Students and faculty from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication presented sixteen papers at the annual Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) conference. AEJMC is an international non-profit, educational organization of communication professionals, faculty, and students.



Is Snapchat a Better Place than Facebook to Advertise? • Huan Chen, University of Florida; Yoon-Joo Lee, Washington State University • The study investigated young consumers’ perception and receptivity of Snapchat advertising by using a mixed method research design. Specifically, a qualitative study was conducted to explore young consumers’ perception toward Snapchat advertising and an online survey was launched to examine young consumers’ receptivity of Snapchat advertising compared to Facebook advertising. The qualitative study revealed that young consumers showed relatively positive evaluation toward Snapchat advertising. Their preference of Snapchat advertising comes from the sense of freedom of choice. Their fondness of Snapchat advertising also comes from the subtle nature of this marketing strategy. Based on the nature and characteristic of Snapchat, events, festivals, and travel related products are perceived to be more appropriate to advertise via Snapchat. The quantitative study confirmed some findings from the qualitative study. The quantitative study further uncovered that while young consumers have a more positive attitude toward advertising on Snapchat, advertising on Facebook works better to motivate their behavioral intention of consumption. Theoretical and practical implications were offered.

College Students’ Processing of Non-celebrity Male Athletic Spokespersons in Health PSAs: The Mediational Role of Status • Adrienne Muldrow; Yoon-Joo Lee, Washington State University • Studies suggest that spokespersons are supposed to help drive beneficial behaviors. Athletic spokespersons, in particular, due to their known exercise and nutritional regimens in addition to their status in the eyes of college students, should be a germane spokesperson for driving these behaviors. Furthermore, with limited budgets, many non-profit public relations practitioners need practical, cost-effective solutions to driving desirable health behaviors. One cost-effective solution may be the use of an unknown athletic spokesperson in the health advertisement. Hence, this experimental study investigates how college students process non-celebrity athletic spokespersons in advertisements to build their health intentions. In this study, we examined three common features present in athletic spokesperson advertising: athletic identity, ethnicity, and status. In particular, 173 college students were either exposed to an athletic, non-celebrity, White or Black spokesperson in a health PSA and answered similar questions about their athletic identity, commonalities to their ethnicity, status-orientations with regard to health, and health intentions. We used social cognitive theory to form hypotheses stating that more perceived similarities with the athletic spokespersons and thus greater identified advertising appeal would lead to greater intentions to perform health behaviors. We extended knowledge on existing advertising literature by examining how college students’ acknowledgment of reward-oriented, status-seeking through health behaviors could aid processing of health intentions. We used a Hayes’ PROCESS model to reveal the process of how college students interpret characteristics of non-celebrity athletic figures in helping them form health intentions.

Communicating Science, Health, Environment, and Risk

Vaccine Conversation on Twitter: Group Dynamic, Emotional Support, and Cognitive Dissonance in HPV Social Networks • Meredith Wang, Washington State University; Itai Himelboim; Porismita Borah • As the media evolves more and more information about topics such as HPV are shifting to social media platforms like Twitter. In the present study, we use Twitter data around the HPV debate to understand the conversations around this topic. Approaching the HPV talk on Twitter as a social network this study identifies key sub-communities – clusters – of users who create “siloes” of interaction. Combining network analysis and computer-aided content analysis, we explored the communication dynamics within the groups in terms of group members’ affective and cognitive characteristics. Our findings show that positive emotion is positively correlated with graph density. For negative emotion, we found that only anger is significant predictor for graph density. We also tested correlation between certainty and tentativeness both at cluster as well as at tweet level. Our result shows that cluster brought people who are certain about HPV and people who are not certain together. Implications are discussed.

Communication Technology

Student Papers

“I’ve Lost the Weight, Now Feed Me Upvotes!”: Weight Loss Narratives in an Online Support Space and Strategic Impression Management for Garnering Social Support • Jared Brickman; Shuang Liu; David Silva, Washington State University • Online support communities are popular and growing. However, newer social interaction features like content aggregation and scoring through “likes” and “upvotes” have changed how people give and evaluate social support. This study used content analysis to identify the posting strategies and narratives used by members of the weight loss subreddit /r/loseit, which uses content aggregation. A negative binomial regression revealed which strategies and narratives resulted in the most engagement with the content.

