Spring 2011 Articles

13 Dec

A “Wise Latina” and a Son of Immigrants: Comparing Newspaper Coverage of Sonia Sotomayor and Samuel Alito
Tracy Everbach

Abstract: This research paper compares coverage of the U.S. Senate Judiciary hearings for Supreme Court Associate Justices Samuel Alito and Sonia Sotomayor in two leading United States newspapers, The New York Times and the Washington Post. The qualitative textual analysis examines news frames employed by the two papers and finds that they focused on the horse race, the nominees’ personalities, their ethnicity and gender roles. The study concludes that the newspaper coverage failed to provide much useful information to the public about how the nominees would perform on the court, instead focusing on the politics of the hearings. It also concludes that coverage focused heavily on Sotomayor’s ethnicity but paid scant attention to Alito’s. As much as Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” statement was played up in the news, Alito’s statement about his ethnicity was played down. In addition, the newspapers cast Sotomayor and Martha-Ann Alito, Samuel Alito’s wife, into stereotypical female gender roles. Alito similarly was defined in a stereotypical male gender role.

Obama or O’Bama?: Framing Barack Obama’s Irish Heritage in the Irish Echo
David Ferman

Abstract: America’s ethnic press has long provided information about assimilation, ties to the ethnic group’s country of origin, and participation in the American political process. In light of the extensive media attention paid to Barack Obama’s Irish roots, this paper uses frame analysis to explore how the Irish Echo, the country’s largest and most widely distributed Irish American newspaper, wrote about the connection all four presidential and vice presidential candidates in the 2008 election had with Ireland, and their attention to issues important to Irish Americans, including the peace process in Northern Ireland and immigration. The results suggest that both the Echo’s news coverage and endorsement of Obama hinged less on his Irish heritage per se than the belief that both he and Joe Biden had established points of view on Irish and Irish American issues consistent with the majority of Irish American Catholics. The Echo’s endorsement also drew a parallel between the struggle for political enfranchisement experienced by African Americans and Irish Americans. This paper provides unique and previously unavailable information on American ethnic publications, the importance placed on racial and religious heritage in American political life, and the history of ethnic and Irish American newspapers.

Broadband Costs and impact on Universal Internet Access: The Case of Ghana
Ignatius Fosu

Abstract: Ghana was one of the first countries in sub-Saharan Africa to be connected to the World Wide Web, yet has very low broadband penetration (0.2% of the population). Based on in-depth interviews with Internet service providers (ISPs) in Ghana, and analysis of information from secondary sources, this paper identifies cost as a major contributor to low broadband access. Factors contributing to high broadband costs in Ghana are identified (such as high bandwidth costs, high license and regulatory fees, and high cost of end user equipment). The paper also discusses how ISPs in Ghana are dealing with these cost issues (such as using innovative ways to allocate bandwidth and also meet the needs of different income groups). Recommendations are made to ensure cost reduction (such as availability of reasonably priced bandwidth, infrastructure sharing, and review of regulatory and license fees).

Iranian Propaganda in the Middle East: Al Alam “The World” as Model
Khalaf M. Tahat and Gilbert Fowler

Abstract: The purpose of this paper was to determine the perceptions of Jordanian journalists toward Iranian propaganda in the Middle East as well as to measure their perceptions about the Iranian-sponsored satellite, Al Alam’s credibility and efficiency. To answer the research questions, survey instrumentation was administrated on a systematic sample of 266 journalists in Jordan. Findings revealed that Iranian propaganda has no significant influence on Jordanian journalists. Data analysis examined five potential factors: The nature of Jordanian journalists’ political constructer and their reference; Jordanian journalists’ not trusting with Iranian role in Arab issues; Al Alam “The World” TV launching from Iran with a goal of enhancing “Shiite Sectarian” ideology rather than increasing Islamic unity; the existence of other more credible and influential Arabian news channel; and stopping the transmission of Al Alam toward Arabian region since November 2009. Also, findings show that Al Alam TV would have strong credibility and made it more acceptable among public viewers but not in the journalism community in four specific situations: broadcasting in Arabic languages; attacking the U.S. interests in its programs; focusing highly in projecting and covering the Palestinian cause; and giving Arab viewers a freedom to express their opinion.

Normative Theory For The Information Society
Nikhil Moro

Abstract: Libelous expression that involves simultaneously transnational media presents, to an online litigant, a well-documented difficulty to pick both personal jurisdiction and law. The litigant also must contend with the vast diversity in freedom of expression theory. That uncertainty can cause a chill in speech. This paper explicates rudimentary contours of a freedom of expression theory to help adjudicate libels committed in the information society. It examines research about the meaning of freedom of expression in the information society, and it addresses the need to make libel law reliable or predictable for online journalists without regulating the Internet.

