Research and Insights

AEJMC 2016

Below are abstracts of papers presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Annual Conference in 2016.

Carrying Credibility: How News Distribution Affects Reader Judgment

Author: Holly Cowart, Florida

Abstract: This experiment examines the impact of online platforms on source credibility. Using a traditional news media with an online presence, and an online-only news media, it compares news content on three platforms (website, Facebook, Twitter). Results of the 146-person experiment indicate a difference in perceived credibility among platforms. The traditional news media sees a significant drop in credibility between the website and the two social media sites. The online-only news media does not. The implications of these finding are discussed in terms of the changing way that news is presented. News media distribute their content to apps and social media sites. Based on this study, that distribution may result in a loss in credibility for the news source.

Counterspeech, Cosby and Libel Law: Some Lessons about “Pure Opinion” and Resuscitating the Self-Defense Privilege

Author: Clay Calvert, Florida

ABSTRACT: Using the recent federal district court opinions in Hill v. Cosby and Green v. Cosby as analytical springboards, this paper explores problems with the concept of pure opinion in libel law.  Specifically, Hill and Green pivoted on the same allegedly defamatory statement made by attorney Martin Singer on behalf of comedian Bill Cosby, yet the judges involved reached opposite conclusions regarding whether it was protected as pure opinion.  Furthermore, the paper analyzes notions of counterspeech and the conditional self-defense privilege in libel law in arguing for shielding Singer’s statement from liability.  Although the self-defense privilege was flatly rejected in Green because it was not recognized under the relevant state law, it merits renewed consideration in similar cases where attorneys verbally punch back against their clients’ accusers in the court of public opinion.

Consumer socialization through social media: Antecedents of consumer acceptance of native advertising on social networking sites

Author: Yoo Jin Chung, and Eunice Kim, Florida

Abstract: Despite the growing popularity of native advertising in the industry, few studies have examined the factors that influence consumer acceptance of native advertising on SNSs.The present study examined the influences of consumer socialization agents on acceptance of native advertising on SNSs. Findings showed that positive peer communication, social media dependency, and attitude toward social media advertising significantly predicted consumer acceptance of native advertising. The results further revealed the moderating effects of perceived appropriateness of native advertising on the effects of peer communication and social media ad attitude in general.

Effects of Mass Surveillance on Journalists and Confidential Sources: A Constant Comparative Study

Author: Stephenson Waters, Florida

ABSTRACT: This qualitative study explores how national security journalists communicate online using digital security technologies to evade potential surveillance by government authorities. Through a series of seven in-depth interviews with journalists, using a constant comparative method, journalists who participated in this study reported that the way they work has changed under a real or perceived threat of mass government surveillance, making their work more difficult and potentially damaging their communications with sources.

Award: Third place, Top Student Paper, Mass Communication & Society Division.

Follow the Leader on Instagram

Panelist: John Freeman

Promoting the posting of iPhone shots and showing the images in classes has proved to be a non-threatening way of demonstrating how good moments can be found anywhere. As they say, “The best camera is the one you have with you.”

Session: Teaching Tips Marathon, VisCom and Magazine Division joint session

Message Framing Effects on Increasing Donation for Nonprofit Organizations

Author: Jung Won Chun, Florida

Abstract: Message framing has been considered as an important theoretical framework to understanding publics’ perception of nonprofit organizations’ charitable giving campaigns and their subsequent behavior intentions. By adopting appropriate message strategies, particularly framing, charitable giving campaigns can overcome apathy toward a group of unidentified victims and increase donors’ participation. The current study explored the effects of message framing by focusing on regulatory fit (promotion vs. prevention), and donation target (episodic vs. thematic) by employing a 2 × 2 experimental design. The results revealed that people who read a promotion-focused message were more willing to donate than those who read a prevention-focused message when the message targeted several unidentified victims. A moderated mediation effect of feeling of hope showed the underlying mechanism to explain the effects of message framing.

