Fall 2023 Issue
Volume 14, No. 2
News Media’s Framing of Violent Video Games Following President Trump’s 2019 Mass Shooting Comments
Since the late 1990s, there have been concerns that the use of violent entertainment could result in mass shootings. Previous research has delved into the different ways that video entertainment could affect our minds, such as causing increased aggression and desensitization. Other research has focused on how news media frames violent entertainment and its possible connection to mass shootings. This study looks to further that research by looking at various news organizations’ framing of how video games potentially could cause mass shootings. The study uses articles written following President Trump’s 2019 comments following the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. The findings from this study showcase that news media overwhelmingly dismisses the idea that violent entertainment causes mass shootings to occur.
Mentor: Laura Lacy
Radical Social Media Managers: How Thai Activism Group Thalufah Used Instagram to Organize Under Strict Lèse-majesté Laws
In summer 2020, political discontent in Thailand escalated once again, following a history of student activism and the 2014 military coup that brought Prayut Chan-o-cha to power as the country’s prime minister. A surge in protests led to the creation of several activist groups, including the pro-democracy, student-led group Thalufah. Through quantitative analysis of 119 captions, this research explores how Thalufah harnessed Instagram two years later to organize supporters in the face of a speech-limiting constitutional monarchy. Findings indicate that Thalufah most frequently presented their primary goals: rewriting the constitution, replacing the prime minister, and abolishing the strict lèse-majesté laws outlined in section 112 of the criminal code. Coding revealed that to underscore these goals, the group often invoked feelings of anger and used culturally informed methods to call followers to act. This research highlights the work of Thalufah while addressing a gap in the literature regarding Instagram’s role in Southeast Asian activism.
Mentor: Jessalyn Strauss
Graphic Designers’ Consideration of Color Accessibility
Tiffany C.T. Huang
Color blindness, or more formally known as color vision deficiency (CVD), affects 8-10% of people in the United States. Those with CVD have difficulty distinguishing one hue from another and are often faced with challenges in comprehending graphic design. While studies have thoroughly investigated this subject from the perspective of colorblind individuals, virtually no study has investigated the topic from the designers’ point of view. Ten graphic designers were interviewed about their design process and how they incorporate CVD-friendly practices into their work. This research found that the professional experiences designers have had strongly influence the degree to which they consider colorblind audiences. Designers most likely to consider CVD include those who work with digital content and those who design for a wide audience. Interviews revealed that there is little reliance on tools meant to address color accessibility. Instead, designers rely on gut instinct and subjective viewpoints to choose colors for their work. Uncovering these trends in how graphic designers consider color accessibility can help influence graphic design education and result in future work that is more accessible to colorblind audiences.
Mentor: Harlen Makemson
A Period Piece: Analyzing Portrayals of Menstruation in Film from the 1960s to the 2020s
Menstruation is a universal human experience for over half of the global population, yet it remains relatively absent in media, especially in fictional narratives. This content analysis examines films from the 1960s to the 2020s to determine if depictions and attitudes toward menstruation have changed. The study identified a dearth of representation and substantial negativity toward menstruation and menstruators within the films. Findings also reveal a pattern of those menstruating experiencing some aspect of shame, maintaining secrecy, using coded language, or experiencing derisive treatment in all films. Conversely, while contemporary films contain some harmful ideas or actions, efforts of normalization and rectification were employed to combat them. The observed patterns demonstrate some progress in dismantling outdated attitudes toward menstruation while emphasizing the ongoing need for normalization. These findings underscore the importance of exploring and understanding fictional media’s role in shaping cultural norms and beliefs.
Mentor: Jane O’Boyle
The Secret Life of Sex Education: A TikTok Content Analysis
Current legislation and political climates have restricted the traditional flow of sex education to young adults. TikTok is a popular platform used by this population and thus offers an opportunity to explore alternative effective information pathways in regard to sexual health. This study aimed to expand upon previous literature by analyzing who is using TikTok to create content related to sexual health and what content themes are being emphasized. Qualitative content analysis was used to examine the top 25 videos labeled under the hashtag “#sexualhealth.” Results found professionals, such as therapists and those with health-related occupations, to be the primary creator type, with the content theme of opinions, recommendations, advice, or reassurance to be the most prevalent. Findings from this study can be helpful in improving upon the use of TikTok as a sexual health education platform.
Mentor: Jane O’Boyle
Same Song, Same Dance, Different Movie: A Comparison Between Hollywood Movie Musicals from the Golden Age and the 21st Century
When Hollywood movie musicals returned to critical and commercial prominence in the 21st century, they came back with a new look and feel. Early 21st century films like Chicago were faster and flashier in comparison to Hollywood’s classic movie musicals from its Golden Age. In considering this new style for the musical, the following study compares the cinematography and editing techniques of 21st century movie musicals with their Golden Age Hollywood predecessors. Using a content analysis on three Hollywood movie musicals and their musical numbers from each era, this study finds that today’s musical numbers have a faster editing pattern, more camera shots, and more-complicated camera movements. These findings are important to understand both how the musical film genre has evolved and to speculate about what the genre’s future conventions may become.
Mentor: Barbara Gaither