Spring 2018 (V. 33, No. 2)

“A Punch Straight for the Heart”: Disparaging Political Cartoons and Ethical Guidelines

by Ayesha Ashfaq and Joseph Russomanno
Arizona State University

Abstract: The field of political cartooning is an important element of editorial commentary in mass media worldwide. The content of cartoons, however, is sometimes disparaging, offensive and hateful toward members of “out groups,” whether defined according to race, ethnicity or religious beliefs. As this article illustrates, this disparagement can have serious and unfortunate outcomes – from protest that turns violent – even deadly – to the alienation of those disparaged. This is particularly concerning in an age when media content may be viewed across cultural and national boundaries within moments of its publication. It is important to recognize the absence of cross-cultural sensitivity that often contributes to these situations. This article seeks to identify the ethical dilemmas in disparaging political cartoons by analyzing theoretical perspectives in both humor and ethics. Approaching these dilemmas from a global perspective, the article proposes a multi-point set of ethical guidelines, while also acknowledging the tension between free speech/press and the recommendation that cartoonists, editors and media organizations self-impose standards that, in effect, can limit their freedom. Particularly given that the primary organization promoting the interests of the U.S. political cartoonists – the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists – does not have a code of ethics, it is suggested that the guidelines proposed herein are especially appropriate for consideration. Ultimately, as with any code of ethics, the hope is that this one leads to a product that better respects multiple perspectives worldwide.

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Girls of the Gunosphere

by Dawn R. Gilpin
 and Leslie-Jean Thornton

Arizona State University

Abstract: We selected five representative images of young (infant to pre-teen) girls from a corpus of over 20,000 images posted to Instagram with hashtags related to guns and gun culture. These images served as a springboard for in-depth visual and vernacular analysis, to explore manifestations of girlhood in online gun culture. By combining images, text, technical affordances such as up to 30 hashtags per post with no character limit, and social networking and community building, Instagram offers a rich and as yet understudied platform for cultural analysis. Our analyses permitted an original exploration of notions of empowerment and agency as conceived at the intersection of a distinct subculture and the constraints of social media. Girls—or, more commonly, their parents—in the online “gunosphere” explore their identities within a contested space characterized by themes of traditional femininity, family values, safe environments, education and socialization, and commodification. These findings point to larger themes within US gun culture, which inhabits a unique intersection between consumer culture/marketing logics, affective historic/patriotic themes, political lobby and social movement, strongly characterized by masculinist notions of power that square uneasily with nuanced approaches to gender.

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The Political Assassination of Kim Jong Nam:A Comparative Analysis of US and South Korean News Coverage

Eun Jeong Lee, graduate student

Texas State University

Abstract: North Korea is one of the most secretive and closed countries in the world that is still under communist rule. This paper presents a comparative content analysis of the overall framing in the online news coverage of the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, from The New York Times and Chosun Ilbo (N = 154). Results showed that while U.S. and South Korean newspapers displayed considerable similarities among the use of texts, visuals, sources, and news frames, differences existed in the use of hyperlinks and news tones. This study not only adds to the body of work in framing theory by examining the coverage of Kim Jong Nam’s sudden death from the lens of two different news media, but also contributes to international communication by exploring how international newspapers covered the same event related to North Korean political figures. The implications are discussed.

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Carr V. Van Anda and the Advancement Of Science News Coverage

by Wafa Unus

Abstract: Science reporting has a long and rich history in American journalism. While literature is filled with studies on the impact and evolution of science journalism, there remains a gap in the literature where the origins of contemporary science journalism is concerned. In fact, there is no significant investigation into the role in which one of America’s premier publications, The New York Times, under its pioneering and somewhat eccentric managing editor, Carr V. Van Anda, pushed forward the development of substantial science reporting. In the early to mid-1900s, Van Anda led The Times in the coverage of a groundbreaking expedition to the North Pole, the introduction of Albert Einstein to the American public, and provided the American people with their first educational resource on atomic energy. Van Anda rose from a small-time typesetter to The Times preeminent managing editor. He filled the post from 1904 to 1932, during the newspaper’s most celebrated period. His contributions to the reportage of science in American journalism are unparalleled. Van Anda’s personal interest in the sciences deeply impacted his work at The Times and his encouragement of the coverage of sciences spurred continued coverage from The New York Times, one of only nineteen remaining papers with a science section. This study provides the first historical account of Van Anda’s contributions to the beginnings of contemporary science journalism.

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Breaking Bad News: Framing Depression Coverage in Three Prominent U.S. Newspapers

by Jacqueline Fellows, Emily Goldstein, Sara Champlin, and Tracy Everbach
University of North Texas

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Service Learning Plus Social Learning: Preparing Future Journalists Through a Collaborative Project

by Mohammad Yousuf and David Craig
Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication
The University of Oklahoma

Abstract: This study examined how a collaborative project involving students, faculty and a nonprofit news organization in Oklahoma on coverage of community problems enhanced students’ understanding of communities and professional practices. It applied a theoretical framework that combines two pedagogical approaches—service learning and social learning—to analyze the case. In-depth interviews were conducted with 11 project participants including students, professors and journalists. The findings suggest that service learning in journalism succeeds when students get the opportunity of social learning and work with professional journalists.

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DTCA and physician-patient interactions: The role of need-for-cognition and involvement

by Ignatius Fosu
University of Arkansas

Abstract: Direct-to-Consumer Advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs leads to an increase in physician visits and patient-initiated conversations about advertised drugs, with some patients asking doctors to prescribe the advertised drugs. However, it is largely unknown what types of patients engage in such behavior. To help address this issue, this study examined the role of involvement and need-for-cognition in talking to doctors and asking them to prescribe drugs in DTCA. Need-for-cognition and involvement were assessed with standardized scales and their impact on these behaviors as well as general responses to DTCA was assessed. Using FDA guidelines, print ads for three fictitious drugs were designed with the help of a professional graphic designer. Measures taken included attitude toward the ad, brand interest, purchase intention, and participants’ behavior in relation to DTCA. Findings suggest that high involvement individuals were more likely to talk to doctors and ask them to prescribe DTCA drugs. An interaction effect of need-for-cognition and involvement impacted attitude toward the ad and purchase intention. Also, brand interest influenced both talking to doctors and asking doctors to prescribe. Patients who talk to doctors about DTCA drugs were more likely to ask them to prescribe the drugs. Based on the findings, recommendations were made for DTC advertisers. The findings from this study provide a basis for further exploring DTCA induced behavior.

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