‘Culmination of a Long and Fruitful Journey’

Photo of Harlen Makemson, Professor, School of Communications

The historical evolution of film, and the power of social media to educate and organize, are two connecting themes in the fall 2023 edition of the Elon Journal.

Two student authors employ content analysis to study the ways in which film has evolved both in production techniques and representation. Brandon Talton’s comparison of movie musicals between cinema’s Golden Age and the 21st century reveals that today’s musical numbers have a faster editing pattern, more camera shots, and more-complicated camera movements. Meanwhile, Nadine Jose’s examination of movies from the 1960s to the 2020s found substantial negativity toward menstruation, with characters experiencing some aspect of shame, maintaining secrecy, using coded language, or experiencing derisive treatment in all films.

In the social media sphere, Megan Curling’s quantitative analysis of Instagram captions explores how Thailand’s pro-democracy, student-led group Thalufah harnessed the platform to organize supporters in the face of a speech-limiting constitutional monarchy, the group often invoking feelings of anger and referencing culture in their calls to action. In contrast, Juliana Schiano’s study focused on how TikTok is used to disseminate information about sexual health, discovering that top videos most often share opinions, recommendations, advice, or reassurance about the topic.

Also in this issue, Liam Callahan uses media framing theory to explore how popular news outlets addressed the possible role of video games in fostering gun violence following former President Donald Trump’s 2019 comments linking the two. Callahan’s findings reveal that news and opinion articles generally dismissed gaming’s role in mass shootings, often citing research studies that refuted the connection.

Additionally, Tiffany Huang examined how professional graphic designers consider audiences with color vision deficiency, her interviews revealing that there is little reliance on technical tools meant to address color accessibility. Instead, designers rely on gut instinct and subjective viewpoints to choose colors for their work.

The articles you see in this edition are the culmination of a long and fruitful journey for each of the authors and their faculty mentors. Please enjoy their fine work.

Harlen Makemson
Editor, Elon Journal