Published by the School of Communications, Elon University

Spring 2016 Issue

Download the PDF of the entire Spring 2016 Issue

Models of Internet Monetization

By David Perell

Predicting the future of the news industry begins with understanding the history of newspapers and the current news delivery landscape. Because the Internet has brought fundamental shifts to news distribution, successful organizations of the future will capitalize on the digital world’s economics and scale. This study documents the recent adjustments in American newspaper distribution and predicts the business models required for news organizations to survive. This research found that the Internet will foster the development of both scale dependent and ad-supported publications and niche organizations that cover a narrow subject. Faculty mentor: Don Grady

Examining Preadolescent Television Programming
and the Rise of Generation Me

By Johanna Rosen

Preadolescence is a pivotal time for individuals as they develop their own set of values, attitudes, and beliefs. With children ages 11 to 14 reportedly watching nearly three hours a day of television, TV programming can be enormously influential. This study examined how preteen TV programming has changed over time by comparing and contrasting shows from different decades. This study found the values highlighted in early 21st century programming for preadolescents are more individualistically driven and sensationalized than they were in the 1990s, resulting in a narcissistic preteen culture. Faculty mentor: Kenn Gaither

Exaggerations and Stereotypes of Schizophrenia
in Contemporary Films

By Nikita DeMare

Due to filmmakers focusing on violence, traumatic events, and hallucinations when depicting characters with schizophrenia, critics have scrutinized the representation of mental disorders in contemporary films for years. This study compared previous research on schizophrenia with the fictional representation of the disease in contemporary films. Through content analysis, this study examined 10 films featuring a schizophrenic protagonist, tallying moments of violence and charting if they fell into four common stereotypes. Results showed a high frequency of violent behavior in films depicting schizophrenic characters, implying that those individuals are overwhelmingly dangerous and to be feared. Faculty mentor: Kenn Gaither

Yoga On Instagram: Disseminating or Destroying
Traditional Yogic Principles?

By Skyler Cowans

Today, more than 15 million Americans practice yoga, making the ancient Indian discipline synonymous with the Western society’s culture of wellness. As a way to market themselves, practitioners and instructors of yoga have utilized Instagram – and its more than 300 million accounts – to virtually share their favorite poses, sequences, and yogic philosophies. This paper examines the popular culture of yoga on Instagram and how it relates to the ancient Indian traditions of which the practice was built upon. The study found that while some observed themes of yoga on Instagram reflected elements of traditional yogic principles, others did not. Faculty mentor: Glenn Scott

A Content Analysis of Celebrity Instagram Posts
and Parasocial Interaction

By Janabeth Ward

Instagram allows users to share a snapshot of their lives with a mass audience in a matter of seconds. This capability and power has not gone unnoticed by celebrities, who are highly aware of the impact their social media accounts have on fans and the relationships they create. The purpose of this study is to find fan engagement and the parasocial phenomenon in celebrities’ Instagram activity. It analyzed 50 Instagram posts of three female singers—Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, and Ariana Grande—to find which categories of posts engage fans. It also investigated the parasocial phenomenon in fans’ comments. Faculty mentor: Glenn Scott

How YouTube Developed into a Successful Platform
for User-Generated Content

By Margaret Holland

Since its development, YouTube, the world’s third most popular online destination, has transformed from a video-sharing site into a job opportunity for content creators in both new and mainstream media. Based on content analysis, the study examined how three prominent YouTubers have created a successful personal brand. Analysis revealed the common characteristics that these online celebrities shared, the appeal of their content to viewers, and their use of traditional media to strengthen their branding. The study also found that younger viewers prefer watching YouTube videos because they were able to relate to the authenticity of user-generated content. Faculty mentor: Kenn Gaither

An Analysis of LEGO’s Response to an Attack
on its Partnership with Royal Dutch Shell

By MaryClaire Schulz

In 2014, Greenpeace launched an attack on a 50-year brand partnership between Danish toy company LEGO and Royal Dutch Shell, an oil and gas corporation. Through the analysis of Greenpeace’s campaign and LEGO’s responses over a three-month period, this case study examined how Greenpeace influenced LEGO’s communications with its consumers and its subsequent decision to terminate its partnership with Shell. Findings suggest that the popularity of a Greenpeace viral video played a role in LEGO’s decision, in addition to accusations questioning LEGO’s investment in children’s futures. Faculty mentor: Lucinda Austin

Evaluating the Internal Communications
of the Triangle’s ‘Best Places to Work’

By Kristen DeMaria

Fun. Creative. Engaging. These adjectives may come to mind when thinking of the best places to work. But what makes a company culture successful? This study evaluated internal communications in companies deemed “Best Places to Work” by the Triangle Business Journal and its influence on corporate culture. Interviews with five professionals from the “Best Places to Work” listing revealed a close connection between internal communications and corporate culture. The study found that providing an environment where open communication and feedback are encouraged reflects the corporate culture and aids in its development. Faculty mentor: Glenn Scott

Standardization of International Advertising Strategies:
A Content Analysis of Pantene Pro-V

By Kailyn Schmidt

With products available in more than 180 countries, Procter & Gamble is one of the largest global advertisers. Considering today’s global marketplace, it has become increasingly necessary for multinational companies like Procter & Gamble to effectively communicate with people from diverse nations. This study examined the extent of standardization practiced by the company for its Pantene Pro-V line of products and which components are most commonly standardized or adapted. Analysis showed that Procter & Gamble practiced a moderate level of standardization, which allowed it to maintain a consistent brand image, while still remaining mindful of cultural differences. Faculty mentor: Don Grady

Motives for Engaging with the Kardashians’
Reality Television Family

By Kayla Hammer

Reality television has been around for more than a half-century, dating back to the hidden cameras in Candid Camera in 1948. Today, one of the most popular reality television shows is Keeping Up with the Kardashians, an inside look at a celebrity family based in Los Angeles. This study explored why college-aged women feel a personal connection to the show and why they’ve been following the family for nearly a decade. Based on six interviews conducted with interested viewers, the study found that these women watch the series to escape reality, participate in surveillance, and feel personal connectedness. Faculty mentor: Glenn Scott