Promoting Healthy Behavior through Social Support in Mobile Health Applications

Author: Jung Won Chun, Jieun Cho, and Sylvia Chan-Olmsted, Florida

ABSTRACT: Mobile health applications serve as a venue for promoting personal well-being by allowing users to engage in health-promoting behavior, such as sharing health information and health status/activities with each other. Through social interactions enabled by mobile health apps, people are likely to engage in healthy behavior and well-being with support from others. The current study explored which factors of smartphone use and motives for using health applications influence the perceived social support from mobile health applications. It also investigated the effect of perceived control as a mediating variable on the relationship between perceived social support in the applications and healthy behavior and well-being. The results showed that perceived social interaction and technological convenience were the main predictors of perceived social support in mobile health apps, which have indirect effects on exercise and perception of well-being. Perceived control positively mediated the relationship between perceived social support in the applications of both exercise and well-being.

Teaching Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Mass Communication

Panel: Teaching Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the Graduate Level

Author: Amy Jo Coffey, Florida

PANEL DESCRIPTION: Innovation and entrepreneurship are not just the domain of business schools. Students of mass communication need these skills and the exposure to this culture as well. All of our panelists are well-versed in this area and have developed curriculum at both the graduate and undergraduate level, have launched minors, and have been involved in training students in know-how of start-up culture, helping them to think innovatively, and coaching them to develop their ideas into entrepreneurial ventures. Get tips and advice on developing your own courses or programs in this area from our panel.

The Social Awakening and the Soul of News

Author: Ronald Rodgers, Florida

ABSTRACT: Sequestered among the “diverse and conflicting views and opinions” about the then undefined ethics of the changing newspaper press at the turn of the last century was the notion of the “social awakening” that approximates Kant’s arousal from a “dogmatic slumber” – in this case the Progressive era’s awakening to the after-effects on society of Herbert Spencer’s ethical system of laissez-faire politics and extreme individualism that had held sway for so many years. This notion of a social awakening was expressed in a number of approximate variants with an overlapping association of ideas hinged to it – William Howard Taft once called it the “quickening of the public conscience” – and countless observers referred to it with little in the way of explanation since it had become such a commonplace conceit. This paper explores the long conversation about news ethics as it was hinged to the social awakening and the derivative of that discussion – the ineffable notion of the soul of news. The soul – at its most basic – was linked to the “general awakening of the social consciousness” and was part and parcel of a moral argument about news and service to society that trumped the demands of the market and its constraints on journalistic conduct and content.

The Right to Record Images of Police in Public Places: Should Intent, Viewpoint or Journalistic Status Determine First Amendment Protection?

Author: Clay Calvert

ABSTRACT: Using the February 2016 federal district court ruling in Fields v. City of Philadelphia as an analytical springboard, this paper examines growing judicial recognition of a qualified First Amendment right to record images of police working in public places.  The paper argues that Judge Mark Kearney erred in Fields by requiring that citizens must intend to challenge or criticize police, via either spoken words or expressive conduct, in order for the act of recording to constitute “speech” under the First Amendment.  The paper asserts that a mere intent to observe police – not to challenge or criticize them – suffices.  The paper also explores how recording falls within the scope of what some scholars call “speech-facilitating conduct.”  Additionally, the paper criticizes Kearney’s view, as well as that of a federal judge in the Southern District of New York in 2015, suggesting that the right to record is possessed only by journalists, not by all citizens.

Award:  First Place, Faculty Paper, Law & Policy Division

Underinclusivity and the First Amendment: The Legislative Right to Nibble at Problems After Williams-Yulee Second Place Faculty Paper

Author: Clay Calvert, Florida

ABSTRACT: Using the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 opinions in Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar and Reed v. Town of Gilbert as analytical springboards, this paper examines the slipperiness – and sometimes fatalness – of the underinclusiveness doctrine in First Amendment free-speech jurisprudence.  The doctrine allows lawmakers, at least in some instances, to take incremental, step-by-step measures to address harms caused by speech, rather than requiring an all-out, blanket-coverage approach.  Yet, if the legislative tack taken is too small to ameliorate the harm that animates a state’s alleged regulatory interest, it could doom the statute for failing to directly advance it.  In brief, the doctrine of underinclusivity requires lawmakers to thread a very fine needle’s eye between too little and too much regulation when drafting statutes.  To wit, underinclusivity was tolerated and permitted by the majority in Williams-Yulee, but it proved fatal in Reed.  This paper suggests that while Williams-Yulee attempts to better define underinclusivity, its subjectivity remains problematic.

