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College of Information and Communications

Research Roundup

Each month, the CIC recognizes faculty and graduate student excellence by compiling a list of all publications, grants, awards and more.



This paper won the 2nd place award from the Media Ethics Division of AEJMC 2021.

Citation: Overton. H., & Xiao, A. (2021). Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide: Analyzing Moral Conviction, Perceived Motives, and Organization-Public Relationships in Corporate Social Advocacy Efforts. Paper accepted at the 2021 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Conference, Public Relations Division, virtual.

Abstract: This study conducts an online survey (N = 267) to examine the role of moral conviction as a predictor of organization-public relationships (OPR) in the context of corporate social advocacy (CSA). Four types of attributions are examined as a mediating variable. Results indicate that moral congruency between an individual and an organization directly leads to stronger trust and power balance and that moral conviction positively predicts all four OPR dimensions through values-driven attributions. Implications are discussed. 

The proposed research project, "Media Advocacy and the Health Belief Model in the Context of COVID-19: A Mixed Methods Study" was one of three recipients of the inaugural AEJMC Collaborative Scholar grant award for student-led and faculty mentored research. The AEJMC Collaborative Scholar Research Program was created by past AEJMC President, Marie Hardin. The competitive program awards grants to research projects involving a graduate student and faculty partnership. The end project of the collaborative scholar grant will be presented at the 2022 AEJMC conference.

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has had tragic and disproportionate effects on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities across the United States. This study aims to apply a mixed method approach to investigate health beliefs related to COVID-19 as well as media framing and agenda-setting or agenda-building techniques used in communication about COVID-19 and related topics. The proposed study will include a survey and content analysis. The survey will gather data from a representative sample of adults within the U.S. to gather information on variables informed by the Health Belief Model (HBM). Participants will also be asked about their media consumption and trust related to various sources of COVID-19 information. A subsequent content analysis will be based on the concept of media advocacy, which consists of three steps: 1) setting the agenda; 2) framing the issue; 3) suggesting solutions. Using mixed methods will reveal important information about health attitudes, intentions, the media advocacy process related to health information in the current media environment, and how factors like race, ethnicity, and trust intersect with these issues. The anticipated results will help inform journalism and mass communication research about the role race and ethnicity play in information behaviors during a health crisis. It will also inform media and health communicators about how to better inform and communicate with BIPOC communities related to important health issues.



A research project titled, "A Critical Qualitative Analysis of Response Framing of the COVID-19 Pandemic Across Higher Education," was accepted by the Graduate Student Interest Group (GSIG) for presentation at the AEJMC 2021 conference as part of a panel titled, "Pandemic Coping and Expressing Emotions." Presentations will occur virtually as part of the AEJMC conference on Thursday, August 5, from 3:00-4:30 pm CST.

Abstract: The present study is timely and aims to employ a mixed method research design to extract meaningful insights to inform future practices in higher education through studying responses from a sample of five large public universities located in the southeast United States. This analysis will include in-depth interviews, content analysis of statistical COVID-19 dashboard data for each university, and a textual analysis of the framing and tone of response statements disseminated by each university.

Identifying theories and topics in public relations research over time: A 50-Year Analysis. NCA 107th Annual Convention, November 18-21, 2021, in Seattle, WA. We received very strong comments from the reviewers. here are some of them: "As one who teaches public relations myself, I can see me using this unpublished paper (and hopefully soon-to-be-published paper) as a required reading;" "This is a very comprehensive study of the development of public relations scholarship in the last 50 years. The paper provides highly valuable information on the topic, trend development and theory application of PR studies."

Abstract: This study analyzes research trends in the field of public relations in terms of topic areas, temporal trends, and theoretical applications. A set of 7,266 peer-reviewed journal articles published from 1970-2020 were retrieved from the Communication Source database using advanced thesaurus-based searches. Text mining and network analysis were applied to extract research topics and the appearance of theories in the papers. The analysis revealed 14 research areas that have dominated public relations literature, including corporate social responsibility and relationship management, trust and consumer relationships, public affairs and international public relations, crisis management and persuasion, among others. Emerging research areas include customer engagement, network analysis, and internal communication. The last decade witnessed more use of theory than previous decades in terms of the number of theories used and frequency of their use, evidenced by an increase from 2.4% of articles applying theory in the 1970s to 29.4% in the last decade.


JUNGMI JUN, SEI-HILL KIM, JIM THRASHER (Arnold School of Public Health), YU-JIN HEO (Ph.D. student), YOOJIN CHO (Arnold School of Public Health)

Citation: Kim, S., Jun, J., Thrasher, J., Heo, Y., & Cho, Y. (2021). News media presentations of heated tobacco products (HTPs): A content analysis of news coverage in South Korea. Journal of Health Communication.

Abstract: Our content analysis of newspaper and television news stories in South Korea examines the quantity and nature of news about novel heated tobacco products (HTPs), which heat instead of burn tobacco and that manufacturers claim are less harmful than cigarettes. The amount of news coverage peaked when the government introduced new regulations, suggesting that HTP news was driven largely by new policies. Indeed, HTPs were more likely to be presented as a policy rather than a health issue. When it comes to news sources, government agencies and HTP manufacturers were referenced most often in the news. As for benefits of HTPs, news stories focused on reduced harm, greater social acceptability, and convenience, while discussions of drawbacks included potentially being equally or more harmful than cigarettes, the possibility of extensive future regulations, and HTPs’ unknown health effects. Findings suggested that certain journalistic practices, such as relying heavily on established routine sources, focusing on the stories that could attract large audiences, and representing the perspectives of the publishers and the primary audiences, might have affected the nature of HTP discourse.


Supported by the UofSC Big Data Health Science Center, ASPIRE, and the Social Science Research grants, this study analyzed ~88,000 users and ~170 million tweets to address: Do Geotagged Users Represent the Twitter Population? This research was published in ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information(IF:2.239).

Citation: Karami, A.; Kadari, R.R.; Panati, L.; Nooli, S.P.; Bheemreddy, H.; Bozorgi, P. Analysis of Geotagging Behavior: Do Geotagged Users Represent the Twitter Population? ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2021, 10, 373.

Abstract: Twitter’s APIs are now the main data source for social media researchers. A large number of studies have utilized Twitter data for diverse research interests. Twitter users can share their precise real-time location, and Twitter APIs can provide this information as longitude and latitude. These geotagged Twitter data can help to study human activities and movements for different applications. Compared to the mostly small-scale data samples in different domains, such as social science, collecting geotagged data offers large samples. There is a fundamental question about whether geotagged users can represent non-geotagged users. While some studies have investigated the question from different perspectives, they did not investigate profile information and the contents of tweets of geotagged and non-geotagged users. This empirical study addresses this limitation by applying text mining, statistical analysis, and machine learning techniques on Twitter data comprising more than 88,000 users and over 170 million tweets. Our findings show that there is a significant difference (p-value < 0.001) between geotagged and non-geotagged users based on 73% of the features obtained from the users’ profiles and tweets. The features can also help to distinguish between geotagged and non-geotagged users with around 80% accuracy. This research illustrates that geotagged users do not represent the Twitter population.



Citation: Barriage, S., Kitzie, V., Floegel, D., & Oltmann, S. (2021). Public library staff perceptions of and experiences with drag queen storytimes. Children & Libraries, 19(2), 14-22.



This was an invited article for the Australian Library and Information Association magazine, INCITE's supplement on Workforce Diversity. The supplement focuses on issues related to diversity in the library and information sector, including race, culture, and disability. This research project about how library job ads encourage or create barriers to diversity is longitudinal and has been ongoing since 2018. Job advertisements and hiring practices represent an outward reflection of the values and priorities of an information organization and how it sees its service community. This article explores the idea of hurdle wording in job ads that create artificial barriers to job applicants that can stifle diversity. The two coauthors are in Australia. Bec Muir is one of my doctoral students at Charles Sturt University, and Asim Qayyum is a colleague in the School of Information Studies there.

Citation: 1. Muir, R., Qayyum, A., & Thompson K. M. (2021, July/August). Jumping hurdles: ‘Hurdle wording’ and hiring for diversity and inclusion. Incite: Magazine of the Australian Library and Information Association, 42(4), 10-11.



KATE STEWART (Ph.D. student)
A panel titled, “#InfluenceYou: Exploring the practicality of influencer marketing through public relations research, teaching, and practice,” was accepted to the NCA 107th Annual Convention, November 18-21, 2021, in Seattle, WA.

More information: Influencer marketing has become a growing focus and specialization within the public relations field - from a research perspective, as well as in practice. This panel presentation will focus on presenting an integrated approach to influencer marketing – touching on the best practices, trends, opportunities, and challenges facing researchers, educators, and practitioners in the field. This panel is in collaboration with Dr. Karen Freberg (UofL), Sydney Dotson (Master's Student at UofL), Dr. Brandon Boatwright (Clemson), and Jason Falls (Author, Speaker, Podcast Host).

Since 2015, three situation-specific studies examining disaster information dissemination and services provided by public libraries have been conducted by our teams. This presentation covers some of the findings from these three studies. My co-presenters, Denise Lyons (Deputy Director, South Carolina State Library), Caroline Smith (Inclusive Services Consultant, South Carolina State Library), and April Hobbs (Adult Services Librarians, Charleston County Public Library), are iSchool alumnae.

Citation: Tu-Keefner, F., Lyons, D. R., Liu, J., Hobbs, A., & Smith, J. C. (2021). Supporting librarian’s roles in disasters. Paper presented at the New Jersey Library Association Annual Meeting virtual event, June 3 – 4, 2021.

Abstract: Libraries’ information and community services take on heightened importance during emergencies and natural disasters. Following devastating flooding and hurricanes in SC and Texas, a U of SC/SC State Library team addressed the need of providing emergency preparedness, communication, and health resources to help libraries plan for disasters. Participate in an interactive community engagement activity. Learn how access and literacy issues can inform resource offerings and how you can become better prepared for future emergency and weather events.



Citation: Tu-Keefner, F., Lyons, D. R., Liu, J., Hobbs, A., & Smith, J. C. (2021). Librarians' roles during emergencies and natural disasters. Paper presented at the American Library Association Annual Conference & Exhibition virtual event, June 23 – 29, 2021.

Abstract: Libraries’ information and community services take on heightened importance during emergencies and natural disasters. Following devastating flooding and hurricanes in South Carolina and Texas, a team from the University of South Carolina’s School of Information and the South Carolina State Library has taken a more concentrated interest in providing emergency preparedness, communication (including crisis communication and social media), and health resources to help libraries and partner agencies better plan for various disasters. Hear how LIS programs and those who provide continuing education can provide the resources and training to strengthen librarians’ abilities to respond in times of crisis. Get a better understanding of how access and literacy issues can inform a library’s potential program and resource offerings. Learn about the findings can better develop leaders at every level, with special emphasis on Inclusive Services and Advocacy, and how the project team’s discoveries and resources to help your community become better prepared for future emergency and weather events.

Learning Objectives:

*Participants will be able to understand the findings from the research and how it applies to decision making for a public library’s disaster planning.

* Participants will be able to learn about and build competencies and skills desirable for staff to develop leaders at every level during crisis events.

* Participants will be able to identify how the project findings support the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

* Participants will be able to learn about the type of communication and resources most important to create in advance of crisis events.

