee • This study aims to examine the impacts of individuals’ perceptions of problems and organization-employee relationship on employees’ silence intention during periods of an organizational issue. Using the situational theory of problem-solving (STOPS) and relational theory, this study intends to explore conceptual convergences by building linkages among issue-specific perceptions, relationship, and employee silence. An online survey was conducted for 412 full-time employees working in companies with more than 300 employees in the U.S. Results suggest that individuals’ perceived relationship is negatively related to their problem, constraint recognition, and silence intention, while it is positively related to involvement recognition. Perceptions of constraint recognition and less involvement to an organizational issue are associated with employee silence. Different impacts of individuals’ issue-specific perceptions and relationship were also examined for different types of silence—acquiescent, prosocial, and defensive silence. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

“Breaking the Silence”: Segmenting Asian Americans in the United States to Address Mental Health Problems in the Community • Jo-Yun Queenie Li • This article describes an exploratory study designed to investigate the applicability of cultural identity in public segmentation within a racial/ethnic population in order to address mental health issues in Asian community in the United States. Using a pilot survey of 58 Asian Americans, this research employs the acculturation theory and the situational theory of publics to explore individuals’ communication behavior related to mental health issues. By doing so, this study contributes to the (re)conceptualization and operationalization of cultural identity in intercultural public relations discipline and provides practical implications to organizations that target specific racial/ethnic groups. The findings show that Asian Americans who are more highly acculturated in the United States could be considered as the active publics. They may be helpful in spreading out information, reaching out potential publics, encouraging themselves and other members in the community who have suffered from mental health issues to utilize mental health services.

Pouring Water on Conservative Fire: Discourse of Renewal in Facebook’s Response to Allegations of Bias • Tyler G Page, University of Maryland • Using Facebook’s 2016 trending topics crisis, this study applies the message convergence framework and discourse of renewal to analyze an organizational crisis response. The study reports a qualitative analysis of Facebook’s crisis response statements and a quantitative content analysis of 140 blog, magazine, and newspaper articles covering the crisis. Tone of news coverage improved when discourse of renewal strategy was covered and when media coverage included at least one quote from the organization.

Understanding Public Engagement in Sustainability Initiatives: The Situational Theory of Publics and the Theory of Reasoned Action Approaches • Soojin Roh, Syracuse University • In an attempt to extend the situational theory of publics, this study tested a public engagement model to explain how situational factors, subjective norm, and attitudes toward a sustainability initiative influence public’s communication action as well as different types of behavioral engagement intention. An online survey (N=502) was administered to test predictors of participation intent for recycling clothes campaigns and continuous public engagement with the sustainability cause. Structural equation modeling results indicate that problem recognition and constraint recognition are key predictors of information gaining (information seeking, sharing, and processing) and campaign participation intent. Subjective norms and positive attitude toward the campaign lead to the greater likelihood of participating in the campaign. The analysis also yielded a significant association between information gaining and public’s behavioral engagement including civic engagement, suggesting the mediating role of information gaining. Furthermore, the analysis showed a significant direct effect of involvement on civic engagement. Theoretical and practical implications were discussed.

Understanding Public Engagement on Digital Media: Exploring Its Effects on Employee-Organization Relationships • Yuan Wang, The University of Alabama • This study examined the effects of employees’ organizational identification and engagement with mobile phones and social media on their relationships with the organization and positive word-of-mouth (WOM) communication through a web-based survey of employees via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Findings suggested that employees’ organizational identification significantly influenced their digital media engagement. This study also identified employees’ organizational identification and digital media engagement as new predictors of employee-organization relationships, which, furthermore, led to positive WOM communication.

Defining and Communicating Diversity: A Content Analysis of the Websites of the Top PR Agencies • Anli Xiao, the Pennsylvania State University; Jinyoung Kim; Wunpini Mohammed; Hilton Erica; Colleen Pease • “This paper examines how top PR agencies define diversity, how they express diversity identities and communicate diversity values to prospective employees and clients. Through a content analysis of top PR agencies’ websites, this study finds PR agencies’ defined diversity narrowly and they showed limited efforts in communicating diversity values to future employees and clients. Agency ranking significantly correlated with some diversity efforts communicated. Implications are discussed.

Experiential Learning and Crisis Simulations: Leadership, Decision Making, and Communication Competencies • Hilary Fussell Sisco, Quinnipiac University; John Brummette; Laura Willis, Quinnipiac University; Michael Palenchar, University of Tennesseee • Students benefit from simulation exercises that require them to apply public relations research and theories. Using an experimental learning approach (N=16), this present paper assesses the effectiveness of a crisis simulation exercise using a pre-test/post-test evaluation. Findings suggest that crisis simulation exercises can prepare future practitioners by providing them practices in discipline-centric experiences that also bolster their personal professional development in the areas of leadership, decision making and communication competency.

One Liners and Catchy Hashtags: Building a Graduate Student Community Through Twitter Chats • Melissa Janoske, University of Memphis; Robert Byrd, University of Memphis; Stephanie Madden, University of Memphis • This study takes a mixed-methods approach to understanding how graduate student education and engagement are intertwined, and the ability of an ongoing Twitter chat to increase both. Analysis includes the chats themselves, a mixed-methods survey to chat participants, and memoing completed by the researchers (also faculty chat participants and the chat moderator). Key findings include the importance of building both online and offline connections, the ability of Twitter chats to increase fun and reduce stress, and to gain both tacit and explicit knowledge. Finally, the project offers practical suggestions for those looking to start their own chat series.

Millennial Learners and Faculty Credibility: Exploring the Mediating Role of Out-Of-Class Communication • Carolyn Kim • Every generation experiences distinct events and develops unique values. The Millennial generation is no exception. As Millennial Learners enter classrooms, they bring with them new views about education, learning and faculty/student communication. All of this blends together to influence their perspectives of faculty credibility. This study explores the mediating role of out-of-class communication (OCC) in relation to the historical dimensions known to compose faculty credibility.

Examination of Continuous Response Assessment of Communication Course Presentation Competency • Geoffrey Graybeal, Texas Tech University; Jobi Martinez, Texas Tech University • This study examined the use of continuous response (dial test) technology as a means of providing feedback to improve formal presentations required to meet learning objectives in college communication courses and a variety of assessment strategies utilized in the assignment. Findings suggest that use of video assessment and a student self-assessment have the greatest impact on final presentation performance and that the first dial test pitch should not be graded.

Competition and Public Relations Campaigns: Assessing the Impact of Competition on Projects, Partners, and Students • Chris McCollough, Columbus State University • Scholars in public relations pedagogy have provided a strong body of research on the impact of service learning, community partnerships (Daugherty, 2003), and applied learning in general on campaigns, writing, and production courses common to the public relations curriculum (Wandel, 2005). Rarely explored, however, is the impact of competition among student groups within a public relations course on the quality of campaigns, student experience, client satisfaction, and achievement of learning outcomes (Rentner, 2012). The paper will present a comparative analysis of campaign courses that employed competitive and non-competitive campaign course models to demonstrate the impact of incorporating competition within public relations courses.

Integrating Web and Social Analytics into Public Relations Research Course Design: A Longitudinal Pedagogical Research on Google Analytics Certification • Juan Meng, University of Georgia; Yan Jin; Yen-I Lee, University of Georgia; Solyee Kim, University of Georgia • This longitudinal pedagogical research contributes with integrating web and social analytics-based activities into the Public Relations Research course design. Results from the pre- and post-tests confirmed that students’ knowledge on web and social analytics is low but desire to learn is high. Consistent patterns on learning outcomes suggest more experience-based learning activities are needed to leverage the practical implications of web and social analytics in public relations research and practice. More pedagogical recommendations are discussed.

Media Relations Instruction and Theory Development: Relational Dialectical Approach • Justin Pettigrew, Kennesaw State University • There has been almost no research in the area of media relations or media relations instruction in the public relations literature. This study seeks to fill a gap in theory-building in the area of media relations and examines the state of media relations instruction in today’s public relations curriculum through a survey of public relations professors. The author suggests relational dialectical theory as a way to better understand the relationship between public relations practitioners and journalists, and proposes a relational dialectical approach to theory building and in teaching media relations in today’s changing landscape.

Developing a Blueprint for Social Media Pedagogy: Trials, Tribulations, and Best Practices • ai zhang, Stockton University; Karen Freberg, University of Louisville • Social media research, and particularly social media pedagogy, has increased substantially as a domain in public relations research. Yet, along with this increased focus on social media pedagogy, educators and other higher education professionals are under pressure from industry, professional communities, and university administrations to keeping their classes updated and relevant for their students. To better understand the current state and rising expectations facing educators teaching social media, this study interviewed 31 social media professors to explore the trials and tribulations of their journey and to identify best practices of social media as a pedagogical tool. The study also suggested a blueprint for implementing social media pedagogy in the classroom. Future implications for both research and practice are also discussed.

An Exploratory Study of Transformed Media Relations Dimensions After the Implementation of an Anti-graft Law • Soo-Yeon Kim, Sogang University; JOOHYUN HEO • The Improper Solicitation and Graft Act, which went into effect on September 28, 2016, strictly prohibits gift-giving to journalists, thereby making a traditional media relations practice in Korea illegal. A survey of 342 public relations practitioners revealed that providing monetary gifts, performing formal responsibility, building informal relationships, getting paid media coverage, and taking informal support were found to be significant subdimensions of media relations. After implementation of the anti-graft law, public relations practitioners expressed a belief that the practice of providing monetary gifts will shrink the most and performing formal responsibility would experience the most growth. The formal responsibility factor was significantly positively related to support for the new law and public relations ethics, while taking informal support was negatively linked to public relations ethics. Getting paid media coverage showed the most significant positive relationship with difficulties of effective media relations.

Raymond Simon: PR Educational Pioneer • Patricia Swann, Utica College • Raymond Simon, professor emeritus of public relations at Utica College, whose teaching career spanned nearly four decades, was among PRWeek’s 100 most influential 20th century people in public relations. Simon’s contributions to education include developing one of the first full-fledged public relations undergraduate curriculums; authoring the first public relations-specific classroom textbooks for writing and case studies, in addition to a textbook for the principles course; and developing student potential through national student organizations and mentoring.


Newspaper and Online 2017 Abstracts

News Dynamics, Frame Expansion and Salience: Boko Haram and the War against Terrorism • Ngozi Akinro, Texas Wesleyan University • This study considers frame salience and frame change in relation to terrorism coverage. Through content analysis of 807 news articles by Nigeria Vanguard and Punch and two US newspapers; New York Times and Washington Post on the coverage of the Boko Haram crisis over 16-month period, this study examines change patterns in the coverage of the Boko Haram crisis. The Boko Haram group is an Islamic fundamentalist group operating out of north-eastern Nigeria since 2002. The group claims international ties with other terrorist networks such as al-Qaeda and ISIS (Alkhshali & Almasy, 2015). The group is responsible for nearly half of all civilian deaths in African war zones in 2014. This study considers episodic and thematic framing through a two dimensional frame changing pattern and found frame movement from issue specific framing to thematic suggesting humanitarian and emotional appeal, to global perspective focused on the war on terrorism.

Mediated Policy Effects of Foreign Governments on Iraqi Independent Media During Elections • Mohammed Al-Azdee, University of Bridgeport (UB) • I use the term, mediated policy, to refer to messages sent to Iraq by foreign governments through their international news media during the 2010 Iraqi elections. I hypothesize that US Mediated Policy, Iranian Mediated Policy, and Saudi Mediated Policy are latent constructs interacting in a structural model, affecting a fourth latent variable, Iraqi Independent Media. The analysis shows in 2010 English was barrier to Iraqi independent media, and significant mediated policies influenced Iraqi independent media.

The Effects of Disclosure Format on Native Advertising Recognition and Audience Perceptions of Legacy and Online News Publishers • Michelle Amazeen, Boston University; Bartosz Wojdynski • This experimental study examines elements of native advertising disclosures that influence consumers’ ability to recognize content as paid advertising and contrasts subsequent evaluations of legacy and digital-first publishers with those exposed to online display advertising. Although fewer than 1 in 10 participants were able to recognize native advertising, our study shows that effectively designed disclosure labels facilitate recognition. However, participants who did recognize native advertising had lessened opinions of the publisher and the institution of advertising, overall.

“Alphabet soup”: Examining acronyms in newspaper headlines • Alyssa Appelman, Northern Kentucky University • American journalism is facing an uphill battle for respect and trust. Through a content analysis and survey, this project suggests acronyms as a potential explanation. Acronyms in a local newspaper were largely unknown to a sample of target readers, and one-third of participants specifically expressed negative emotions, including frustration and annoyance, when news outlets publish unknown acronyms. These findings suggest that focusing on reader comprehension over brevity can help journalists repair their public image.

Who Gets Vocal about Hyperlocal: The Role of Neighborhood Involvement and Status in the Sharing of Hyperlocal Website News • Peter Bobkowski, University of Kansas; Liefu Jiang, University of Kansas; Laveda Peterlin, University of Kansas; Nathan Rodriguez, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point • To examine who shares hyperlocal news in person, over email, and through social media, a reader survey of seven hyperlocal news websites was conducted (n = 1,880). More readers share hyperlocal news in person than through email or social media. Higher neighborhood involvement and education tend to characterize readers who share hyperlocal news. Education moderates the relationship between neighborhood involvement and social media sharing. The study extends precepts of channel complementarity and communication infrastructure theories.

