Students' research
selected for NCUR


Four School of Communications students have been honored with invitations to travel to Indianapolis in April 15-17 to present their research at the National Conferences for Undergraduate Research at Indiana University - Purdue.

Brandi Little is involved in two of the projects. Shavanna Jagrup, Ellen Lawton and Nathan Ritz will also present their work.

Lawton and Ritz will present "The Black News Agenda? A Content Analysis of BET Nightly News." Using agenda setting theory as a guide, they completed a content analysis of a month of news programming airing on BET Nightly News and CBS Evening News. They coded 941 elements of programming, then looked at story topics, position in newscast, presence of news slant, racial composition of the newscasts and advertising content of the newscasts. There were significant differences between the two programs, including in the positioning of stories in the newscasts, in the slant regarding racially related stories, inthe topics of stories selected for coverage and in the race of those selected as interviewees. BET Nightly News and CBS Evening News are owned by the same parent company, Viacom, and produced in the same location so the data also presents interesting findings related to how resources were shared. Lawton and Ritz worked with faculty mentor Connie Book on this project.

Little will present "An Examination of the Women Featured in Broadcasting and Cable's 'Fifth Estater,' 1992-2003." Broadcasting and Cable is the most significant publication in its industry. Each week its editors select an outstanding broadcaster to showcase in a column titled "Fifth Estater." Content analysis was used to examine the people selected for this honor over a 10-year period. Units of content analysis included race, education, type of medium where employed (radio, television, cable or satellite), the number of positions held before recognition in the column and a host of personal issues (married, divorced or children). The careers of showcased women in broadcasting were presented in a different way than men in several regards, including the listing of education level, number of positions held before recognition, type of medium where employed, and whether they married or divorced or have children. Little's research analysis includes several recommendations to increase the opportunity for women to reach decision-making status within the broadcasting industry. Her work was also mentored by Book.

Little will team with Shavanna Jagrup to present "Imagining the Internet: A Retrospective Study." This content study documents the expectations of stakeholders and skeptics in the boom days of the Internet, from 1990 to 1995. Written texts, speeches and broadcast materials of the early 1990s were studied in the extraction and categorization of more than 4,000 predictions about the future of the Internet. Many stakeholders waged conflicts over the new technology: Engineers and computer scientists were struggling to find solutions for networking issues and teaming up to identify universal network protocols; politicians were voicing concern over improper materials (pornography, hatemongering) being promulgated online; law and national-security officials were advocating government-sanctioned encryption methods to fight crime and terrorism; entrepreneurs were trying to stake out as much valuable territory as possible; and free-thinking, socially conscious citizens were working to see that the new technology would be used for the greater good of all people. The faculty mentor for this project was Janna Anderson.

For more information about NCUR, see



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Last Modified:  2/28/04
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