* Participants will have access to resources to help their organizations become better prepared for future emergencies and disasters.


TRAVIS WAGNER (Ph.D. student)
Travis presented at the ASIST Arts and Humanities-SIG Annual Virtual Symposium titled, “How Arts & Humanities Within Information Science Technology Convey Understanding of Justice in Society.” The topic, "Using LGBTQIA+ History and Queer Theory to Inform Audiovisual Archiving Praxis," focused on an ongoing Service-Learning Project working with MLIS students to digitize audiovisual materials of LGBTQIA+ activists in the state of South Carolina.



Kelly Davis was a guest on episode 105 of the podcast, "That Solo Life." She spoke about making the transition from being a public relations agency owner to an instructor.


By invitation from the Iran Public Libraries Foundation, we presented a lecture titled, "Extending Public Library Service to Marginalized Groups," for 174 public librarians across Iran. This session focused on information poverty and public libraries and how services can be designed and evaluated using the tripartite model of information access, with a focus on reducing physical, intellectual, and social barriers. It was so much fun! They did Persian closed captioning of the webinar we pre-recorded for them, and then provided simultaneous translation for the Q&A session. This was the second international presentation I have done with Andrew Wakelee (future academic librarian), and he does an amazing job.

Citation: Thompson, K. M. & Wakelee, A. (2021, June 8). Extending public library service to marginalized groups. Virtual seminar for the Iran Public Libraries Foundation. 



Student photography in the Visual Communications capstone portfolio class was featured in the June issue of Columbia Metropolitan Magazine. The student work was selected by the editors as part of a photography contest sponsored by the Talmadge Moore LeGrand Photojournalism Endowed Scholarship Fund. You can see the students’ award-winning work and article by Van Kornegay.


Awarded an ALISE community conn@CT Mini Grant for a "proposal that will use a community-engaged approach to address a library and information need of a social justice organization." Our project, “Creating Sustainable Digital Spaces for Sharing Health Information with South Carolina Transgender and Non-binary Communities,” plans to use the ALISE Community conn@CT Mini Grant funding to help South Carolina-based transgender and non-binary individuals produce a long-term, digital space in which to produce and share up-to-date information regarding trans-affirming healthcare resources. Our community partner is the Harriet Hancock LGBTQIA+ Community Center in Columbia, South Carolina. As one reviewer noted, I think this project's significance to social justice efforts in LIS is immense, especially within the conservative state of South Carolina where such healthcare is not considered a priority for religious and political reasons. This proposal not only offers the trans and non-binary citizens of South Carolina the opportunity to have a repository of healthcare information relative to their needs but also gives the alumni of this LIS program the opportunity to give their time and services to advocate for this marginalized population. The project offers the opportunity for community members to weigh in through focus groups of the most needed information and the best way for the information to be presented to those who need it. Link

Second place top faculty paper in the Minorities and Communication Division of AEJMC.

Citation: Myers, C. & Wu, L. (2021 August). Music of generations: Expressions of the Black experience from Civil Rights to Black Lives Matter. Paper accepted to present at 2021 AEJMC Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA (Minorities and Communication Division).

Abstract: This study investigates the topics expressed by Black musicians during 1960-1969 and 2010-2020 to determine the predominate narratives that arise through their songs as well as employs a comparative analysis to determine similarities and differences in narratives during the two time periods. LDA-based topic modeling analysis indicated seven topic categories were present in the song lyrics – ‘Love/Relationships,’ ‘God/Religion/Spirituality,’ ‘Social/Activities,’ ‘Wealth/Status,’ ‘Sex/Sexual Desire,’ ‘Social/Political Issues’ and ‘Alcohol/Drugs/Substance Use.’

Recipient of the Guido Stempel Award for receiving the top paper score in the AEJMC Graduate Student Interest Group.

Citation: Myers, C. L. (2021). Toward a conceptual model of implicit racial bias and representation of African Americans in mass media. AEJMC National Conference, New Orleans, LA (Graduate Student Interest Group).

Abstract: The paper proposes a conceptual model to explain how societal, cultural and historical circumstances contribute to the creation of meaning assigned by content creators and its subsequent understanding, particularly as it relates to the media’s portrayal of African Americans. The author suggests implicit racial bias, stereotypes and ideology allow for inherently prejudiced belief systems to be disseminated and reinforced by mass media.

Winner of the 2021 International Communication Association (ICA) W. Charles Redding Outstanding Dissertation Award in Organizational Communication

Citation: Robertson, B. W. (2020). Developing resilience through communication and community: Natural disaster preparedness in retirement communities [Doctoral dissertation]. 

KATE STEWART (Ph.D. student)
A paper written for Dr. Robert McKeever's spring 2021 Communication Research Design course, “The new media normal: Survey-based study of COVID-19 effects on motivations to consume non-news media,” won first place in the Moeller Student Paper Competition for the AEJMC Mass Communication and Society Division. This paper will be presented on August 6, 2021 in the 5-6:30 p.m. session.

More information: This study surveyed a general U.S. population to understand how one’s consumption of non-news mass media was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to social escapism, social presence, and coping mechanisms. The results show that people went to non-news mass media to fulfill the ideas of escaping their current reality, creating a sense of social presence, and aiding in how they cope with situations. The pandemic increased the relationship between consuming non-news mass media for social escapism and social presence but did not affect the relationship with coping mechanisms.


Citation: Waddell, T. F., Overton, H. K., & McKeever, R. (2021, August). Does sample source matter for theory? Testing model invariance with the influence of presumed influence model across Amazon Mechanical Turk and Qualtrics panels. AEJMC Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA (Communication Theory and Methods Division).

Citation: Wu, L., & Wen, T. J. (2021 August). Bridging the academic-practitioner divide in AI advertising: Analysis of articles in advertising trade publications. Paper accepted to present at 2021 AEJMC Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA (Communication Technology Division).

Abstract: In this study, we explored the practitioner perspective of AI advertising by analyzing the articles that mention AI and its related terms from an important advertising trade publication. A computational analysis of natural language processing discovered five salient topics from these articles, including “platform/companies leverage AI in business,” “AI powers content creation,” “AI battles against human wrongdoing,” “using AI for consumer marketing,” and “exhibiting AI-involved work/cases.” We compared these topics with the existing scholarly research of AI advertising and identified the gap between academic and practitioner perspectives. Implications of this study to both researchers and professionals are discussed.

ALI ZAIN (Ph.D. student)
Citation: Zain, A. (2021, August). Using theory of planned behavior, and operationalization of political partisanship and belief in misinformation to predict individuals’ intentions to quit social media. AEJMC Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA (Communication Technology Division).

Abstract: This study uses the theory of planned behavior to predict individuals’ intentions to quit social media. Attitude, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control significantly predicted intentions to quit social media, accounting for 68 percent of variance among participants (N = 525) representing the US census data. Political partisanship and belief in misinformation were also slightly increasing predictability of the TPB, indicating that they can be used as moderators or antecedents of subjective norms in the future.

ALI ZAIN (Ph.D. student)
Citation: Zain, A. (2021, August). Celebrity capital and social movements: A textual analysis of Bollywood celebrities’ tweets on 2020–21 Indian farmers’ protest. AEJMC Annual Conference 2021 (AEJMC ’21), New Orleans, LA (Cultural and Critical Studies Division).

Abstract: Building on the global trend of celebrity activism and concept of celebrity capital, this study qualitatively examines Twitter posts of Bollywood celebrities about 2020-21 Indian farmers’ protest to discover the dominant themes of favoring and opposing discourses. It was found pro-farmer celebrities used rhetorical and explanatory support while others employed celebrity capital as political support to government to oppose protesters and their supporters. Some celebrities even engaged in celebrity-shaming and name-calling in their communications.


AMIR KARAMI, BRANDON BOOKSTAVER (College of Pharmacy), MELISSA NOLAN (Arnold School of Public Health) and PARISA BOZORGI (DHEC)
Supported by the UofSC COVID-19 Research Initiative grant, this research collected a large number of published papers representing COVID-19 research. This study found highly frequent manifestations and therapeutic chemicals, representing the importance of the two biomedical concepts. This study also identified associations between diseases, symptoms, medications, and chemicals. This work is based on a collaboration between the School of Information Science, College of Pharmacy, and Arnold School of Public Health.

Citation: Karami, A., Bookstaver, B., Nolan, M., & Bozorgi, P. (2021). Investigating diseases and chemicals in COVID-19 literature with text mining. International Journal of Information Management Data Insights, 100016.

Abstract: Given the rapidly unfolding nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an urgent need to streamline the literature synthesis of the growing scientific research to elucidate targeted solutions. Traditional systematic literature review studies have restrictions, including analyzing a limited number of papers, having various biases, being time-consuming and labor-intensive, focusing on a few topics, and lack of data-driven tools. This research has collected 9298 papers representing COVID-19 research published through May 5, 2020. We used frequency analysis to find highly frequent manifestations and therapeutic chemicals, representing the importance of the two biomedical concepts. This study also applied topic modeling that provided 25 categories showing associations between the two overarching categories. This study is beneficial to researchers for obtaining a macro-level picture of literature, to educators for knowing the scope of literature, and to policymakers and funding agencies for creating scientific strategic plans regarding COVID-19. Link

Citation: Pressgrove, G., McKeever, R., & Collins, E.L. (2021). Effectiveness of persuasive frames in advocacy videos. Public Relations Review. 47(4), 102060.

Abstract: Using a three-condition, between-subjects experimental design (N = 152), this study investigates the persuasive effects of fear and humor in nonprofit advocacy-style videos. Findings indicate both fear and humor positively affect a behavioral willingness to change behaviors. Mediation analysis of the antecedent variables in the theory of planned behavior model also revealed significant indirect effects of each form of appeal through attitudes. Findings advance current conceptual and practical understanding of the persuasive power of nonprofit advocacy-style videos.

Citation: Wu, L., Dodoo, N. A., Wen, T. J., & Ke, L. (2021). Understanding Twitter conversations about Artificial Intelligence in advertising based on natural language processing. International Journal of Advertising. DOI: 10.1080/02650487.2021.1920218

Abstract: Artificial intelligence (AI) has been widely applied in the advertising industry and attracted increasing attention from advertising scholars. However, the general public’s perceptions of AI in advertising have been relatively neglected within the current literature. In this study, we analyzed people’s posts on Twitter about AI in advertising using natural language processing. Specifically, we conducted topic modeling and sentiment analysis in the Python environment to identify the most salient topics on this issue and the sentiment of these topics. We discovered that what people posted on Twitter about AI in advertising fell into eight different clusters, with the most positive topic being “AI-powered marketing tools” and the most negative topic being “AI’s involvement in social media campaigns.” We believe the findings of this study provide meaningful implications for academic research of AI advertising as well as the implementation of AI in advertising practice. Link

Citation: Myers, C. L. (2021). Review of the book, Racialism and the Media: Black Jesus, Black Twitter and the First Black American President, by Venise T. Berry. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly


VANESSA KITZIE, DOM FRANCIS (Arnold School of Public Health) and NICK VERA (Ph.D. student)
Citation: Kitzie, V., Francis, D., & Vera, N. (2021, June 9). Community health workers & medical librarians promoting health in LGBTQIA+ communities. South Central Region of the National Library of Medicine webinar.