An Investigative Journalist and a Stand-Up Comic Walk Into a Bar: The Role of Comedy in Public Engagement with Environmental Journalism • Caty Borum Chattoo, American University School of Communication; Lindsay Green-Barber, The Impact Architects • An investigative journalism project focused on environmental contamination in New Jersey, Dirty Little Secrets, worked with stand-up comics to translate investigative content into stand-up comedy routines performed in front of a live audience. Through a quantitative survey administered after two live comedy shows, this study finds that the public learned factual information, perceived comedians as credible, and expressed willingness to get involved in the core issue. Implications for public engagement with investigative journalism are discussed.

Service at the intersection of journalism, language, and the global imaginary: Indonesia’s English language press • John Carpenter, University of Iowa; Brian Ekdale, University of Iowa • Drawing on interviews with journalists who work in Indonesia’s locally owned and operated English-language press (ELP), we argue English’s status as the language of global and regional imaginaries informs how ELP journalists negotiate their understandings of public service. This study contributes to research on the contextual negotiation of professional ideologies of journalism by considering how publication language—here, English in a country where it is a foreign language—shapes the ways journalists conceive service to their various publics.

Framing Drunken Driving as a Social Problem • Kuang-Kuo Chang, Shih Hsin University • This study content analyzed how drunken driving was framed in Taiwan’s local press in terms of the social determinants. Findings suggest that the coverage was highly negative and episodic substantiated largely by the predominant uses of convenient social actors. In contrast, public health advocates, academics and interest groups that can guide the reporting toward more thematic were barely used to present the causal factors and public policy as health determinants. Implications from the finding are elaborated.

Gaming the News: Examining the Effects of Online Political Quizzes on Interest in News and Politics • Gina Chen; Yee Man Margaret Ng, The University of Texas at Austin; Victoria Chen, The University of Texas at Austin; Martin J. Riedl, The University of Texas at Austin • This study sought to understand whether people’s exposure to online quizzes about politics could pique people’s interest in news and politics. An online experiment (N = 585) showed that exposure to quiz questions about politics directly increased people’s perception of their own political knowledge. In addition, exposure to political quizzes indirectly lead to increased interest in politics and intention to get politically involved as well as boosted interest in political news.

Connectivity with a Newspaper and Knowledge of Its Investigatory Work Influence Civic Engagement • Esther Thorson, Michigan State University; Weiyue Chen, Michigan State University; Stephen Lacy, Michigan State University • A survey of residents in the Florida Times-Union (T-U) market showed that both digital and print exposure to the newspaper’s content predicted positive attitudes about civic engagement, as mediated through news interest and perceptions of personal connectivity with the T-U. These attitudes predicted civic engagement behaviors such as volunteering and talking to others about community issues. T-U readers showed higher knowledge of major investigative projects the newspaper had done than those exposed to television news.

Tripling the Price and Wondering Why Readership Declined? A Longitudinal Study of U.S. Newspapers’ Price Hikes, 2008-2016 • Iris Chyi, University of Texas at Austin; Ori Tenenboim, The University of Texas at Austin • Since the recession U.S. newspapers have increased the price of their print product substantially. While price is a major determinant of consumer demand, circulation trends are often reported out of context, leading to misinterpretations of reader preference. This longitudinal study examines 25 major newspapers’ print price and reveals that subscription rates nearly tripled since 2008, indicating readership declines are partly self-inflicted. Analysis of readership data suggests stronger-than-expected attachment to print. Managerial implications are discussed.

PolitiFact Coverage of Candidates for U.S. Senate and Governor 2010-2016 • Joan Conners, Randolph-Macon College • This study explores PolitiFact fact-checking coverage for potential patterns of ideological bias, the types of claims being examined, as well as where such claims originate in claims about political candidates for the U.S. Senate or Governor in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016. Republican candidate claims were judged to be less accurate than claims by Democratic candidates. Candidate claims that attacked one’s opponent were found to dominate PolitiFact coverage, and were frequently found to be inaccurate.

A movement of varying faces: How “Occupy Central” was framed in the news in Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China, the U.K., and the U.S. • Y. Roselyn Du, Hong Kong Baptist U; Fan Yang, UW – Madison; Lingzi Zhu, Hong Kong Baptist U • News stories concerning the “Hong Kong Occupy Central” crisis were analyzed to define how the events were framed in the U.K., the U.S., mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Framing was analyzed in terms of selection and description biases, including news perspective, favorability toward the protesters or the government, sourcing pattern, and attribution of responsibility. The results show significant differences among the five markets, not only between contrasting media systems, but also between comparable ones.

Fighting Facebook: Journalism’s discursive boundary work with the “trending,” “napalm girl,” and “fake news” stories of 2016 • Brett Johnson, University of Missouri; Kimberly Kelling • “Facebook is challenging professional journalism. These challenges were evident in three incidents from 2016: the allegation that Facebook privileged progressive-leaning news on its Trending feature; Facebook’s removal of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Napalm Girl” photo from the pages of prominent users; and the proliferation of fake news during the U.S. presidential election. Blending theoretical concepts from the field of boundary work and platform ethics, this paper examines how the Guardian, New York Times, Columbia Journalism Review and Poynter editorialized Facebook’s role in these three incidents to discursively construct the boundary between the value of professional journalism to democracy and Facebook’s ascendant role in facilitating essential democratic functions. Findings reveal that with all three stories, these publications attempted to define Facebook as a news organization (i.e. include it within the boundaries of journalism) so that they could then criticize the company for not following duties traditionally incumbent upon news organizations (i.e. place it outside the boundaries of journalism).

Misconception of Barack Obama’s religion: A content analysis of print news coverage of the president • Joseph Kasko, SUNY Buffalo State • This study examines the interaction between public opinion and media treatment of Barack Obama’s religious beliefs, which he is Christian. Yet, only 34 percent of Americans said that they believed Obama was a Christian in an August 2010 Pew Research poll. That was a 14 percent decline from a Pew poll the previous year. This study uses second-level agenda setting to explore if the media contributed to the misconception about his religion.

Fake News, Real Cues: Cues and Heuristics in Users’ Online News Credibility Judgments • Kate Keib, Oglethorpe University; Bartosz Wojdynski • Two experimental studies sought to identify cues and heuristics used by consumers to assess online news content from an unknown source, and what influence these factors have on credibility assessments. Results show that on-page design cues including writing style, pictures and advertisements influence credibility assessments, and these cues do garner attention and influence such assessments. Practitioners can use on-page cues to build credibility among customers. The cues and heuristics identified warrant future research by scholars.

Differences in the Network Agendas of #Immigration in the 2016 Election • Jisu Kim, University of Minnesota -Twin Cities; Mo Jang, University of South Carolina, Columbia • “As an application study of the network agenda-setting model, this study examines how the media and public network agendas can differ, based on which political candidate was mentioned along with with the immigration issue in news coverage and in public tweets. Through network analyses, this study shows that there were differences in the salient attributes of the immigration issue, and that the dominant narrative structure of the issue depended on which political candidate was mentioned.

The Imagined Audience for and Perceived Quality of News Comments • Jisu Kim, University of Minnesota -Twin Cities; Seth Lewis, University of Oregon; Brendan Watson, Michigan State University • “A survey of news commenters’ perceptions of the quality and potential audiences for comments on news websites and Facebook found similar perceptions of quality and civility across platforms. But Facebook commenters were more likely to imagine friends among their audience, compared to politicians and journalists on news websites. Based on the imagined audience for comments, Facebook is not an equivalent substitute for commenting on news websites. Implications for journalism and future research are discussed.

Does Working Memory Capacity Moderate the Effects of Regulatory Focus on News Headline Appraisal and Processing Speed? • Yu-Hao Lee, University of Florida • News consumers regularly scan news headlines before devoting more efforts to reading the content. During this stage, news consumers may use their intuitive responses to the headlines to determine if the news sounds interesting and is worth reading. This study examines how individuals’ regulatory focus orientations affect their appraisal of news headlines and the moderating role of working memory capacity on appraisal score and speed. One hundred and two undergraduate participants performed a news appraisal task in which they gave a score to headlines that used either a gain-frame or a loss-frame. The results showed that promotion-focused individuals gave higher scores to gain-framed headlines, and individuals with lower working memory capacity relied on their regulatory focus more during headline appraisal. However, there was no significant effect on loss-framed headlines. The study has theoretical contributions to understanding the psychological mechanism behind headline scanning and cognitive processing. It also has some practical implications for news editors on how to tailor headlines to individuals’ regulatory focus.

Contest over Authority: Navigating Native Advertising’s Impacts on Journalism Autonomy • You Li • This study analyzes the discourses of 10 U.S. news organizations’ integration of native advertising across five years. The findings map three stages of integration ranging from sharing editorial space, editorial resource to editorial staff, exemplifying the renegotiation of the business-journalism boundary at the structural, procedural and cultural levels. The pro-native advertising discourse legitimizes the integration as extending journalistic quality to advertising, while in fact impedes journalistic autonomy both internally and externally.

All Forest, No Trees? Data Journalism and the Construction of Abstract Categories • Wilson Lowrey; Jue Hou, Universtiy of Alabama • This study takes a sociology of quantification approach in exploring the impact of “commensurative” processes in data journalism, in which distinct incidents and events are aggregated into oversimplified abstract categories. This literature predicts heavy reliance on government data, use of national over local data, and a tendency to take data categories at face value, without scrutiny. Findings from a content analysis of data journalism projects at legacy and non-legacy outlets over time, reveals some support for predictions.

Picturing the solution? An analysis of visuals in solutions journalism • Jennifer Midberry; Nicole Dahmen, University of Oregon • Solutions journalism, rigorous and fact-driven news stories of credible solutions to societal problems, is gaining a great deal of momentum. To date, research on this journalistic practice is scant and what little research there is has generally focused on text. Given the growing practice of solutions journalism and the dominant role of photographs in the news media, this research used content analysis and semiotic analysis to examine the use of visual reporting in solutions stories.

Looking at past and present Intermedia agenda-setting: A meta analysis • Alexander Moe, Texas Tech University; Yunjuan Luo, South China University of Technology • The purpose of this study was to explore one important phase of agenda-setting research that looks at who sets the media agenda using rigorous meta-analysis approaches. The researchers drew upon empirical intermedia agenda-setting studies from 1990 to 2015. A total of 17 qualified studies included in the final analysis produced homogeneity, and the weighted grand mean effect size for those studies was .713, indicating consistent and strong intermedia agenda-setting effects in the findings across a range of studies. The results also suggest a convergence of media agendas despite an increasing number of different media outlets with the development of new media technologies.

Social media echo chambers: Political journalists’ normalization of Twitter affordances • Logan Molyneux, Temple University; Rachel Mourao, Michigan State University • This study analyzes the content of tweets sent by 784 political journalists during the first 2016 U.S. presidential debate. It finds that journalists most often interacted with each other, almost to the exclusion of audience members. Newer affordances of Twitter including quote tweets and reply threading are not as normalized as older affordances, and journalists used them in differing ways. Also, journalists’s tweets mentioning policy issues tended to be retweeted, whereas those containing humor did not.

Disrupting traditional news routines through community engagement: Analysis of a media collaboration project • Jennifer Moore, University of Minnesota Duluth; John Hatcher, University of Minnesota Duluth • This research examines the impact of a community storytelling project designed to disrupt relationships between news organizations and their audiences. Informed by scholarship on the changing role of journalists as facilitators rather than gatekeepers of public discourse, community engagement methods were used to study this two-year storytelling project. Ripple Effect Mapping (REM) methods measured its impact. Findings reveal that traditional news media deviated little from established journalism routines while citizens participation was diverse and expansive.

The Small, Disloyal Fake News Audience: The Role of Audience Availability in Fake News Consumption • Jacob Nelson, Northwestern University; Harsh Taneja, University of Missouri • Fears of fake news stem from two assumptions: that fake news consumption has grown widespread, and that it reaches an audience that spends little time with news and is thus more susceptible to false claims. However, prior audience behavior research suggests that light media users disproportionately gravitate towards established, popular brands, while heavy users visit both familiar and obscure fare. This paper examines online audience data in the months leading up to and following the 2016 presidential election to empirically analyze whether or not these long-observed patterns of audience behavior play out when it comes to fake news. We find a positive relationship between time spent online and fake news exposure, indicating that the fake news audience comprises a small group of heavy internet users. In doing so, we offer a more accurate portrait of the fake news audience, and contribute to the ongoing conversation about fake news’ reach, and its consequences.

Covering Pulse: Understanding the lived experience of journalists who covered a mass shooting • Theodore Petersen, Florida Institute of Technology; Shyla Soundararajan, Florida Institute of Technology • “The June 2016 mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub near downtown Orlando, Florida, provided a real challenge to local media. This qualitative study includes in-depth interviews with Central Florida print, television, and radio journalists to understand what it was like to cover such a tragedy. These journalists talk about ethics, sourcing, violence, and mental health.

