and faculty members from the School of Communications will be active
participants in Elon University's annual Celebration of Student
Achievements in Academics and the Arts on April 5.
journalism and/or communications majors had their work accepted
for presentation as part of Elon's Student Undergraduate Research
Forum after a rigorous review of abstract submissions. The standards
for acceptance have reached a new high at the university. The students
shared their findings in 11 different group or solo presentations.
serving as moderators at the SURF sessions include Harlen Makemson,
Brooke Barnett, David Copeland, Kelli Burns, Frances Ward-Johnson
and Ray Johnson. Student work accepted for presentation was mentored
by faculty members Janna Anderson, Barnett, Burns, Copeland, Jessica
Gisclair, Ray Johnson, Makemson, Glenn Scott and Frances Ward-Johnson.
abstracts of presentations by students majoring in journalism or
WEB SITES: A COLLEGE PERSPECTIVE, Jacquelyn R Anderson, Erin G.
Follett, William R. France and Matthew H. Sally (mentor Dr. Kelli
Burns). The 2004 presidential election captured a rising interest
among college students. Candidates' Web sites were a valuable campaign
tool during the election process. One age group that put a lot of
time and effort in the use of the Internet was college students.
These students had at their disposal the information that both major
party candidates' in the 2004 election provided via their Web sites.
Both Sen. John Kerry and President George W. Bush used elaborate
sites as a major publicity tactic for their campaign. This research
project involved surveying a random sample of the Elon University
student body regarding their opinions on Kerry's and Bush's Web
sites. Of Elon's 4,796 students, 7.7 percent participated in the
survey. The 370 students who responded took the time to answer questions
regarding whether or not they actively sought out information regarding
the two presidential candidates' Web sites. They also were asked
how useful they found the sites and how important they felt the
sites were. More than 81 percent of students surveyed said that
they actively sought information regarding the two candidates during
the campaign. Approximately the same percentage of students found
the Web sites to be a useful communication tool in researching information
surrounding the candidates. Overall, research showed that most respondents
felt that John Kerry's and George W. Bush's sites were effective.
The survey results indicate the Internet in general and specific
candidates' Web sites were important tools in reaching college students.
The two candidates' sites played an important role in college students'
opinion, and the internet will have an increasing importance in
communicating election information to students in the future.
OF THE RUSSIANS IN AMERICAN POPULAR MOVIES, Yuliya Dudaronak (mentor
Professor Glenn Scott). An intriguing aspect of intercultural
communication is the communication processes through which one culture's
perceptions of another culture are created and recreated. As the
moving vessels of global cooperation and awareness today are all
means of mass communication, it becomes important to study the role
of the mass media in creating and perpetuating stereotypes of foreign
nationals. This research paper examines the current stereotypes
of Russians in American popular movies from a symbolic interaction's
perspective. Content analysis of popular American films is used
to explore the ways in which Russians are represented in the media
and to analyze how those images contribute to the development of
Americans' cultural perceptions about Russians. The IMDb (Internet
Media Data Base) is used to locate films for analysis. The IMDb
is a searchable, web-based data base that allows the researcher
to search over 385,848 movies by title, people, character, quotes,
biographies, or plots. IMDb's "Character Search" function with the
search term "Russian" is initially used to locate films that contained
Russian characters. The search is limited to movies made since 1980
to get the Cold War and Post-Cold war movies. The movies with over
$40 million in gross box office receipts in the United States were
chosen to locate films that a considerable number of people would
have seen. The paper concludes that we can see the changing nature
of the popular stereotype associated with the Russians - from Cold
War ("Godless communists in an Evil Empire") to the break-up of
the Soviet Union ("poor, hungry victims of a disorganized and self-defeating
socialist system" or "Russian mafia" and oligarchs).The
paper suggests that presenting Russians as "the enemy" may play
an important function in helping America define its own identity.
Russians were - and still are - presented as the "Them" against
whom the "Us" could be defined. This image of Russia has helped
to define America of last century as its contrasting image, idea,
personality, experience, - as "The Other."
CLOSE TO HOME: A LOOK AT MEDIA BIAS DURING THE ALGER HISS PERJURY
TRIALS OF 1949-1950, Katherine E. Hart (mentor Dr. Harlen Makemson).
Alger Hiss was a trusted State Department official in the mid-1930s.
