Spring 2013 (V. 28, No. 2)

Engendering Relationship Outcomes Through Stakeholder Involvement: A Case Study of a Nonprofit Organization

by Dr. Julie O’Neil, Nick Olivier and Dr. Jacque Lambiase
Texas Christian University

This study examined the recent efforts of a nonprofit to engage its stakeholders in its planning and programming and empirically tested whether the sharing of tasks cultivation strategy positively related to the relationship outcomes of commitment, control mutuality, trust, donations, and volunteering. Two hundred and fifteen stakeholders affiliated with the nonprofit Streams and Valleys completed an online questionnaire. Results indicate that nonprofits can facilitate greater involvement from stakeholders via collaborative volunteer projects and open forums. As predicted by relationship theory, the sharing of tasks relationship cultivation strategy is positively related to the relationship outcomes of commitment, control mutuality, and satisfaction and to the behaviors of donations and volunteering.

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Virtual Vision: Applying Cultural and Critical Theory to Video Game Aesthetics in Lollipop Chainsaw

by Bryan Carr
University of Oklahoma

This essay contends that video games are multifaceted in nature and can be understood and analyzed from various critical and cultural approaches. Most video game studies are focused on effects and do not take into account the aesthetic and interactive appeals of games. The increased multimedia capabilities of contemporary games provide new opportunities for interactivity, audiovisual fidelity and creativity, and auteurs that can establish distinctive creative signatures. Through analysis of critical and cultural literature, three main areas of critical and cultural inquiry are identified – perspective and the degree to which players can control the visual aspects of a game, the nature of player characters and how players can identify with and interact with them, and the ways in which the game appropriates and reflects creative culture and social issues.

The common thread of player interactivity and control is identified in all three perspectives and noted as a vital component of game analysis. This approach is illustrated through critical and cultural analysis of the game Lollipop Chainsaw, a recent action game from a noted video game creator that utilizes repurposed cultural content and has been the center of debate and discussion due to the sexualized portrayal of its lead character. The paper offers implications for applying critical and cultural studies and theory to interactive media and gaming. The study of games must take into account the degree of control and interactivity the player has and how that control manifests within the game, as this is a unique element of games that is intertwined with the aforementioned critical approaches. In doing so, the paper attempts to reconcile the ongoing discussion between pure ludologists and pure narratologists in the study of games.

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Experiential learning labs in public relations programs: Characteristics of undergraduate student-run public relations firms on U.S. college campuses

by Dr. Sarah Maben
Tarleton State University

Advisors from 55 of 119 student-run public relations firms on U.S. college campuses provided data about firm characteristics. A listing of student-run public relations firms, or agencies, was created and through an online survey questionnaire, results show that firm characteristics (years in operation, funding, workspace, hiring process, types of clients, and student involvement in decisions) are more similar than dissimilar even when comparing student-run public relations agencies of varying years in operation. Statistically significant results were found for the difference between firm types for the average number of hours students worked per week (F=6.612, eta-square= 0.18) and ACEJMC accreditation (F=3.71, eta- square=0.13). Recommendations and research ideas about this type of experiential learning lab are explored for future study.

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To Laugh or Not to Laugh: How Comedy News Versus Hard News Interacts with Individuals’ Levels of Political Cynicism and Political Efficacy to Impact the Agenda-Setting Effects

by Jennifer Kowalewski and Chip Stewart
Georgia Southern University, Texas Christian University

This experiment investigated how the same information presented as either hard news or comedy news interacted with individuals’ levels of cynicism and levels of efficacy to impact the agenda-setting effects. The results indicated individuals who received the comedy news story and had increased levels of cynicism accepted the media’s agenda more than those who received the same information presented as hard news. However, individuals who received the hard news story and had increased levels of efficacy were more likely to cite the issue they received as compared to those who received the same information presented as comedy news.

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The Republican Primaries in 140 Characters: How the 2012 Candidates Used Twitter to Mobilize Their Supporters, Interact With them and Frame the Campaign

by Dr. Ben S. Wasike
University of Texas at Brownsville

This study used content analysis to examine how the 2012 Republican candidates used Twitter to mobilize their supporters, interact with them, frame campaign issues and frame their opponents. The results indicated that Santorum has used Twitter the most. The most popular mobilization tactics were announcing appearances and voter recruitment. However, the candidates minimally used Twitter to frame campaign issues. Overall, the candidates’ use of Twitter was limited. Pertinent implications for the 2012 presidential elections are discussed.

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Critical thinking during a time of critical change in media industries: Examining media students’ perception and appreciation of higher-level learning outcomes

by Jared Schroeder
University of Oklahoma

The mass communication industries continue to undergo a period of uncertainty and rapid change. The time of change has reached universities as mass communication programs across the nation seek ways to adjust their curricula to include fast-changing technological skills demanded by the industry. During this time of change on both the professional and academic levels, this study uses Bloom’s taxonomy to examine media students’ perceptions of higher-level, analytical knowledge in regard to their coursework and future employment prospects. Scholars in several fields have argued universities must do more than provide students with the skills they need to get their first job. Instead, scholars argue students must know why they do the job, not simply how to do the work. Using a comparative analysis of students in a core, entry-level mass communication course and their more advanced counterparts in a senior-level media law class, this study found students have generally favorable views regarding higher-level learning outcomes. It also showed little evidence that students’ value and perception of learning analytical-level knowledge change between the time they enter mass communication programs and when they graduate.

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