Published by the School of Communications, Elon University
This issue has manuscripts covering a wide gamut of topics. 2012 was a presidential election year, so many students were especially interested in how the media covered elections. Other research topics covered included advertisements in men’s magazines and public service announcements on kids’ health; popular rap/hip-hop lyrics and students’ response to the lyrics; media use of images in framing minority groups; and the portrayal of the American legal system in prime time television crime dramas.
In her paper, “Social Media and Politics: Twitter Use in a 2012 Campaign,” Julia Caplan content analyzed tweets to find how two state politicians in Virginia used Twitter. She found that they primarily used the social media site to post information and tweet about their current activities. Through an examination of media coverage of the presidential debates, Rachel Southmayd checked whether candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney told the truth in the three debates. She also surveyed Elon students’ perceptions of the candidates’ debate performance and lies. Stephanie Petrich analyzed CNN, ABC and Fox News to find out how they assessed presidential campaign advertisements. She found the three news outlets used political analysts and anchors to critique negative or popular campaign advertisements. Mariah Irvin investigated how women were used as broadcast reporters and sources in hard news stories in the 2012 presidential election. The study found that “male reporters were assigned more hard news than female reporters, and they were a little more likely to assigned to hard news than soft news. Male sources were used more as experts in hard news by both male and female reporters.”
Joseph Ziemba analyzed textual and visual messages in advertisements for dietary supplements in men’s fitness and lifestyle magazines. He found that advertisements appealed to viewers’ emotions or sense of self rather than information on products. Maria Georgiadis found that the Let’s Move! campaign urged children to increase physical activity and to eat healthy food. She found that the public service announcements in the campaign employed “a series of separate but cohesive PSA ads that displayed consistency in messages, logos and themes, ultimately creating a brand for the campaign that was easily recognizable to publics.” Gretchen Cundiff found that popular rap/hip-hop music has misogynistic lyrics, such as violence against women, which, scholars worry, might desensitize individuals to harassment of women and degradation of women. But most male students in the survey “held negative views about rap/hip-hop music compared to most women holding neutral views of the genre.” Caitlin O’Donnell wrote a paper on how minorities—native Americans, women, African Americans, Japanese Americans and Muslim Americans—were visually portrayed in the mass media. Sam Parker’s article investigated the portrayal of the American legal system in prime time television crime dramas. Her study suggested “though suspect treatment is portrayed fairly accurately in prime time network television crime dramas, tendencies of exaggeration and inaccuracy exist through the case building process and trial length.”
I hope these papers on diverse topics would inspire students to find a topic they have a passion for.
-- Elon Journal editor Dr. Byung Lee