Spring 2015 (V. 30, No. 2)

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Anonymous Sources: More or less and why and where?

by Hoyt Purvis
University of Arkansas

Abstract: Anonymous sources have been important factors in some of the major news stories of our time. But does this reliance on unnamed sources to too far? The use and possible abuse of anonymous sources is a matter of continuing controversy in the media and can have a direct bearing on the credibility of the media. Questions related to the use of such sources are examined in a study of the use of anonymous sources in 14 daily editions of three daily newspapers, focusing on the quantity of articles using anonymous sources, their subject matter, location, and rationale for using unnamed sources. This is done within the context of the ongoing controversy about the reliance on such sources in major news organizations. Results of this study are reported and analyzed and provide some clear indications about the extent and nature of the use of anonymous sources, and point to a possible over-dependence and problematic trend.

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Are You Talking To Me? The Social-Political Visual Rhetoric of the Syrian Presidency’s Instagram Account

by Steven Holiday & Matthew J. Lewis, Jack L. LaBaugh
Brigham Young University, Brigham Young University – Idaho

Abstract: In 2013, the Syrian presidency used Instagram to frame itself in a mediated way to two distinct audiences—one English language, and the other Arabic language. This study used Grounded Theory to examine the recurring themes of the visual rhetoric and quantitative content analysis to identify the thematic differences that were visually communicated to each audience. Results indicated statistically significant differences in the visual presentation of the rhetorical themes of patriotism and nationalism, more prevalently communicated to the English language audience, and empathy, more prevalently communicated to the Arabic language audience. The study discussed implications in media gatekeeping, socio-political communication, and reputation management.

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Comparative Advertising of Services

by Fred Beard
University of Oklahoma

Abstract: A review of the research devoted to services advertising and comparative advertising revealed few studies on the comparative advertising of services. The research findings reported here confirm that services advertisers in the U.S. frequently employ comparative television advertising and that there has likely been an increase in its use since the 1970s. Other findings—such as the difference in frequency of use by services versus product advertisers, the extent to which services advertisers include substantiation in their commercials, and the extent to which comparative advertising is used by the advertisers of different types of services—are also reported. Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed, as are recommendations for future research.

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Onward Christian Soldiers: How Arkansas Political Candidates Deploy Religious Texts to Motivate Voters

by Rich Shumate
University of Arkansas-Little Rock
There is currently no abstract for this article.

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The 2013 Steubenville Rape Case: An Examination of Framing in Newspapers and User-generated Content

by Mia Moody-Ramirez, Tonya Lewis & Ben Murray
Baylor University

Abstract: Using the lens of medium theory, this content analysis explored the framing of the Steubenville rape case in newspapers and blogs before, during and immediately following the trial. Our findings indicate newspapers focused on social media’s role in documenting the rape and the trial of the two assailants. Blog posts, on the other hand, focused on rape victims’ rights and social media’s role in bringing the case to justice. Of the 78 newspaper articles and blog posts coded, medium type did not make a significant difference in the framing of perpetrators and the actual act of rape. However, there was a significant difference in how the media types framed the case in general. This is a noteworthy finding, as it appears that newspapers were colorblind in their coverage and not as prone to use race frames as indicated in previous studies. Conversely, blog posts offered a platform for discussing issues that were omitted in mainstream media such as women’s rights, rape myths and the need for rape awareness/prevention programs for parents and youth.

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Would Eye Lie to You?: Reexamining CBS’ Reported Phone Response to “Murrow versus McCarthy”

by Ian Punnett
Arizona State University

Abstract: This exploratory, historical study collects firsthand knowledge from two veteran broadcasting executives and two telecommunications experts regarding the night Edward R. Murrow devoted his March 9, 1954, TV program to “taking on” Sen. Joseph P. McCarthy. Using the elite interview methodology, never before revealed firsthand testimony of a CBS affiliate phone operator challenges the accepted story of massive public phone response to CBS in the four hours after See It Now aired. Also, a novel technological approach reveals how an investigation of telecommunications capacity can play an important, but previously unrecognized role in determining the truth of a long-accepted event even 60 years later. For the first time, this inquiry introduces critical new testimony into the public record with regard to CBS’ claim that 2,365 viewers called the network during a four-hour timespan, mostly in support of America’s most respected journalist, and the role that CBS would have played in the subterfuge.

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