Journalism professor Wayne Wanta is presented with a plaque commemorating his Anniversary Lecture at Dhaka University in Bangladesh. The Anniversary Lecture highlighted activities celebrating 50-plus years of instruction in the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism.
Pictured with Wanta, from left: Mofizur Rhaman, chair of the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism; Arefin Siddique, Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University; and Akhtar Sultana, professor and chairperson.
From left to right: Nathan King, Valeria Yulee and Andrea Cepeda. Team members Trisha Tucker and Eliot Levy and adviser Deanna Pelfrey were unable to attend the awards event.
CJC’s 2015 Bateman Team won the Florida Public Relations Association Award of Distinction in the Student Projects in Public Relations Division Public Relations Campaign category for their “Imagine…a Place Called Home” project.
The team won second place in the Public Relations Student Society of America national competition for the same project.
The Bateman team includes seniors Andrea Cepeda, Nathan King, Elliot Levy, Trisha Tucker and Valeria Yulee. They were presented with the award in a ceremony on August 11.
Clay Calvert, professor of journalism and Brechner Eminent Scholar in Mass Communication and Director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project at the University of Florida, published an article in the Richmond Journal of Law and Public Interest titled Content-based Confusion and Panhandling: Muddling a Weathered First Amendment Doctrine Takes its Toll on Society’s Less Fortunate.
This article examines multiple problems now plaguing the fundamental dichotomy in First Amendment jurisprudence between content-based and content-neutral regulations of speech.
The troubles were highlighted by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 divided decision in McCullen v. Coakley. Building from McCullen, this article uses a quartet of federal court rulings from 2014 and 2013 involving anti-begging ordinances affecting the home-less as analytical springboards for examining these issues in depth.
Ultimately, the article proposes a three-step framework for mitigating the muddle and calls on the nation’s high court to take action to clarify the proper test for distinguishing between content-based and content-neutral regulations.
Joining CJC’s roster of graduate classes this fall is a new course on fundraising tactics, MMC 6936 (02EE)—Fundraising Communication Fundamentals (syllabus). The 2015 fall class is held Tuesdays, Periods 9 to 11, and is open to all current graduate students.
The course is organized into four modules of four weeks each covering different types of fundraising tactics, and each module is taught by a different CJC graduate faculty member – representing three of the Colleges four departments.
Dr. Julie Dodd, professor of journalism, leads off the course with her module on “Writing Effective Business Communication Tactics.” Dodd previously was named the College’s Teacher of the Year and twice received a UF TIP Award for outstanding teaching. She serves on the UF Graduate Student Teacher Awards Committee and the UF Faculty Senate. Her research focuses on pedagogy and technology use.
Dr. Amy Jo Coffey, associate professor of telecommunication, teaches the second module on “Mastering Interpersonal Communication Tactics with Diverse Publics.” Coffey’s expertise focuses on ethnic and non-English speaking audiences in the United States, audience behavior and preferences, and advertiser perception of ethnic audiences. Her teaching and research has earned her several UF awards, including being named a 2014-2016 UF Foundation Research Professor.
Dr. James Babanikos, associate professor of telecommunication, teaches the third module on “Producing Electronic Communication Tactics.” Babanikos has experience in writing, directing, producing and editing films and digital/video programs in virtually every genre, including drama, documentary, corporate, and television commercials. He has received production grants from various organizations, including the Independent Television Service, and his projects have won many awards in competitions.
Dr. Linjuan “Rita” Men, assistant professor of public relations, wraps up the course with her module on “Utilizing Digital and Social Media Communication Channels.” Men is a specialist on digital engagement, leadership communication, and employee relations. Her recent research on social media has earned her five awards from national and international communication conferences and associations. Men just joined the UF faculty this semester after three years at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX.
MMC 6936—Fundraising Communication Fundamentals is one of the two required core courses in the College’s new Graduate Certificate in Fundraising Management. The certificate, which requires just nine credit hours to complete, is one of only a few in the nation that qualifies for graduate credit. Students can complete the certificate in as little as two semesters, and its courses may be taken as electives to satisfy degree requirements – at both the master’s and doctoral levels.
The fundraising certificate program likely is the first in the United States that is co-sponsored by a university-affiliated foundation, the University of Florida Foundation. Upon completion of the certificate, students will be granted an exploratory interview with the Foundation for available employment opportunities.