Gender Profiling in Local News • David Pritchard, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Emily Wright, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee • A content analysis of five weeks of staff-written stories in all sections of a large daily newspaper in the American Midwest (n=954 stories) tested a variety of hypotheses relating to patriarchal practices in journalism. The empirical results supported all hypotheses, documenting gendered practices both at the level of the individual journalist and at the level of the organization. Although gender profiling of the kind the research demonstrates are widely considered to be normal and natural in American journalism, the authors argue that such profiling not only reflects patriarchy, but reinforces it. By downplaying women’s contributions in social, economic, political, and cultural realms, patriarchal journalism diminishes democracy.

When journalists think colorful but their news coverage stays grey. Exploring the gap between journalists’ professional identity, their role enactment and output in newspapers. • Patric Raemy, University of Fribourg, Switzerland; Daniel Beck • The aim of this study is to explore the connection between professional identity of newspaper journalists, their perceived freedom of reporting and their role performance in a multi-language country and a Western European context. We combine a content analysis of news coverage with an online survey among the authors of these articles. It is an exploration of the gap between journalistic role perception, enactment and performance as well as of the methodology of analysis.

Whose tweets do you trust? Message and messenger credibility among mainstream and new media news organizations on Twitter • Anna Waters, University of Alabama; Chris Roberts, University of Alabama • Gauging message and messenger credibility has become even more complicated as more people consume media from social media instead of traditional channels. This experimental survey of young adults compared credibility of mainstream and new media, using the same messages on Twitter. Mainstream sources and their messages were considered more credible than new media sources. Media skepticism had a significant effect on perceived message and messenger credibility; political cynicism did not.

Listicles and the BuzzFeed Generation: Examining the Perceived Credibility of Listicles Among Millennials • Sean Sadri, Old Dominion University • Listicles are a new media phenomenon that have become a staple of virtually every news organization (articles that are simply lists or rankings and offer arguably less substance than a traditional article). This study sought to determine the perceived credibility of listicles among the age group most inclined to read them (millennials). Examining the appeal of listicles can provide insight into the direction that news may be going for the next generation of news readers. Using a sample population of millennials (N = 363), participants were randomly assigned to read an article in one of two formats: a listicle or a traditional article. Following the article, participants were given a questionnaire rating the credibility of the article and another asking participants to recall facts from the story. The experiment found that millennials rated the listicle as significantly more credible than the traditional article. The study also hypothesized that millennials may retain more information from a well-constructed listicle than a traditional article containing the same information, but this hypothesis was not supported. The study results and the implications of these findings are discussed.

Exploring the “wall,” Bible and Baphomet: Media coverage of church-state conflicts • Erica Salkin; Elizabeth Jacobs • This study seeks to build upon previous research on media coverage of law and faith by exploring newswork related specifically to church-state conflicts. Qualitative content analysis of coverage around two case studies reveals a broad assumption of audience familiarity with key constitutional and religious ideas. When scenarios venture into the unique, however, explication does emerge, suggesting that some lack of legal or religious depth may be attributed to a belief that audiences don’t need it.

Alienating Audiences: The Effect of Uncivil Online Discourse on Media Perceptions • Natalee Seely, UNC-Chapel Hill • Online discussion forums offer news consumers venues for expression and participation, but these forums have also been condemned for offensive and uncivil language. Some news outlets have required users to register with identifying information before commenting in an effort to keep conversation civil. Others have discontinued discussion forums altogether for fear of losing credibility or turning off readers. Previous literature has identified several forms of incivility within comment forums, including insulting language, stereotyping, and vulgar speech. This study used a one-way experimental design to determine the effects of uncivil language within online news comment forums on participants’ (n=198) perceptions of news credibility, their willingness to participate in the discussion, and their levels of media trust. Results indicate that those who read a news article accompanied by uncivil comments—which contained insulting language and stereotypes about various groups—were significantly less willing to participate in the discussion compared to those who viewed neutral comments. No significant differences in credibility perceptions or media trust were found. Findings demonstrate that offensive speech in online forums may have a chilling effect on participation in news discussion.

Anonymous Journalists: Bylines and Immigration Coverage in the Italian Press • Francesco Somaini, Central Washington University • This study investigated the relationship between news coverage of immigrants and refugees and identifiability of stories’ authors in the two daily newspapers with the largest circulation in Italy: Corriere della Sera and la Repubblica. The content of 400 news stories published in 2013 was examined. The data showed that the outlets produced comparable shares of “anonymous” and “signed” stories. Corriere della Sera, the more conservative outlet, provided consistently more negative representations of immigrants than la Repubblica, more liberal, did. However, in the left-leaning daily, articles that carried no byline—i.e., whose author was identifiable neither as a journalist nor as a wire service—tended to portray immigrants and refugees more negatively than stories carrying a byline did. Conversely, degree of antipathy for migrants expressed in online comments did not vary in relation to byline. However, readers of Corriere expressed more antipathy for immigrants than those of la Repubblica did. The findings suggest that anonymity might be associated with more frequent stereotypical representations of immigrants even in news outlets that are considered more liberal.

Knowledge-based Journalism in Science and Environmental Reporting: Opportunities and Obstacles • Anthony Van Witsen, Michigan State University; Bruno Takahashi, Department of Journalism, Michigan State University • Recent calls for knowledge-based journalism advocate a new level of scientific knowledge in news reporting as a way of meeting the professional challenges caused by rapid technological change in the news industry. Scientifically knowledgeable journalism has the potential to redefine the existing science-media relationship; however early criticisms called it naïve and unworkable in existing, rapidly changing newsroom practices. This study attempts to go beyond the initial enthusiasm and the skepticism to develop a better theoretical basis by which knowledge-based journalism could function, how reporters and editors could learn it, and what audience might exist for it. It examines the history of earlier professional reform efforts in journalism to discover why new practices have sometimes been adopted or abandoned. It finds that implementing knowledge based journalism requires knowing the actual benefits of improved scientific understanding for news consumers and poses research questions designed to lead to testable hypotheses for developing it and measuring its impact on audiences. Among its conclusions: that increased scientific training by reporters might increase journalists’ grasp of the traditional problem of managing scientific uncertainty, changing the information asymmetry between journalists and their scientist sources and altering the balance of power between them. Over time, this could affect the audience’s tolerance for uncertainty as well.

Coding the News: The Role of Computer Code in the Distribution of News Media • Matthew Weber, Rutgers University; Allie Kosterich, Rutgers University; Rohit Tikyani, Rutgers University • This article examines the role of code in the process of news distribution, and interrogates the degree to which code and algorithms are imbued with the ability to make decisions regarding the filtering and prioritizing of news, much as an editor would. Emphasis is placed specifically on the context of mobile news applications that filter news for consumers. In addressing calls to attend to the intersection of computer science and journalism, an additional goal of this article is to move the analytic lens away from the notion that code is replacing humans as producers of news and to shift towards an understanding of how code orders and communicates the news. Thus, the focus of this research is on algorithms as technological actants, filtering news based on decisions imbued into the code by human actors. An investigation of code contained in 64 open source mobile news apps is presented and the content of the code is analyzed. Findings highlight the journalistic decisions made in code and contribute to discussion surrounding the relationship between algorithmic and traditional news values.

Examining the Relationship Between Trust and Online Usage • Katie Yaeger, University of Missouri School of Journalism; Harsh Taneja, University of Missouri • This study tests the relationship between trust and online usage of 35 popular United States news sources. A series of regression models using pooled cross-sectional data of trust measures and usage measures from three months found a positive, statistically significant relationship between trust and direct traffic, but it found no association between trust and frequent usage. It also found overall that additional variables did not significantly impact the relationship between trust and direct traffic.

The Least Trusted Name in News: Exploring Why News Users Distrust BuzzFeed News • Jordon Brown, The University of Texas at Austin • “This experiment measured readers’ perceived sense of credibility when presented with three different news stories. Although all three news stories were actually from BuzzFeed, they were presented as though only one was, and one from Yahoo News, and one from The Wall Street Journal. This study found the perceived credibility was impacted by the news source, but not always by the individual article.

Framing EU borders in live-blogs: A multimodal approach • Ivana Cvetkovic, University of New Mexico; Mirjana Pantic, University of Tennessee • New media and 2.0 Web technologies affected the breaking news reporting forcing traditional media to embrace a new multimodal format of live-blogs. By acknowledging the importance of multiple modes in meaning making, this paper employs multimodal method to examine the similarities and differences in framing the European Union borders in live blogs in European media. Three frames emerged from the analysis: border management, borders as lived spaces, and borders as politically constructed spaces.

The mobile community: College students and the hometown sense of community through mobile news app use • Chris Etheridge, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • “This project explores how mobile technology can impact the relationship between geography and news consumption. Findings indicate that college students who have installed a mobile news app focused on their hometown have a higher connection to that community than those who do not have apps and those who have apps with a national or global focus. In this case, this connection exists even when circumstances remove the person from that community.

Vapor and Mirrors: A Qualitative Framing Analysis of E-Cigarette Reporting in High-Circulation U.S. Newspapers • Vaughan James, University of Florida; Paul Simpson • Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have been gaining popularity in the United States since their introduction into the market in 2008. Use among teenagers and young adults has recently skyrocketed, tripling between 2013 and 2014. Given that these products are still unregulated at the federal level, they represent a major public health concern. News media can have substantial effects on public perception of technology and health issues, and so it is important to understand the ways that the U.S. media present e-cigarettes. This study examined the framing of e-cigarettes in three major high-circulation U.S. newspapers. A qualitative content analysis was performed on 92 e-cigarette-related news articles published between January 2008 and October 2014. Three major frames arose in newspaper reporting: Comparison/Contrast, Regulation, and Uncertainty. Understanding the frames presented in the media can help to both explain e-cigarettes’ rising popularity and highlight potential regulatory issues that will require attention from public health officials.

‘Engaging’ the Audience: Journalism in the Next Media Regime • Jacob Nelson, Northwestern University • As the journalism industry loses revenues and relevance, academics and professionals have pinned their hopes for salvation on increasing “audience engagement.” Yet few agree on what audience engagement means, why it will make journalism more successful, or what “success” in journalism should even look like. This paper uses Williams and Delli Carpini’s “media regimes” as a theoretical framework to argue that studying the current open-arms approach to the news audience – and the ambiguity surrounding it – is vital to understanding journalism’s transition from one rapidly disappearing model to one that is yet to fully emerge. In doing so, it offers a definition of audience engagement that synthesizes prior literature and contributes an important distinction between reception-oriented and production-oriented engagement. It concludes with a call for more research into audience engagement efforts to better understand what journalism is, and what it might become.

News Organizations’ Link Sharing on Twitter: Computational Text Analysis Approach • Chankyung Pak, Michigan State University • This study aims to analyze news organizations’ news link sharing on social media. Computational data collection and text analysis techniques in this study allow for a large scale comparison between shared and unshared news. I found that news organizations are more likely to share hard news than soft news on social media while the latter is more published on their websites. News organizations’ decision on what to share constrains news diversity available to news readers.

Way-finding and source blindness: How the loss of gatekeepers spread fake news in the 2016 Presidential election • George Pearson, The Ohio State University; Simon Lavis, The Ohio State University • Changing news patterns allows users to consume stories from multiple sources. This was hypothesized to lead to a disinterest in sources (source blindness) and reliance on curators for news. Additionally both variables were expected to lead to increased misinformation acceptance. A parallel mediation model on national survey data revealed that reliance on curators was not significant, however consuming news from multiple sources did increase source blindness which in turn increased misinformation acceptance.

Is the Robot Biased Against Me? An Investigation of Boundary Conditions for Reception of Robot as News Writer • Bingjie Liu; Lewen Wei, Pennsylvania State University • This study tested effects of robot as news writer on reducing hostile media effect. In a 2 (robot vs. human news writer) X 2 (hard news vs. feature story) online experiment, 212 participants read news representing one of the four conditions randomly and evaluated its quality. We found for feature story, only believers of machine intelligence evaluated that by robot as positive whereas hard news by robot was well received regardless of one’s belief.

Trustee Versus Market Model: A Journalistic Field Experiment • Douglas Wilbur, The University of Missouri at Columbia • This field experiment examines data gathered through a competition hosted by the Austin-American Statesman, the test their daily news via email delivery service the Midday Break, and a news aggregation service called the Statesman’s News For You, managed by the Reportory Company. The Midday Break represents the trustee model of journalism since stories are chosen by editors in a traditional manner. The Statesman’s News For You represents that market model of journalism since users select story preferences through a personalization function. Results of aggregate user data revealed that the Statesman’s News For You subscribers opened more of their services email and read more of their delivered news stories than those of Midday Break. A survey of both groups revealed that Statesman’s News For You subscribers gave their services higher ratings for crebibility, likelihood of recommending to a friend and perceived control than Midday Break subscribers. This field experiment lends some evidence that the market model of journalism might offer a better route for newspaper survivability and economic success.