Award:  Second Place, Faculty Paper, Law & Policy Division

Understanding motivations and engagement outcomes of social TV participation: A case study of the Super Bowl 2016

Authors: Di Wu and Eunice Kim, Florida

ABSTRACT: In today’s media environment, TV programmers and advertisers must strive ever harder to attract the attention of audiences. Yet what may be even more crucial is engaging them in conversations on social media and nourishing stronger relationships. To provide insights into how to improve audience experiences through social media television participation, this study investigates audience motivations for using SNSs while watching sports program (i.e., social media television co-viewing) and examines relationships between identified motivations and key audience engagement outcomes. The results reveal four motivations for social TV participation: information seeking, social social interaction seeking, relaxation, and sports-related interaction seeking. Further, results reveal that social interaction predicts satisfaction toward the program, while investment and commitment are predicted by information and sports-related interaction.

Framing Barry Goldwater: The Extreme Reaction to His 1964 “Extremism” Speech

Author: Rich Shumate, Florida

ABSTRACT: This paper explores how media framing during coverage of the 1964 Republican National Convention engendered a negative reaction to Barry Goldwater’s acceptance speech, which became know for one line: “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”

Award: Top Student Paper/History Division

Pride and Prejudice: Anita Bryant, Same-Sex Marriage, and “Hitler’s View” in The Miami Herald

Author: Rich Shumate, Florida

ABSTRACT: This paper looks at how use of pejorative characterizations of the LGBT community has changed over the last 40 years in the Miami Herald through a content analysis of coverage of three LGBT controversies.

Guilt by Association: Barry Goldwater, the Anti-Communist Fringe, and CBS’s Thunder on the Right

Author: Rich Shumate, Florida

ABSTRACT: This paper analyzes the structure and narrative of a 1962 CBS Reports documentary on the rise of the American Right, which generated a negative valence by conflating mainstream and extreme conservative groups.

Speech v. Conduct, Surcharges v. Discounts: Testing the Limits of the First Amendment and Statutory Construction in the Growing Credit Card Quagmire

Author: Rich Shumate, Stephanie McNeff and Stephenson Waters, Florida

ABSTRACT: This paper looks at the First Amendment implications of laws that forbid merchants from imposing surcharges on customers who pay with credit cards, arguing that these laws infringe on both the right of merchants to speak and the right of customers to receive information.

Obsessing over the white: Effects of fairness cream commercials on Pakistani-American Women.

Author: Aqsa Bashir, Florida

ABSTRACT: This study examines the effects of two types of message appeals (emotional Vs. cognitive) in conjunction with two cultures influencing Pakistani-American women’s ideal skin color. These ideals are likely to be influenced by both the Pakistani and the Western environment the women grew up in. The current study found that the hegemonic American culture played a significant role in shifting the Pakistani woman’s ideal skin color from a lighter toward a darker spectrum.

Award: Best Student Paper Minority Division

Understanding Peer Communication about Companies on Social Media: Evidence from China and the United States

Authors: Linjuan Rita Men, Florida and Sid Muralidharan, Southern Methodist

ABSTRACT: This study proposed and tested a social media peer communication model that links tie strength, social media dependency, and public-organization social media engagement to the peer communication process as well as organization-public relationship outcomes. Through an online survey of 328 American and 304 Chinese social media users, results showed that tie strength and public-organization social engagement are positive predictors of peer communication about companies on social media, which further leads to quality organization-public relationships.

Award: First Place Top Paper of the Public Relations Division

The Lives of Others

Panelist: John Freeman, Florida 

Establishing a small class with the sole purpose of producing contest-worthy material proved successful. A group of mostly white students documented our town’s black community with video and photos, and was awarded fifth place in Team Entry for the 2015-2016 Hearst contest.

Session: Great Ideas for Teachers (GIFT) poster presentation.

The Ties that Bind

Panelist: John Freeman, Florida 

In an effort to get off campus for community involvement, a 1-credit-hour journalism class looked at the common themes that the Black community seemed to embrace:  religion, food and barbershops.

Session: Viscom Teaching Panel: Engaging Students with Community-Sourced Photojournalism (cosponsored with SPIG).

Visual Communication Skills for the Journalism and Mass Communication Classroom

Each speaker gets 20 minutes.

Web Design in 2016: Just Enough Code

Panelist: Mindy McAdams, Florida

Description: The Visual Communication Division offers a workshop teaching some general visual communication skills applicable to all disciplines of journalism and mass communication. Topics include photography, infographics, web design, smartphone video, and more. These are skills everyone can do, and teach, that don’t require high end tools and high end knowledge. Pre-registration is required.