Detailed information on the certificate program is available at www.jou.ufl.edu/fundraising-management. For more information on MMC 6936—Fundraising Communications Fundamentals, e-mail the coordinator of the program, Dr. Kathleen Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Journalism Professor Julie Dodd made a presentation on “Your Syllabus and the First Week of Class” at UF’s Orientation for New Teaching Assistants. Four hundred new teaching assistants attended the orientation, sponsored by the Graduate Division and the UF Teaching Center.
Professor Emeritus Hank Conner is hosting his last radio call-in show, Conner Calling, on WUFT-FM on August 21, 2015. The Gainesville Sun features the occasion in the August 20, 2015 article, “Now 76, Hank Conner airs his last ‘Conner Calling’ show Friday.”
Professor of Public Relations Linda Hon and doctoral students Jungyun Won and Ah Ram Lee have won PRSA’s 2015 Top Faculty Research paper for their research on factors that influence individuals’ decisions to participate and remain engaged in online social issue campaigns.
“The Role of Situational Awareness and Participation Benefits on Motivating Publics’ Online Social Campaign Behavior Intentions: Moderating Effects of Social Ties Influence”
The digital era has raised a new and important question for public relations professionals: What factors influence individuals’ decisions to participate and remain engaged in online social issue campaigns? Research conducted prior to the ubiquity of the Internet and social media suggested that people tend to mobilize around issues for which they have strong situational awareness, that is, issues they care about, feel involved in, and feel they can do something about. This study builds upon this framework by introducing possible additional predictors that may be especially relevant for online engagement including perceived benefits of participation and the strength of a participant’s social ties to the issue.
A random sample of 491 U.S. citizens was contacted through Mechanical Turk, a crowdsourcing tool from Amazon. Participants responded to a survey that included a fictitious Facebook page designed to recruit supporters for an online campaign about animal welfare and protection. Results showed that an individual’s situational awareness about the issue and perceived participation benefits were significant predictors of willingness to engage in the online social campaign through activities such as sharing information, signing a petition, and donating.
The study also found that influence from social ties moderates the relationship between situational awareness and willingness to participate. Respondents with strong social ties to the issue through family and friends expressed more willingness to participate compared to respondents with only weak ties to the issue characterized by awareness gleaned from celebrities or authority figures who support the cause. However, in instances of high situational awareness, even weak ties can motivate participation. These results suggest that professional communicators should include strong appeals about participation benefits in their online campaign strategy as well as understand the potentially powerful influence of a participant’s social ties to the issue.
Assistant Professor of Telecommunication Yu-Hao Lee and colleagues from Oklahoma University and University of California-Santa Barbara, have been awarded $549,061 from National Science Foundation Cyberlearning and Future Learning Technologies program.
The two-year project will design and test a digital game to overcome reactance in training and teach professionals (especially law officials) how to overcome bias and problematic heuristics in deception detection. OU will be in charge of developing the game and Professor Lee will be involved in the design process and developing scales in year one. In year two, the team will conduct experiments at UF and at UCSB.
Teaching Bias Mitigation through Training Games with Application in Credibility Attribution
The Cyberlearning and Future Learning Technologies Program funds efforts that will help envision the next generation of learning technologies and advance what we know about how people learn in technology-rich environments. Cyberlearning Exploration (EXP) Projects explore the viability of new kinds of learning technologies by designing and building new kinds of learning technologies and studying their possibilities for fostering learning and challenges to using them effectively. This project will develop and study an interactive game entitled VERITAS for making players aware of their cognitive bias in decision making and attempting to mitigate its effects. The game focuses on detecting deception and many of the research participants are from law enforcement.
Heuristics are cognitive shortcuts acquired from existing beliefs and past experiences. Heuristics and cognitive biases affect virtually every judgment being made in daily life. Humans often perform no better than chance when attempting to distinguish truths from deception and tend to be over-confident in their ability to detect deception. They are rarely aware of their own biases and are resistant to traditional training efforts aimed at changing decision-making processes. There are few studies verifying our ability to mitigate cognitive biases.
This project will explore using game-based learning to make people aware of cognitive biases and reduce their reliance on simple heuristics. The project asserts that the experiential environment afforded by game-based learning should be particularly effective at facilitating the introspection necessary for learners to actively experiment with more systematic decision-making techniques. It will experimentally test the effectiveness of a game-based training program targeting law enforcement officials. This research integrates a theory-driven design using multiple research methods, including observation of behavior during game play, surveys, interviewing, and experimentation. This project will contribute to the understanding of how cognitive biases function within the context of deception detection and will advance understanding of how a game may be better suited than traditional learning methods at mitigating cognitive biases. Results will be disseminated through convention exhibitions and journal publications and the team plans to showcase this game at professional conferences with game developers, law enforcement officials, and the general public.