Instagram as a tool for communicating sexual health: Future recommendations and unanswered questions • NIcole O’Donnell; Davi Kallman, Washington State University; Whitney Stefani, Washington State University • Public health organizations often use the photo-sharing social networking site Instagram for communicating health risks. In the present study, we analyzed young adults’ likelihood to use Instagram for sexual health information seeking. Female gender, low condom-use self-efficacy, and high intentions to practice safe sex predicted likelihood to use a sexual health Instagram service. Message sensation value and message attention were also evaluated. Results provide insight into the effectiveness of using Instagram for sexual health promotion.

A Slap or a Jab: An Experiment on Viewing Uncivil Political Discussions on Facebook • Meredith Wang, Washington State University; David Silva, Washington State University • Across two experiments conducted in the end of last Presidential election, we replicate previous findings that exposure to incivility while viewing political debates on Facebook can be both upsetting and engaging. This study adds to research by testing differential effects of two kinds of incivility: insults and mockery. The effects of these two types changes between gun control and abortion topics, suggesting future research on online incivility may need to better address topic-specific outcomes.

Communication Theory and Methodology

More Than a Reminder: A Method for Using Text Messages to Communicate with Young People and Maintain an In-Person Bystander Intervention Training • Jared Brickman; Jessica Willoughby, Washington State University; Paula Adams • One problem facing in-person communication campaigns is that the positive outcomes can fade over time. Text may be a perfect supplement. This study tested and evaluated a method for using text messages to maintain in-person intervention efforts. Over the course of four months, participants in the messaging group received a weekly text. At the end of the study, the program was rated highly by participants and the messaging group scored significantly higher on attitudinal outcomes.

Cultural and Critical Studies

“You better work, bitch!”: Disciplining the feminine consumer prototype in Britney Spears’s “Work Bitch” • Miles Sari, Washington State University • Using Baudrillard’s theory of consumption as a theoretical framework, in addition to support from Horkheimer & Adorno, Foucault, and Bartky, this paper examines how Britney Spears’s 2013 music video “Work Bitch” articulates a violent capitalist narrative of consumption. Specifically, the author argues that the clip advocates for a collective submission to the sadistic, social discipline of the female consumer body as a means of accessing the social and material luxuries of the bourgeoisie.

Mass Communication and Society

Express Yourself during the Election Season: Study on Effects of Seeing Disagreement in Facebook News Feeds • Meredith Wang, Washington State University; Porismita Borah; Samuel Rhodes • The 2016 election was characterized by intense polarization and acrimony not only on the debate stage and television airwaves, but also on social media. Using panel data collected during 2016 U.S. Presidential election from a national sample of young adults, current study tests how opinion climate on social media affect ones’ political expression and participation. Result shows disagreement on Facebook encourages young adults to express themselves and further participate in politics. Implications are discussed.

Media Ethics

“The Times F’d up”: Responsibility, blame, and journalistic paradigm repair following the 2016 U.S. presidential election • Miles Sari, Washington State University; Elizabeth Hindman, Washington State University • “Through an ethnographic content analysis of 55 print and online newspaper articles and editorials, this paper considers the ways in which the American journalistic paradigm repaired itself in the wake of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Using the concepts of paradigm repair and attribution theory as guiding frameworks, this study suggests that American news media engaged in first-order and second-order news paradigm repair discourses to identify unethical lapses in news media election coverage, as well as to pinpoint the broader threats of fake news and the Donald Trump administration to the legitimacy of the American journalistic paradigm.

Internships and Careers

A Guide to Landing Your First Job • Justin Barnes, University of Idaho; Rebecca Tallent, University of Idaho; Katie Blevins, University of Idaho; Yong Chae Rhee, Washington State University; Scott Barnicle, West Virginia University • This study identified seven themes that current employers desire in prospective candidates: time and efficiency, the ability to self promote, one’s behavior at their previous employers, participation in industry related and outside extracurricular activities, the desire to keep learning through reading and writing, creativity, and the ability to fit into an organization’s culture. Obviously before this research was conducted, there was an immense amount of information readily available for candidates entering the job market. Nonetheless, the stakes have never been higher for the current generation entering the workforce. With that known, research suggests that Miliennials are impatient and also struggle with taking the long view during their career search. They have been raised in an environment of instant gratification, where answers and solutions are regularly found via digital personal assistants, social media, Google, etc. Alsop (2014) claims that Millennials are struggling more than previous generations to delay not just the gratification of a good grade or a Facebook conversation, but also some of the more important aspects of their lives such as finding employment. Such feelings are creating recruiting and retention headaches for employers too, and can make impatient, job-hopping Millennials less appealing candidates to companies. With the knowledge gathered from the data in this study, perhaps professors, career service advisers, and Millenials will be better prepared when seeking employment.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer

