Research and Insights

CJC at the Broadcast Education Association Convention 2017

April 22-25, 2017
Las Vegas, Nevada

Ginger Blackstone, adjunct lecturer, Department of Telecommunication, Ph.D. 2016

“The Worst of Times”: The Prevalence and Power of Fear in Television News.

Award: Harwood Dissertation Award

Abstract: This dissertation, grounded in propaganda and cultivation theories, aimed to discover the amount of fear-inducing content in television news and whether regular exposure eroded viewers’ real-world perceptions.  First, a content analysis was used to measure fear-inducing production techniques and propaganda language in five programs (n = 200): “ABC World News Tonight,” “CBS Evening News,” “NBC Nightly News,” Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” and MSNBC’s “Hardball.”  Newscasts had more fear-inducing production techniques than talk shows; however, talk shows had more propaganda language in seven categories—name calling, glittering generalities, transfer, testimonial, plain folks, card stacking, and bandwagon—than newscasts.  The amount of fear-framed stories and fear-inducing production techniques correlated positively with viewership; however, the amount of propaganda language correlated negatively.  Fear-inducing stories and testimonial propaganda were positive predictors for viewership, while name calling, transfer, and bandwagon propaganda were negative predictors.

Adjusting audience figures to accommodate limited channel distribution or potential audience lag response times showed little change.  Next, 2012 American National Election Studies Time Series survey data was examined.  Self-reported television news exposure correlated with a negative view of the state of the nation, disapproval of the performance of the national government, but more self-satisfaction.  Self-identified conservatives were more likely to have a negative view of the state of the nation, disapprove of the President’s performance, but express more self-satisfaction; however, registered Democrats expressed the most self-satisfaction, followed by those in other parties, Independents, and registered Republicans.

Overall news exposure that included television, Internet, newspaper, and radio correlated with a negative view of the state of the nation and disapproval of Congress’ performance, but approval of the President’s performance and more self-satisfaction.  “ABC Nightly News” had the most fear-inducing production techniques.  “Hardball” had the most propaganda language.  Viewers of “The O’Reilly Factor” had a negative view of the state of the nation.  Viewers of “Hardball” had a positive view.  Viewers of both disapproved of Congress’ performance, while viewers of “CBS Evening News” expressed less self-satisfaction.  Taken together, the findings do not consistently support the notion that exposure to fear-framed content eroded viewers’ real-world perceptions, bolstering critics of cultivation effects.


The Eyes Have It: Television News, Fear Triggers, and the Race for Viewers.

Award: top paper for the news division (open category)

Abstract: Fear can be a highly disruptive emotion and one that is difficult to ignore.  In this hyper-mediated world where audiences and advertising drive revenues for media companies, is fear-inducing content a successful strategy to build audiences for news and information platforms?  Noting that television is still a primary source of news and information for more than half of Americans, this effort used a content analysis to empirically examine the amount of fear content in a selection of broadcast television newscasts and cable news talk shows (n=200).  The study then compared those variables to viewership numbers.  Forty dates between July 2, 2012, and November 2, 2012 were randomly selected, stratified so that there were an equal number of each weekday, then five major news programs on the each date were pulled: “ABC World News Tonight,” “NBC Nightly News,” “CBS Evening News,” “The O’Reilly Factor,” and “Hardball with Chris Matthews.”

Fear-inducing production elements were coded, including music, sound effects, “other” fear-inducing sounds, video, graphics, and “other” fear-inducing visuals.  Language was also coded by applying the seven propaganda techniques identified by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis: name calling, glittering generalities, transfer, testimonial, plain folks, card stacking, and bandwagon.  It was found that traditional newscasts used more fear-inducing production elements while talk shows used more propaganda language.  The number of fear-inducing stories and fear-inducing production elements correlated positively with viewership, but propaganda language correlated negatively with viewership.  The overall findings suggest that some fear-inducing content can attract more viewers for television news programs.

Amy Jo Coffey, Ph.D., Associate Professor – Department of Telecommunication, Director – Master’s program with specialization in Audience Analytics

Panel:  “Teaching Audience Analytics at the Graduate Level,”                 Session:  “Link Audience/Digital Analytics Class to External Clients in a Real World.”


Eric EsterlineLecturer in Sports Communication, Journalism, and Production – Department of Telecommunication

Panel – Working with Athletic Departments

Abstract: With an increased need for content; broadcast, digital, & social media, college athletic departments have relied more and more on students to become an active participants in what information is being turned out. With a rise in sport academic programs, there is more of a relationships between athletics and academics then ever. This panel will look at both the positives and negatives of this now important partnership.


Bruce Getz, Doctoral student at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications

Social Media Training in the Television Newsroom

Abstract: The purpose of this exploratory study is to investigate the level and nature of the social media training which takes place in television newsrooms in order to inform future research and industry practice.  Seven news managers were recruited as participants and semi-structured interviews were conducted to find out if social media training was delivered, in what form it was delivered, the topics addressed, and the perceived effectiveness of the training.

The resource-based view of the firm guided this investigation, as newsroom employees represent unique resources news companies should nurture in order to establish competitive advantages.  Results showed that most participants were administering some form of social media training, but the forms and topics of training varied.  News managers generally considered the training effective, but believed it could be improved.  Based on these initial findings, social media in the television newsroom should be delivered in a more organized and systematic fashion.  Limitations and implications for future research are discussed.


Lucy March, Media Coordinator for the Sports Division, M.A.M.C. International and Intercultural Communications

“Ain’t Afraid to Die”: Impact of the Japanese Metal Band Dir En Grey on its American Fans

Abstract: This master’s thesis focuses on a popular Japanese metal band, Dir en grey, which had commercial success in America in the early 2000s, and the impact of the band on the mental health and identity formation of its American fans. The study asks in particular how fans decoded (or interpreted) the band’s music, and the mental health impact of the music on fans. Drawing on an intercultural communications perspective, the study used in-depth interviews with 10 fans of Dir en grey to examine the fans’ history and level of engagement with the band, the fans’ mental health history, and the fans’ use of the band’s music to cope with depression or anxiety.

The study found that fans generally had a high level of engagement with the band, either through reading lyrics, attending live shows, or engaging with other fans, which led to greater emotional impact from the band’s music. Emotional impact was generally positive, with fans using the band’s music as a coping mechanism for negative events and feelings in their lives. The discussion considers implications for international music and culture consumption.


Tim Sorel, Associate Professor – Department of Telecommunication

Panel: Collaboration, The Art of Working with Others


Houston Wells, Lecturer – Department of Telecommunication

Panel: Keeping up with Innovative Technologies/Thinking outside the Box


Min Xiao, Doctoral Student at University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications

Factors Influencing eSports Viewership: An Approach Based on the Theory of Reasoned Action

Abstract: This study employs the theory of reasoned action to examine factors that influence the behavior of watching eSports. A structural equation modeling analysis is performed to examine the interaction between intention to watch eSports, attitude toward watching eSports, subjective norms, behavioral beliefs, and normative beliefs. The results suggest that three behavioral beliefs related factors (aesthetics, drama, and escapism) and subjective norms are positively related to attitude toward watching eSports. Normative beliefs positively influence subjective norms. Finally, attitude toward watching eSports positively influence behavioral intention.