Fall 2013 (V. 29, No. 1)

A Comparison of Advertising and Public Relations Students on Ethics: Attitudes and Predicted Behavior

by Drs. Jami A. Fullerton, Lori McKinnon and Alice Kendrick
Oklahoma State University, Southern Methodist University

Abstract: A comparison of attitudes between advertising students and those studying public relations revealed many similarities and some notable differences in their views about professional ethics. Both groups agreed that it was very important to work for an ethical employer, though they both also echoed public sentiment that not all advertising or public relations organizations practice high ethics. Public relations students believed more strongly in the ethicality of their profession. When faced with descriptions of six ethical workplace dilemmas, both advertising and PR students exhibited basic balance or symmetry in their reactions, rejecting five questionable behaviors as unethical and predicting they would be unlikely to partake in such activity. A scenario involving the use of environmental claims for an environmentally embattled client was embraced more by public relations students than by those studying advertising. Implications for educators and communications curricula are discussed.

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Best Practices for Community Relations: Case Study of the Hispanic Wellness Fair

by Kay Colley
Texas Wesleyan University

Abstract: Improving image and reputation for educational institutions requires effective community relations, an integral component of marketing and communications. While public relations research has determined the characteristics of effective community relations programs overall, little research exists on community relations efforts at educational institutions, in particular medical schools, focusing on the unique aspects of improving relations with the Hispanic community. This case study analysis of the 2005 American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Best Community Service Program reviews award-winning methods for creating and continuing effective community relations programs that focus on the Hispanic community. A literature review compares other best practices in community relations to this case, and interviews with participants are analyzed to understand the internal workings of the event. A first person, participant observer analysis of the event and an intercept survey administered to participants provided deep analysis of the fair and its marketing efforts. While community relations allows an organization to engender mutual trust with its community, in this instance the Hispanic community, community relations is also focused on improving image and reputation. Improved image and reputation can result in a variety of real outcomes: increased funding, increased donations, and increased visits to institutional medical clinics in this particular case study; therefore, the impact of effective community relations goes beyond perceptual benefits. An almost textbook example of community relations, this case study makes use of the three principles of effective communication that should be emphasized to ensure a successful community relations program. An intercept survey administered when participants were exiting the Fair demonstrated the effectiveness of the blanket approach of community relations in this award-winning campaign. With more than half of the survey participants indicating that they were first time attendees, it is clear that community trust, which is generally built over time, was less important than increased marketing efforts. Because many people seemed to be getting the message from multiple venues, the blanketed marketing approach that the Market Task Force took for the 2005 fair was effective. A concerted effort to include Hispanic media significantly increased the attendance of the fair, and a drive to stay grassroots with a focus on community kept people on the Marketing Task Force from year-to-year. The way this case study unfolded lends credence to textbook instruction on communicating with multicultural markets.

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Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor as framed by Spanish-language and English-language news media

by Elizabeth Candello
Arizona State University

Abstract: As Latinas assume greater roles in U.S. politics and the judicial branch, are media depictions reflective of these new roles or do negative minority stereotypes persist? This study compared the frames used by The Miami Herald, an English-language newspaper and El Nuevo Herald, its Spanish-language counterpart, during Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination and confirmation as the first Hispanic associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. The study explored whether the stronger media identification of the Spanish-language newspaper influenced the types of frames used to depict Sotomayor’s rise to the high court. This investigation found that El Nuevo Herald emphasized Sotomayor as a successful woman and pioneer. The Miami Herald highlighted the ideological themes of partisan politics. As a result, the greater cultural identification with the audience may avoid manifest negative stereotypes, but may exclude this audience from political and judicial discourse.

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Revolution 2.0: Deciphering a cross-national newspaper discourse

by Dr. Patrick Merle, Jessica El-Khoury, Mehrnaz Rahimi
Florida State University, Texas Tech University

Abstract: In 2011, civil unrest erupted in Egypt quickly gaining a popular momentum that further led to the demise of President Hosni Mubarak. While certain media initially described the revolt as a Facebook revolution, this study specifically evaluated whether three distinct newspapers of record may have contributed to promulgating such a description. A content analysis of news articles (N = 869) published in The New York Times, The Guardian, and Daily News Egypt revealed that in fact the revolution was rarely attributed to social media and that newspapers varied in their tone of the coverage with Daily Egypt being more neutral. This study suggests that social media facilitated and accelerated the 2011 upheavals.