Abstract: This presentation will overview their unique model for LGBTQIA+ health promotion that partners medical librarians with community health workers (CHWs) to facilitate information creation, seeking, use, and sharing within LGBTQIA+ communities. The project is a collaborative effort between the University of South Carolina iSchool and the Arnold School of Public Health’s Center for Community Health Alignment (CCHA). It is funded by an IMLS National Leadership grant. Vanessa Kitzie, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at UofSC iSchool, will report on findings informed by interviews and focus groups with over 70 LGBTQIA+ individuals describing how they create, seek, use, and share health information despite significant barriers and challenges. She will highlight how these health information practices parallel the work of CHWs, who serve as critical points of support and access for health information and resources within their communities. Dom Francis, MPH, Training Coordinator for CCHA, will overview an interdisciplinary training initiative currently being developed to train LGBTQIA+ community leaders to become CHWs. He will address how to strategically partner with medical librarians to facilitate this training. For this initiative, medical librarians will assist CHWs with a specific project: creating an informational resource for the CHWs' LGBTQIA+ community. Nick Vera, MLIS, Ph.D. Student at UofSC iSchool, will highlight lessons learned, with broad implications for librarians when establishing partnerships with LGBTQIA+ communities. Link

We were invited by the Honduras Library Association (ABIDH) and the Nicaragua Library Association (ANIBIPA) to present ideas for libraries and archives that might help them continue to offer service during quarantine shut-downs and social distancing. We focused on "fair use" intellectual property concerns, open access resources, curbside service, and the policies and protocols needed to ensure safe and responsible information services in the community. This relates to my research about physical, intellectual, and social digital and information access. We talked about how this tripartite model can be used for decision making during pandemic adjustments to information services. We did the presentation in Spanish and had a marvelous time! We had 76 participants from Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Costa Rica on Zoom, and then they also streamed the session via Facebook Live.

Citation: Thompson, K. M. & Wakelee, A. (2021, May 27). Servicios que se pueden ofrecer desde las bibliotecas en tiempo de emergencia (incluyendo pandemia)/Library services during times of emergency (including pandemics) [live webinar] (in Spanish). National Library Association of Honduras (ABIDH) and Nicaragua Library Association (ANIBIPA).



Jungmi Jun and Taylor Wen received an ASPIRE - I grant ($15,000) from the Office of the Vice President for Research their project, "Biometric Responses and Health Outcomes of Youth Exposure to Modified Exposure Claims for Novel Tobacco Products with FDA Authorization Cues." Mary Anne Fitzpatrick and Jim Thrasher (Arnold School of Public Health) will also join the project as mentors.

Abstract: IQOS (a heated tobacco product manufactured by Philip Morris International) became the first tobacco product authorized by the FDA to market itself as ‘modified exposure’ to substances. One of the key tobacco control concerns is that youth may misinterpret the FDA’s ‘modified exposure’ marketing order as a signal from the FDA that IQOS poses ‘modified risk’ to its users’ health and initiate tobacco use with this product. We will investigate biometric responses (visual attention, physiological arousal, facial expressions and cognitive engagement indicated by eye/face movement, galvanic skin activity and electroencephalography) and health outcomes (perceived risk, interest, and trial intent indicated by self-reported survey responses) of youth’s exposure to marketing claims for novel tobacco products with FDA authorization cues. We will conduct a computer-based experiment with a 2 (FDA authorization cues vs. no cues) X 2 (modified exposure vs. modified risk claim) X 2 (IQOS vs. e-cigarettes) between-subjects design.

AMIR KARAMI and LIAM HEIN (College of Nursing)

Amir Karami and Liam Hein (College of Nursing) received an ASPIRE - I grant ($15,000) from the Office of the Vice President for Research for a research titled, “LGBT Health Surveillance via Mining Social Media Big Data”

Abstract: Although there are millions of transgender people in the world, a lack of information exists about their health issues. This issue has consequences for the medical field, which only has a nascent understanding of how to identify and meet this population’s health-related needs. Social media sites like Twitter provide new opportunities for transgender people to overcome these barriers by sharing their personal health experiences. This project employs a framework using both computational and human coding to analyze Twitter data of self-identified LGBT users and detect their health issues.


Linwan Wu received an ASPIRE - I grant ($15,000) from the Office of the Vice President for Research for a project titled, “Understanding the Impacts of Social Density and Environmental Uncertainty on Consumers’ Subjective Well-being.”


Jeff Williams received a Beyond the Classroom Engagement Program Grant ($12,000) for Student Participation from the Center for Integrative and Experiential Learning.

Details: The grant will be used to help students in need attend the Maymester at the Circus course in Atlanta, where they will be fully immersed in a course focused on content creation. There will be two industry professionals working alongside me to deliver content and an experience similar to what a professional content creator would encounter in the professional environment. New concepts, trends, and techniques will be taught and discovered. This grant helps pay for housing, program fees and additional expenses associated with studying outside of the traditional classroom and an environment focused only on the creative side of the advertising and content creation industry.  


Through UofSC’s Prevention Research Center, I will be working on a new grant from the CDC ($499,985) with public health faculty, Shan Qiao, Banky Olatosi, Xiaoming Li, and Sara Wilcox, to promote confidence and improve access to COVID-19 vaccines in South Carolina.

Federal Project Title and Agency: Connecting Behavioral Science to COVID-19 Vaccine Demand (CBS-CVD) Network, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)



Columbian’s Need for Speed – an article and photo essay by Van Kornegay appeared in the March issue of Columbia Metropolitan magazine. Van does freelance journalism and photography for print and online media whenever he gets the chance. This is his second article this academic year for Columbia Metropolitan. The other features aerial views of Columbia (see links below). His drone photography was also featured in an exhibit at 701 Gallery in the fall.



This collaborative research was done by a team from three countries: the U.S., U.K., and Australia to compare leadership styles in advertising among these countries. This is the fourth study published by the team on the topic of leadership in advertising.

Citation: Padmini Patwardhan, Gayle Kerr, Hemant Patwardhan, Louise Kelly, Sabrina Habib, Kathleen Mortimer & Sally Laurie (2021) Ad Agency Leadership in the US, UK, and Australia: A Mixed-Method Analysis of Effective Attributes and Styles, Journal of Advertising. DOI: 10.1080/00913367.2021.1891159

Abstract: Unlike the extensive scholarship on leadership in related disciplines, research on leadership in advertising is almost nonexistent. This study investigates practitioner views on attributes and styles of effective agency leaders in the US, UK, and Australia using GLOBE’s (Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness) Culturally Endorsed Leadership Theory. All three regions are part of GLOBE’s Anglo cultural cluster. The research examines whether the theory’s central proposition—that leadership in global contexts has universally endorsed elements but is also culturally contingent—is valid in an advertising setting. Using a mixed-method approach, data were collected from agency staff and leaders via 255 survey responses and 40 in-depth interviews. Findings indicate that the best leaders are seen as people-focused, collaboration-driven, and future-oriented. Integrity, vision, and inspiration are top leadership attributes, with collaborative and performance-oriented leadership styles considered the most effective. Views were fairly consistent across regions, with some nuanced differences. One interesting difference from main GLOBE findings is the emphasis on soft skills as a core component of effective leadership. Future research should examine this further, as well as the relationship between leadership and agency culture, millennial and gender differences, and leadership training challenges and also examine advertising leadership across other GLOBE cultural clusters. Link

JUNGMI JUN, BONGKI HOO (School of Social Work Faculty), JOONK YOUNG KIM (Ph.D. alumna) and NANLAN ZHANG (Ph.D. student)

Citation: Jun, J., Woo, B., Kim, J., Kim, P., & Zhang, N. (2021). Asian Americans’ communicative response to COVID-19 racism in application of co-cultural theory. Howard Journal of Communications. DOI:10.1080/10646175.2021.1922103

Abstract: Early news coverage of COVID-19 influenced public suspicions of Asians as being the origin and carriers of the disease, and stigmatizing and racist terms (e.g., “Kung flu”, “Chinese virus”, “Wuhan virus”) have been improperly used to refer to the virus. The racist rhetoric, accompanied by increasing verbal and physical attacks, has impacted the lives of Asian Americans during the pandemic. The present study investigates targeted Asian Americans’ communication responding to the aggressors of COVID-19 racism in application of co-cultural communication theory. Targeted individuals’ characteristics and previous experience of racial discrimination are tested as determinants of such communicative responses. Data come from 242 Asians across the U.S. who reported having experienced racism during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the three identified types of communication responses, the nonassertive approach was used most intensively by Asian Americans in responding to COVID-19 racism, followed by the assertive and aggressive ones. Salient ethnic identity and previous discrimination experience were associated with a higher level of nonassertive and a lower level of aggressive approach. Males were more likely to practice assertive approaches. Our findings contribute to the extension of the co-cultural communication framework in explaining Asian Americans’ communicative responses to pandemic-fueled racism. 

AMIR KARAMI, ALICIA DAHL (Ph.D. alumna, Arnold School of Public Health), GEORGE SHAW, JR. (Ph.D. alumnus, School of Information Science), SRUTHI PUTHAN VALAPPIL (MS alumna, Department of Computer Science and Engineering), GABRIELLE TURNER-MCGRIEVY (Arnold School of Public Health) and PARISA BOZORGI (Ph.D. student, Arnold School of Public Health)

Supported by Advanced Support for Innovative Research Excellence (ASPIRE) grant from the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Big Data Health Science Center (BDHSC), this research was published in Healthcare (IF: 1.916).

Citation: Karami, A., Dahl, A. A., Shaw, G., Valappil, S. P., Turner-McGrievy, G., Kharrazi, H., & Bozorgi, P. (2021). Analysis of Social Media Discussions on (#)Diet by Blue, Red, and Swing States in the U.S. Healthcare, 9(5), 518. doi:10.3390/healthcare9050518

Abstract: The relationship between political affiliations and diet-related discussions on social media has not been studied on a population level. This study used a cost- and -time effective framework to leverage, aggregate, and analyze data from social media. This paper enhances our understanding of diet-related discussions with respect to political orientations in U.S. states. This mixed methods study used computational methods to collect tweets containing “diet” or “#diet” shared in a year, identified tweets posted by U.S. Twitter users, disclosed topics of tweets, and compared democratic, republican, and swing states based on the weight of topics. A qualitative method was employed to code topics. We found 32 unique topics extracted from more than 800,000 tweets, including a wide range of themes, such as diet types and chronic conditions. Based on the comparative analysis of the topic weights, our results revealed a significant difference between democratic, republican, and swing states. The largest difference was detected between swing and democratic states, and the smallest difference was identified between swing and republican states. Our study provides initial insight on the association of potential political leanings with health (e.g., dietary behaviors). Our results show diet discussions differ depending on the political orientation of the state in which Twitter users reside. Understanding the correlation of dietary preferences based on political orientation can help develop targeted and effective health promotion, communication, and policymaking strategies. Link


Citation: Kaskazi, A. & Kitzie, V. (2021). Engagement at the margins: Investigating how marginalized teens use digital media for political participation. New Media & Society.