Later, he went on to serve as adviser to President Franklin Roosevelt
during the Yalta Conference and was named President of the Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace in 1947. Hiss's career came to
a halt after he was accused of being a communist by a former ex-communist
courier and Time editor Whittaker Chambers. Chambers accused Hiss
of treason and testified before the House Un-American Activities
Committee in August 1948. Hiss later was charged with two counts
of perjury. The first trial began in June 1949 and ended in a hung
jury. The second trial began in November 1949 and ended in a Hiss
conviction on both counts of perjury. During the two trials of Alger
Hiss, the media took sides. Until now, the most popular argument
has been that Alger Hiss was framed, and the media forced him to
receive an unfair trial (Swan, 2002). Hiss himself argued that the
press made him look guilty and felt the jury was swayed (Hiss, 1988).
This study will examine those conclusions using historical research
methods in the context of framing theory, which suggests that media
"call attention to some aspects of reality while obscuring
other elements" (Entman, 1993). The New York Times, Washington
Post, and Time were examined between May 30, 1949 and February 16,
1950, the period in which the two perjury trials took place. Sixty
articles from the trial were coded for positive, negative, or neutral
connotations of Hiss. Examination of these primary documents strongly
suggests a bias in favor of Hiss through the language used to describe
appearance, attitude, and character. The media also uses sympathetic
language to get the reader to support Hiss. Finally, the media protects
Hiss through downplaying both his role in government and the importance
of the trial.
COLLEGE: A DOCUMENTARY, Neeley J. House (mentor Professor Ray Johnson).
In the early 1930s, a group of disgruntled faculty members from
Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, migrated to the rural mountains
of North Carolina. These professors, disillusioned by the traditional
liberal arts education, had a radical idea for a new school of the
arts. They envisioned a learning environment devoid of grade restrictions,
class requirements and rigid teacher-student relationships. In 1933,
Black Mountain College opened as the realization of an experiment
in education that would resonate through the literary, architectural,
and modern art world. Despite being constantly plagued by financial
problems and forever seemed at the edge of ruin, the school managed
to attract some of the most revolutionary writers and artists of
the time period including Charles Olsen, Robert Creeley, John Cage,
Merce Cunningham, Robert Motherwell, and Jonathon Williams. Some
of the charter advisors of BMC included John Dewey, Carl Jung and
Albert Einstein. These teachers and students had the unique opportunity
to be secluded in an environment that fostered interdisciplinary
educational growth through experimentation in the arts. Throughout
its 24-year run, the school shifted its ideals to a more liberal,
art-driven college, contrary to the socially and politically conservative
nature of the 1940s and 1950s. The legacy of Black Mountain College
remains imprinted on the minds of intellectuals around the globe.
The research for this film comes from three main sources. A catalog
of original photographs and documents was created based on information
located in the North Carolina Archives. Primary source material
was gathered from extensive interviews of former students and professors
and the study of memoirs and letters from students written both
during the BMC era and following its closure. Finally, interviews
with BMC researchers and experts give an outsiders impression of
the impact BMC had on literary and artistic movements. This documentary
places BMC in its appropriate historical context, introduces the
main cast of characters and gives visual and auditory examples of
some of work produced at the college to generate an overall creative
impression of the school and its students.
FIFTEEN, Timothy Kelly, Christopher R. Morse, Katherine Nimmo, Julie
Salvatore (mentor Dr. David Copeland). It began as a dream;
16 students on a mission to create a masterpiece of educational
literature in a little under 4 months. Under the direction of a
fearless leader, these 16 brave souls undertook a Senior Seminar
project that was unheard of within the academic community: to create,
market, publish and promote an educational guide to college. This
is their story. The purpose of this project is to document and execute
a plan to create, publish, market, promote, and sell a book for
incoming Elon University freshmen. Written by graduating seniors
in the school of communication, the book would serve as a reference
or guidebook for new students with advice from upperclassmen about
things that they wished that they had known. The book is broken
up into fifteen designated chapters that address a wide range of
topics; dorm life to breaking the bubble and social life to academics.
The book attempts to dispel the myths and ambiguities of college
life while giving an accurate description of Elon for new students.
The overall focus of the project was not only to leave something
for posterity but to also learn how to execute and plan for the
sale and creation of a product such as this. Given all of our backgrounds
in communication; including broadcast, film, corporate and journalism,
we felt as though this would be an appropriate project to display
our knowledge and skills of the communications' discipline. The
book will be produced as a result of research and surveying of current
Elon students through an online survey created by the group. The
group has also held a focus group and observed many Elon admissions
responses. Our belief is that there are many things that current
Elon students will be able and willing to share with incoming Elon
students. We also believe that many incoming students will have
questions that would otherwise go unanswered by the Elon community.