Professor of Public Relations Linda Hon’s article on Digital Social Advocacy in the Justice for Trayvon Campaign was published in the August 2015 issue of the Journal of Public Relations Research.
This study examined the digital media ecosystem that developed during the Justice for Trayvon campaign prior to the arrest of Trayvon Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman. Research literature in public relations, social advocacy, and digital communication, as well as content relevant to the campaign in Lexis/Nexis and on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, were used to develop a theoretical model of digital social advocacy within the context of public relations management.
Associate Professor Cynthia Morton and doctoral student Sun-Young Park’s article on “The Role of Regulatory Focus, Social Distance, and Involvement in Anti-High-Risk Drinking Advertising: A Construal-Level Theory Perspective” was published in the Journal of Advertising.
The present study examines the effects of regulatory focus, social distance, and involvement interplay on responses to anti-high-risk advertising messages. Results indicate that when asked to make judgments for distant entities, individuals are more persuaded by a promotion-focused frame in terms of ad attitudes, and responsible drinking attitudes and intentions, whereas there are no differential framing effects on judgments associated with proximal entities. The findings suggest the moderating effects of social distance on regulatory focus consistent with construal-level theory. In addition, in examining boundary conditions the results reveal that the construal-level effects are dependent on individuals’ involvement levels.
High-risk drinking among college students is one of the most challenging problems on college campuses (Lederman 2010). Binge (high-risk) drinking, defined as drinking five or more drinks in one sitting within the past 30 days, has actually increased over time. Nowhere is this more ubiquitous than on college campuses; college students have a higher prevalence of occasions of high-risk drinking—37% versus 30% among their peers of the same age (Johnston et al. 2013). Johnston and colleagues’ (2013) study shows that 37% of college students are involved in high-risk drinking on most college campuses, while 81% engage in drinking behavior at some time during their college years on campus. The study also indicates that the high rate of high-risk drinking has a profound influence on learning, retention, and graduation and is linked to the use/abuse of other substances (e.g., cocaine) and to mortality and morbidity from alcohol-related accidents and deaths.
Recognizing that high-risk drinking is a serious problem among college students, many attempts have been made to reduce such behavior and encourage responsible drinking (e.g., Berkowitz 2001). Social norm intervention, which attempts to correct misperceptions about peer drinking norms, has been prevalent; yet several studies have demonstrated that it has questionable effectiveness (e.g., Polonec, Major, and Atwood 2006). In line with this, recent studies acknowledge the complex social nature of human interaction, emphasizing the development of advertising messages designed to target individuals’ specific orientations toward alcohol use (Lederman 2010). Indeed, both social contextual and individual factors in public health could moderate an advertising message’s effect on health outcomes.
Whether a student decides to drink depends on individual disposition and on a decision made by an individual situated in a social relationship. A critical factor influencing drinking behaviors may be self-regulatory goals, which refer to a person’s tendency to orient his or her behavior toward favorable or unfavorable outcomes (i.e., motivational orientations) (Latimer, Salovey, and Rothman 2007). The saliency of norms, or the degree of immediacy normative behaviors have in an individual’s environment, could influence reactions to advertising messages that either encourage or discourage drinking behavior (Yanovitzky, Stewart, and Lederman 2006). Further, an individual’s level of involvement when processing the information (i.e., motivational state) may be an important factor affecting his or her responses to the messages as well. Yet few studies have empirically examined the effects of dispositional criteria, such as self-regulatory strategies, the saliency of peer norms on the risk taking of individuals, or the level of involvement, on evaluations of anti-high-risk drinking ad messages.
Thus, the purpose of this study is to examine the correspondence between messages framed as regulatory orientations, social distance, and involvement. The current research examines whether the persuasive effect of the message’s regulatory focus differs as a function of social distance frames based on conceptual rationale drawn from construal-level theory. This research also seeks to investigate how the construal fit effect between regulatory focus and social distance is influenced when the individual’s involvement with framed messages varies. In doing so the exploration not only intends to shed light on the potential effects of the framed messages but also to contribute to construal-level theory by testing its boundary conditions and tapping into unanswered issues. The findings will provide important theoretical implications for future research on public health interventions and practical implications for advertisers’ strategic use of individually tailored messages, particularly in anti-high-risk drinking advertising.