Abstract: This study investigates the information and participatory political practices of marginalized youth via four focus groups with 23 teens (aged 13–17 years) from two geographically distinct regions of the United States to address this limited understanding. The findings indicate that teens encounter political information and news from members of their social networks via digital media more than legacy media outlets, because it enables them to assert agency over social and political issues to which they feel connected. Furthermore, teens identify a tension between viewing adults, specifically teachers and politicians, as authoritative yet untrustworthy information sources, which can lead to their use of digital media to verify or challenge what adults are telling them. Finally, teens must navigate the sociotechnical challenges of digital media, including exposure to unwanted information and the potential social backlash of posting content that could be considered by others to represent slacktivism.



Citation: Li, J-Y., Wen, T., McKeever, R., & Kim, J. K. (2021) Uncertainty and Negative Emotions in Parental Decision-making on Childhood Vaccinations: Extending the Theory of Planned Behavior to the Context of Conflicting Health Information, Journal of Health Communication. DOI: 10.1080/10810730.2021.1913677

Abstract: Delaying childhood vaccinations has become a public health threat. Numerous studies have shown that the proliferation of conflicting information about the health effects of childhood vaccinations leads parents to believe misinformation about the outcomes of these vaccinations. To build upon the limited understanding of how conflicting information affects decision-making of health protective behaviors, this study extends and applies the theory of planned behavior (TPB) in the context of childhood vaccinations. This study integrates perceived uncertainty as an antecedent of the TPB model, and incudes the negative emotions resulting from uncertainty as a parallel predictor for the model to examine parents’ acceptance of and engagement in childhood vaccinations. Drawing from a survey of parents in the United States (N = 405), we found that both perceived uncertainty and subjective norms are strong predictors of parents’ attitudes and perceived control regarding childhood vaccinations. Additionally, our study also proved that affective factors and the other three cognitive components in TPB are equally important on the formation of parents’ intentions of childhood vaccinations. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed in this study.

TAYLOR WEN and JO-YUN LI (Ph.D. alumna)

Citation: Wen, T.J., Li, J.-Y. and Song, B. (2021). Does public segmentation matter in crisis communication? The interplay between public segmentation and crisis response strategies. Corporate Communications: An International Journal.

Abstract: Purpose: This study situates in the context of Chipotle's food safety issue and seeks to understand how their primary customers perceive their crisis response messages after learning of the outbreaks. The current study incorporates the framework of situational crisis communication theory (SCCT; Coombs, 2007) and public segmentation model (Rawlins, 2006) to understand the effectiveness of crisis response messages. It aims to examine the role of public segmentation in situational crisis communication and investigate the effects of three crisis response strategies according to SCCT on different public segments. Design/methodology/approach: The SCCT provides guidelines for understanding the effectiveness of different crisis response strategies. The current study showcases the importance of public segmentation in the SCCT model through the lens of stakeholder theory. A 3 (crisis response strategy: deny, diminish, rebuild) × 4 (public segment: advocate, dormant, adversarial, apathetic) factorial experiment was conducted. Findings: The findings suggest that the advocate public expressed more positive evaluation about the company when exposed to rebuild and deny strategies. Both dormant and adversarial stakeholders reported positive responses on rebuild and diminish strategies. However, no difference was found among the apathetic public. Originality/value: The researchers attempt to make a modest contribution in this direction by reporting results from an empirical experiment that examined the effects of crisis response strategies on different public segments. The findings suggest an effective message tailoring approach to target different public segments. Thus, the results of this study are expected to benefit relevant corporations and public relations practitioners.



Citation: Song, B., Tao, W., & Wen, T. J. (2021). Building consumer communal relationships through cause‐related marketing: From the perspective of persuasion knowledge. Journal of Consumer Behaviour. DOI: 10.1002/cb.1942

Abstract: This study investigates the value of cause‐related marketing (CRM) campaigns in consumer relationship management. Specifically, following the tenets of persuasion knowledge model and equity theory, this study proposes that the effect of consumers' inferences of companies' manipulative intent (IMI) in CRM campaigns on consumer–brand communal relationships is contingent on consumers' knowledge about the degree to which the companies and the social cause benefit from the campaigns. A panel of 506 U.S. consumers was recruited to complete an online survey. Results reveal that when consumers believe that nonprofit partners benefit more from a CRM campaign than the company does, IMI positively affects consumer–brand communal relationships. However, when consumers perceive greater corporate benefits than social benefits, IMI negatively affects consumer–brand communal relationships. These results present a convincing case that in order to cultivate a long‐term communal relationship with consumers, companies should promote their CRM programs by highlighting these programs' social benefits and impact. If such programs are considered to yield more corporate benefits, companies should make efforts to mitigate the negative impact that IMI may bring to consumer–brand communal relationships. This study also advances our existing understanding of communal relationships and CRM by unveiling how CRM‐related factors collectively influence corporate building of a long‐term communal relationship with consumers. We hope to inspire future researchers who are interested in bridging CRM and communal relationship literature to inform effective CRM practice.



Citation: Wu, L., & Overton, H. (2021). Examining native CSR advertising as a post-crisis response strategy. International Journal of Advertising. DOI: 10.1080/02650487.2021.1914445

Abstract: Although companies have started to adopt native CSR advertising for crisis communication, no existing research has examined this new phenomenon. To fill the gap, this study tested how crisis type and ad identification influence the effectiveness of native CSR advertising as a post-crisis response strategy. An online experiment was conducted using a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. The results indicated that perceived manipulativeness was the underlying mechanism of how ad identification impaired consumer responses. Crisis type affected advertising effectiveness through consumers’ attributions of crisis responsibility and values-driven CSR motive. More importantly, ad identification significantly impaired consumers’ attitudes toward a native CSR advertisement and their intention to share the advertisement in the victim crisis condition, but not in the accidental or intentional crisis condition. These findings provide meaningful contributions to both the research and practice of CSR advertising.




Eric P. Robinson was the featured guest on the April 2020 episode of The Lineup, the monthly video newsmagazine of the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. He spoke to host Irvin A. Walker about the issues regarding law enforcement officers using social media.


Eric Robinson was interviewed by UofSC Social Media Specialist and SJMC MMC Graduate Student Lakeyia Brown on, "How Free is Speech on Social Media?" as part of the USC Libraries' "Live at the Library" series.



Communicating CSA with supporters and opponents: Exploring the extended Social Identity Model of Collective Action and the role of identity. This proposal won a 2021 Page Center Legacy Scholar Grant ($2,500).

Abstract: When communicating about corporate social advocacy (CSA), companies’ stances on controversial issues attract supportive consumers, while at the same time potentially alienating those who are on the opposing side of the issue. Thus, it is critical that CSA messages not only motivate supporters, but also minimize alienating effects among opponents. This project proposes two studies. Study 1 (N = 700) is a 2 (message frame: moral violation vs. moral fit) x 2 (bandwagon cue: high vs. low) experiment that adopts the extended Social Identity Model of Collective Action (SIMCA) and investigates why people support CSA and how companies should communicate their CSA effort to further mobilize supporters. Study 2 (N = 700) is a 2 (cause opponent group identity: high vs. low) x 2 (portrayed identity in CSA message: issue-affected group identity vs. national identity) experiment that focuses on how companies should communicate their CSA to opponents to alleviate negative effects. In study 1 it is expected that people’s support for CSA will be predicted by politicized identity, group efficacy and group-based anger. A CSA message using the moral violation frame with high bandwagon cues will show stronger positive effect on dependent variables. In study 2 it is expected that people with a salient issue-relevant identity will be less likely to support the cause. However, the negative impact may be lessened by viewing a CSA message portraying a national identity instead of the identity of the group affected by the issue. This project provides important implications for understanding publics’ support for CSA and minimizing potential CSA backlash.

DANTE MOZIE (SJMC Doctoral Student)

I presented "They Killin' Us For No Reason: Black Lives Matter, Police Brutality and Hip-Hop Music: A Quantitative Content Analysis at the 2021 AEJMC Midwinter Conference. This paper earned the conference's Top Abstract Award for the Entertainment Studies Interest Group. The research found a statistically significant correlation between the anger that hip-hop artists expressed over the 2020 killings of George Floyd and others and less respect for conventional institutions, such as the police and the government, as well as a statistically significant correlation between those feelings of anger and a desire to retaliate. This may support Unnever and Gabbidon's (2011) African-American Offending Theory, which suggests that African-Americans who have been subject to racism or discrimination may have a detachment from conventional institutions, and may be more likely to offend or seek retaliation as a result of their anger over being discriminated against.

Citation: Mozie, D. (2021, March 5-6). "They Killin’ Us For No Reason": Black Lives Matter, Police Brutality, and Hip-Hop Music – A Quantitative Content Analysis [Conference presentation]. AEJMC Midwinter Conference, Norman, OK, United States.


We received a Top Paper Award from the Health Communication Division of the International Communication Association (ICA).

Citation: Choi, M., McKeever, B.W. (2021, May). Gun violence and advocacy communication. Researchaccepted for presentation at the International Communication Association (ICA) Conference. *Top Paper Award from Health Communication Division

Abstract: As gun violence has been a major threat to the United States in recent decades, this study used an experiment (N=331) to test the strategic value of public health framing through different formats (single vs. competitive) and certain types of hashtags (call-to-action vs. policy) as part of social media advocacy communication, including how those elements may lead to attitudinal responses related to gun-related policies. Findings show that public health framing is an effective message strategy to influence individuals’ attitudes on gun-related policies. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.



Citation: Neill, M. S., & Bowen, S. A. (2021, March). Employee perceptions of ethical listening in U.S. organizations. Paper presented at the International Public Relations Research Conference; virtual presentation due to pandemic. *University of Florida Employee Communication Top Paper Research Award

More information: Women feel less listened to in their organizations than do men, regardless of their rank; employees may be hesitant to share "bad news" or complain due to fear of management response. Acknowledgment: Funded by a grant from the Arthur W. Page Center for Public Integrity at Penn State University.


Paper presented at iConference 2021 and also published in conference proceedings


Proceedings: Lookingbill, V., Vera, A.N., Wagner, T.L., & Kitzie, V. (2021). “We can be our best alliance:” Resilient health information practices of LGBTQIA+ individuals as buffering response to minority stress. In K. Toeppe, H. Yan, & S.K.W. Chu (Eds.), Diversity, divergence, dialogue: 16th International Conference, iConference 2021, virtual, March 17-31, 2021, Proceedings Part II (pp. 3-13). Switzerland, AG: Springer, Cham.

Paper presentation: Lookingbill, V., Vera, A.N., Wagner, T.L., & Kitzie, V. (2020, March). “We can be our best alliance”: Resilient health information practices of LGBTQIA+ individuals as buffering response to minority stress. Paper presented at iConference 2021 (Conference held online due to COVID-19).

Abstract: This article examines the resilient health information practices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) individuals as agentic forms of buffering against minority stressors. Informed by semi-structured interviews with 30 LGBTQIA+ community leaders from South Carolina, our findings demonstrate how LGBTQIA+ individuals engage in resilient health information practices and community-based resilience. Further, our findings suggest that LGBTQIA+ communities integrate externally produced stressors. These findings have implications for future research on minority stress and resiliency strategies, such as shifting from outreach to engagement and leveraging what communities are doing, rather than assuming they are lacking. Further, as each identity and intersecting identities under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella has unique stressors and resilience strategies, our findings indicate how resilience strategies operate across each level of the socio-ecological model to better inform understanding of health information in context.