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The Death of Osama bin Laden: News Diffusion and the Role of New Media

by Larry J. King, Jack Glascock, Linda Levitt
Stephen F. Austin State University, Illinois State University

Abstract: A survey concerning the diffusion of information about the death of Osama bin Laden was administered to 324 undergraduate students at a university in the Southwest United States. Results of the survey indicated that a majority, 59.6%, of the participants indicated that they first heard of bin Laden’s death through a new media source (text message, internet news site, or social networking site), and a significant number, 40.4%, indicated that they had first heard the news through a social networking site. Within the matter of a few hours of the first media coverage of bin Laden’s death, 80% of respondents had heard the news. While new media played an important role in diffusion of information about bin Laden’s death, face-to-face communication was most often used by those who reported sharing the news about bin Laden’s death. Results of the current study seem to support that there were some differences between participants’ use of media to get information on bin Laden’s death based on gender and race/ethnicity.

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Come The Apocalypse: Environmental and Ecological Issues in Popular Music

by Timothy Edwards
University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Abstract: Since the 1962 publication of Silent Spring, a book by Rachel Carson which detailed the effects of pesticides on land and animal habitat, Americans and citizens of the world have been concerned about the environment. Some of the most concerned and active participants in the environmental movement have been pop music artists. These artists have produced songs detailing problems in the eco-system. The subjects of these songs have ranged from pollution to ozone depletion and endangered species to the hazards of nuclear power and energy.
This paper is an examination of selected songs that deal with the environment to determine what themes have been most prevalent in the minds of musicians, and to examine the apocalyptic tone of this area of popular music. After consulting reference books and the Internet/World Wide Web, more than 1200 songs dealing with the environment were found. For this research paper, the lyrics of 208 songs were analyzed for content/theme. Some of the songs with the environment as the subject have been performed by artists such as Michael Jackson, Sting, John Denver, Alabama, Olivia Newton-John and Tracy Chapman, while many others have been performed by lesser known artists. Nonetheless, the songs may be useful in shedding light on various environmental issues.

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Straight Talk: An Analysis of African American Homosexuality in Film and Television since the 1990s

by Timothy Edwards
University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Abstract: This exploratory research used textual analysis to examine 14 films and three television programs with Black gay males as main characters attempting to identify inherent messages about gay males and Black homosexuality. Specifically, it examined narrative content for recurring themes across media texts. The analysis revealed five major themes related to the lives of Black gay males, and found a broad range of character types that reinforced and debunked stereotypes of gay males. The results call for more in-depth study focusing on additional films and television programs to enhance the discourse on how stereotypes are perpetuated and ways they can be changed.

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Earth Wars: PETA, Sea Shepherds, Greenpeace and Ethics

by Kim Pewitt-Jones
Texas Tech University

Abstract: This paper discusses ethics theories employed by environmental and animal rights organizations such as PETA, The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and Greenpeace, in recruiting supporters. These organizations must gain support based on ethics, but what philosophy do they follow in gaining supporters? By examining the ethics theories used by these environmentalists, the research is enhanced concerning how environmental organizations gain support through moral and ethical appeals. Discussing these practices might allow researchers and organizations to examine closer the ethical practices of environmental organizations to gain more understanding of how they attract supporters. It may also provide insight concerning how they could gain more support for their causes through a better understanding of cultural moral values beyond Western moral philosophies.

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A study of college students’ attitudes toward a paid news content system

by Yoonmo Sang
University of Texas at Austin

Abstract: This study investigated college students’ attitudes toward a paid news content system. It sought to identify factors that may predict such attitudes. To deepen our understanding of news copyright issues, this study also analyzed responses to open-ended questions and identified patterns in such responses. Among the predictor variables, perceiving news as a commodity was the only significant predictor of college students’ attitudes toward a paid news model. The results suggest that respondents’ perception that news is free and easily available from the Internet may be the biggest barrier to implementing a paid news model. Relatively few respondents considered news to be a commodity, though most respondents thought that news is a kind of public service that informs the public and benefits our society. Policy implications, limitations of the study, and recommendations for future research were discussed in the context of news copyright and online news economics.

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