This project aims to answer those questions and concerns of the
average incoming student, while also serving as a learning experience
for us as future media professionals.
EFFECTS OF ADVERTISING ON CHILDREN AGES 6-12, Mariah E. Lietz (mentor
Dr. Jessica Gisclair). The advertising industry spends billions
of dollars each year in order to target a specific demographic.
In this overwhelming consumer society, it is hard to avoid exposure
to advertisements, especially for children. Today's generation of
children are affected by advertisements in numerous ways. This study
focuses on the psychological effects television advertisements pose
on children ages 6-12. The two hypotheses proposed were that advertisements
on television have significant psychological effects on children
and that parents are fully aware of the psychological consequences
and social challenges television advertisements have on their children.
Two methods were conducted to analyze the psychological behavior
of children: qualitative research through focus group and quantitative
research study by means of a survey. Results expose that children's
psyches are influenced by advertisements viewed on television. Although
children's parents are fully aware of the consequences posed by
the effects of advertisements, they believe their children are unfazed
by it all.
COMMUNICATION, Christopher R. Morse (mentor Dr. Kelli Burns).
This research was an analysis of the techniques and patterns of
information flow utilized by student leaders. This project was important
because it was an opportunity for the author to apply the knowledge
of media and communication that he obtained in the classroom to
real-life scenarios and interactions that he was involved with.
It was an opportunity for the author to analyze patterns and techniques
used in the area of student-leadership in the hopes of interpreting
challenges that are faced and then providing feedback for them.
Research and background information was collected as a part of the
literature review that the author saw as vital to such a project.
Also, using Katz and Lazarsfeld's two-step-flow theory of communication,
the author was able to construct a survey for current student leaders
from Elon University and many other surrounding universities about
their communication patterns and techniques. The project uses survey
responses from student leaders and administrators from schools affiliated
with the NCICU (North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities),
the Southern Conference (collegiate athletic conference), and information
collected from student leaders at Elon University. The results and
findings of the project are a basic analysis of student-leader communication
and an illustration of the conceptual models of the techniques and
trends illustrated in the response data. The most important results
are illustrated in the varied responses from student leaders and
administrative staff at the universities surveyed. Also, the common
examples of communication breakdowns and similar scenarios presented
allow for suggestions from the author based upon an outside analysis
of the situation from someone with a background in communication
theory and process.
I AM: TEENS' SOCIAL USE OF THE INTERNET, Lindsay N. Porter (mentor
Professor Janna Anderson). This comprehensive analysis of data
obtained through both quantitative and qualitative research of real
subjects examines the changing paradigm of teen Internet use. What
were once thought of as cutting-edge methods of communication -
e-mail, chat rooms, message board posting-are increasingly being
replaced in popularity by new technologies - Instant Messaging,
cell phones and blogging - that up the ante on the interaction achievable
by virtual and real-time methods of socialization among loyal teen
users. Thirty middle and high school-aged students participated
in focus groups at Elon University in June 2004 to establish baseline
data for a Pew Internet & American Life national phone survey regarding
the communications habits of youth. Preliminary findings reveal
that teens are increasingly using the Internet, particularly Instant
Messaging, to expand social horizons beyond their own geographic
boundaries. The result is not a de-socialization of teens, but rather
a network of extended communication and increased understanding
of Internet technology. The study's findings also allude to the
importance of self-guided exploration in teen Internet usage, a
key factor in understanding the transformation of the teen audience
from passive information receivers to active information seekers
- a move both propelled and perpetuated by the evolution of the
World Wide Web. Results generated from this research support the
belief that communications professionals should be monitoring the
Internet use and consumption patterns in teens closely B4 it's 2
WISH SOMEONE HAD TOLD ME MY FRESHMAN YEAR": AN EXAMINATION OF SENIOR
STUDENTS AND THEIR FOUR-YEAR EXPERIENCE AT ELON, Liza B. Schirmer,
Danny M. Quinn, Katie C. Broom, Stephanie J. Taddeo (mentor Dr.
Frances Ward-Johnson). As more and more of today's teenagers
are entering colleges and universities, it is important to assess
how they feel their years in college have prepared them academically
and socially for life after higher education. This research examines
the experiences of seniors of the Class of 2005 at Elon University
and investigates how they feel the past four years have shaped their
development and preparation for future careers. The research focuses
on three specific objectives: how well Elon University prepares
freshmen for college life, how well Elon students are prepared for
post-graduation, and how Elon helps students grow socially with
involvement in extra curricular activities outside of courses and
class work. In an effort to obtain information for this research,
quantitative methods, including surveys, were used. Additionally,
qualitative methods were used, as a senior focus group was held.