Young vs Old: How Age Impacts Journalists’ Boundary Work Shift in Social Media Innovation (ACES and MacDougall awards) • Yanfang Wu • A cross-sectional, self-administered questionnaire online national survey (N=1063) was administered to examine how older and younger newspaper journalists differ in adopting social media as an innovation. The study found no significant difference exists between younger journalists and older journalists’ rating of social media innovation friendly culture in their news organizations. However, younger journalists tend to view innovative instructions on using social media as more frequent, useful, and effective than older journalists. The more effective younger journalists rated their news organizations’ innovative instructions on social media, the less younger journalists interact with audiences on social than older journalists, which reflects a higher social media instructions expectation from younger journalists for journalistic work boundary shift.

The Syrian exodus: How The Globe and Mail, The New York Times and The Sun framed the crisis? • Zulfia Zaher, Ohio University • This study examined the cross-national coverage of the Syrian refugee crises in The Globe and Mail, The New York Times, and The Sun newspapers. The study employed a quantitative content analysis to measure the attention paid to the Syrian refugee crisis and investigated the prevalence of the five generic frames (economic consequences, human interest, responsibility, conflict, and morality) (Semetko & Valkenburg, 2000). This study analyzed 204 articles from these three newspapers published between February 1st, 2015 to February 28th, 2016. This study found that The New York Times attached more importance measured by the length and the page position while The Sun attached the least importance to the coverage of Syrian refugee crisis. The result also demonstrated that the most salient generic frames were human-interest. This study found that three out of five generic frames — economic consequences, responsibility, and conflict — are significantly different across these newspapers. The results further revealed that various events influenced the way frames were presented in these three newspapers.


Media Management, Economics, and Entrepreneurship 2017 Abstracts

Do Similar Brands ‘Like’ Each Other? An Investigation of Homophily Among Brands’ Social Networks on Facebook • Mohammad Abuljadail, Bowling Green State University; Gi Woong Yun, University of Nevada, Reno • The advent of internet and communication technologies enabled marketers of brands to have more ways to communicate with their audience; one of which is connecting with other brands. One of the most popular outlets that allows brands to connect with other brands online is Facebook. Brands on Facebook can establish an official fan page where they can interact with their fans as well as network with other brands’ official Facebook pages through “liking” them. This paper seeks to investigate the “liking” behavior among local and global brands (brand to brand) on Facebook in Saudi Arabia and whether these brands’ “liking” network is based on homophilous relationships. The results showed that both status, (e.g., geography and gender), and value (e.g., family ties and religion) homophilous relationships are in play. However, value homophily was a strong factor in brands’ network in Saudi Arabia for some brands in the absence of status homophily network. Although status homophily in general played a role, geographical proximity was not a strong factor compared to previous reports on social network analysis. The data for this study was obtained from 40 brands marketed in Saudi Arabia. Using Netvizz and Gephi, network structures were mapped to explore the relationships among the brand’s’ Facebook pages.

Predictors of Success in Entering The Journalism And Mass Communication Labor Market • Lee Becker, University of Georgia; Tudor Vlad, University of Georgia; C. Ann Hollifield, University of Georgia • As a talent industry, media industries are highly dependent on the quality of the labor force available to be hired. The entry-level journalism and mass communication labor market has been the subject of analysis over the years, leading to the general conclusion that the characteristics of the students who graduates as well as what they did while at the university help to predict success in the media labor market. The research has been based on limited measures of job market success and small samples, sometimes of students only at one point in time. This study revisits the question of what predicts success in the media labor market with a data set spanning 27 years and with multiple measures of job market success. The findings indicate that what the students bring to the educational environment influences what they do while at the university but also continues to have impact after graduation. The decisions students make at the university also matter. Specifically, women have more success in the media labor market than men, but they get paid less. Minorities have more difficulty in the market than nonminorities, but they get paid better if they find work. Selecting public relations as a major is an advantage, as is completing an internship. These relationships hold even after controlling for other factors, including the performance of the labor market for all persons 20 to 24 years old. The findings suggest that media industries still have critical labor management issues to address.

Facebook and newspapers online: Competing beings or complimentary entities? • Victoria Chen, The University of Texas at Austin; Paromita Pain, The University of Texas at Austin • In an attempt to engage more readers online, newspapers, today are adopting Facebook as a distribution platform. Focused on understanding the value of Facebook as a distribution platform for newspapers, this study shows that news engagement, where news that attracts and holds readers’ attention, on Facebook, increases the brand loyalty of newspapers and Faebook. Brand wise both Facebook and newspapers benefit when news is distributed through Facebook. The study challenges popular beliefs about the influence of Facebook on the business of journalism and shows that Facebook and newspapers are mutually beneficial in helping build the brand loyalty of both. It also shows that tie strength and not homophily encourages the sharing of news on Facebook. While these results may seem optimistic, the study further suggests that leveraging Facebook as a news distribution platform to engage audiences should be treated more cautiously.

Management of Journalism Transparency: Journalists’ perceptions of organizational leaders’ management of an emerging professional norm • Peter Gade; Shugofa Dastgeer; Christina Childs DeWalt; Emmanuel-Lugard Nduka; Seunghyun Kim; Desiree Hill; Kevin Curran • This national survey of 524 journalists explores how journalists perceive transparency, a recent addition to the ethics codes of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Radio Television Digital News Association, has been managed as a normative innovation, and the impact of management on its adoption in journalism practices. Results indicate journalists perceive transparency as not been well managed, and that how it is managed has a significant effect on the extent it is practiced.

Brand Extension Strategies in the Film Industry: Factors behind Financial Performance of Adaptations and Sequels • Dam Hee Kim • In the film industry, which is notoriously high risk, sequels and adaptations stand out as successful films. Focusing on adaptations and sequels as extended brands, this paper analyzed 2,488 films released from 2010 to 2013 in the U.S. to investigate films’ box office performance. Results suggested that adaptations from comic books and toy lines were successful, and those produced in sequels were even more successful. Industry factors behind brand extension strategies are also examined.

Rapid Organizational Legitimacy: The Case of Mobile News Apps • Allie Kosterich, Rutgers University; Matthew Weber, Rutgers University • This article examines the importance of legitimacy for the performance of new ventures in the emerging space of mobile news apps, which consists of players from both traditional news and technology. This creates a distinct challenge for survival and performance, further compounded by the short timeframe deemed acceptable for apps to succeed. A multi-faceted model of legitimacy is proposed and tested; findings underscore the vital role of communication-based legitimacy in the struggle for rapid success.

Transformation of the Professional Newsroom Workforce: An Analysis of Newsworker Roles and Skill Sets, 2010-2015 • Allie Kosterich, Rutgers University; Matthew Weber, Rutgers University • Transformation continues to impact news media; news organizations are adapting accordingly through shifts in required skills and prescribed roles of newsworkers. This research uses online public databases to trace employment histories of NYC-area newsworkers and explore processes of institutional change related to the professional newsworker. This case study highlights the applicability of quantitative research methods in furthering understanding of professional media dynamics and management challenges related to the emergence of new job roles and skills.

The effects of a TV network strike on channel brand equity • Shin-Hye Kwon, Sungkyunkwan University; Lu Li, Sungkyunkwan University; Byeng Hee Chang, Sungkyunkwan University • This article has attempted to outline the effects of a television channel strike from both the user and the company sides. In the direct effect of strike analysis, viewer ratings(MBC) were higher before the strike than during it. In the indirect effect of strike analysis, strike awareness had a negative influence on brand image for news, entertainment, and information, with especially high influence for information and news. Brand image also had a meaningful influence of brand loyalty mediated by brand satisfaction and awareness of brand quality. Thus, loyalty to MBC decreased as viewers learned about the strike. This study has several implications that a specific channel’s brand equity does not decrease until viewers become aware of a strike at the channel. In addition, we suggest different possible effects of a media strike on the brand image of a channel or network. Third, we infer the changes in viewer ratings to be a direct effect of media strikes. Another theoretical implication of this study is its explanation of how a strike at a specific company strike can affect competing companies using the concept of media deprivation and dependency theory. Lastly, This study’s results offer practical information for media companies’ strike management.

Consumer choice of mobile service bundles: An application of the Technological Readiness Index • Miao Miao; Xi Zhu; Krishna Jayakar • This paper asks whether consumers are rational in choosing the most appropriate mobile service bundle (combining voice, text and data), given their actual levels of usage. It also investigates whether psychological or demographic factors can predict the likelihood that a user will choose optimally. Using the Technological Readiness Index as a theoretical framework, this study finds that customers who are optimistic about technology are more likely to choose the optimum bundle, while those who are insecure about technology are significantly less likely.

Assessing News Media Infrastructure: A State-Level Analysis • Philip Napoli; Ian Dunham; Jessica Mahone, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University • This paper develops and applies an approach to evaluating the robustness of the news media infrastructure of individual states. Drawing upon the Cision Media Database, and employing a detailed filtering methodology, this analysis provides indicators that facilitate comparative analysis across states, and that could be employed to facilitate analyses over time within and across individual states. This assessment approach is derived from multivariate analyses of the key geographic and demographic determinants of the robustness of the news media infrastructure in individual states.

High Brand Loyalty Video Game Play and Achieving Relationships with Virtual Worlds and Its Elements Through Presence • Anthony Palomba • Based on a uses and gratifications and presence conceptual framework, this study considers high brand loyalty video game players’ levels of presence, and evaluates how virtual relationships and perceptions of brand personalities may moderate the relationship between high brand loyalty video game players’ gratifications sought and media consumption experiences. A national survey of 25-year-old to 35-year-old high brand loyalty video game players (N=902)was conducted. Theoretical contributions surrounding the importance of presence during video game play to reach desired gratifications as well as industry implications are discussed.

Content Marketing Strategy on Branded YouTube Channels • Rang Wang, University of Florida; Sylvia Chan-Olmsted, University of Florida • As YouTube becomes a viable competitor in the media ecosystem, this study assessed top brands’ content marketing strategy on branded YouTube channels via content analysis. Using a consumer engagement conceptual framework, the study examined brand strategies addressing the interactivity, attention, emotion, and cognition aspects of engagement and explored the role of firm characteristics, including YouTube capability, financial resources, ownership, and product category, in strategy differentiation. Implications of utilizing YouTube in branding and engaging were provided.

Exploring Cross-Platform Engagement in an Online-Offline Video Market • Lisa-Charlotte Wolter, Hamburg Media School; Sylvia Chan-Olmsted, University of Florida • In an ever-increasing fragmented media environment, the need for comparable metrics across online and offline platforms is intensifying. This study introduces the concept of engagement in an audience setting; discusses its role in today’s video consumption process, and elaborates on the rationale and approach of assessing engagement in online-offline environments. We will present results from a qualitative study of globally conducted in-depth interviews with 73 experts. Research implications and a cross-platform engagement framework are presented.


Mass Communication and Society 2017 Abstracts

Beauty ideals and the media: Constructing the ideal beauty for Nigerian women through music videos • Aje-Ori Agbese • The research examined how Nigerian music videos objectify and define beauty for Nigerian women. The contents of 100 music videos with a love/romance theme were analyzed. The study found that Nigerian music videos defined beautiful women as thin/skinny, light-skinned and smiling. Several videos also featured white women as the ideal. The paper also discusses the impact of such messages on a country where women had the world’s highest rates for skin bleaching in 2012.

Framing Blame in Sexual Assault: An Analysis of Attribution in News Stories about Sexual Assault on College Campuses • Ashlie Andrew; Cassandra Alexopoulos • The current study is a quantitative content analysis examining media coverage of sexual assault on US college campuses. In particular, we focus on the language that journalists employ to tell these stories and assign attribution of sexual assault to the people involved. Drawing on two different theoretical perspectives, Attribution Theory and Media Framing, we analyze how frequently the language in news stories on sexual assault implicitly assign attribution (or minimize attribution) to either the victim or perpetrator in sexual assault cases.

The Social Dimensions of Political Participation • Soo Young Bae • This study investigates the social dimensions of political engagement, and explores the underlying mechanism of the relationship between social media use and political participation. Using a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults, this study reveals the growing significance of the source factor in the online information environment, and tests whether varying levels of trust that individuals have toward the information source can meaningfully relate to their engagement in politics.

The Role of Media Use and Family Media Use in Children’s Eating Behaviors, Food Preferences, and Health Literacy • Kimberly Bissell, University of Alabama; Kim Baker, University of Alabama; Xueying Zhang; Kailey E. Bissell, The University of the South (Sewanee); Sarah Pember, University of Alabama; Yiyi Yang, University of Alabama; Samantha Phillips, University of Alabama • The relationship between the individual and social factors that might predict a child’s health behaviors specific to food consumption and eating is quite complex. A growing body of literature suggests that external factors such as media use, use of media while eating, and the home eating environment certainly could predict factors such as a child’s preference for specific food, nutritional knowledge, and even the ability to identify food products in food advertisements. Using a survey of children in 2nd and 3rd grade, this study examined questions about how much or if general media use, media use while eating, and familial media use during mealtimes related to a child’s general understanding of health specific to nutritional knowledge, food preferences, understanding of food advertising, and self-perception. Results indicate that media use by each child and by the parent—in general and in the context of eating—were related to lower scores on the nutritional knowledge scale, a stronger preference for unhealthy foods, an inability to correctly identify food products in food advertisements, and self-perceptions. Further results indicate that children’s ability to correctly identify food products in food advertisements was especially low, especially in children who reported spending more time with different types of media. These and other findings are discussed.