Let’s Get A Job is a weekly podcast where Jason, a seasoned creative-turned-educator, talks with creative professionals about what they do, how they got their first jobs and the things they wish they knew when they did. Let's Get A Job is available to stream on all streaming platforms. Published Episodes in March:

  • 03/01 - Talking Wedding Photography with Lauren Jonas
  • 03/08 - Talking Augmented Reality with Alex Lang
  • 03/15 - Talking Sports Photography in the NFL with Tori Richman
  • 03/22 - Talking Freelance with Jessica Hische, Lettering Artist and Author
  • 03/28 - Talking Editorial Art Direction with Chelsea Lee

Links: Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts

More information: Let's Get A Job, a podcast developed for VisCom portfolio students, is the podcast I wish I had when I was in college: a deep discussion digging into the "how and why" of creative industries as told by the folks in them. More than practical career advice, it’s a look behind the curtain revealing a story of shared journeys, spectacular failures, horrible clients, and dreams fulfilled.



Citation: Neill, M. S. & Bowen, S. A. (2021). Ethical listening to employees during a pandemic: New approaches, barriers and lessons. Journal of Communication Management, 25(1), ahead of print. https://doi: 10.1108/JCOM-09-2020-0103

Abstract: Purpose – The purpose of this study was to identify new challenges to organizational listening posed by a global pandemic and how organizations are overcoming those barriers. Design/methodology/approach – The researchers conducted 30 in-depth interviews with US communication management professionals. Findings – Communication management professionals value listening, but do not always make it the priority that it merits. They listed lack of desire of senior management, time, and trust of employees as barriers to effective organizational listening. The global COVID pandemic has made it more challenging to connect to employees working remotely and to observe nonverbal cues that are essential in communication. Organizations are adapting by using more frequent pulse surveys, video conferencing technology and mobile applications. Most importantly, this pandemic has enhanced moral sensitivity and empathy leading organizations to make decisions based on ethical considerations. Research limitations/implications – The researchers examined organizational listening, applying employee-organization relationships (EOR) theory and found that trust is essential. Trust can be enhanced through building relationships with employees, ethical listening and closing the feedback loop by communicating how employers are using the feedback received by employees to make a positive change. Practical implications – Communication managers need to place a higher priority on listening to employees. Their listening efforts need to be authentic, morally autonomous or open-minded, and empathetic to respect the genuine concerns of employees and how organizational decisions will affect them. Listening is essential to serving as an ethical and effective strategic counselor. Originality/value – The study examines organizational listening in the context of a global pandemic. Keywords Ethics, Internal communication, Trust, Communication management Paper type Research paper

Acknowledgment: Funded by a grant from the Arthur W. Page Center for Public Integrity at Penn State University



Citation: Cooke, N.A. & Kitzie, V. (2021). Outsiders-within-LIS: Reprioritizing the marginalized in critical sociocultural work [Special issue, “Paradigm Shift in the Field of Information”]. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIS&T), Eds. R. Tang, B. Mehra, J.T. Du, & Y. Zhao.

Abstract: While there are calls for new paradigms within the profession, there are also existing subgenres that fit this bill if they would be fully acknowledged. This essay argues that underrepresented and otherwise marginalized scholars have already produced significant work within social, cultural, and community‐oriented paradigms; social justice and advocacy; and diversity, equity, and inclusion. This work has not been sufficiently valued or promoted. Furthermore, the surrounding structural conditions have resulted in the dismissal, violently reviewed and rejected, and erased work of underrepresented scholars, and the stigmatization and delegitimization of their work. These scholars are “outsiders‐within‐LIS.” By identifying the outsiders‐within‐LIS through the frame of standpoint theories, the authors are suggesting that a new paradigm does not need to be created; rather, an existing paradigm needs to be recognized and reprioritized. This reprioritized paradigm of critical sociocultural work has and will continue to creatively enrich and expand the field and decolonize LIS curricula.


The article, "Advocacy is Loud and Uncomfortable," was published in the Winter 2021 issue of The ALAN Review, the journal for the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English. The article was co-written with high school English teacher, Corey Green. The article briefly discusses student voice issues surrounding queer K-12 educators and students, including school librarians, and the way these issues inform their work and their definition of professional advocacy.

Citation: Green, L., & Green, C. (2021). Advocacy is loud and uncomfortable. The ALAN Review, 48(2), 121-124. Link

JUNGMI JUN and BONGKI WOO (School of Social Work)

Citation: Woo, B., & Jun, J. (2021). COVID-19 racial discrimination and depressive symptoms among Asians in the United States: Does communication about the incident matter? Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. DOI: 10.1007/s10903-021-01167-x

Abstract: Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Asians in the US have experienced a spike of racism. The goal of this paper is to examine the association between racial discrimination amid COVID-19 pandemic and depressive symptoms among Asian subgroups and to test whether communications about the incident with various sources moderate this relationship. Data come from an online survey conducted among 245 Asian Americans. Multiple linear regression analyses were conducted. COVID-19 racial discrimination was positively associated with depressive symptoms, and this association did not vary between Chinese Americans and other Asian subgroups. Communications with a spouse/partner buffered the mental burden of racial discrimination. Those who shared their experience in online ethnic communities displayed stronger depressive symptoms than who did not. These results suggest the potential benefit of communication with a spouse/partner in mitigating the mental burden of discrimination and call for more online mental health support for Asians.



Citation: Rhodes, M. E., Sundstrom, B., Ritter, E., McKeever, B. W., & McKeever, R. (2020). Preparing for A COVID-19 Vaccine: A Mixed Methods Study of Vaccine Hesitant Parents. Journal of Health Communication, 25(10), 831–837. Link

Abstract: This study investigated vaccine acceptance of putative COVID-19 vaccines among a national sample of vaccine hesitant parents. Vaccine hesitancy and politicization of vaccine development has led to a pronounced distrust of COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. A total of 1,381 vaccine-hesitant parents participated in this study. Participants indicated a general unwillingness to vaccinate their children (M = 3.55, SD = 2.13) and themselves (M = 3.58, SD = 2.16) when a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available. More educated parents were more likely to plan to vaccinate themselves [F(5, 533) = 9.93, p < .05] and their children [F(5, 533) = 10.278, p < .05]. Understanding vaccine hesitant parents offers crucial insights as a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available for the general public and as we wait for a vaccine to be approved for pediatric use. 

AMANDA REED (iSchool alumna) and KIM THOMPSON

Citation: Reed, A., & Thompson, K. M. (2021). Never waste a crisis: Digital inclusion for sustainable development in the context of the COVID pandemic. Library Journal (China), 40(2), 14-16.

More information: Invited by Library Journal (of China) to write a reaction to a recent International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (2019) statement on the importance of libraries in supporting digital inclusion, particularly during COVID-19 social restrictions, I invited alumna Amanda Reed (iSchool, 2019) to co-author and provide examples from Richland Library as a case study of how public libraries in the US are responding to COVID digital divides. The article was part of an ensemble of 10 short pieces and was published in both English and Chinese. This is Amanda's first publication!


Citation: Yang, J., Jiang, M., & Wu, L. (2021). Native advertising in WeChat Official Accounts: How do ad-content congruence and ad skepticism influence advertising value and effectiveness? Journal of Interactive Advertising.

Abstract: WeChat Official Accounts, subscription-based accounts that broadcast information to followers, have become a popular venue for native advertising in China. This study investigated the effects of individuals’ ad skepticism and ad-content congruence on native advertising effectiveness in WeChat Official Accounts, as well as the mediating role of advertising value on the interaction effect of ad skepticism and ad-content congruence. Results showed that ad skepticism negatively influenced perceived ad effectiveness. Ad-content congruence positively influenced perceived ad effectiveness only for individuals with high ad skepticism, because they perceived more advertising value in congruent native ads than incongruent native ads.



Citation: Wu, L., & Wen, T. J. (2021). Understanding AI Advertising from the Consumer Perspective: What Factors Determine Consumer Appreciation of AI-Created Advertisements? Journal of Advertising Research. DOI: 10.2501/JAR-2021-004

Abstract: In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) technology has been used to create advertising messages. This study examined the factors that influence consumers’ overall appreciation of AI-created advertisements. The findings indicate that, in addition to its direct effect on consumer reactions to AI-created advertisements, consumers’ perceived objectivity of the general advertisement creation process positively influences machine heuristic—a rule of thumb that machines are more secure and trustworthy than humans. This effect boosted consumer appreciation of AI-created advertisements. Consumers’ perceived objectivity of advertisement creation negatively influenced perceived eeriness of AI advertising, which jeopardized consumer appreciation of AI-created advertisements. Consumers’ feelings of uneasiness with robots were found to have a positive influence on both machine heuristic and perceived eeriness of AI advertising.




Virtual seminar for members of the Arthur W. Page Society and Page Up: Ethics and Leadership in Managing Pandemic and Crisis Response: New Research Findings and Paths. New research was shared for best practices on pandemic response via leadership, ethics, and crisis management. Improving stakeholder relationships of various types was discussed.


I spoke on “The First Amendment & Public Relations” to the South Carolina Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). I discussed how the First Amendment and legal principles of free speech apply to public relations activities.

Citation: Robinson. E. (2021, Mar. 11). “The First Amendment & Public Relations,” South Carolina Chapter, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), online.



The Public Relations Society of America's College of Fellows has appointed Kelly Davis, APR, Fellow PRSA to serve as one of its two representatives on the Commission for Public Relations Education. She joins her colleague, Dr. Shannon Bowen, a longtime member of the commission. The CPRE's mission is to advance excellence in public relations education and the industry worldwide.


ACRL Distance and Online Learning Section Research & Publications Committee selected a 2020 article by Kim Thompson and Clayton Copeland entitled "Inclusive Considerations for Optimal Online Learning in Times of Disasters and Crises" to list as one of their Top 5 for inclusivity.  Link

Citation: Thompson, K. M. & Copeland, C. A. (2020). Inclusive considerations for optimal online learning in times of disasters and crises. Information and Learning Sciences, Special Issue: A Response to Emergency Transitions to Remote Online Education in K-12 and Higher Education, 121(7/8), 481-486. DOI 10.1108/ILS-04-2020-0083




My paper, "Reporting from My Home: Location Effect on the Para-Social Phenomenon and the News Broadcast Industry," was accepted to BEA2021 and is the 1st place winner in the News Division open paper competition.

Citation: Pellizzaro, K. & Liseblad, M. (2021, April 12-16). Reporting from My Home: Location Effect on the Para-Social Phenomenon and the News Broadcast Industry. Paper presentation, Broadcast Education Association (BEA) 2021, Virtual Conference.

Abstract: The current pandemic has created a unique opportunity to study news broadcasting in different formats as many broadcasters report from home versus the studio. Using the well-established Para-Social phenomenon, this study attempts to determine a change in audience effect depending on whether the news anchor is working from home or the studio. Using a between-group experiment, the study examines Para-Social Interaction and Para-Social Relationship in a single viewing event. Further, the study tests Para-Social Interaction and Para-Social Relationship in an extended viewing experience. The findings lead to a discussion of possible new broadcasting structures that could lead to cost-saving measures.


Received Adobe Creative Educator Level 1. In order to achieve the Adobe Educator badge, I attended two Adobe Creative Campus conferences and successfully completed a course, Creativity for All, which requires submission of creative works to be approved by Adobe. The Adobe Creative Educator program is a community that empowers educators who inspire creativity for the next generation.


