Published by the School of Communications, Elon University

Fall 2011 Issue

Download the PDF of the entire Fall 2011 Issue


How U.S. Nonprofit Organizations Use Twitter
to Foster Dialogic Communication

By Carolyn Baumgarten

For nonprofits, the use of social media is an inexpensive way to develop new relationships with their publics. This study tested the hypothesis that the majority of tweets by the highest-funded U.S. nonprofit organizations will employ one or more dialogic principles to create interaction with the audience. The coding of 1,652 organizational tweets supported a strong connection between dialogic communication and conservation of visitors (defined as familiarity and closeness with an organization over time). Faculty mentor: Dr. Vic Costello

Relationship-Building and Other Uses of Social Networking Tools
by Nonprofit Organizations

By Catherine Reynolds

Social networking is now the most popular activity on the Web, with Facebook alone having member numbers in excess of 500 million. Social networking represents a major opportunity for corporations and nonprofit organizations to gain access to massive audiences with a medium that is essentially free and user-friendly. This research focused on how nonprofit organizations currently use social networking tools, with a particular interest in how they use social networking as a tool to create and maintain relationships and communication with volunteers, donors and other interested parties. Faculty mentor: Dr. Glenn Scott

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A Case Study of Online Communications by Advocacy Nonprofits

By Linda Kurtz

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This study examines two advocacy nonprofit organizations to determine and compare primary factors that affect their Internet communication practices. Those most heavily involved with each organization’s Internet presence were interviewed, and their websites were examined with attention to specific characteristics, such as interactivity and donation capabilities. Findings showed that while a small staff in an advocacy nonprofit did not lend itself well to website interactivity, small organizations still were capable of implementing strategic Internet communication practices. Faculty mentor: Dr. Glenn Scott


The Catholic Church in America through Online Media:
A Narrative Analysis

By Stephen Ferguson

Through the use of narrative analysis, this study seeks to identify dominant discourses about Catholicism in American culture through the use of its official online communications. Using framing and agenda-setting theories, the study examined the news subsidies of both the Vatican and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The research revealed that the Catholic Church promoted messages that emphasize the importance of social reform and the sacredness of human life, engage in social justice works around the world, celebrating cultural diversity and interfaith dialogue, and uphold the authority of the Church hierarchy. Faculty mentor: Dr. Kenn Gaither

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The Appeals of Luxury Advertising:
An Application of a Prominent Message Strategy Wheel

By William M. James

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Luxury items are products and services not considered essential and typically associated with affluence. This study applies Taylor’s Six-Segment Message Strategy Wheel to provide insights into luxury brand advertising. This research analyzed 317 ads across multiple print publications between January 2009 and October 2010. Ego was the most frequent appeal used in both times of recession and economic growth for all luxury business sectors. Faculty mentor: Dr. Dan Haygood


The Framing of Fossil Fuels and Climate Change:
Coverage of Environmental Issues in Three Newspapers

By Bryan Rogala

This study examines the coverage and framing of environmental issues from 2008 to 2011 by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today. Specifically, issues relating to fossil fuels and climate change were analyzed. A sample of stories was gathered using NewsBank’s Access World News database and coded for length, prominence, obtrusiveness, tone and framing. Results showed that the Times and Post published many more stories on climate change issues than did USA Today, and USA Today carried a wider range of frames in its coverage. Faculty mentor: Dr. Glenn Scott

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Framing the Soviet Athlete in American Media

By Sam Calvert

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This study investigates how athletes from the Soviet bloc were portrayed in the U.S. print sports media during the first and last Olympic Games during the Cold War. It looked at articles published in The New York Times and The Washington Post during the two Olympics and examined how often the press mentioned Soviet bloc athletes, how they referenced them, how the coverage of Soviet wins and losses reflected reality, and whether the athletes were mentioned within a Cold War context. Coverage did not entirely match the reality of success of the Soviet bloc athletes. Faculty mentor: Dr. Harlen Makemson


An Examination of El País and The New York Times
and Their Relation to Public Knowledge and Opinion Levels

By Catherine Ross

This project examined the content of articles about Brazil in The New York Times and El País and the correlation between news coverage and students’ knowledge and opinion levels on current events in Brazil. Content analysis revealed that Times coverage of Brazil had more depth and breadth than coverage in El País. Questionnaires distributed to University of Seville and Elon University students found that American students displayed a much broader array of knowledge and opinion of current events in Brazil. Faculty mentor: Dr. Glenn Scott

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Transformation of Newspapers in the Technology Era

By C. Elizabeth Everett

Newspapers are seeking to adapt to changes in technology and consumer demands. Using a triangular research approach by conducting interviews, secondary research, and a survey, this research examines whether technology innovations are keeping readers satisfied. To remain competitive, newspapers were implementing new technologies, such as web sites, blogging and text/instant messaging, to deliver information. By optimizing advertising dollars and promoting consumer participation, these changes suggest a positive future for the newspaper industry. Faculty mentor: Dr. Byung Lee

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Network Television Broadcasting During U.S. Crises:
Its Evolution, Execution, and Effects

By Brittany Dewey

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The Kennedy assassination and September 11, 2001, were two catastrophic events in U.S. history, and both were covered by network news stations. This study relied on six interviews with news producers and reporters to determine how and why broadcast production decisions are made during a crisis. Snowball sampling gathered quantitative statistics regarding viewer’s opinions on a station’s coverage of an iconic event. The research discovered a common theme among all networks: Production teams wanted to relay the latest information by showing audiences decent and relative stories. Faculty mentor: Dr. David Copeland


The Framing by CNN and Fox News
of the Muslim Brotherhood During the Egyptian Revolution

By Kelsey Glover

As the world watched the Egyptian revolution unfold in January 2011, images from Tahrir Square had an accompanying commentary that explained to U.S. viewers the unfolding events. This research focused on the characterization and information reported about Egypt’s leading political opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, during the revolution and directly following Mubarak’s resignation. The portrayal of the Muslim Brotherhood by CNN and Fox News was analyzed through a content analysis of television broadcast transcripts. It illuminated a bias in both news channels but showed a higher frequency of exaggerated extremism in Fox News reporting. Faculty mentor: Dr. Vic Costello

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A Comparison of Gender Role Portrayals in Advertising
on Gender-Specific Niche Market Networks

By Gabrielle Dean

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This study explores the prevalence of gender role stereotyping and product stereotyping in the commercials aired on gender-specific niche market networks. This study used content analysis to examine gender role portrayals in the advertisements played on Spike TV, Lifetime, and NBC. Results indicated that gender stereotyping remains prevalent in commercials shown on all three networks. Female characters were more frequently associated with the home and family, while males had a stronger association with work and business. Faculty mentor: Dr. Glenn Scott


Influences on the Decision by Young Adults
to Adopt New Technology

By Tiana Tucker

This study seeks to discover who and/or what influences young people, specifically when selecting a mobile phone. A survey gathered data about respondents’ behaviors and what influenced them when they made purchasing decisions of mobile phone and other technology. When young people looked to purchase a new mobile phone, they were influenced mostly by friends, followed by family, salespeople and others. In terms of non-human information channels, they were most influenced by advertising, followed by technology blogs and traditional media. Faculty mentor: Prof. Lee Bush

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