“You gay, bro?”: Representing the adolescent coming out narrative in The Real O’Neals • Miles Sari, Washington State University • Through the lens of rhetorical narrative theory, this paper will examine the representation of the coming out narrative of 16-year-old Kenny O’Neal, the main character in the ABC sitcom, The Real O’Neals. In particular, this paper will consider the ways in which the thirteen episodes of the first season — under the guise of authenticity — construct queer youth identity and culture, especially in relation to class, race, and gender. Additionally, this paper will offer a critique of how such representation frames a problematic, palatable narrative of the adolescent coming out experience that trivializes the struggles of queer youth to find community and acceptance in a heteronormative society. To situate this mediation of the adolescent coming out narrative within a broader cultural context, this paper will also analyze the discourses with which various news media have critiqued the show’s representation of queer subjectivity on major cable network television.

Political Communication

Being young but not reckless: A study on young adults’ social media flight-or-fight to hostility during the 2016 U.S. presidential electionPorismita Borah; Kyle Lorenzano; Miles Sari, Washington State University; Meredith Wang, Washington State University • Although social media is increasingly becoming a popular place to get news and information, the political environment on social media might not be liked by everyone. The 2016 Presidential elections witnessed widespread polarization and partisan animosity. We are interested in examining how young adults maneuver these spaces, particularly in their encounter with incivility and social media participation. We used both in-depth interviews and panel survey data from the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections to examine our hypotheses and research questions. Our findings show that most young people react to incivility strategically to avoid conflicts in their own social network but still willing to speak out to strangers. Our interview participants expressed that incivility was a barrier to participating in political discussion online. However, the panel data shows that the influence of incivility on social media participation is moderated by conflict avoidance. The findings were also conditional on the type of social media. Implications are discussed.

Liking on Facebook might be more important than we think: Social Endorsement, credibility perceptions of campaign information, and engagementPorismita Borah; Meredith Wang, Washington State University • With the increased use of social media for information gathering about politics, it is important to ask what factors influence the credibility perceptions of this information. This question is particularly relevant at a time when misinformation is abundantly available online. And as individuals increasingly use social media for information gathering, politicians and campaign managers have started using these sites to reach out to voters. In the present study, we conducted a 2 (type of political posts: promote vs. attack posts) by 2 (social endorsement: high vs. low likes) between-subjects, randomized experiment. We examined the relationship among political posts, social endorsement, credibility perceptions, and political engagement on Facebook. Our findings show that posts which promote a politician and contains a high number of “likes” were considered the most credible. Moreover, a moderated-mediation model demonstrated the indirect effect of type of post on Facebook participation mediated by credibility of the post, and moderated by number of likes. Implications are discussed.

What makes a president? The role of gender, emotion, ideology, and sexism in predicting candidate evaluations. • Rebecca Donaway, Washington State University; Myiah Hutchens, Washington State University; Colin Storm, Washington State University • We use two within-subjects experimental design studies to examine how visually-displayed emotion, gender, and ideology of fictional potential presidential candidates influenced evaluations of those politicians. Results across both studies show that happy women were consistently evaluated more positively. Adding political ideology in the second study shows that individuals respond more favorably to politicians that match their own ideology, and participants who report higher levels of sexism evaluate Republican candidates more highly.

Activating the Audience: Authoritarianism, White Resentment, and Parisian News Use in the 2016 Presidential ElectionJay Hmielowski, Washington State University; Michael Beam, Kent State University; Myiah Hutchens, Washington State University • In this paper, we use panel data to examine the relationship between authoritarianism and white resentment with partisan media use and candidate support in the 2016 Presidential Election. We find that both of these variables were associated with support for Trump. Only white resentment correlated with use of partisan media outlets. In addition, we find the effects of conservative media concentrated among those low in authoritarianism and white resentment.