Her research, "Beyond the Lens: Black Professional Athletes on Race, Racism & the Realities of Breathing While Black," was selected as the Top Abstract for the Minorities and Communication Division to be presented at the 2021 AEJMC Midwinter Conference. Depictions of the African American experience in sports, music and television and the implications of implicit racial bias, stereotypes and ideology on mass media's representations.

Citation: Myers, C. L. (2021, March 5-6). Beyond the Lens: Black Professional Athletes on Race, Racism & the Realities of Breathing While Black. Paper accepted for presentation at the AEJMC Midwinter Conference, Norman, OK (Minorities and Communication Division).


Recipients of the Arthur W. Page Center Benchmarking Award at the International Public Relations Research Conference.

Citation: Xiao, A., & Overton, H.K. (2021, March). Supporting Corporate Social Advocacy through Collective Action: The Role of Shared Group Anger, Efficacy, and Politicized Identity. Paper accepted for presentation at the International Public Relations Research Annual Conference, Orlando, FL (now virtual).


First Place Research Paper in the Debut Category at the Broadcasting Education Association conference.

Citation: Yang, F., & Overton, H.K. (2021, April). What if Unmotivated is More Dangerous? The Motivation-Contingent Effectiveness of Misinformation Correction on Social Media. Paper accepted for presentation the Broadcast Education Association Annual Conference, Las Vegas, NV (now virtual). *First Place Research Paper in the Debut Category.

Abstract: This study examines the effect of misinformation correction on social media, contingent on the motivational factors heightened by social media when users are strongly opinionated. A 2 (uncertainty: low vs. high) x 2 (risk: low vs. high) x 2 (personal relevance: low vs. high) x 2 (attitudinal congruence with correction: incongruent vs. congruent) pre-test and post-test factorial online experiment was conducted to examine the effectiveness of correction while controlling for misinformation source credibility. Findings suggest that correction is effective in decreasing social media users’ perceived credibility and sharing intention towards misinformation even when they are polarized on the issue of the misinformation. Interestingly, while this research study confirms previous literature that users are biased towards pro-attitudinal correction sources than counter-attitudinal ones, misinformation correction is also significantly more effective in decreasing perceived credibility and sharing intention when users are motivated by the personal relevance, uncertainty, and risks associated with the misinformation.


Won the University of Florida Employee Communication Research Award ($1,000 prize).

Note: I am on the Board of Directors and so I will not accept this prize money but will accept the certificate of recognition.

Citation: Neill, M. S., & Bowen, S. A. (2021, March). Employee perceptions of ethical listening in U.S. organizations. Paper presented at the International Public Relations Research Conference, virtual presentation. *University of Florida Employee Communication Research Award

Extended Abstract: In a time of disruption due to the pandemic, listening to internal stakeholders could not be more essential, or more challenging, due to new barriers such as working remotely and restrictions on large gatherings. We conducted an online survey with 300 U.S. employees in July of 2020 to examine employees’ perceptions regarding perceptions of effectiveness and satisfaction with their employer’s listening efforts. Macnamara (2016) recommended that ethical listening should involve seven canons of listening including “giving recognition to others” and treating them with respect, acknowledging others’ views and perspectives in a timely manner, paying attention to others and interpreting what they have to say as fairly and openly as possible, trying to understand others’ views, perspectives, and feelings; giving appropriate consideration to what others say, and responding in an appropriate way (p. 151). Using internal communication research, ethics, listening literature, and relationship theory as our framework, we examined employees’ perceptions’ regarding transparency, communication, and Employee-Organization Relationship (EOR). Through statistical analyses, we found that women rated their organization’s overall listening lower (M=3.22, SD=1.274) as compared to men (M=3.68, SD=1.135), t(297)=3.281, p=.001; non-managers rated their organization’s overall listening lower (M=3.04, SD=1.234) compared to managers (M=4.08, SD=.918), t(298)=-7.858, p=.000. In addition, women were less likely to agree that they personally felt listened to (M=3.35, SD=1.285) compared to men (M=3.80, SD=1.208), t(297)=3.133, p=.002, and non-managers were less likely to agree that they personally felt listened to (M=3.15, SD=1.31) when compared with managers (M=4.21, SD=.869), t(298)=-7.783, p=.000. The item “My organization really listens to what people like me have to say” had a particularly strong dip from women (M=3.25, SD=1.27), indicating that a gender discrepancy among management, as found by prior researchers, is likely to still exist and impact perceptions. Employees rated meetings with their supervisors the highest for effectiveness followed by departmental meetings. Employers need to evaluate the resources they dedicate to listening as well as their processes for analyzing the feedback they receive from employees and then close the feedback loop by implementing appropriate changes based on that feedback. They also need to do a better job of communicating to employees that they are listening and how they are implementing recommendations. These issues need to be addressed, because they can lead to disengagement and a decline in trust (Macnamara, 2016). Due to the findings of our survey, employers need to give extra attention to listening to the concerns of women and non-managers. One area that managers may need to work on is their people listening style (PLS), which involves a concern for others’ feelings and emotions; women evaluated themselves and other women peers higher in this area than male colleagues (Sargent & Weaver, III, 2003) . This type of listening is consistent with scholars’ conception of ethical listening, which includes respect for others, as well as trying to understand their point of view and feelings. The state of ethical listening in U.S. companies and organizations needs immediate attention. Specific deficiencies include a lack of employee training in data collection/analysis, and a lack of time and resources to ensure the information is shared internally.



Depictions of the African American experience in sports, music and television and the implications of implicit racial bias, stereotypes and ideology on mass media's representations.

Citation: Myers, C. L. (2021, March 5-6). Toward a Conceptual Model of Implicit Racial Bias and Representation of African Americans in Mass Media. Paper accepted for presentation at the AEJMC Midwinter Conference, Norman, OK (Graduate Student Division).


Citation: Myers, C.L., Landy, C. (2021, March 5-6). The Impact of Black Identity and Parasocial Interaction with Black Celebrities on Activism and Social Issues. Paper accepted for presentation at the AEJMC Midwinter Conference, Norman, OK (Minorities and Communication Division).


Conference paper accepted at a top international conference. This study offers insights for companies to determine when and how to speak out about social-political issues. This study also adds clarity to the psychological determinants of individuals’ support of CSA by reinforcing that attitudes toward corporate social advocacy (CSA) and subjective norms guide their actions. Findings also suggest that companies should consider aligning their CSA messaging with different stakeholder groups and target certain efforts to younger generations who appear to be the most receptive of their efforts.

Citation: Kim, J.K., Overton, H.K., Carter, J.E., Alharbi, K., & Bhalla, N. (2021, May). Examining the Psychological Determinants of Consumer Support for Corporate Social Advocacy. Paper accepted for presentation at the International Communication Division Annual Conference, Public Relations Division, Denver CO (now virtual).


This research was supported through a grant from the Glen M. Broom Center for Professional Development in Public Relations. It is the first of three studies funded by the grant.

Citation: Xiao, A., & Overton, H.K. (2021, March). Supporting Corporate Social Advocacy through Collective Action: The Role of Shared Group Anger, Efficacy, and Politicized Identity. Paper accepted for presentation at the International Public Relations Research Annual Conference, Orlando, FL (now virtual).

Abstract: This study examines Corporate Social Advocacy (CSA) as a form of collective action that is motivated by individuals’ shared group efficacy, anger, and politicized identity. Adopting the Social Identity Model of Collective Action, this online survey (N = 273) found that shared group efficacy with the company led to higher intention to participate in CSA, engaging in PWOM, and providing financial support for the CSA cause. Individuals’ identification with the company and the CSA cause also predicted intention to support CSA and PWOM. Sharing CSA cause-related anger with the company negatively predicted PWOM. Results offer practical advice about how companies can lead and mobilize efforts to enact change.


JUNGMI JUN, SEI-HILL KIM, JAMES THRASHER (Arnold School of Public Health), Yoojin Cho (Arnold School of Public Health), and YUJIN HEO (Ph.D. student)

Citation: Jun, J., Kim, S., Thrasher, J., Cho, Y. & Heo, Y. (2021). Heated debates on regulations of heated tobacco products in South Korea: The news valence, source, and framing of relative risk/benefit. Tobacco ControlLink

Abstract: We analyze news representations of the regulation of heated tobacco products (HTPs) in South Korea, the country where HTP use is among the highest in the world despite conflicts between the government and the HTP manufacturers. Methods: We analyzed a total of 571 print and TV news covering HTP regulations, published between 2017 and 2018, the time period when HTPs were introduced to the country and various regulations of HTPs were proposed and implemented. We assessed the prevalence and associations among specific types of HTP regulations that were discussed, valence towards regulation, sources, framing of the relative health risks/benefits of HTPs compared with conventional cigarettes. Results: Taxation (55.2%) and warning labels (25.7%) were two regulation topics covered most. Almost equal proportions of pro-regulation (2.5%) and anti-regulation valence (2.2%) were found in taxation-related news, while pro-regulation valence appeared more frequently for other restrictions, including warning labels (pro=9.5% vs anti=1.4%), marketing restrictions (pro=6.9% vs anti=0%) and integration of HTPs into smoke-free policies for cigarettes (pro=8.7% vs anti=0%). The government (59%), followed by the tobacco industry (39.4%), was the source cited most often across news stories while the presence of tobacco control advocates was low (4.9%). As for framing, there was no significant difference in the prevalence of stories mentioning reduced harm (31.7%) and equal or more harm (33.6%) of HTPs compared with cigarettes. Conclusions: We provide implications for governments and tobacco control advocates on building consensus for applying cigarette equivalent taxes and pictorial warning labels to HTPs. Link 


With the CIC Internal Collaborative Research Grant, we published a paper at IJERPH (IF: 2.849 & H-index: 92) on developing a framework to identify and analyze health topics shared by Russian trolls between 2012 and 2018. We found that there were not just a few health issues (e.g., vaccines), Russian Trolls polarized Americans on a wide range of health topics.

Citation: Karami, A.; Lundy, M.; Webb, F.; Turner-McGrievy, G.; McKeever, B.W.; McKeever, R. Identifying and Analyzing Health-Related Themes in Disinformation Shared by Conservative and Liberal Russian Trolls on Twitter. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2021, 18, 2159. Link

Abstract: To combat health disinformation shared online, there is a need to identify and characterize the prevalence of topics shared by trolls managed by individuals to promote discord. The current literature is limited to a few health topics and dominated by vaccination. The goal of this study is to identify and analyze the breadth of health topics discussed by left (liberal) and right (conservative) Russian trolls on Twitter. We introduce an automated framework based on mixed methods including both computational and qualitative techniques. Results suggest that Russian trolls discussed 48 health-related topics, ranging from diet to abortion. Out of the 48 topics, there was a significant difference (p-value ≤ 0.004) between left and right trolls based on 17 topics. Hillary Clinton’s health during the 2016 election was the most popular topic for right trolls, who discussed this topic significantly more than left trolls. Mental health was the most popular topic for left trolls, who discussed this topic significantly more than right trolls. This study shows that health disinformation is a global public health threat on social media for a considerable number of health topics. This study can be beneficial for researchers who are interested in political disinformation and health monitoring, communication, and promotion on social media by showing health information shared by Russian trolls. Link

DENETRA WALKER (Ph.D. student)

Top paper from AEJMC 2020 published in Journalism Practice in 2021.

