Fall 2015 Issue

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How University Websites Portray Study Abroad

By Gina Apperson

University websites across the country showcase the important underlying values of study abroad: experiencing a “local” culture, creating interactive conversations, and empowering students through personal and academic development. This research examined how universities communicate the benefits and values. Through a rhetorical analysis, grounded in framing theory, this study analyzed the key verbal, visual, and interactive messages of five university study abroad websites. These findings suggest how website communication can influence perceptions of study abroad. Faculty mentor: Michael Frontani

Image Repair and Crisis Response
of Professional Athlete Adrian Peterson

By Ryan Winters

During the 2014 season, a disastrous year in terms of public relations for the NFL, Adrian Peterson was among those who tainted the league’s reputation. Domestic violence was at the forefront of the controversy, and Peterson’s child abuse case caused additional damage to the league’s image. This qualitative content analysis scrutinized Peterson’s attempt to repair his image through the media after receiving public backlash from his child abuse charges. The study found that his media messages used evasion of responsibility and reducing offensiveness as his chief strategies, but their effects were not fully successful. Faculty mentor: Michael Frontani

Psychological Effects of Fitness Advertising
on Female Collegiate Athletes

By Jenny Gallagher

In recent decades, research has focused on the powerful effects of advertising on negative body image. While researchers have studied how the general female population reacts to various advertising techniques, little research has been published on how female collegiate athletes are affected by fitness advertisements. This study examined how these athletes respond to fitness advertisements and which tactics generate positive responses. Based on a focus group conducted with female Division I athletes, the study found that resonating fitness advertisements must be realistic and tell a relatable story using action images, regardless of the model’s identity. Faculty mentor: Glenn Scott

Color Theory and Social Structure in the Films of Wes Anderson

By A. Vaughn Vreeland

Filmmaker Wes Anderson has developed a distinct aesthetic style that is easily recognizable through his use of striking color palettes. The purpose of this research was to draw conclusions about social stratification, social construction and the role of family as they relate to color palettes in Anderson’s films. Relying on the auteur theory, the research related Anderson’s personal experiences with those of his characters and aimed at discerning the importance of color as it connects to social structure. Faculty mentor: Don Grady

Do African-American Female Stereotypes Still Exist in Television?
A Descriptive Character Analysis of Olivia Pope

By Kendall King

Scandal, the first network drama in decades to star an African-American woman, reaches millions of viewers on a weekly basis. This study examined if main character Olivia Pope is a reflection of popular African-American female stereotypes in television. A sample of nine episodes was used to quantitatively measure whether Pope exemplifies the “Mammy,” the “Jezebel,” or the “Sapphire.” Analysis showed that although Pope embodies characteristics of all these stereotypes, they are presented in a different way than what is commonly seen on television. Faculty mentor: Don Grady

Human Rights Framing in U.S. Newspaper Coverage
of the Sochi Olympic Preparations

By Michelle Alfini

Every two years, the global spotlight shines on the Olympics and the nation hosting the worldwide event, particularly the country’s record on human rights. This project looked at how two American newspapers, The New York Times and The Washington Post, examined human rights in Russia in their coverage of the Sochi Games before their start in order to determine and analyze the framing of this mega-event to a U.S. audience. This paper analyzed content in 170 articles published in the two years leading up to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. Faculty mentor: Glenn Scott

Unrecognized Potential:
Media Framing of Hitler’s Rise to Power, 1930-1933

By Katherine Blunt

In an effort to understand how Americans regarded Adolph Hitler’s influence in Germany and beyond as he navigated the country’s political landscape, and ultimately established the Third Reich, this research examines his portrayal in American media in the early 1930s. The research uses media framing theory to assess newspaper coverage of Hitler published in The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Washington Post between 1930 and 1933. An analysis of more than 400 articles revealed “credible” frames that focused on his persuasive appeal, popular support, and political clout.

Instagram and Branding: A Case Study of Dunkin’ Donuts

By Kally A. Lavoie

Instagram, a social media app, is becoming increasingly popular as a business and communication tool. Analyzing 12 posts on Dunkin’ Donuts’ Instagram account, this case study attempted to understand branding through framing theory. The study found that Dunkin’ Donuts used its brand name, logo, colors, and images of its products on Instagram to create a strong brand presence. But the company failed in creating an image of its brand as being people-oriented because it scarcely used text, photos, or videos to represent its fans or involve them. Faculty mentor: Don Grady

Examining Social Media and Digital Practices
among Southeastern Magazines

By Jonathan Black

Recent advancements in digital media have had drastic effects on magazines across the country. This research paper addressed those results by examining the digital and social media practices of four city magazines based in the American Southeast to determine what practices are working across social media and digital platforms. Through a content analysis, this study found that city magazines need to use local content, multimedia content and advertising bundles to draw in more visitors or advertising revenues. Faculty mentor: Michael Frontani

An Analysis of Successful Student-Run
Public Relations and Advertising Agencies

By Amanda Limoges

Like other communication-related fields, such as broadcast journalism and print journalism that typically have their own student-led organizations, strategic communications students obtain hands-on experience through student-run agencies, which helps them secure internships and jobs after graduation. This study examined what factors are critical to the success of college student-run agencies, based on a survey sent to university student-run PR and advertising agencies nationwide. The survey identified three major trends that were related to successful agencies. Faculty mentor: George Padgett