Spring 2017 Issue

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A Content Analysis of Online Coverage of Female Athletes
in the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics

By Graceanne Killoran

News coverage of the Olympic Games, considered one of the largest planned media events in the world, can play a prominent role in influencing audience perception across the globe. Past studies have concluded that women athletes are often marginalized within the Olympic sportscast. This paper studied common stereotypes that surrounded female Olympians in the online coverage of the 2016 Summer Rio Olympics. The author performed a content analysis on 40 articles from ESPN and The New York Times written during the Games. The research concluded that the online coverage did in fact contain female stereotypes that deemphasized their athletic ability and/or performance. Faculty mentor: Byung Lee

Crossing the Border: The Framing of Global Migration
by National News Media

By Emily Dzilenski

Migration is a human experience that brought civilization to every corner of the globe. However, its modern manifestation threatens stability, human rights, resources, and security. For those outside migration’s immediate reach, the news media is the source for public understanding of its flows and consequences. Through a cross-national comparison, this study investigated how different national news media frame migration to their audiences. Examining recent online news publications from the United States, Germany, and Spain, this study concluded that national news media construct multiple frames of migration, maintain a significantly international focus, and often emphasize their discontent with national governments’ handling of migration issues. Faculty mentor: Glenn Scott

The Self-Presentation of Popular Fitspiration Experts on Instagram

By Ellie Bohjalian

“Fitspiration” is a popular buzzword used to describe the promotion of a healthy lifestyle through fitness and diet. This broad category has grown significantly in recent years, particularly on the social media platform Instagram, where fitspiration experts publish images of themselves to encourage or inspire others to attain their fitness goals. This study examined fitspiration experts on Instagram to determine how they present themselves through photographic content. The researcher selected six popular fitspiration users and utilized content analysis to obtain quantitative data. The results indicated that most posts did not relate to fitness but rather featured non-workout related content, which many times showcased the poster’s bodies. Faculty mentor: Qian Xu

The Role of Latino Stereotypes in Jane the Virgin

By Caroline Grell

After premiering on The CW in 2014, Jane the Virgin has gained significant media attention as the network’s first show to feature a predominantly Latino cast. This paper investigated to what extent Latino stereotypes were present in the series, and in what functions the program producers used them while weaving in cultural issues and concepts, such as immigration, religion, and class differences. Based on a qualitative content analysis of 10 episodes from a two-year period, stereotypes were present at times, but they were minimal in comparison to the progressive ideas and positive representations illustrated, and were predominantly presented to be questioned and challenged. Faculty mentor: Glenn Scott

YouTube Communities and the Promotion
of Natural Hair Acceptance Among Black Women

By Cameron Jackson

Black women are popularizing a second wave of the natural hair movement, rejecting the European beauty ideal and promoting acceptance of afro-textured hair, which has historically been viewed as unkempt and unprofessional. As part of this movement, many women are turning to social media platforms — particularly YouTube — to gain information, support, and acceptance. Through framing theory, this study analyzed YouTube content to identify the most salient themes. This analysis revealed that content creators are facilitating a positive discourse surrounding natural hair, and that content consumers tend to express gratitude and use the platform to deepen their understanding of hair care. Faculty mentor: Glenn Scott

An Analysis of Corporate Responses
to the Black Lives Matter Movement

By MaryClaire Schulz

The Black Lives Matter movement, founded in 2012 to address the perceived anti-Black racism present in American society, has received support from several large U.S. corporations. This paper examined U.S. corporate responses to the social movement, exploring the corporate values and public responses of five companies within three different industries (including social networking, music-streaming, and sports brands). This paper also discussed the key role that company values, social responsibility initiatives, and mission statements play when a company responds to social justice issues. The study concluded that companies must take their main stakeholders into account before responding to polarizing social movements. Faculty mentor: Anthony Hatcher

Reputation Management: A Case Study of Abercrombie & Fitch

By Isabel Koehler

In 2013, clothing company Abercrombie & Fitch received considerable public attention for exclusionary remarks attributed to CEO Mike Jeffries. The company was accused of discriminating against overweight women based on its refusal to sell sizes larger than 10. This incident of perceived discrimination became widely circulated due to media coverage of the story and the role of the company’s CEO. Instead of following the successful Redressive Actions Framework, Abercrombie & Fitch utilized a more submissive approach that was widely seen as ineffective. This case study found Abercrombie & Fitch failed to address its consumers appropriately and suffered reputation loss, contributing to a decline in stock prices. Faculty mentor: Don Grady