Citation: Walker, D. (2021). “There’s a Camera Everywhere:” How Citizen Journalists, Cellphones, and Technology Shape Coverage of Police Shootings. Journalism Practice, 1-18.

Abstract: Through the lens of gatekeeping, this study examines how an evolving technological landscape influences the way television news journalists cover the issue of deadly, highly-publicized police shootings in the United States. Through 10 in-depth interviews of television news journalists, the author analyzes how social media, cellphones, and citizen journalists shape this narrative. Themes include a change in speed and accessibility, accuracy, and a multi-layered challenge to police authority. Practical and theoretical implications on the future digital landscape covering this topic are discussed. Link



Citation: Copeland, C. A. & Mallary, K.J. (2021).Crafting accessible learning environments through universal design and Universal Design for Learning [Webinar]. Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver. Colorado, United States.

Abstract: Learners are variable in terms of their interests, lived experiences, needs, and abilities. Universal Design (UD) and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) are invaluable frameworks for creating physical and digital environments that embrace such variability. During this presentation, attendees explored how accessible instruction can support learning. Throughout the session, the facilitators and attendees discussed actionable strategies for implementing the principles of UD and UDL.


Holly Overton was featured on a PR podcast, "Ethical Voices," to discuss her research in the areas of Corporate Social Responsibility Communication and Corporate Social Advocacy.  Link



The 2020-2021 American Academy of Advertising Research Fellowship

Citation: Wu, L., Wen, T. J., & Dodoo, N. A. (2021). Disclosing the involvement of Artificial Intelligence in advertising to consumers. $2,500 grant awarded by the American Academy of Advertising Research Fellowship.



This study is one of the most comprehensive studies of news consumers across the globe, conducted in 15 countries using nine languages. The chapter reports the relative importance of eight news values and 13 news topics across the 15 countries.

Citation: Wilkinson, J. S., Grant, A. E., Zhu, Y., & Guerrazzi, D. (2020). News values and topics: A 15-nation news consumer perspective. In News Values from an Audience Perspective (pp. 57-77). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Abstract: As the global news environment evolves, differences in news values and topics across nations are observed. This chapter presents analysis from a 15-nation, nine language survey of news consumers’ perceptions of news values and news topics. A total of 1588 responses were collected from respondents in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States. News values of proximity, prominence, and unexpectedness ranked highest, but differences were observed among the nations studied. Respondents expressed the strongest interest in news topics of science/technology, human interest, entertainment, and international affairs. These global and nation-specific findings provide a baseline for newsrooms to consider categories of content that have the greatest interest among local news consumers. Link

JUNGMI JUN, CHANGWON CHOI (Ph.D. student) and JOONKYOUNG KIM (Ph.D. alumnus)

Citation: 2. Jun, J., Choi C., & Kim, J. (2021). Bridging tobacco control advocacy and strategic communication scholarship: Tackling the tobacco industry’s extrinsic corporate social responsibility with strategic networking. In Botan, C. (Eds). The Handbook of Strategic Communication (pp. 334-357). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Abstract: Global tobacco companies have continued to develop various types of novel tobacco products and have successfully recruited new tobacco user groups including youth, kids, young adults, and international consumers. Social media has become a critical venue for the tobacco industry to promote novel tobacco products and interfere in tobacco control. This chapter discusses the tobacco industry’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) and pseudo-activism. We propose these areas can be where tobacco control advocacy and strategic communication (SC) scholarship collaborate to counteract the tobacco industry.


This chapter overviews a model for how to create inclusive courses starting from the design stage.

Citation: Thompson, K. M., & Copeland, C. (2021). Making the diversity, equity, and inclusion mindset indispensable in the LIS classroom through design, content, communication, and assessment. In K. Dali & N. Caidi (Eds.). Humanizing LIS education and practice: Diversity by design (pp. 63-76). Routledge.

Abstract: When we incorporate diversity and inclusion into Library and Information Science course design and content and build communication and learning frameworks in the classroom on inclusive principles, we build a cohort of students who cannot “unsee” these basic principles as they engage in practice. By designing lecture and activity materials that allow students to read and engage with different perspectives about professional values and content, we create opportunities for awareness building and prepare students to engage with the same practices as they join the profession. This chapter provides insights for and examples of how to create courses that bring diversity, equity, and inclusion into its very design.



Citation: Chen, Y., (2021, May 27-31). Disaggregating Twitter attention: An automated method to classify Twitter users in climate change issue. 71st Annual International Communication Association Conference, Virtual. 

Abstract: Most current studies about intermedia attention diffusion have treated Twitter as an aggregated form of attention. However, Twitter combines a variety of actors, who collectively shape the flow of issue attention across media. To advance theories about intermedia attention diffusion, it is necessary to disaggregate Twitter users. This study designs and validates an automated method to classify Twitter users into organizational and individual Twitter users, and then further detect news media, politicians, and advocacy organizational accounts. The method effectively classified 288,829 Twitter users involved with four major climate change events into their respective actor categories.


Citation: Chen, Y., (2021, May 27-31). Intermedia network gatekeeping: Tracing the diffusion of climate change attention in different events. 71st Annual International Communication Association Conference, Virtual. 

Abstract: One of the overriding challenges to studying this phenomenon is to sort out the intertwining, interdependent, and ever-changing relationships between and among an array of actors across multiple different media platforms (i.e., news media, social media, etc.). The study examines the diffusion of attention within the contemporary hybrid media system, particularly the spread of attention within and beyond Twitter surrounding several recent climate change-related events. Findings show organizational actors (i.e., news, political, advocacy, and other organizational actors) still serve as the main source of attention within Twitter; however, these actors do not fully explain all the patterns in the diffusion of climate change attention within and beyond Twitter. Instead, interpersonal communication on Twitter among individual actors and traditional gatekeepers (e.g., news, political actors, large advocacy groups) also helps explain these patterns. To sustain Twitter attention and spread attention to other media platforms requires the integrated efforts of all types of actors.


Citation: Choi, M., & McKeever, B.W. (2021, May 27-31). Gun violence and advocacy communication. 71st Annual International Communication Association Conference, Virtual. 

Abstract: As gun violence has been a major threat to the United States in recent decades, this study used an experiment (N=331) to test the strategic value of public health framing through different formats (single vs. competitive) and certain types of hashtags (call-to-action vs. policy) as part of social media advocacy communication, including how those elements may lead to attitudinal responses related to gun-related policies. Findings show that public health framing is an effective message strategy to influence individuals’ attitudes on gun-related policies. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

JUNGMI JUN, JOONKYOUNG KIM (Ph.D. alumnus), JIM THRASHER (Arnold School of Public Health) and YOOJIN CHO (Arnold School of Public Health)

Citation: Kim, J., Jun, J., Thrasher, J., & Cho, Y. (2021, May 27-31). Predicting young adults’ intention to use IQOS: Theory of planned behavior and technology acceptance model. 71st Annual International Communication Association Conference, Virtual. 

JUNGMI JUN, JOONKYOUNG KIM (Ph.D. alumnus) and BONGKI WOO (School of Social Work)

Citation: Jun, J., Kim, J., Woo, B., (2021, May 27-31). Fight the virus and fight the bias: Predicting Asian Americans’ activism to combat anti-Asian racism during the COVID-19 pandemic. 71st Annual International Communication Association Conference, Virtual. 


This paper adopts an innovative computational method of decision tree to analyze a large set of advertising-related variables to identify the most decisive attributes that enhance ad persuasiveness.

Citation: Wen, Taylor J., Ching-Hua Chuan, Jing Yang, and Wanhsiu Sunny Tsai (2021, March). Predicting advertising persuasiveness: A decision tree method for understanding emotional (in)congruence of ad placement on YouTube. 2021 American Academy of Advertising (AAA) Annual Conference, Online.

Abstract: By applying the computational method of decision trees, this research identifies the most decisive attributes enhancing ad persuasiveness by examining the contextual effects of emotional (in)congruence on ad placement for music videos on YouTube. Findings of this interdisciplinary research not only integrated key psychological constructs in computational advertising research to predict persuasiveness but also extended the theoretical consideration of contextual (in)congruence into the domain of emotion. Methodologically, this study demonstrates the effectiveness of decision trees in exploratory theory testing. Practically, the predictive results from the decision tree model provide strategic guidance to inform advertising design and evaluation under different conditions.


This paper adopts computer vision methods to examine the effects of color, visual composition, facial expression, and content labels on consumer behavioral engagement (like number of likes and number of comments) on social media. We not only apply innovative computer vision methods to the advertising context but also examine how these parameters predicted by the computational methods influence consumers' actual behaviors on social media.

Citation: Yang, Jing and Taylor J. Wen (2021, March). Predicting consumer engagement towards social media branded content: A computational visual analysis approach. 2021 American Academy of Advertising (AAA) Annual Conference, Online.

Abstract: Visual-based social media (e.g., Instagram) is now an important segment of brands’ management of consumer engagement. Prior studies examining the message effects in consumer engagement had mostly focused on the textual content, not the visual content. Therefore, the current study extracts various types of visual features (e.g., color, visual composition, facial expression, and content labels) in lifestyle brands’ Instagram imagery posts to explain consumer engagement. Through machine-learning-based predictive modeling, the results revealed key visual features that can influence consumer engagement in the forms of likes and comments. This study aims to provide insightful practical implications and advance extant literature of consumer engagement through the analysis of imagery data. Limitations and future study directions are also discussed.



Citation: Thorson, K., Medeiros, M., Cotter, K., Chen, Y., Rodgers, K., Bae, A., & Baykaldi, S. (2020). Platform civics: Facebook in the local information infrastructure. Digital Journalism, 8(10), 1231-1257.

Abstract: Digital platforms are transforming practices of political information production and circulation in local communities. We develop the theoretical concept of local political information infrastructure to draw attention to (1) the broadening array of actors who are producing political information in local communities, in addition to local news media, and (2) the role of network media logics in shaping everyday practices of political information production and circulation. We combine a computational analysis of Facebook posts from news and non-news community actors in a mid-sized Midwestern U.S. city with interviews with communication managers at local non-profits, libraries, local government, and city service organizations in that same case community. Our findings illustrate the ways in which local news media are increasingly displaced from the centre of local political information infrastructures, while Facebook moves to take up a central infrastructural role. We consider the consequences of these shifts for the circulation of politics and policy information in communities. Link


This research explores how digital disaster response volunteers (or what we call, disaster knowledge workers) use private social media as a disaster unfolds to locate people who need to be rescued. We reveal the communicative and coordinating actions these disaster knowledge workers used in helping conduct rescues during the Hurricane Harvey flooding in 2017.

Citation: Smith, W. R., Robertson, B. W., Stephens, K. K., & Murthy, D. (2021). A different type of disaster response volunteer: Looking behind the scenes to reveal coordinating actions of disaster knowledge workers. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management. Advance online publication.  Link

Abstract: Researchers have established the prominent role digital volunteers play during crises and disasters. From self‐organizing to annotating public data, these volunteers are now a fixture in disaster research. However, we know much less about how these volunteers function, behind the public scene, when using private social media as a disaster unfolds and people need to be rescued. This qualitative study identified the emergent helping roles along with the skillsets and abilities that helped volunteers perform these behind‐the‐scene roles during the Hurricane Harvey flooding in 2017. Using in‐depth interviews along with captured images in private social media, we find these volunteers resembled organizational knowledge workers. We identify nine specific communicating and coordinating actions that these disaster knowledge workers performed. The contributions of these findings center on implications for disaster response and management.