Tweet This: Two Weeks on the Social Media Frontlines

Presented by AEJMC and Scripps Howard Foundation

Panelist: Mindy McAdams, Florida

Description: Join the 2015-16 class of Scripps Howard Foundation Visiting Professors in Social Media as they share their practical takeaways for teaching social media. For the past six years, the Scripps Howard Foundation has funded a visiting professors program that puts educators in media outlets for two weeks during the summer so that they can see first-hand how social media are being used to deliver news and information. This session will feature our visiting professor experiences with partner outlets C-SPAN (Washington, D.C.); the Dallas Morning News (Dallas, TX); DigitasLBi Chicago (Chicago, IL); the Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, CA); Scripps Washington Bureau (Washington, D.C.); and WCPO-TV and (Cincinnati, OH). Learn how these professors incorporated their two-week “externships” into their classrooms and how they benefited from reciprocal campus visits.

Understanding age segmentation in persuasion: The effects of experiential and material messages

Authors: Jing (Taylor) Wen, Naa Amponsah Dodoo, Linwan Wu, Ilyoung Ju and Sriram Kalyanaraman, Florida

ABSTRACT: Despite the growing significance of message segmentation strategies based on consumers’ age, the psychological effects of age on decision making remain somewhat unexplored. Building on prior studies, this research examined the influence of age on consumers’ responses to different advertising messages. In particular, this study examined whether framing a specific product (automobile) as either material or experiential would influence consumer responses to the product. Experimental results revealed a main effect of message type and interaction between message type and age on attitude toward the ad. Specifically, individuals reported more favorable attitudes toward a material rather than an experiential message type. An interaction effect showed that younger people had more positive attitudes toward the material message while no difference was found for older people. Additionally, younger people had more favorable brand attitudes when exposed to a material rather than an experiential message, while, older people did not exhibit this pattern. The results also revealed the mediating role of ad credibility such that perceived ad credibility mediated the relationship between message type and ad attitude. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Award: Third-place top faculty paper in Advertising Division

Corporate ethical branding on YouTube: CSR communication Strategies and brand anthropomorphism

Authors: Jing (Taylor) Wen and Baobao Song, Florida

ABSTRACT: Even as ethical branding gain increasing prominence, the effectiveness of specific communication and branding strategies remains somewhat unexplored. A content analysis was conducted to examine Fortune 500 companies’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) advertisements and user comments on YouTube. The results showcase the importance of involvement strategy of CSR communication and brand anthropomorphism on generating positive consumer responses, and a positive correlation between these two strategies. The findings further suggest that the success of ethical branding on social media lies in more interactive and engaging communication as well as branding strategies.

Award: Second-place top student paper in Advertising Division

The Younger Maintain, the older regulate: The generational effects on sequential mixed emotions

Author: Jing (Taylor) Wen, Florida

ABSTRACT: Ads with mixed emotions can capture audience’s attention and therefore be persuasive. By using Socio-emotional Selectivity Theory as a theoretical framework, this research examines the influence of generations and sequential mixed emotions on persuasion. Findings indicate that Baby Boomers exhibit more favorable evaluation than Millennials when exposed to an appeal with improving mixed emotions (i.e., negative then positive), because Baby Boomers are better at emotion regulation. In contrast, when exposed to declining appeal (i.e., positive then negative), both generations evaluate the ad positively, because both age groups are able to maintain positive emotions. Theoretical and practical implications are also discussed.

Award: Third-place top student paper in Advertising Division

Does public segmentation matter in crisis communication? The interplay between public segmentation and crisis response strategies.

Author: Jing (Taylor) Wen, Florida

ABSTRACT: The Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT) provides guidelines for understanding the effectiveness of different crisis response strategies. The current study showcases the importance of public segmentation in the SCCT model. A 3 (crisis response strategy: deny, diminish, rebuild)  4 (public segment: advocate, dormant, adversarial, apathetic) factorial experiment was conducted. The findings suggest that advocate public expressed more positive evaluation about the company when exposed to rebuild and deny strategies. Both dormant and adversarial stakeholders reported positive responses on rebuild and diminish strategies. However, no difference was found among apathetic public. Theoretical and managerial implications are also discussed.