Assimilation or Consternation? U.S. Latinos’ Perceptions of Trust in Relation to Media and Other Factors • Ginger Blackstone, Harding University; Amy Jo Coffey, University of Florida • Among the U.S. Latino community, even documented workers are nervous about the future. What role might Internet news exposure, television news exposure, newspaper exposure, radio news exposure, age, whether one was born in the U.S., or–if not—length of time spent in the U.S. be relevant to feelings of trust in the government, trust in others, and U.S. immigration policies? How do Latinos’ feelings in these areas compare to non-Latinos? Using the most recent American National Election Survey data available, the authors conducted a series of regressions and other statistical tests in search of answers. It was found that Latino respondents were more likely than non-Latinos to trust that the U.S. government will do the right thing. Television news exposure was a positive factor. Non-Latino respondents were more likely than Latino respondents to trust others. Internet news exposure, radio news exposure, and newspaper exposure were positive factors, while television news exposure was a negative factor. Trust in the government did not correlate with trust in others for Latino respondents; however, it did for non-Latinos but the effect was weak. Regarding U.S. immigration policy, difference between Latino respondents and non-Latinos were significant; however, a majority of both groups indicated support for an immigration policy that allowed undocumented workers to remain in the U.S. under certain (non-specified) conditions. Internet news exposure and radio news exposure were factors in some comparisons. Overall, no clear patterns were found; however, the findings correspond to the literature and provide an opportunity for future research.

Toxic Peers in Online Support Groups for Suicidal Teens: Moderators Reducing Toxic Disinhibition Effects • Nicholas Boehm, Colorado State University; Jamie Switzer, Colorado State University • This paper describes the results of a study that examined if moderated online peer support groups for suicidal teens differ compared to non-moderated online peer support groups for suicidal teens in terms of the frequency of pro-suicide response and the frequency of uncivil and impolite response given by peers. Findings suggest pro-suicide, uncivil, and impolite responses are significantly more likely to occur in the non-moderated peer support group, as explained by the online disinhibition effect.

Exploring Third-Person Perception and Social Media • John Chapin, Penn State • Findings from a study of middle school and high school students (N = 1604) suggest most adolescents are using some form of social media, with texting, Instagram, and Snapchat currently the most popular. Most (67%) have some experience with cyberbullying, with 23% saying they have been victims of cyberbullying and 7% acknowledging they have cyberbullied others. Despite the heavy use of social media and experiences with cyberbullying, participants exhibited third-person perception, believing others are more influenced than they are by negative posts on social media. Third-person perception was predicted by optimistic bias, social media use, age, and experience with various forms of bullying. Third-person perception may provide a useful framework for understanding how adolescents use social media and how they are affected by it.

“Defensive Effect”: Uncivil Disagreement Upsets Me, So I Want to Speak Out Politically • Gina Chen • This study proposed and tested a mediation model called the “defensive effect” to explain the influence of uncivil disagreement online comments on emotions and intention to participate politically. An experiment (N = 953) showed uncivil disagreement – but not civil disagreement – triggered a chain reaction of first boosting negative emotion and then indirectly increasing intention to participate politically, mediated through that emotion burst. Findings are discussed in relation to affective intelligence theory.

Facts, Alternative Facts, and Politics: A Case Study of How a Concept Entered Mainstream and Social Media Discourse • Moonhee Cho, University of Tennessee; Giselle Auger, Rhode Island College; Sally McMillan, University of Tennessee • Adopting agenda setting as a theoretical framework, this study explored how the term ‘alternative facts’ was covered by both mainstream and social media. The authors used Salesforce Marketing Cloud Social Studio and WordStat to analyze 58,383 total posts. The study follows the development of news story and examines some similarities and differences in top words and phrases used by mainstream and social media. The term ‘alternative facts’ had negative valence in both media types.

Television, emotion, and social integration: Testing the effect of media event with the 2017 US Presidential Inauguration • Xi Cui, College of Charleston; Qian Xu, Elon University • This study empirically tests the social integration effect of media event and its psychological mechanism in the context of the live broadcast of the 2017 US Presidential Inauguration. A national sample (N=420) was drawn to investigate the relationships among television viewing of the live broadcast, viewers’ emotion, and their perceived social solidarity measured by perceived entitativity. In general, viewing the inauguration live on television positively predicted viewers’ emotion. Emotion also interacted with viewers’ national identity fusion to influence perceived entitativity. A significant indirect effect of television viewing on perceived entitativity through emotion was discovered. The same effects were found among non-Trump voters. For Trump voters, television viewing did not have any significant influence on any variable. Through these findings, this study shed light on the psychological mechanisms of media event’s social integration effect at the individual level, explicated the visceral nature of social identification related to media event, and argued for the relevance of this mass media genre in contemporary media environment and social zeitgeist.

New media, new ways of getting informed? Examining public affairs knowledge acquisition by young people in China • Di Cui; Fang Wu • This study examined acquisition of public affairs knowledge as an effect of media use and interpersonal discussion in China, where there is a fast transforming media environment. This study examined public affairs knowledge in both mainstream and alternative forms. Findings showed that attention to traditional sources, exposure to new media sources and face-to-face discussion were correlated with public affairs knowledge. Use of new media sources was correlated with alternative public affairs knowledge. Implications were discussed.

Multi-Platform News Use and Political Participation across Age Groups • Trevor Diehl, University of Vienna; Matthew Barnidge, University of Vienna; Homero Gil de Zúñiga, University of Vienna • News consumption in today’s media environment is increasingly characterized by multi-platform news; people now consume news across several multi-media devices. Relying on a nationally representative survey from the U.S., this study develops an index of multi-platform news use, and tests its effects on age-group differences in the way people participate in politics. Results show that Millennials are more likely to rely on multi-platforms for news, which is positively related to alternative modes of public engagement.

Read All About It: The Politicization of “Fake News” on Twitter • John Brummette; Marcia DiStaso, University of Florida; MICHAIL VAFEIADIS, Auburn University; Marcus Messner, Virginia Commonwealth University; Terry Flynn, McMaster University • This study explored the use of the term “fake news” in one of the top news sharing tools, Twitter. Using a social network analysis, characteristics of online networks that formed around discussions of “fake news” was examined. Through a systematic analysis of the members of those networks and their messages, this study found that “fake news” is a very politicized term where current conversations are overshadowing logical and important discussions of the term.

News, Entertainment, or Both? Exploring Audience Perceptions of Media Genre in a Hybrid Media Environment • Stephanie Edgerly, Northwestern; Emily Vraga, George Mason University • This study uses two experimental designs to examine how audiences make genre assessments when encountering media content that blends elements of news and entertainment. In Study 1, we explore how audiences characterize three different versions of a fictitious political talk show program. In Study 2, we consider whether audience perceptions of ‘news-ness’ are influenced by shifts in headline angle and source attribution. The implications of audience definitions of news and its social function are discussed.

A new generation of satire consumers? A socialization approach to youth exposure to news satire • Stephanie Edgerly, Northwestern • This study explores how adolescents—at the doorstep of adulthood—are developing the exposure habit of news satire exposure. Using national survey data consisting of U.S. youth and one associated parent, the paper specifically examines: 1) the prevalence of youth exposure to news satire across a range of media devices and compared to other forms of news, and 2) the socialization factors—parents, school curriculum, and peers—that predict news satire use among today’s youth.

Socially-shared children coming of age: Third-person effect, parental privacy stewardship, and parent monitoring • Betsy Emmons, Samford University; Nia Johnson, Samford University; Lee Farquhar, Samford University • There have been multiple discussions about Facebook’s privacy policies; discourse about parental privacy stewardship has been minimal. As the first generation of socially-shared children become social media users, the collision of privacy with what has already been shared by parents occurs. This study, grounded in third-person effect, asked parents about stewardship of their children’s privacy, and whether other parents were observant. Results affirmed third-person effect for both social media monitoring and privacy among parents.

Journalists primed: How professional identity affects moral decision making • Patrick Ferrucci, U of Colorado; Edson Tandoc, Nanyang Technological University; Erin Schauster • Utilizing identity priming, this study examines whether professional journalists apply ethics differently when primed with occupationally identity. This between-subjects experiment (N=171) administered both conditions the Defining Issues Test, a much-used instrument that measures moral development. The results show identity priming does not affect how journalists apply ethics. The study also found that journalists are potentially far less ethical than they were 13 years ago. These results are interpreted through the lens of social identity theory.

Hydraulic Fracturing on U.S. Cable News • Sherice Gearhart, Texas Tech University; Oluseyi Adegbola, Mr.; Jennifer Huemmer • Hydraulic fracturing, called fracking, is a drilling technique that accesses previously inaccessible oil and gas reserves. Although the process could aid U.S. energy independence, it is controversial and public opinion is divided. Guided by agenda-setting and framing, this study content analyses news coverage of fracking (N = 461) across cable networks (CNN, Fox News, MSNBC). Results show issues discussed and sources used vary ideologically, but all networks failed to provide factual information about the process.

Self-Presentation Strategies’ Effect on Facebook Users’ Subjective Well-being Depending on Self-Esteem Level • Wonseok (Eric) Jang, Texas Tech University; Erik Bucy, Texas Tech University; Janice Cho, Texas Tech University • The current study examined the consequences of different types of self-presentation strategies on Facebook users’ subjective well-being, depending on their level of self-esteem. The results indicated that people with low self-esteem became happier after updating their Facebook status using strategic self-presentation rather than true self-presentation. Meanwhile, people with high self-esteem exhibited similar levels of happiness after updating Facebook using both strategic and true self-presentation.

“Aging…The Great Challenge of This Century”: A Theory-Based Analysis of Retirement Communities’ Websites • Hong Ji; Anne Cooper • By 2040, the large over-65 population will change “religion…work…everything” according to an expert on aging. CCRCs are one health care/housing option for the final years of life. This study of 108 CCRC websites found a self-actualized photo population –smiling, wining/dining, and engaged in various fulfilling pursuits. The disconnect with reality — more males, minorities and healthy people than actually live at CCRCs — has implications for source credibility and the image of ideal aging.

The Role of Social Capital in the United States’s Country Brand • Jong Woo Jun, Dankook University; Jung Ryum Kim, City of Busan; Dong Whan Lee, Dankook University • This study explores antecedents and consequences of social capital. Using Korean college students as research samples, survey research was implemented measuring U.S. media consumptions such as TV drama, Hollywood movies, POP music, advertising, and magazine. As results, American media consumptions influenced social capital elements such as interpersonal trust, institutional trust, network, and norms. Also, interpersonal trust, network, and norms influenced attitudes toward the United States which in turn lead to strong beliefs about the United States. This study extended the usability of social capital to country branding settings, and could provide significant managerial implications to academicians and practitioners.

In the Crosshairs: The Tucson Shooting and the News Framing of Responsibility • Matthew Telleen, Elizabethtown College; Jack Karlis, Georgia College; Sei-Hill Kim • This research adds to the framing literature with a content analysis of media coverage following the 2011 shooting in Tucson, Arizona. Analyzing 535 items from the month after the shooting, it was determined that coverage of the Tucson shooting focused more heavily on societal issues like political rhetoric than on individual issues like mental illness It was also discovered that coverage varied from medium to medium and along political associations.

Tweeting the Election: Comparative Uses of Twitter by Trump and Clinton in the 2016 Election • Flora Khoo, Regent University; William Brown, Regent University • “Social media are increasingly becoming important means of political communication and essential to implementing an effective national election campaign. The present study evaluates the use of Twitter by presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Results indicate substantial framing differences in the tweets released by the two candidates. These differences are discussed along with implications for future research on the use of Twitter for political campaigns.

The Role of Reanctance Proneness in the Manifestation of Psychological Reactance against Newspaper Editorial • HYUNJUNG KIM • This study investigated the role of trait reactance proneness in the affective and cognitive reactance processes in the context of organ donation in South Korea. A web-based survey experiment using a sample of South Korean residents was conducted. Findings demonstrate that an editorial advocating organ donation from ideologically incongruent media is perceived as more biased than the same editorial from other media. The perceived bias is linked to perceived threat to freedom, which, in turn, is related to affective reactance, leading to unfavorable attitudes toward organ donation, particularly for high trait-reactant individuals. These findings suggest that trait reactance proneness may moderate a psychological reactance process in which affective and cognitive processes of reactance operate separately.

Pride versus Guilt: The Interplay between Emotional Appeals and Self-Construal Levels in Organ Donation Messages • Sining Kong; Jung Won Chun; Sriram Kalyanaraman • Existing research on organ donation has generally focused on message types but ignored how individual differences—and possible underlying mechanisms—affect the effectiveness of organ donation messages. To explore these issues, we conducted a 2 (type of appeal: pride vs guilt) X 2 (self construal: independent vs interdependent) between-subjects factorial experiment to examine how different self-construal levels affect emotional appeals in organ donation messages. The results revealed that regardless of self-construal levels, autonomy mediated the relationship between emotion and attitudes toward organ donation. Also, pride appeal messages generated more autonomy than guilt appeal messages, leading to more positive attitude toward organ donation. Furthermore, after controlling for autonomy, those participants primed with an independent self-construal preferred pride appeal messages more than they did guilt appeal messages. These findings offer important theoretical and applied implications and provide a robust avenue for future research.