Fall 2010 Articles

15 Jan

Americans in Brown Bodies: An Analysis of Journalistic Performances of Whiteness
Sonya M. Alemán

Abstract: This essay explores the idea that the question—Are you an American citizen?—when posed by mainstream journalists to Latina/o individuals represents a performance of whiteness and white privilege. Two instances of live broadcasts of such an event function as a performative heuristic from which to explore what these particular exchanges might reveal about the cultural logics of news media production and their potential imbrication in the articulation of American identity and race. Building on the work of Gans (1979), Van Dijk (1993), Campbell (1995), Gitlin (1980), Shoemaker and Reese (1996), Shah (1999), and Dolan (2006) and other scholars who have mapped out the interconnections between whiteness and journalism practices, I draw from cultural studies, media studies, critical whiteness studies, and performance theory frameworks, to render a possible understanding of the ideological and identity politics implicit in news media production. In order to understand how journalists substantiate questioning sources about their citizenship status, I interviewed a diverse group of locally based journalists about this practice. A preliminary analysis of their sense-making—situated against a critical read of these two reporting events—comprises the body of this article.

Socially Desirable Responding and Self-Reported Reactions to Sex on Television
Charles H. Ingold

Abstract: Limitations discussed in earlier survey research suggested that socially desirable responding (SDR) might have resulted in respondents reporting more negative reactions to, and less interest in, sex on television than they actually had when viewing the material. The current study employed manipulation checks and found that SDR was not associated positively or negatively with reporting avoidance of sexual content on television. Nor was SDR negatively associated with reporting that such content increases interest in a program. However, SDR positively correlated with self-reports of increased interest in programs due to sexual portrayals. This finding suggests SDR may play a role in whether respondents answer some survey questions truthfully and raises the possibility that being interested in sexual media content may be perceived as socially acceptable or desirable, at least among some segments of the population. This study also provided opportunity to reexamine gender differences in reactions to sex on television in light of conflicting findings in past studies. Males were found more likely than females to report they would become more interested in a program when sexual material appeared in it, corroborating some earlier findings.

Is Everyone a Little Bit Racist? Exploring Cultivation Using Implicit and Explicit Measures
Temple Northup

Abstract: Millions of viewers tune in nightly to newscasts that are likely to include a number of stories on crime. Within those crime stories, not everyone is treated equally – African Americans are far more likely than Caucasian people to be portrayed as criminals. Using cultivation theory as a framework, this study explores the relationship between television usage, news media usage, and both explicit and implicit attitudes toward African Americans. Results suggest that while there is not a relationship between overall television usage and implicit or explicit attitudes, heavy news users did have more negative implicit attitudes toward African Americans and were more likely to think an African American suspect is guilty. Implications from these results are discussed, with particular attention paid to the news media and the apparent negative influence it can exert over individuals.

The Obama Agenda versus a Meandering Maverick: A Descriptive Analysis of Online Press Releases in the 2008 General Election Presidential Campaign
Myleea Hill, Mary Jackson Pitts, Melissa Smith and Barry P. Smith

Abstract: This study is a descriptive analysis to examine the agenda, style, and format of press releases posted on the websites of Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain during the 2008 presidential general election campaign. Findings indicated that the Obama campaign posted an average of less than one release a day from August 25 to November 4 while the McCain campaign posted almost five releases a day. Topics by both candidates were most often related to monetary issues. Obama’s releases least often related to veteran’s affairs and agriculture, and McCain’s were least often related to agriculture and transportation. The releases typically followed the common newsworthiness element of being tied to daily news and followed the traditional press release style of inverted pyramid and included who, what, and where. Obama’s releases frequently quoted the candidate. ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) was noted beside several McCain releases announcing endorsements by traditional media outlets. The authors concluded that Obama’s use of press releases was quite traditional. In contrast, the number of McCain press releases was effective as an archival system but counterproductive to setting an agenda because of the variety of topics released on a given day.

The Relationship Between Enhanced Underwriting and PBS Station Programming
Judy Crawford and Donald G. Godfrey

Abstract: This research demonstrates the relationship between enhanced underwriting and locally produced programming in America’s public television stations. This dual case study combines the analysis of two nationally known PBS stations with a grounded theory method to examine the concept that station funding, editorial integrity, and new technology drive most decisions about enhanced underwriting and, in turn, impact choices made about which programs are produced by local public television. The case study approach was applied to two PBS award-winning stations. One is in a rural setting, the other an urban setting—Iowa Public Television near Des Moines and KAET-TV in Phoenix, Arizona.

