Persevering – and thriving

Photo of Harlen Makemson, Professor, School of Communications

The COVID-19 pandemic brought traditional learning to an abrupt halt in March 2020.

Turning on a dime, college educators quickly scrambled to convert half-completed in-person courses to all-remote instruction. Students sadly left campus behind amid great uncertainty and sometimes immense personal and family challenges.

Given that turmoil, it is somewhat remarkable that you are reading this edition of the Elon Journal. Yet, the articles that emerged over the remainder of that semester, and represented here, are outstanding in their scope and depth of analysis, reflecting the tenacity of students and mentors in producing high-quality work under unprecedented circumstances.

Online news coverage of the early pandemic itself became the focus of Maria Ramirez Uribe’s research. Health-related topics were also represented in Consuelo Mendoza Bruno’s examination of TikTok use by healthcare professionals, and Junie Burke’s analysis of abstinence-based sexual education videos.

Journalistic practice was the focus of two articles in this edition: Anton L. Delgado examined how student newsrooms decide to remove online content, while Jack Norcross studied how the composition of guests on Sunday news talk shows has shifted between two presidential administrations.

Two scholars analyzed cinematic representation: Sydney Dye focused on characters who come out as LBGTQ, while Valerie Sampson studied characters who have dissociative identity disorder. In addition, Morgan Collins’ article examining REI’s and Patagonia’s messaging against Black Friday consumerism, and Meghan Isaf’s study of college students’ use of social media for dating, each embody smartly conceived and well-executed research.

To see these students and mentors not only persevere, but thrive, in exceedingly challenging circumstances, is inspiring. Please enjoy – and celebrate – their fine work in this issue.

Harlen Makemson
Editor, Elon Journal