“Feminazis,” “libtards,” “snowflakes,” and “racists”: Trolling and the Spiral of Silence • Victoria LaPoe; Candi Carter Olson, Utah State University • Using a mixed methods Qualtrics survey of 338 Twitter and Facebook users, the authors explore the impact that the 2016 election had on people’s political posts both before and after the election and whether or not people actually experienced harassment and threats during the election cycle. This article argues that the internet constitutes a digital public sphere. If trolling causes people—particularly women, LGBTQIA community members, and people who identify with a disability—to censor themselves because they feel their opinion is in the minority or that they will be attacked for stating their ideas, then it would follow that trolling is changing our public sphere, which is affecting our political conversations in a profound way.

Coverage of Physician-Assisted Death: Framing of Brittany Maynard • Sean Baker; Kimberly Lauffer • In 2014, Brittany Maynard, 29, diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, moved from California to Oregon, one of only three U.S. states with legal physician-assisted death, so she could determine when she would die. This paper examines how mainstream U.S. media framed Brittany Maynard’s choice to use physician aid in dying, arguing that although frames initially focused on the event, they transformed into thematic coverage of issues underlying her choice.

Do Political Participation and Use of Information Sources Differ by Age? • Tien-Tsung Lee, University of Kansas; An-Pang Lu; Yitsen Chiu, National Chengchi University • Most studies on the connection between offline and online political participation either focused on young citizens or treated age as a continuous variable. Many of them also used a limited local sample. This survey study employed a national sample to examine the effects of age and information sources on offline and online political participation. The relationship between age and offline/online participation does not appear to be linear, which has important implications for future studies.

Discussing HPV Vaccination: Ego-centric social networks and perceived norms among young men • Wan Chi Leung, University of Canterbury • This study examined the role of social norms in influencing young men’s support for the HPV vaccination. A survey of 656 young adult males in the United States indicated that the perceived injunctive norm was more powerful in predicting support for the HPV vaccination for males than the perceived descriptive norm. The average tie strength in their ego-centric discussion networks for sexual matters, and the heterogeneity of the discussants significantly predict the injunctive norm.

The effects of message desirability and first-person perception of anti-panhandling campaigns on prosocial behaviors • Joon Soo Lim, Syracuse University; Jiyoung Lee • The current research examined the third-person effect (TPE) of anti-panhandling campaign messages. It tested both perceptual and behavioral hypotheses of the TPE. A survey was administered to 660 participants recruited from Mechanical Turk’s Master Workers. The results demonstrate the robustness of third-person perceptions for persuasive campaign messages. We also learned that the magnitudes of TPP for anti-panhandling campaign messages could be moderated by message desirability. Analyzing the behavioral component of TPE, the current study adds empirical evidence that presumed influence of positive social campaign on oneself can make the audience engage in prosocial behaviors as well as promotional behaviors.

The third person effect on Twitter: How partisans view Donald Trump’s campaign messages • Aimee Meader, Winthrop University; Matthew Hayes, Winthrop University; Scott Huffmon, Winthrop University • A telephone poll of Southern respondents in the United States tested the third person effect by comparing partisan perceptions about Donald Trump’s tweets during the 2016 presidential election. Results show that the third person effect was strong for Democrats who viewed the tweets as unfavorable, but diminished for Republicans who viewed the tweets as favorable. Additionally, Republicans’ estimation of media influence on themselves was comparable to Democrats’ perceptions, but estimations of Democrats varied by Party.

‘Where are the children?’: The framing of adoption in national news coverage from 2014 through 2016 • Cynthia Morton; Summer Shelton, University of Florida • Pilot research explored three specific questions: 1) what frames are represented in print news stories about adoption?; 2) which frames are most prevalent in their representation?; and, 3) what implications can be made about the effect of combination of the news frames and their frequency on audience perceptions? A qualitative content analysis was conducted. The findings suggest that print news’s coverage of the child adoption issue leans toward legal/legality and child welfare/work frames. Implications on adoption perceptions and the potential impact on individuals influenced by adoption are discussed.

Exemplification of Child Abduction in U.S. News Media: Testing Media Effects on Parental Perceptions and Assessment of Risk • Jane Weatherred, University of South Carolina; Leigh Moscowitz, University of South Carolina • Despite decades of research, public misperceptions persist about the threat of child abductions in the U.S. Because prior research reveals that parental perceptions of child abduction are mediated by news coverage, this study offers one of the only experimental designs that found links between media coverage and parental perceptions of child abductions, advancing the literature on exemplification theory. This study advances our understanding of how media coverage can impact public perceptions of crime.

Sharing Values vs. Valuing Shares: A Communication Model a Social-Financial Capital • Paige Odegard; Thomas Gallegos; Chris DeRosier, Colorado State University; Jennifer Folsom, Colorado State University; Elizabeth Tilak, Colorado State University; Nicholas Boehm, Colorado State University; Chelsea Eddington, Colorado State University; Cindy Christen, Colorado State University • Emphasizing the shift in priority placed on social, financial, and professional capital in an era of technological growth, this paper proposes the Communication Model of Social-Financial Capital (CMSFC). The paper discusses the effects of innate and acquired identities, and values on preference for social, financial, and professional capital, which in turn affect preference for social media platforms. Finally, the paper discusses how the model is applicable in realistic settings and suggests next steps for empirical validation.

Understanding antecedents of civic engagement in the age of social media: from the perspective of efficacy beliefs • Siyoung Chung; KyuJin Shim; Soojin Kim, Singapore Management University • This study examines three efficacy beliefs— political self-efficacy, political collective efficacy and knowledge sharing efficacy—as antecedents of social media use and civic engagement. Employing more than one thousand samples in Singapore, we empirically test (a) a conceptual framework that can provide an understanding of the relationship between the three types of efficacy and civic engagement and (b) the underlying mechanism through which the three types of efficacy beliefs affect civic engagement via social media. The findings suggest that the current civic engagement is characterized by excessive use of social media. Also, the study implicates knowledge sharing efficacy was found to play an important role in mediating the relationships between social media and political self-efficacy, political collective efficacy, respectively.

Online Surveillance’s Effect on Support for Other Extraordinary Measures to Prevent Terrorism • Elizabeth Stoycheff; Kunto Wibowo, Wayne State University; Juan Liu, Wayne State University; Kai Xu, Wayne State University • The U.S. National Security Agency argues that online mass surveillance has played a pivotal role in preventing acts of terrorism on U.S. soil since 9/11. But journalists and academics have decried the practice, arguing that the implementation of such extraordinary provisions may lead to a slippery slope. As the first study to investigate empirically the relationship between online surveillance and support for other extraordinary measures to prevent terrorism, we find that perceptions of government monitoring lead to increased support for hawkish foreign policy through value-conflict associations in memory that prompt a suppression of others’ online and offline civil liberties, including rights to free speech and a fair trial. Implications for the privacy-security debate are discussed.

Audiences’ Acts of Authentication: A Conceptual Framework • Edson Tandoc, Nanyang Technological University; Richard Ling, Nanyang Technological University Singapore; Oscar Westlund; Andrew Duffy, Nanyang Technological University Singapore; Debbie Goh, Nanyang Technological University Singapore • Through an analysis of relevant literature and open-ended survey responses from 2,501 Singaporeans, this paper proposes a conceptual framework to understand how individuals authenticate the information they encounter on social media. In broad strokes, we find that individuals rely on both their own judgment of the source and the message, and when this does not adequately provide a definitive answer, they turn to external resources to authenticate news items.

Committed participation or flashes of action? Bursts of attention to climate change on Twitter • Kjerstin Thorson, Michigan State University; Luping Wang, Cornell University • We explore participation in bursts of attention to the climate issue on Twitter over a period of five years. Climate advocacy organizations are increasingly focused on mobilizations of issue publics as a route to pressure policy makers. A large Twitter data set shows that attention to climate on Twitter has been growing over time. However, we find little evidence of a “movement” on Twitter: there are few users who participate in online mobilizations over time.

Is the Tweet Mightier than the Quote? Testing the Relative Contribution of Crowd and Journalist Produced Exemplars on Exemplification Effects • Frank Waddell, University of Florida • What happens when journalist selected quotes conflict with the sentiment of online comments? An experiment (N = 276) was conducted to answer this question using a 3 (quote valence: positive vs. negative vs. no quote control) x 3 (comment valence: positive vs. negative vs. no comment control) design. Results revealed that online comments only affect news evaluations in the presence of positive rather than negative quotes. Implications for exemplification theory and online news are discussed.

Ideological Objectivity or Violated Expectations? Testing the Effects of Machine Attribution on News Evaluation • Frank Waddell, University of Florida • Automation now serves an unprecedented role in the production of news. Many readers possess high expectations of these “robot journalists” as objective and error free. However, does news attributed to machines actually meet these expectations? A one-factor experiment (human source vs. machine source) was conducted to answer this question. News attributed to robots was evaluated less positively than news attributed to humans. Attribution effects were invariant between individuals scoring low and high in anthropomorphic tendency.

Express Yourself during the Election Season: Study on Effects of Seeing Disagreement in Facebook News Feeds • Meredith Wang, Washington State University; Porismita Borah; Samuel Rhodes • The 2016 election was characterized by intense polarization and acrimony not only on the debate stage and television airwaves, but also on social media. Using panel data collected during 2016 U.S. Presidential election from a national sample of young adults, current study tests how opinion climate on social media affect ones’ political expression and participation. Result shows disagreement on Facebook encourages young adults to express themselves and further participate in politics. Implications are discussed.

Won’t you be my (Facebook) neighbor? Community communication effects and neighborhood social networks • Brendan Watson, Michigan State University • This paper examines the effect of neighborhood social context, specifically the degree of racial pluralism, on the number of residents who use Facebook to connect with their local neighborhood association to follow issues affecting their community. Analysis is based on a new “community communication effects” approach, replacing the city-wide analysis of prior studies with an analysis of neighborhood data more likely to influence users of newer, participatory communication platforms. Results suggest more complicated, non-linear effects than theorized by the existing literature. Some degree of neighborhood heterogeneity is necessary to create interest in neighborhood issues and spur mediated as opposed to interpersonal communication among neighbors. But too much heterogeneity is associated with a decline in following neighborhood associations on Facebook. The paper identifies where that tipping point occurs and discusses practical and theoretical implications.

The needle and the damage done: Framing the heroin epidemic in the Cincinnati Enquirer • Erin Willis, University of Colorado – Boulder; Chad Painter, University of Dayton • This case study focuses on the Cincinnati Enquirer’s coverage of the heroin epidemic. The Enquirer started the first heroin beat in 2015, and it could serve as a model for other news organizations. Reporters used combinations of episodic, thematic, public health, and crime and law enforcement frames in their coverage. These news frames are discussed in terms of how individualism-collectivism, geographic location, available resources, and social determinants inform journalistic and societal discussions of the heroin epidemic in terms of solutions instead of responsibility or blame.

Suicide and the Media: How Depictions Shape our Understanding of Why People Die by Suicide • Joyce Wolburg, Marquette University; Shiyu Yang; Daniel Erickson; Allysa Michaelsen • The contagion effect of the media upon suicide is well documented, given that suicide rates tend to increase following heavy news coverage of a death by suicide. However, much less is known about the influence that the media has upon attitudes and beliefs about suicide, particularly our understanding of why people choose to die by suicide and our tendency to lay blame for suicidal acts. Using text analysis, this study identifies and describes seven reoccurring themes across the entertainment media—in both drama and comedy—that address the reasons people die by suicide. Further analysis demonstrates how blame is assigned. Conclusions are drawn regarding the overall social impact, especially on the surviving friends, family, therapists, etc.

How U.S. Newspapers Frame Animal Rights Issue: A Content Analysis of News Coverage in U.S. • Minhee Choi; Nanlan Zhang • Analyzing newspaper articles, this study explores how American newspapers have framed the issue of animal rights. Results indicate that news stories were more likely to present animal rights as a legal and policy issue, rather than a political and an economic issue, talking primarily about illegality of animal mistreatment and radicalized animal rights activists. Based upon the notion of frame building, this study also examines some factors that may influence the media’s selective use of frames.

Moeller Student Competition • Framing the Taxpaying-Democratization Link: Evidence from Cross-National Newspaper Data • Volha Kananovich • This study explores the relationship between the nature of the political regime and the framing of the construct of a taxpayer in the national press. Based on a computer-assisted analysis of articles from 87 newspapers in 51 countries, it demonstrates that the less democratic a country is, the more likely it is for the press to frame a taxpayer as a subordinate to the state, by discussing taxpaying in enforcement rather than public spending terms.