“Where Shall I Go To Work in Advertising?” Employment Preferences of Advertising Majors in the Southwestern U.S.
Jami Fullerton and Alice Kendrick

Abstract: Economic conditions in the past few years have radically altered the external environment advertising students will enter after graduating. To better understand student employment expectations in the extremely competitive job market, a survey among 129 students studying advertising at 22 universities in the Southwestern U.S. was conducted. The survey provided insight about post-graduation career aspirations as well as preferences about working in the field of advertising. Data used for the study are a subset of a national survey containing member schools of the Southwest Education Council in Journalism and Mass Communication (SWECJMC). Authors discuss findings in light of current economic developments and provide implications for advertising educators.

Contempt by Publication in the Southwestern United States, 1855-1899
Butler Cain

Abstract: Contempt by publication was one of the earliest methods the American judicial branch used to control media coverage of state and federal court systems. Editors, publishers, and reporters could be fined and jailed if their publications raised the ire of a judge. Courts in the southwestern areas of America spent the latter half of the Nineteenth Century considering under what circumstances this authority should be used to protect the integrity of the judicial process. Meanwhile, editors and publishers consistently argued for their right to cover the judicial branch.

Considering the Sources in Local Television News: Diversity in Coverage of Hard and Soft News
Thomas C. Voinché, William R. Davie and Lucian F. Dinu

Abstract: Gender, ethnicity, and news type (hard/soft) all affect the local TV news version of issues and events. Whether male or female anchors present hard or soft news stories, and whether minorities act as sources in expert or non-expert roles affects the community’s view of diversity. In terms of hard and soft news coverage, this study of newscasts in south Louisiana finds a relative balance of story assignments in comparing the TV journalist’s gender and ethnicity, but when sources are compared in expert and non-expert roles, the picture tilts in favor of whites and males over females and minorities.

In the Eye of the Storm: Image Repair Discourse of Dan Rather and CBS after the Bush Guard Memos Story
Brian Kaylor

Abstract: This study examines the image repair strategies employed by CBS and Dan Rather after the usage of flawed memos in a 60 Minutes report. It examines these strategies in phases, as the rhetors switched strategies to find a more successful message. It also offers several implications for future research on apologia concerning phrases of strategies, credibility of rhetors, the unusual case of journalists engaging in image repair, and the failure of Rather and CBS’s image repair efforts.

EBSCO Hosts Electronic Version

7 Oct

The Southwest Education Council for Journalism and Mass Communication has contracted with EBSCO to carry an electronic version of the Southwestern Mass Communication Journal. Established in 1944, EBSCO is the world’s leading information agent providing consultative services and cutting-edge technology for managing and accessing quality content, including print and e-journals, e-packages, research databases, e-books and more.

Spring 2010 Articles

7 Oct

Does it matter if she’s black or white? Using eye tracking to explore the effects of race on reader reaction to magazine advertisements
Shiree Bott, Paige Davidson, Thais Fernandes, Brenton Jensen, Raimo Laitinen, Stacy Wood and Steven R. Thomsen
Abstract: This study used an eye-tracking system to examine the impact of a model’s race on viewers’ responses to magazine advertisements. Specifically, it sought to determine if white, college-age women would demonstrate a visual bias for white models and, in turn, evaluate the products in those advertisements more favorably than the products in advertisements that use black models. Thirty-two participants were shown a series of 11 advertisements that included either white models only (5) or black models only (4). One advertisement featured both a black model and a white model. In addition, two versions of an advertisement were created that were identical with the exception of the race of the model. Half the subjects saw the white version and half saw the ethnic version. Visual attention was measured as the number of times the participants fixated on the model’s head/face and the total amount of dwell time (sum of the fixation times). Fixation density patterns, dwell times, and eye movements recorded during eye tracking suggest that white subjects demonstrated a visual preference for white models compared with black models. Visual interest in same-race models, however, had little impact on participants’ product evaluations and purchase intentions.

