School of Communications publishes spring 2021 issue of research journal

In the most recent edition of the Elon Journal, student researchers delve into a variety of media-related topics, including how public relations agencies responded to the Black Lives Matter movement and what journalistic lessons are conveyed in “Spotlight” and “All the President’s Men.”

The School of Communications has published the spring 2021 issue of the Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications, featuring student research on topics ranging from how public relations agencies responded to the Black Lives Matter movement to an exploration of the work of acclaimed cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki.

The issue contains seven research papers authored by School of Communications students. The research studies highlight a diverse set of subjects such as how organizations address social movements, news coverage of human rights issues at Olympic host sites, and the journalistic lessons conveyed in the films “Spotlight” and “All the President’s Men.”

Three student researchers delved into the ways in which media practitioners address social movements or unrest  including Amanda Willingham, who examined how public relations agencies responded to the Black Lives Matter movement. Her study explored the websites of organizations that signed on with the Diversity Action Alliance to evaluate how they publicly present their diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

While Willingham studied a recent movement, Amanda Gibson focused on how journalists covered the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, a country run by a military regime and torn apart by violence. Gibson sought to find if journalists prioritized sports or human rights in their coverage in the lead up to, during and after the tournament.

Additionally, Aleeza Zinn’s research investigated and demonstrated how Vogue magazine has increasingly addressed social issues in recent years – and often sets the agenda for social, political, and cultural discussions.

Several students’ research focused on how advertisers connect with the pubic, with Emily Weinberg analyzing how current companies express authenticity in brand storytelling. Fellow researcher Catherine Cole explored how fashion ads draw upon context from the Cold War. Her research specifically sought to understand how Berlin’s communist history impacts modern fashion advertising.

While cinematographers are responsible for eliciting audience emotion through camera techniques, they often do not receive significant recognition for their contributions. Mallory Siegenthaler explored the current work of cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki to establish why many feel he is a master in cinematography.

Lastly, Jonathan Sarver studied how the films “Spotlight” and “All the President’s Men” convey journalistic lessons of the past. Sarver’s research relies on the strength of five in-depth interviews with college journalism professors from four American universities.

For this spring 2021 issue, Professor Harlen Makemson, the journal’s editor, assembled an editorial board of more than 30 communications faculty members who participated in the multiple blind-review process to select the best student work.

The Elon Journal began in spring 2010, with spring and fall editions each year. The spring 2021 journal marks the 23rd edition.

The Council on Undergraduate Research catalogs more than 200 student research journals in the nation, and the Elon Journal is one of the few that focuses on undergraduate student research in journalism, media and communications.