A total of 143 seniors were asked numerous questions to compare
changes and experiences from their freshmen year to changes throughout
their college experience. Moreover, students were asked to indicate
on the survey whether they would be willing to partake in a focus
group session to give more in-depth information regarding the research.
The seniors who agreed to participate in the focus group represented
three different majors; corporate communications, psychology, and
human services. Survey and focus group questions examined senior
experiences with various components of Elon's academic and social
life, including freshmen orientation, Elon 101 classes, relationships
with professors, involvement in student organizations and clubs,
career center experiences, and community/volunteer service. The
research results indicated more positive experiences than negative
experiences by seniors in various areas of Elon's college life.
However, many seniors voiced opinions and provided various recommendations
that would benefit the experiences of future generations of Elon
students. The importance of this research is to give Elon faculty,
staff and administrators in depth insight into student matriculation
and to help improve the undergraduate experience overall. This specific
area of research is important in the communications field because
it creates awareness and knowledge about how change within an environment
affects people - specifically students - in various ways.
PUBLIC HEALTH, AND THE MEDIA: A CONTENT ANALYSIS OF AIDS COVERAGE
IN AMERICAN NEWSPAPERS (JANUARY 2003-SEPTEMBER 2004), Adam B. Smith
(mentor Dr. Brooke Barnett). With more than 42 million people
living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, the media coverage afforded the
topic is of significant interest. The strength of this study comes
from the focus on newspapers across circulation size and region.
Previous research on this topic has focused on coverage in major
media outlets and specific geographic regions, without discussion
of the importance of local coverage throughout the U.S. This study
is also significant in that its analysis is based on interviews
with those people who are key stakeholders in the epidemic, offering
a perspective from those with a vested interest. Guided by framing
theory and agenda setting, this content analysis examined 32 American
newspapers, varied by region and circulation, to better understand
how the media covered AIDS. In all, 1116 stories between January,
2003 and September 30, 2004 were coded. The coding instrument was
constructed based on a previous Delphi study of AIDS activists,
care workers, and others in the field. During that study, those
entrenched in the epidemic were interviewed about how AIDS was,
and in their minds should be, covered.
POWER OF ELON STUDENTS: A STUDY OF AWARENESS AND USE OF ALAMANCE
COUNTY'S CRUZ-THRU CONVENIENCE STORES, Mary-Hayden Britton, Rebecca
Edwards, Brett D. Willi (mentor Dr. Frances Ward-Johnson). Each
Elon student's economic impact in the community is $27,000 annually,
according to a Fall 2004 study by the Elon University Office of
Institutional Advancement. For off-campus businesses, Elon University
provides a key opportunity for growth - if these businesses are
able to successfully tap into the purchasing power of students.
The purpose of this study is to assess student awareness and use
of Alamance County's unique Cruz-Thru Convenience stores, which
are also co-owned by an Elon graduate. The stores provide the convenience
of allowing customers to remain in their cars even as their orders
are being filled. There are three locations in Alamance County,
and while this study includes data from each store, a significant
portion of the research focuses on the Williamson Avenue location,
which is closest to the Elon campus. This quantitative study employed
the use of surveys to investigate Elon students' purchasing power
in the following areas: demographics, purchasing patterns, utilization
of various informational resources, motivating purchasing factors,
and current perceptions of Cruz-Thru stores. On two separate days
in the Fall, a total of 129 surveys were completed by Elon students
and faculty on-campus pertaining to the thus mentioned areas. Additionally,
this study utilized qualitative data obtained from in-depth interviews
with employees of Cruz-Thru stores and observations of the businesses'
daily operations. Upon careful analysis, our research recognized
a general lack of awareness in the Elon community of the business'
products, services and marketing platform. More specifically, these
perceptions of Cruz-Thru were not in-line with the business' differentiating
qualities, as perceived by the owners of Cruz-Thru. This research
is beneficial because it transcends the scope of Cruz-Thru stores
and gives Elon students insight into their own buying power and
impact on the local community. Our study is also valuable because
it gauges student awareness about a local business, and student
use of products and services. Additionally, this study can help
guide future marketing strategies of Cruz-Thru stores and other
potential businesses that aim to tap into Elon students' spending