Moeller Student Competition • Who is Responsible for Low-Fertility in South Korea? • Won-ki Moon, University of South Carolina; Joon Kim, University of South Carolina, Columbia • This study investigated how South Korean newspapers have presented low fertility, specifically focusing on how newspapers attribute responsibility to society or individuals. Through a content analysis of South Korean newspapers (N = 499), we found that the newspapers were focusing heavily on societal-level causes and solutions when talking about low fertility. Among potential causes of and solutions for low fertility, insufficient government aids and financial incentives were mentioned most often.

Online Conversations during an Emergent Health Threat: A Thematic Analysis of Tweets during Zika Virus Outbreak • Alexander Moe, Texas Tech University; Julie Gerdes, Texas Tech University; Joseph Provencher, Texas Tech University; Efren Gomez, Texas Tech University • “Days after the World Health Organization declared an outbreak of Zika in Brazil a global emergency on February 2, 2016, United States President Barack Obama responded by requesting over $1.8 billion in Zika research and prevention funds from Congress. This event put the under-researched disease on the radar of American citizens. The present study examines a set of over 70,000 public Tweets during the days surrounding Obama’s request to understand how Twitter users in the States made sense of the emerging infectious disease.

Understanding why American Christians are intolerant toward Muslims: Christian nationalism and partisan media selection • Kwansik Mun • This paper seeks to explain the formation of political intolerance by reviewing theoretical arguments on Christian nationalism and selective exposure theories. Our analysis confirms the significant relationship between Christian nationalism and ideological news selection, and the mediated effect of ideological news media on both perceived threats and political intolerance toward Muslims.

The “Primed” Third-Person Effect of Racial Minority Portrayals in Media • Jiyoun Suk, University of Wisconsin-Madison • This study explores how priming of different levels of media effects (either strong or weak) influences the third-person effect of media portrayals of African Americans. Through an online posttest-only control group experiment, results show that priming strong media effects heightened perceived media effects on in-group and out-group others, but not on the self. Also, it was the perceptions of in-group others, after reading the strong media effects message, that led support for media literacy education.

Beyond Passive Audience Members: Online Public Opinions in Transitional Society • yafei Zhang, The University of Iowa; Chuqing Dong • This study examined audience members’ online comments of a popular TV news program featuring controversial social issues in the contemporary Chinese society. Findings suggested that audience members expressed more negative comments, substantial cognitive recognition, and constructive suggestions towards the government, elite class, and media. The pluralistic and legitimate public opinions expanded the literature on online public discourse in transitional societies. Audience members as citizens in the formation of public spheres were also discussed.


Law and Policy 2017 Abstracts

‘Famous in a Small Town’: Indeterminacy and Doctrinal Confusion in Micro Public Figure Doctrine • Matthew Bunker, University of Alabama • The determination of which defamation plaintiffs are public figures is frequently outcome-determinative in libel litigation. Yet courts are wildly inconsistent in their rulings on what this paper refers to as micro public figures – individuals who have achieved notoriety within a small geographic area or within a particular cultural niche. Should such plaintiffs be characterized as all-purpose public figures? This paper analyzes the case law and offers a more precise approach to this problem.

Gag Clauses and the Right to Gripe: The Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016 • Clay Calvert, University of Florida • This paper examines new legislation, including the federal Consumer Review Fairness Act signed into law in December 2016, targeting non-disparagement clauses in consumer contracts. Such “gag clauses” typically either prohibit or punish the posting of negative reviews of businesses on websites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor. The paper asserts that state and federal statutes provide the best means, from a pro-free expression perspective, of attacking such clauses, given the disturbingly real possibility that the First Amendment has no bearing on contractual obligations between private parties.

Social Media Under Watch: Privacy, Free Speech, and Self-Censorship in Public Universities • Shao Chengyuan • This study examines social media monitoring in the case of two large Southeast public universities. One university has been using a social media monitoring program for years; the other has not adopted this new form of monitoring technology. In this survey, students were asked about their perception and acceptance of monitoring from the university, their concern for online privacy, support for online free speech, and experience with cyberbullying. This study explores the relationships among attitude toward online privacy and online free speech, perception and acceptance of monitoring, and willingness to self-censor when speaking on social media. The correlation analysis showed that the more one is concerned about online privacy and supports online free speech, the less likely that person would regard social media monitoring as acceptable. While those who were more concerned about online privacy were more likely to self-censor, those who were more supportive of online free speech were less likely to self-censor. Most important, this survey found that perception of monitoring was not positively correlated with self-censorship, which goes against the assumption that awareness of surveillance from an authority would cause self-censorship. In addition, this study found that, while 85 percent of the surveyed students use social media on daily basis, more than 60 percent were not greatly concerned about social media monitoring from the university and the government. Implications for studies on social media monitoring and direction for future research are discussed.

Don’t Bother: How Exemption 3 of the Freedom of Information Act Enables an Irrebuttable Presumption of Surveillance Secrecy • Benjamin W. Cramer, Pennsylvania State University • The Freedom of Information Act of 1966 (FOIA) gives American citizens a legally-protected procedure to request documents from federal agencies in the Executive Branch and to appeal denied requests. However, the Act acknowledges that some government-held information should remain undisclosed for purposes of safety or security, so the act has exemptions mandating that certain categories of information can be withheld. Exemption 3 states that a federal agency can withhold a document that has already been deemed non-disclosable in a different statute. Exemption 3 is often used by agencies that are involved in traditional national security practices and the controversial modern techniques of pervasive electronic surveillance, as justification for keeping information on those practices secret. This is possible because there are many other statutes in the security field that already allow those types of documents to be withheld in the event of a citizen request, and FOIA Exemption 3 does not allow flexibility in how those statutes are interpreted. This has allowed agencies to exercise greater discretion toward information that they do not wish to disclose to citizens, while the judiciary has almost uniformly deferred to agency discretion. This article will argue that Exemption 3 has inadvertently made the security and surveillance establishment more secretive, creating a nearly irrebuttable presumption that documents must not be disclosed to citizens or journalists.

Who Should Regulate? Testing the Influence of Policy Sources on Support for Regulations on Controversial Media • Kyla Garrett Wagner, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Allison Lazard, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • Policy research has explored the relationship between perceived effects of controversial media exposure and support for regulations on controversial media, but it has yet to examine how the source of these regulations impacts support. Therefore, this study used a between-subjects experiment to explore how sources of media policies (government vs. industry) influence support for a media policy. Two policy were used: one on pornography and one on violent video games. Other potential predictors of policy support (source credibility, attitudes, and beliefs) were also assessed. We found that while the source of a media policy did not influence support for a media policy, perceived credibility of the policy source and personal beliefs and attitudes about the controversial media were significant predictors of support for a media policy. However, these variables influenced support for the two media policies differently. This study suggests 1) policymakers should assess regulations on controversial media individually to understand what will gain social support for a policy, and 2) future research is needed to explain the differences in these variables across media policies.

Depictions of Obscene Content: How Internet Culture and Art Communities Can Influence Federal Obscenity Law • Austin Linfante, Ohio University • A recent decision by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, United States v. Handley (S.D. Iowa 2008), complicates how current obscenity law (notably the PROTECT Act of 2003) can prosecute depictions of obscene content. These would include any sort of artwork or simulation that simulates or uses fictional characters to depict otherwise obscene material without using or harming any real-life living beings. This paper will first look at previous court cases, laws and academic literature to determine how obscene content as well as depictions of obscene content have been ruled in the past in terms of whether or not they are protected speech. This will also include examining how online art communities such as DeviantArt and FurAffinity police themselves when it comes to this type of content. There will also be a discussion about how specific types of obscene content like child pornography and bestiality affect a viewer’s likelihood to commit sex crimes themselves. Afterwards, this paper will present the case behind expanding current federal law on obscene content to include depictions of this type of obscene behavior. These model laws will all be based on how large art communities currently police this kind of content. This should ultimately lead to preventing future sex crimes against children and animals as well as provide effective obscenity law.

A Gap in the Shield? Reporter’s Privilege in Civil Defamation Lawsuits 2005-2016 • Meghan Menard-McCune, LSU • The purpose of this study is to determine how state courts and legislatures have addressed reporter’s privilege in civil defamation cases. After an analysis of court cases in six states, the study found three issues relating to reporter’s privilege that the courts addressed: 1) The state shield law’s definitions of news and news media 2) The waiver of the shield law and the protection of unpublished material 3) The shield law’s defamation exception.

“Oligopoly of the Facts”? Media Ownership of News Images • Kathleen Olson, Lehigh University • This paper examines the use of the idea/expression dichotomy, the fair use doctrine and the First Amendment in cases involving news organizations suing for copyright infringement over the use of their news images, including photographs, film and video footage.

Voting Booth or Photo Booth?: Ballot Selfies and Newsgathering Protection for User-Generated Content • Kristen Patrow • This paper addresses whether ballot selfies qualify for First Amendment protection. The analysis includes both newsgathering and speech claims. Snapchat filed an amicus brief in the First Circuit case, Rideout v. Gardner. The work concentrates on Snapchat’s contention that user-generated work is newsgathering activity. The paper reviews cases on newsgathering during elections and the voting process. The analysis shows that ballot selfies are best understood as a hybrid of speech and access rights.

Say this, not that: government regulation and control of social media • Nina Brown, Syracuse University/Newhouse; jon peters • Internet law and policy discussions are converging on the problem of fake news and the idea that “the private sector has a shared responsibility to help safeguard free expression.” They have also raised the possibility of federal government intervention. This article advances those discussions by exploring what Congress could do to enact legislation requiring social media platforms to remove fake news—and whether that would be prudent. It also explores the First Amendment’s role in the private sector.

The Heat is On: Thermal Sensing and Newsgathering – A Look at the Legal Implications of Modern Newsgathering • Roy Gutterman, Syracuse University; Angela Rulffes, Syracuse University • Thermal imaging technology, which was once used primarily by the military, has made its way into the civilian world. Journalists have already begun making use of the technology, and as that use becomes more prevalent concerns about legal issues also arise. This paper, relying on tort privacy cases, Fourth Amendment case law, and theoretical conceptualizations of privacy, provides an in-depth examination of the legal implications surrounding the use of thermal imaging devices for newsgathering.

Lock or Key: Does FOIA Sufficiently Open the Right to Information? • Tyler Prime, Arizona State University; Joseph Russomanno, Arizona State University • A year after the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Freedom of Information Act was observed, criticism of – and disappointment in – the law is significant. Though written with the strong guidance of journalists, FOIA, according to many, has failed to live up to its initial promise of peeling back the layers that too often shroud the federal government in secrecy, and allowing the news media and other citizens to contribute first-hand to the democracy. The United States was only the third nation to pass such a law, but during the half-century since then, the nation has slipped to 51st among world nations by one measure in right to information. FOIA is much to blame. Issues with response rates, unorganized systems and subjective interpretations of the act and its exemptions have combined to lock information from public access rather than acting as the key it was intended to be. This paper utilizes data from annual federal agency FOIA reports to the attorney general from 2008 to 2015. This information indicates that across multiple metrics, FOIA has increasingly struggled to fulfill and often failed to provide records to requesting parties. The trends revealed suggest that significant overhaul is necessary. Rather than prescribing another round of amendments that are little more than Band-Aids on a withering dinosaur, this paper concludes with a detailed set of recommendations – highlighted by a crowd-sourced request database – that move far from FOIA’s original paper-based model that still rests at its analog core.

The Protection of Privacy in the Middle East – A Complicated Landscape • Amy Kristin Sanders, Northwestern University in Qatar • “throughout the Middle East – erroneously viewed by many outsiders as a homogenous region steeped in conservative Islamic culture – the legal landscape varies dramatically with regard to privacy. This article discusses the many influences that have shaped the legal culture throughout the region, which has drawn inspiration from the British Common Law approach, the European Civil Law heritage and centuries of Islamic thought. The result is unique legal environment that blends together traditional religious values, the impact of decades of colonialism and the recent effects of global interconnectedness as a result of the Internet and social media. Not surprisingly then, the legal framework surrounding the protection of privacy is intricate. It would be much easier to allude to the Middle East in sweeping generalizations, dividing it simply into the Levant countries on the western side and the Gulf countries on the eastern shore. But, that approach fails to address the peculiarities that exist from country to country. Although space constraints require painting with a broad brush, this article endeavors to shed light whenever possible on the region’s similarities and differences by using specific examples from countries. Recognizing the enormous undertaking that would be necessary to catalog each and every law pertaining to privacy across 14 nations, this article instead lays out a comparative framework – highlighting the influences of the common law and civil law traditions on the legal framework throughout the Middle East. It provides a high-level overview of privacy law as it exists throughout the Middle East – comparing various sources of law from Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. In addition, a substantive case study highlights important recent developments and helps foreshadow coming trends in the region.”

Killer Apps: Vanishing messages, encrypted communications, and the challenges to freedom of information laws • Daxton Stewart, TCU • In the early weeks of the new presidential administration, White House staffers were communicating among themselves and leaking to journalists using apps such as Signal and Confide, which allow users to encrypt messages or to make them vanish after being received. By using these apps, government officials are “going dark” by avoiding detection of their communications in a way that undercuts freedom of information laws. In this paper, the author explores the challenges presented by encrypted and ephemeral messaging apps when used by government employees, examining three policy approaches — banning use of the apps, enhancing existing archiving and record-keeping practices, or legislatively expanding quasi-government body definitions — as potential ways to manage the threat to open records laws these “killer apps” present.