Measuring Internet Dependence Among College Students: A Replication and Confirmatory Analysis
Kelly Ann Mitchell and Fred Beard
Abstract: This study of Internet users presents a partial replication of an existing television “addiction” study. The study’s objectives include the following: (a) to extend an existing scale and method for measuring media dependence to a different medium (i.e., the Internet); (b) to confirm the construct validity and reliability of the scale; (c) to extend both the existing scale and other research findings on Internet dependence to a broad population of potentially at-risk media consumers, college students; (d) to describe the extent to which college students’ Internet use reaches a level of dependence that could be termed dysfunctional or at least problematic; and (e) to contribute to the literature a single scale, that with minor modification, may be used for measuring media dependence across multiple media. The findings provide support for conclusions that dependence on a mass medium, such as the Internet, can be validly and reliably measured, that such dependence is multidimensional, that Internet dependence likely rarely reaches a level of “addiction,” and that college students are only moderately dependent on the Internet.

Kick ‘em Where It Hurts: Reconsidering American Tolerance of a Sexist Stock Film Gag
Philip A.S. Todd
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to propose that sexual violence in media portrayals is a topic of serious concern, regardless of the victim’s gender and the type of assault or injury portrayed, and that mediated images involving male victims, as well as the potential effects of exposure to these images, should receive the same kind of attention and study as other kinds of sexual violence. This paper will specifically consider (c) above, proposing that male genital injury is one example of sexually violent humor that would not be tolerated if the victim were female, that the long-term effects of continued exposure to such humor may desensitize men and women to violence and injury involving male victims, and a revisioning of this stock film gag may be useful in considering these issues.

Alumni Perceptions of the ACEJMC’s 11 Professional Values and Competencies
Koji Fuse and Jacqueline J. Lambiase
Abstract: The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) has implemented a new accreditation and reaccreditation requirement: measuring student learning outcomes, particularly in relation to its 11 “Professional Values and Competencies.” This research gauged how a large public university’s journalism and mass communications alumni perceived each of the study domains covered in the values and competencies on the three evaluative dimensions: the degree of liking, the journalism department’s performance, and the frequency of using the knowledge or skills on the job. The results showed that the alumni’s rank-orders of the 11 study domains had strong positive correlations between the evaluative dimensions. Furthermore, the master’s program alumni did not significantly differ from undergraduate alumni in most areas, including concepts or theories, research methods, and numerical or statistical concepts. The findings suggest a rather troublesome discrepancy between the ACEJMC’s rhetoric of the competencies and the reality of student learning outcomes.

The Revival: The “New” Arkansas State Press, 1984-1988
Rachel Grant
Abstract: The “New” Arkansas State Press embraced a new audience that hadn’t seen or remembered the Civil Rights Movement. It stuck close to fundamentals of the black press, but it also incorporated aspects of white dailies. Another factor to its success was the Daisy Bates’ legacy, which helped keep the newspaper alive and caught the eye of the national and local media. The purpose of this study was to analyze how the revived Arkansas State Press survived through the steady decline of the black press after the Civil Rights Movement. It will add to the literature about the black press.

The Campaign Against Echo Park Dam and Collective Action Frame Theory: A Historical Analysis
Debra E. Jenson
Abstract: Grounded in the online interactivity, source credibility, and knowledge gap theories, this experiment assessed people’s beliefs in health myths and the extent to which different types of health-related Web sites (blogs versus news sites versus health organization sites) can change their erroneous belief system. The findings show that health myths are still prevalent in people’s belief system and that a knowledge gap exists between certain demographic groups. Men and African Americans are more likely to believe in health myths. News and health organization sites have higher potentials of changing people’s belief in health myths, and they are perceived as both more credible and interesting compared to blogs, whose higher interactivity did not contribute to health belief change. The findings suggest that interactivity, at least by itself, does not guarantee effective communication.

Journal Editor

7 Oct

Dr. Kate Peirce began her service as Editor of the Southwestern Mass Communication Journal in fall 2009. She has been a distinguished member of the Texas State faculty since 1988. Peirce has contributed significantly to new curriculum advances at Texas State, and has developed the research methods course and designed a course on women and minorities in the media. She received a Ph.D in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin in 1982. Her dissertation was titled: The Relationship of Television Viewing, Reading and the Home Environment to Children’s Creativity, Creative Writing and Writing Ability.

Peirce’s professional experience as writer and editor has led to an accomplished list of scholarly and creative publications in books, journals, newspapers and magazines. Much of Peirce’s research is in the field of gender, race and class in the media.

Dr. Peirce is the executive editor of the Journal of Research on Women and Gender. In 2006 Peirce was elected to the board of directors of the Southwest Education Council for Journalism and Mass Communication and has served as the associate editor of the Southwestern Mass Communication Journal.

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