Research and Insights

CJC at the 2018 AEJMC Southeast Colloquium

March 8-10, 2018
University of Alabama


Clay Calvert, professor of Journalism, Director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project

Beyond Headlines and Holdings: Exploring Some Less Obvious Ramifications of the Supreme Court’s 2017 Free-Speech Rulings

Abstract: Digging behind the holdings, this paper analyzes less conspicuous, yet highly consequential aspects of the United States Supreme Court’s First Amendment rulings during the opening half of 2017. The four facets of the opinions addressed here – items both within individual cases and cutting across them – hold vast significance for future free-speech battles. Nuances of the justices’ splintering in Matal v. Tam, Packingham v. North Carolina and Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman are examined, as is the immediate impact of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s Packingham dicta regarding online social networks. Furthermore, Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s solo concurrence in the threats case of Perez v. Florida is explored.

Graduate Students

Kelsy-Ann Adams, doctoral student

Female Commodification in the Music Industry: A Content Analysis of Billboard’s Top 100

Co-Authors:  Easton Wollney, doctoral student

AbstractThis study focuses on the commodification of women in the entertainment industry, specifically in music videos, and how this trend contributes to the rape culture which runs rampant through U.S. culture (Buchwald, Fletcher, & Roth, 1998). In rape culture specifically, it is important to look at the underlying causes of how so many cases of rape, especially acquaintance rape, become a common theme on many college campuses (Burnett, et al., 2009; Bretz, 2014). This study looks at the rise of women’s role in the public sphere, and the backlash women have faced, with the potential increase in sexualization of women of higher power in music videos (Hatton and Trautner 2012). Having an only dichotomous view of women, either sexual or domestic, contributes to the view of women as objects, and how it fits into the overall beliefs of rape and sexual assault in American Pop Culture. The commodification of anyone makes it easier to commit violence against them (Bretz 2014), and in hypersexualizing of women, the schema of man+girl= sex consistently repeated in music video can create communication issues in social interactions that can eventually aid in beliefs that align with rape committing rape or being victimized in such a way. 

Keith Saint, MAMC – Telecommunication

The Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988 and its Impacts on Modern “Video Tape Service Providers”

Abstract: The prevalence of online video as being a delivery mechanism for content has led to many questions about how the Video Privacy Protection Act and how it applies toward online video subscription services. Due to the change in technology since the original act was passed in 1988, much of the language in the act is vague in application towards present media consumption methods and the habits of consumers.

An amendment to the VPAA passed in 2012 allowed electronic consent to be obtained rather than only written consent from customer. But the amendment that was meant to make it easier for video subscription services to obtain consent has also raised other issues due to its plain language. Despite being about 5 years since President Obama signed the bill into law, many services are still not deploying social integration on a scale originally envisioned during its original passage. This could be due to the fear of potential lawsuits given that there is little case law and the text of the law is open to interpretation.

This research will look at the application of existing law and court cases in terms of video privacy in an era when video consumption online is continuously increasing.

Research questions to be considered in the research are: What are the effects that the VPPA have on “video tape service providers” in the way they choose to operate? How could the VPPA be modernized for today’s media environment?

This research will focus on the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) and its impact on online video subscription services that meet the definition of “video tape service provider” under the statute. Media consumption is quickly changing and privacy issues are continually evolving as people choose new ways to consume media and communicate online. This paper will address the topic of how the privacy of video consumption online needs further discourse as well a reconsideration of existing legislation.

Austin Vining, doctoral student

No Means No: An Argument for the Expansion of Rape Shield Laws to Cases of Nonconsensual Pornography

AbstractThis paper considers the impact of a hypothetical nonconsensual pornography victim’s previous sexual history on potential legal remedies, both criminal and civil. Due to jury bias and the difficulty in proving standard elements of many claims, this research shows that such a victim would likely be unsuccessful in court. The paper then turns to two legal concepts from related fields — the incremental harm doctrine and rape shield laws — and considers what effect their application would have on the hypothetical victim’s case. Ultimately, the author presents an argument for the logical expansion of rape shield laws to cases of nonconsensual pornography.

Cen “April” Yue, doctoral student

How Perceived Transparent Communication Fosters Employees’ Openness to Organizational Change: A Model

Abstract: Organizations are experiencing constant changes in an unstable and unpredictable business environment. These organizational changes pose challenges to management, and, to a great extent, the success of change initiatives depend on employees’ support. However, no research has yet examined the role of transparent internal communication in affecting employees’ change-related reactions. A conceptual model is proposed to illustrate how perceived transparent communication can foster employee openness to change by decreasing the perceived change-related uncertainty. Drawing upon the social exchange theory, the perceived transparent communication between the management and the employees helps employees better understand the change and develop coping behaviors to handle the change, thus leading to positive attitude towards it. This model further untangles the interacting influences between transparent communication and organizational (e.g., transactional leadership) and individual factors (e.g., internal locus of control). The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the change management scholarship from the internal communication’s perspective. Implications on public relations scholarship and practice are discussed.