How Regional Fast Food Restaurants
Build Brand Identity to Reach Local Consumers

By Katie Condon

Loyalty can run deep, especially when it involves burger joints. This study used content analysis to understand the brand identities of three regional fast food restaurants: Culver’s, In-N-Out Burger, and Whataburger. The author reviewed company websites, product packaging, and social media accounts to examine the portrayed identity of these popular chains. These brand identities incorporate regional culture and values in order to develop personal connections with local consumers, resulting in strong brand loyalty. In a fast food industry dominated by national and international competitors, these burger joints provide a lesson on how strong branding and catering to the specific tastes can lead to success. Faculty mentor: Anthony Hatcher

Ticket Scarcity and the Marketing
of Broadway’s Smash Hit Hamilton

By Nicole Ackman

Hamilton, a Broadway hit musical, has achieved astounding popularity leading to ticket scarcity and a wildly overpriced resale ticket market. Although most have never seen the show, fans continue to engage with the production both off and online. Through a survey of fans and an interview, this study explored how a show can be marketed when the main goal isn’t necessarily to encourage people to buy tickets. Instead the marketing focuses on providing content for fans, creating a significant online presence, and keeping people engaged. By understanding how Hamilton’s ticket scarcity was handled, other marketers may use these methods for future Broadway shows. Faculty mentor: George Padgett

Talent Representation and Promotion in Today’s Music Industry

By Jason Berk

The music industry is a complex and ever-changing system, and understanding how to effectively represent an artist is essential for success in the field. This research focused on the evolution of the role of music management and promotion in today’s music industry. The study used convenience sampling to conduct in-depth interviews with current industry professionals, focusing on industry consolidation, social media, and on-demand streaming services, and how they affect music and artist promotion. Ultimately, while promotions have become more focused on digital marketing and streaming sites, traditional methods of promotion are still relevant, and industry consolidation has not had a profound effect on the promotion of artists and their music. Faculty mentor: Don Grady

Examining Ethnic Minority Representation
in Higher Education Website Imagery

By Joe Del Vecchio

Websites play a critical role in the marketing of colleges and universities, providing pertinent information while allowing prospective students to picture themselves on campus. This study tried to contextualize how institutions of higher education use diversity as a marketing tool by looking at ethnic diversity in website imagery. Images from school websites in the University of North Carolina System and Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education were analyzed, and representation of non-White students in those images was compared to actual representation on campus. Of the 22 schools examined, 16 overrepresented non-White students in their website imagery, and webpages most accessible to prospective students often highlighted non-White individuals. Faculty mentor: Anthony Hatcher

Examining The New York Times’ Compliance with
Government-Issued Guidelines on Native Ads

By Jordan L. Fusco

Native advertisements — a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed — now dominate the world of online advertising. But publishers seem to have trouble interpreting exactly how the guidelines of the Federal Trade Commission define a proper native ad. The author analyzed native ads published by The New York Times to understand if its ads are deceptive. A content analysis was conducted of 36 New York Times articles containing sponsored content. The findings showed that subjectivity plays a heavy role in the judgment of advertisements as they comply with government-issued guidelines. This case study will help to better understand the true nature of the native ad. Faculty mentor: Qian Xu

An Analysis of Hillary Clinton-Sponsored Advertisements
during the 2016 Presidential Election

By Joelle Halle

Despite media evolution, political advertising remains the primary means by which candidates directly reach voters. The 2016 presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was no exception. Since the birth of political advertising in the 1960s, experts have investigated advertising strategies and trends in order to uncover patterns in voter behavior. Through content analysis, this study investigated the tone, topic, and content of Clinton-sponsored advertisements during the 2016 presidential election. The results illustrate an advocacy-heavy advertising strategy for Clinton, with a shift from policy-focused advocacy ads to character-focused attack ads as Election Day drew nearer. Advertisements featuring content about rights, leadership, and the economy were most common. Faculty mentor: Byung Lee