This article provides critical content analysis of library job ads in Australia to evaluate how inviting they might be to diverse applicants.

Citation: Muir, R., Thompson, K. M., & Qayyum, A. (2020). The diversity we seek: A document analysis of diversity and inclusion in the Australian LIS sector job advertisements. Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association, 69(4), 473-495.  Link

Abstract: A finding of the 2019 Australian Library and Information Association’s Workforce Diversity Trend Report was that the diversity of Australian communities has not translated to diversity in the library and information science professions. In the wake of this report, we reviewed how Australian library and information science job advertisements discuss and recruit for diversity in their organisations. Drawing from a sample of 208 job advertisements collected from 22 January to 22 February 2019 and 86 job advertisements collected during 22 January to 3 February 2018, and using qualitative and quantitative document analysis, we provide an analysis of how the wording in library and information science job advertisements can specifically invite application from diversity groups including people with a disability, LGBTIQA+, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, culturally and linguistically diverse groups, age, and by gender.



Presented "Communication Technology Update 2021" to the 16th Annual TFI Technology Conference, January 21-22, 2021. The disruption caused by the pandemic has accelerated the pace of change in communication technologies, resulting in fundamental changes in consumer and business use of these technologies. This presentation explores these impacts.

Citation: Grant, A. E. (2021, January). Communication Technology Update 2021. 16th Annual TFI Technology Conference, Austin/Virtual.

Abstract: Overview of the latest developments in mass media, consumer electronics, networking, and social media, with special attention to the impacts of the pandemic on work, education, entertainment, ecommerce, and health care.


The Future of Trust in the age of the twin pandemics of Covid-19 and Racial Injustice (invited presentation) Moderator: Veronda J. Pitchford. Speakers: Amanda J. Wilson, Vanessa L. Kitzie. American Library Association OnDemand Future of Libraries Session.

Abstract: In study after study, libraries are ranked among the public’s most trusted sources of information. What is the obligation of the library to also build trust? The 2016 American presidential election created a communication and information chasm. Increased mistrust of different beliefs and/or demographics created dissonance and an inability to find common ground. Mistrust accelerated in 2020, when Americans were forced to deal with the twin pandemic impact of Covid-19 and protest response to racial injustice. How do we leverage the trust imbued in libraries to begin filling the communication and information chasm dividing us all?


As our representative for the Biometrics and User Experiences (BaUX) Lab in CIC, I'm hosting a panel for the American Academy of Advertising (AAA) 2021 annual conference (online), March 18-20. The panel title is, "Translating Consumer Neuroscience into Advertising Research and Education." This panel has several invited scholars and industry professionals who will share their experiences and insights on how we can apply neuroscience knowledge in current advertising research and education.

Citation: Wen, Taylor J., Glenna Read, Saleem Alhabash, Juan Mundel, Jessica Wilson, and Anthony Almond (2021, March). Translating consumer neuroscience into advertising research and education. 2021 American Academy of Advertising (AAA) Annual Conference, Online.

Abstract: Despite the increasing application of consumer neuroscience in advertising research in both academia and industry, many misconceptions about neuroscience research and data persist. One of the challenges for the consumer neuroscience researcher is dispelling these misconceptions for key stakeholders. In this panel, we will address some of these misconceptions with a focus on translating consumer neuroscience knowledge to new biopsychological researchers (i.e., faculty and students) and industry partners. This panel aspires to enhance the accessibility of consumer neuroscience research among advertising scholars in research, teaching, and service. Our expert panelists will discuss topics such as what neuroscience data actually tell us and how it can be used to complement self-report data, conducting web-based biometric research, managing expectations of industry partners, navigating timelines necessary to collect neuroscience data while adhering to important deadlines (such as tenure), and the increasing ease of use and decreasing expense of these measures that will allow more advertising researchers to employ such innovative research approaches.



Citation: Robertson, B. W. (2020, December). Moving toward sustainable disaster preparedness: Understanding vulnerable populations [Virtual]. Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Risk Analysis.

Abstract: Improving levels of preparedness for natural disasters is an urgent health priority for older adults because individuals over the age of 65 are less likely to have gathered the necessary emergency supplies before disasters strike. Even though older adults are considered one of the most vulnerable populations in disasters, many remain at the crossroads in making decisions about their personal disaster preparations. This study investigates risk communication predictors that lead older adults to prepare. Many older adults in retirement communities perceive their facility will have emergency supplies, and may not bother to engage in preparedness behaviors. Yet, the reality is that older adults who can prepare should attempt to gather supplies independent of preparations made by their facility, as many facilities may not adapt their emergency plans to account for specific residents’ needs.


Citation: Feng, Y., & Wu, L. (2021 March). Commenting on brand posts during a crisis: The relationship between context-induced moods and brand message processing. Paper accepted to present at the 2021 AAA Annual Conference, Online.

Abstract: Within the context of COVID-19, this study examines the impact of context-induced moods on consumers’ processing of two different types of brands posts on social media: profit-driven posts and public-driven posts. Using both social media data (24,578 user comments on 14 brand posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) and survey data (356 subjects recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk), we found that across all the three social media platforms, negative context-induced moods tend to drive consumers to leave positive comments on a public-driven brand post, supporting the Negative-State Relief Model. By contrast, there is no relationship between context-induced moods and type of comments left on a profit-driven brand post. We discuss theoretical, practical, and methodological implications of this research.


Citation: Wu, L., Dodoo, N. A., & Wen, T. J. (2021 March). Understanding the Twitter conversation about AI in advertising based on natural language processing. Paper accepted to present at the 2021 AAA Annual Conference, Online.

Abstract: Artificial intelligence (AI) has been widely applied in the advertising industry and has attracted increasing attention from advertising scholars. However, the general public’s perceptions of AI in advertising have been relatively neglected in the current literature. In this study, we analyzed people’s posts about AI in advertising on Twitter using natural language processing. Specifically, we conducted topic modeling and sentiment analysis in the Python environment to explore the most salient topics on this issue and the sentiment of these topics. We discovered that what people talk about pertaining to AI in advertising on Twitter has both overlaps and differences compared to what scholars and practitioners are interested in. We believe the findings of this study could provide meaningful implications to academic research of AI advertising as well as the implementation of AI in the advertising practice.


Making Graphic Texts - Symposium session presented at the 2020 Literacy Research Association's virtual conference. Karen was the invited Discussant.

Citation: Botzakis, S, Gavigan, K., Axelrod, D., McGrail, E., & Johnson, C. (December 3, 2020). Making Graphic Texts. (Symposium Session). Literacy Research Association (LRA). Virtual Conference.

Abstract: This symposium elucidates the complex work of creating graphic texts and provides much needed insight into how such texts might be taken up, read, and produced by educators, learners, and researchers. It utilizes a set of new literacies frameworks (Kress, 2010) that attend to semiotics as well as social learning in exploring the complexities of a variety of people, both students and teachers, who have engaged in creating comics in academic contexts.

KAREN GAVIGAN and DANIELLA COOK (UofSC College of Education)

Citation: Cook, D., Gavigan, K., Morton, B., Duke, K. (2020, December 4). Inquiry required: Teaching the long arc of Civil Rights. Poster session presented at the 2020 National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) virtual conference.

Abstract: Inquiry required: Teaching the long arc of Civil Rights The partners in the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Civil Rights Fellowship focus on teaching the civil rights movement to K-12 educators, helping them determine foundational concepts and then examining these ideas through a contemporary lens.



Citation: Gavigan, K.W. (January / February, 2021). Journey for justice: Helping teens visualize the Civil Rights Movement through primary sources and graphic novels. Knowledge Quest: Journal of the American Association of School Librarians. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

Abstract: This article presents activities for pairing three graphic novels with primary sources to teach the civil rights movement to teens. Reading civil rights-related graphic novels, and reviewing corresponding primary sources, can provide students with a deeper understanding of this tragic time in U.S. history and provoke discussions about racial issues.


Citation: Kitzie, V., Wagner, T. and Vera, A.N. (2021), "Discursive power and resistance in the information world maps of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual community leaders", Journal of Documentation, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. Link

Abstract: Purpose: This qualitative study explores how discursive power shapes South Carolina lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA+) communities' health information practices and how participants resist this power. Design/methodology/approach: In total, 28 LGBTQIA+ community leaders from South Carolina engaged in semi-structured interviews and information world mapping–a participatory arts-based elicitation technique–to capture the context underlying how they and their communities create, seek, use and share health information. We focus on the information world maps for this paper, employing situational analysis–a discourse analytic method for visual data–to analyze them. Findings: Six themes emerged describing how discursive power operates both within and outside of LGBTQIA+ communities: (1) producing absence, (2) providing unwanted information, (3) commoditizing LGBTQIA+ communities, (4) condensing LGBTQIA+ people into monoliths; (5) establishing the community's normative role in information practices; (6) applying assimilationist and metronormative discourses to information sources. This power negates people's information practices with less dominant LGBTQIA+ identities and marginalized intersectional identities across locations such as race and class. Participants resisted discursive power within their maps via the following tactics: (1) (re)appropriating discourses and (2) imagining new information worlds. Originality/value: This study captures the perspectives of an understudied population–LGBTQIA+ persons from the American South–about a critical topic–their health–and frames these perspectives and topics within an informational context. Our use of information world mapping and situational analysis offers a unique and still underutilized set of qualitative methods within information science research.


Examining government communication about the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s reveals parallels and lessons learned for today's communication environment regarding COVID-19.

Citation: McKeever, B.W. (2021). Public relations and public health: The importance of leadership and other lessons learned from “Understanding AIDS” in the 1980s. Public Relations ReviewLink

Abstract: Public Relations Quarterly recognized Surgeon General C. Everett Koop as "Communicator of the Year" in 1988 for his work to inform the public about HIV/AIDS and reframe a then politically charged issue to focus on public health and education. Using a historical perspective, this study examines Koop's communication about AIDS during the 1980s, including press conference remarks, reminiscence notes, and an unprecedented mailing sent to all U.S. households. This study also explores media coverage at the time and framing throughout these materials to determine what lessons can be learned for today’s communication efforts. Two lessons relate to the importance of leadership in media advocacy and prioritizing public health over politics. Parallels are drawn between public relations and health and science communication practice and scholarship, and future research is suggested related to recent government communication surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Link



In 2016, only two U.S. daily newspapers endorsed Donald Trump for president while the others either did not endorse or rejected him as unfit for the job. But he won. In 2020, some seven U.S. dailies endorsed him but he lost as newspapers appealed to voters to save the American democracy.

Citation: Campbell, K. (November 2020). Newspaper endorsements, presidential fitness and democracy (essay). In Daniel Jackson, Danielle Sarver Coombs, Filippo Trevisan, Darren Lilleker and Einar Thorsen, eds., U.S. Election Analysis 2020: Media, Voters and the Campaign. Available here


Cooke is a regular columnist for Publishers Weekly and her latest column is titled, "What It Means to Decolonize the Library."

Citation: Cooke, N. A. (2020, December 18). What It Means to Decolonize the Library. Link

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