Knowledge Will Set You Free (from Censorship): Examining the Effects of Legal Knowledge and Other Editor Characteristics on Censorship and Compliance in College Media • Lindsie Trego, UNC-Chapel HIll • Issues of censorship in higher education have lately been common in the news, however it is unclear to what degree college newspapers experience external influences. This study uses an online survey of public college newspaper editors to examine specific censorship practices experienced by newspaper editors at public colleges, as well as editor compliance with these practices. Further, this study explores how personal characteristics of editors might influence perceptions of and compliance with censorship practices.

First Amendment Metaphors: From “Marketplace” to “Free Flow of Information” • Morgan Weiland, Stanford University • As cognitive linguist George Lakoff has shown, metaphors play a central role in structuring what humans understand as possible. In the First Amendment context, the central organizing metaphor for how judges, scholars, and the public understand the freedom of expression is as a “marketplace.” But little scholarly attention has been paid to a second metaphor that animates the Supreme Court’s thinking about expressive freedoms: the “free flow of information.” This paper’s project and contribution is to recover the free flow metaphor in the Court’s First Amendment doctrine, spanning over 40 opinions dating to the 1940s. This paper reviews every First Amendment opinion in which the Court used the metaphor, finding that the metaphor, by providing a new architecture that structures—and limits—how it is possible to think about who or what counts as a speaker, what qualifies as speech, what the proper role for the press is, and what role the state can play in the expressive environment, undergirds the Court’s development of libertarian theories of speech and the press. Understanding the free flow metaphor’s conceptual structure matters not only because it reveals a shift in the deeper logic of rights and responsibility undergirding the freedoms of expression, a perspective unavailable when looking at the doctrine through the marketplace metaphor’s lens. It also provides a better framework for understanding and fixing the contemporary expressive environment online because some of the most pressing social problems—cyberbullying and fake news—make more sense when assessed through the free flow metaphor’s framework.

Fake News and the First Amendment: Reconciling a Disconnect Between Theory and Doctrine • Sebastian Zarate, University of Florida; Austin Vining, University of Florida; Stephanie McNeff, University of Florida • This paper analyzes calls for regulating so-called “fake news” through the lens of both traditional theories of free expression – namely, the marketplace of ideas and democratic self-governance – and two well-established First Amendment doctrines, strict scrutiny and underinclusivity. The paper argues there is, at first glance, a seeming disconnect between theory and doctrine when it comes to either censoring or safeguarding fake news. The paper contends, however, that a structural-rights interpretation of the First Amendment offers a viable means of reconciling theory and doctrine. A structural-rights approach focuses on the dangers of collective power in defining the truth, rather than on the benefits that messages provide to society or individuals. Ultimately, a structural-rights interpretation illustrates why, at the level of free-speech theory, the government must not censor fake news.

Half the Spectrum: A Title IX Approach to Broadcast Ownership Regulation • Caitlin Carlson, Seattle University • Women make up half of the U.S. population yet own less than eight percent of commercial television and radio broadcast licenses. This is incredibly problematic given the important role women’s media production and ownership plays in the feminist movement. Mass media set the agenda for public debate, frames issues, and primes viewers with the frameworks they should use to evaluate those issues. Women’s greater participation at ownership levels would enable women to speak publicly about their experience, which could substantially alter the agenda set by mass media or shift the frames used to interpret current events. For its part, the FCC has been trying for the past 40 years to address the absence of women and people of color from media ownership. However, in 2016 the Commission rejected race- or gender-based considerations in favor of privileging independent media organizations as the most effective way to achieve viewpoint diversity. Given the failure of the FCC to fix the problem, I argue here that a radical new approach is needed. Using Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 a guide, I propose that legislation be developed that prohibits denying members of either sex the chance to participate in broadcast media organizations, which like educational institutions, receive financial benefits from the federal government. Here, I liken broadcast licenses to federal funds and propose that failure to comply with this anti-discrimination policy could result in license removal.

China’s personal information protection in a data-driven economy: A privacy policy study of Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent • Tao Fu • China’s Internet companies are expanding their businesses at home and abroad with huge consumer data at hand. However, in the global data-driven economic and technological competition, China’s personal information protection is behind that of the West. By content analyzing the online privacy policies of leading Chinese Internet and information service providers (IISPs) – Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent, this study found their privacy policies to be generally compliant with China’s personal information protection provisions. The three IISPs used proper mechanisms showing their commitment, measures, and enforcement to data security but their Fair Information Practices need further improvement. The ecosystem of personal information protection in China is severe and users need privacy literacy. Privacy policies in this study offer more about ‘notice’ than they do ‘choice’. Chinese IISPs collect and use information extensively in the guise of providing value to the user. Societal mechanisms such as joining a third-party, seal-of-approval program and technological mechanisms such as using a standardized format for privacy policies have not been widely sought by Chinese IISPs. Lagging behind their global acquisition and operation, Chinese IISPs’ efforts in personal information protection have given insufficient consideration to transborder data flow, and to change of ownership. Recommendations were offered.

Reforming the Lifeline Program: Regulatory Federalism in Action? • Krishna Jayakar; EUN-A PARK, Institute for Information Policy at Pennsylvania State University • This paper considers whether common national standards for determining participants’ eligibility and designating service providers in the Lifeline program are preferable to a decentralized system where state utility commissions have greater influence over these program parameters. Two recent decisions of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a 2016 Order and its reversal in March 2017, on the designation of Eligible Telecommunications Carriers to provide broadband Lifeline service, centered on this question. Statistical analysis of program data demonstrates that state-by-state variations in enrollment may be attributed to state-level policy actions, after controlling for alternative demographic and economic explanations. On the premise that state-by-state variations in participation rates in a federal program are unfair because they burden consumers solely based on their location, this paper concludes in favor of national standards.

The Medium is the Message: Digital Aesthetics and Publicity Interests in Interactive Media • Michael Park, Syracuse University • Recent application of the right of the publicity doctrine to interactive media has led to inconsistent rulings and uncertainty to the doctrine’s scope, when pitted against First Amendment considerations. These recent court decisions have inadequately explained the disparate application, and this uneven application of legal principles raises serious free speech concerns for expressive activities with other emerging interactive media platforms such as virtual reality. However, these recent decisions have unveiled discernible principles that help explain the disparate approach of the right of publicity doctrine to new interactive media. This article articulates the assumptions guiding the disparate application of the doctrine. This article begins with a historical overview of the right of publicity doctrine and the various approaches adopted by the courts. It will then focus its attention on the transformative work test and address the recent analytical pivot—from a holistic examination of the work to a myopic focus on the individual avatar—by employing a natural rights theory argument to explain the courts’ narrow approach to transformativity. Furthermore, this paper makes the case that the courts’ discordant doctrinal treatment of interactive games is premised in the misplaced notion that the medium lacks artistry and authorial signature (i.e. interactive games are not art, but rather craft). Finally, this work advances the argument that while today’s interactive games present rich historical and pedagogical content, courts have failed to adequately apply common law and statutory exemptions that include not only news, but works of fiction, entertainment, public affairs and sports accounts.

The Privilege That Never Was: The Curious Case of Texas’ Third-Party Allegation Rule • Kenneth Pybus, Abilene Christian University; Allison Brown, Abilene Christian University • Beginning in 1990, the year the Supreme Court of Texas decided McIlvain v. Jacobs, journalists and media lawyers alike operated under the belief that news outlets in Texas had a powerful protection against libel lawsuits when reporting third-party allegations about matters of public concern. Relying on McIlvain, appeals courts cited the “third-party allegation rule” time and again when finding in favor of media defendants. But, after more than two decades, the Supreme Court threw the state’s libel jurisprudence into discord by ruling in 2013 that the third-party allegation rule didn’t exist in common law and, in fact, never had existed. A corrected opinion withdrew some repudiatory language but introduced more ambiguity. The Texas Legislature responded to this abrupt about-face in the summer of 2015 by crafting and passing an apparently sweeping statutory third-party allegation privilege that restores the protections journalists believed they had in such cases. Little legal scholarship has examined the circuitous history of this privilege and its powerful potential for limiting libel claims against media.

Beyond “I Agree:” Users’ Understanding of Web Site Terms of Service • Eric Robinson, University of South Carolina; Yicheng Zhu, University of South Carolina • With the ubiquitous use of websites and social media, the terms of service of these sites have increasing influence on users’ legal rights and responsilibities when using these sites. But various studies have shown that users rarely review these terms of service, usually because they are too much trouble and are often are too complex for most users to understand; one proposed solution is simplification of the language of these documents. Our experiment took advantage of a major website’s revision of its terms of service to reduce legal jargon and make them more understandable to determine whether the changes resulted in language that more effectively conveyed the intended meanings. But our results show that such changes are likely to have minimal effect, and that users generally based on understanding of what is permitted and not permitted on websites with their preconceived notions. Based on this finding, we present some proposals to address this issue.

Revisiting copyright theories: Democratic culture and the resale of digital goods • Yoonmo Sang, Howard University • This study surveys theoretical justifications for copyright and considers the implications of the notion of cultural democracy for copyright law and policy. In doing so, the study focuses on the first sale doctrine and advocates the doctrine’s expansion to digital goods after discussing policy implications of the first sale doctrine. Arguments for and against a digital first sale doctrine are followed. The study argues that democratic copyright theories, in general, and the notion of cultural democracy, in particular, can and should guide copyright reforms in conjunction with a digital first sale doctrine. This study contributes to the growing discussion of democratic theories of copyright by demonstrating their applicability to copyright policy and doctrine.

A Secret Police: The Lasting Impact of the 1986 FOIA Amendments • A.Jay Wagner, Bradley University • The 1986 amendments to the Freedom of Information Act were a passed as a last-minute rider to the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, the Reagan era legislative contribution to the War on Drugs policies. The amendments though small in number and limited in congressional discussion have made a lasting impact on FOIA implementation. The three pieces – a broad restructuring of Exemption 7, the law enforcement exemption; the addition of exclusions for law enforcement and intelligence requests; and introduction of a new fee structure – were aimed at addressing concerns from the law enforcement and intelligence communities and in-line with the general aims of the Anti-Drug Abuse in providing law enforcement more tools and less scrutiny in combating illicit drug production, sale and use. The paper looks to consider the amendment along two tracks. In the tradition of legal scholarship, preceding legislative efforts, judicial decision and executive messaging are pursued in an effort to understand motives and purpose of the amendment. The second track uses a dataset of cabinet-level department FOIA annual reports figures from 1975 until 2016 in exploring the ways the FOIA has been used and administered. The dataset gleaned from more than 550 annual reports traces the ways the 1986 amendment altered civic access to information on policing and national security. Presently, Exemption 7 accounts for 57 percent of all exemption claims and “no records” responses – a direct outcome of exclusions – account for the closure of 15 percent of all records processed and demonstrate massive growth after the amendment. The study demonstrates how the 1986 FOIA Reform Act has undermined the public’s ability to provide oversight of law enforcement.

Essential or Extravagant: Considering FOIA Budgets, Costs & Fees • A.Jay Wagner, Bradley University • The budgets, costs and fees of the Freedom of Information Act represent the financial lifeblood of the access mechanism but are rarely considered in scholarship. This study considers these elements of FOIA administration through a combination of traditional legal scholarship and a database composed of more than 500 FOIA annual reports, compiling 93 percent of all cabinet-level department annual reports from 1975 until present. In exploring the legislative and judicial trajectory of the costs and fees of FOIA implementation, including the illustrative Open America decision and its recognition of a lack of resources as an acceptable rationale for delay, the study questions the sincerity of FOIA administration. Lack of resources has existed as a legal claim for delay since the 1976 Open America decision, yet no statutory progress has been made since. FOIA – a galling obligation for most federal agencies – is required to compete for funding with other agency priorities among the general agency budget. There is no legislative requirement nor guideline in how FOIA is funded, and as a result, FOIA funding is remarkably low (all while the federal government countenances resource excuses). Analysis of FOIA annual report data uncovers little in the way of consistent or coherent system in costs accrued, fees collected, staffing measures and general usage data. The study aims to take a small step in asking big questions about how and why FOIA is financed in the manner it is, and, further, whether such lack of funding and oversight demonstrates insincerity on the government’s part.

State-level Policies for Personal Financial Disclosure: Exploring the Potential for Public Engagement on Conflict-of-Interest Issues • John Wihbey, Northeastern University; Mike Beaudet, Northeastern University • This paper examines personal financial disclosure practices required for public officials across U.S. states and finds that more than 80 percent of states rate poorly when evaluated on a set of objective criteria. A “disclosure degree” score is calculated for each state; these scores are then brought together with a related set of measures to evaluate transparency more broadly for public officials in each state. Levels of public corruption in each state are also considered. For financial disclosure to be meaningful, we argue, three interconnected areas must be evaluated: First, the precision of the information required by law to be disclosed; second, the degree of openness and relevance of information toward the detection of conflicts of interest; third, the degree to which institutional monitors – prosecutors, news media, ethics commissions – can generate public knowledge.