Lucinda Austin, Vanessa Bravo present at international public relations conference

The School of Communications professors shared their research at the International Public Relations Research Conference, held in Miami, Florida. Austin’s research was recognized with a top paper award.

Lucinda Austin (left) and Vanessa Bravo
Lucinda Austin (left) and Vanessa Bravo[/caption]​Elon University School of Communications assistant professors Lucinda Austin and Vanessa Bravo presented research papers at the 18th annual International Public Relations Research Conference, held March 5-7 in Miami, Florida. Austin won a top paper award at the three-day event, which is the only conference devoted entirely to research in public relations.

Austin’s presentation was titled “Crisis information generation and spread: Examining the influence of traditional and social media in crisis response and recovery.” She received the top paper award for The Boston University Award for Public Relations and Social and Emerging Media. The research for Austin’s paper was funded by a grant from the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communications at The Pennsylvania State University.

Austin and her co-authors, Yan Jin of the University of Georgia and Brooke Fisher Liu of the University of Maryland at College Park, examined how traditional and social media produce and distribute crisis information for publics through interviews with journalists experienced in crisis coverage. Findings provided evidence for an emerging theoretical model – the Social-Mediated Crisis Communication Model, along with insider insights on differences and connections among different media platforms.

Bravo’s presentation was titled “Applying the Situational Theory of Publics to the case of the first external voting process for Costa Ricans abroad: Lessons learned and applications for international public relations and political communication.”

Bravo’s transnational communications study, a sole-author paper, examined the communication process by which the government of Costa Rica informed its diaspora community around the world about a new absentee vote right, which was extended for the first time in the national elections of February 2014. Besides communication aspects, Bravo identified factors that impacted the voters’ intention and/or decision to vote in the Costa Rican elections while abroad, and she categorized those factors using the Situational Theory of Publics. The study is based on data gathered from 40 interviews with Costa Rican migrants who live in eight countries (Brazil, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, Panama, Mexico, El Salvador and the United States).

Bravo and Austin both started working at Elon in fall 2011. The professors completed their doctorates at the University of Florida and the University of Maryland at College Park, respectively.