Fall 2012 (V. 28, No. 1)

The Role of Image Body Size, Race, and Familiarity on Subsequent Evaluations of the Self

by Temple Northup

Past research examining the content of media programming has shown women in the media tend to conform to certain beauty and body standards, with the dominant standard being one of “thinness.” Because this thin ideal is so well-documented, there has been an interest in examining the effects of those portrayals on media consumers. Previous research has demonstrated the media can play an important role in causing body dissatisfaction among women. This research builds upon prior studies by conducting an experiment exploring the interaction among image familiarity (the image was of a female celebrity or unknown model), body size (the female was thin or overweight), and race (the female was White or Black) and how those three items could affect participant body satisfaction. Unlike most prior research, the sample was diverse, allowing analysis examining any differences related to participant gender or race. Results suggest there were, indeed, different psychological effects based upon the size, familiarity, and race of the female image viewed, and the effects differed by race. Unlike previous research, there were no differences between genders. Implications from these results are discussed.

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Organizational Influences on Student Newspapers: A Survey of Newspapers of ACEJMC Programs

by Shaniece B. Bickham and Jae-Hwa Shin

Surveys of student editors, faculty advisers and academic affairs administrators of journalism and mass communication programs accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism in Mass Communication suggest that influences at the organizational level do have an impact on the content of student newspapers. The findings show that student editors were more likely to self-censor content when they did not have primary control of the newspapers. Significant differences were found to exist between the perceptions of student editors, faculty advisers, and academic affairs administrators in relation to influences on content and their relationship to censorship issues. Student editors were the only group who reported perceiving censorship as a problem. However, the survey results also showed that most public institutions had official governing rules and were not experiencing censorship issues.

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Critics’ Influence on Moviegoing Decisions

by Bryan Carr

Past research examining the content of media programming has shown women in the media tend to conform to certain beauty and body standards, with the dominant standard being one of “thinness.” Because this thin ideal is so well-documented, there has been an interest in examining the effects of those portrayals on media consumers. Previous research has demonstrated the media can play an important role in causing body dissatisfaction among women. This research builds upon prior studies by conducting an experiment exploring the interaction among image familiarity (the image was of a female celebrity or unknown model), body size (the female was thin or overweight), and race (the female was White or Black) and how those three items could affect participant body satisfaction. Unlike most prior research, the sample was diverse, allowing analysis examining any differences related to participant gender or race. Results suggest there were, indeed, different psychological effects based upon the size, familiarity, and race of the female image viewed, and the effects differed by race. Unlike previous research, there were no differences between genders. Implications from these results are discussed.

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Does Humor Matter? An Analysis of How Hard News versus Comedy News Impact the Agenda-Setting Effects

by Jennifer Kowalewski

Although hundreds of studies have investigated public opinion formation through agenda-setting research, many scholars have not examined how atypical news programs, such as comedy news, might impact the transfer of issue salience from the media’s agenda to the public’s agenda. With the increasingly popularity of these programs, scholars need to examine if comedy news, such as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert, impact agenda-setting effects, and how that might compare to typical hard news programs, such as those seen on CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News. In an experiment, this study tested how individuals who received the same information only presented differently, namely either hard news or comedy news, reacted to the different presentation styles; and how those different presentation styles impacted individuals’ acceptance of the media’s agenda, taking into account their existing attitudes. Results indicated that when individuals agreed with the information presented in the news story, the hard news was more successful in the transfer of issue salience than the comedy news; however, when individuals disagreed with the information, the comedy news was more successful in the transfer of issue salience than the hard news. Overall, the results indicate typical hard news does not have a monopoly on the agenda-setting process because comedy news can set the agenda of audience members under certain conditions.

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Framing Airline Mergers

by Clay Craig and Shannon Bichard

The merger and acquisition process is usually examined with little attention addressing newspaper portrayals of the situation. A content analysis of 503 articles discussing the 2008 Delta/Northwest Airlines merger from the Star Tribune and Atlanta Journal-Constitution over a 21-month period was performed in order to detect framing differences. The application of social identity theory was used to examine the prominent framing variations based on in-group and out- group coverage of the merger. As expected, the newspapers focused more dominantly on the in- group airline when covering the merger and varied slightly in their framing techniques.

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Continuous Emotional Responding to Audio, Video, and Audiovisual Sensory Channels during Television Viewing

by Johnny V. Sparks, Wan-Chu Chuang, and Sungwon Chung

An experiment was conducted to examine the independent and interactive influence of the audio and visual channels of information in television on viewers’ emotional experience. Audio-only, video-only, and audiovisual television content was presented as psychological stimuli, while participants completed continuous-response measures (CRMs) to index over-time changes in emotional experience of positive valence, negative valence, and arousal. Positive valence and arousal means were significantly influenced by channel over time. Participants reported the most positive emotional experience during audiovisual exposure. The channel and time interaction did not significantly affect negative valence ratings. However, positive valence, negative valence, and arousal ratings were significantly influenced by the interaction of channel and specific message content.

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