Thought-provoking work

Photo of Harlen Makemson, Professor, School of Communications

Geopolitics and gender are dominant themes in the fall 2022 issue.

Three articles use qualitative content analysis in very different ways to understand political events both past and present. Elise Leary-Forrey examined the early days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine through global newspaper coverage, finding that U.S. headlines tended to have more of an economic focus, while international headlines stressed the military angle. Christian Harrison studied Twitter during the 2020 U.S. Senate race in Georgia, concluding that candidates most frequently used the platform for non-issue-related communication such as fundraising. Through a historical lens, Katie Dalrymple dissected Richard Nixon television campaign ads from his presidential campaign of 1968, using “videostyle” analysis to demonstrate how video production elements augmented his language surrounding dog whistle racism.

Student scholars in this issue also apply varied approaches to study gender. Two articles examine gender through an advertising context – Anna Sutton found that hard seltzer television ads are less likely to exhibit stereotypical gender archetypes than are beer ads, while Claire Grider concluded that social media ads for menstrual products are moving away from messages that communicate shame and more toward inclusiveness. Meanwhile, Corinne Rose applied feminist standpoint theory through in-depth interviews with professionals to explore how women in the data and communications fields experience discrimination.

In addition, Molly Healy’s article explores representation through Saturday Night Live, comparing how the use of stereotypes and satirical racial humor varied over four episodes of the comedy show that featured Chinese guest hosts.

These students and their faculty mentors have produced thought-provoking work, which I hope you will enjoy in this issue.

Harlen Makemson
Editor, Elon Journal