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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.




She received the National Communication Association's Distinguished Scholar Award. The award is the NCA’s highest award and recognizes her scholarly achievement in the study of human communication. She was honored at the organization’s national convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Nov. 10.


She wrote a column, “Schooling a New Generation of Journalists,” that was published in the South Carolina Press Association weekly "E Bulletin" newsletter on Oct. 10. The column details the challenges young journalists face in the current political climate beyond the important "who, what, when, where, why and how" of traditional objective journalism. This new generation, she says, must navigate a divisive civic culture, technological advances and, sometimes, threats as they explain the world to readers and listeners. Link 


They received the $1,000 Center for Teaching Excellence 2018 USCreativity grant. They proposed to use this money to fund two courses that would provide students the chance to create an art exhibition while learning about conservation at Congaree National Park.
Abstract: We propose innovating and integrating two courses: JOUR 448 – Photovisual Communication III and JOUR 346 – Graphics for Visual Communication.
The merging, experiential learning and collaboration will be achieved initially through a curated visit to the local national park, the Congaree, where students will photograph, film, sketch, design, visualize and observe this “backyard” national treasure and make informational images for a community-wide exhibition. We hope to merge photo and graphical techniques for a truly unique visual outcome involving photo techniques, graphics techniques, collage and data visualization. Integrating the two courses in this project will allow for higher conceptual thinking through a collaborative approach that blends visual communication techniques. Our students will prepare an art exhibition for the first time, learning about that process, which has not been a part of our curriculum. Students normally disseminate their work online or through their portfolio. Additionally, this project will foster a relationship between the community in Columbia and the SJMC and USC through their work, which will be exhibited at the park’s gallery (confirmation pending). Lastly, students will learn about community conservation and how to visually communicate this overarching concept.


He had an article published in the Journal of Education for Library & Information Science. This article applied his knowledge lens to education as he looked at ways to introduce students to complexity, the power of conversation and the limited power of information and knowledge given the human barriers to both.
Citation: Freeburg, D. (2018). The knowledge lens: Equipping information professionals to spark innovation within organizations. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 59(4), 228-252.
Abstract: This article outlines the Knowledge Lens—a way of seeing more clearly the opportunities for knowledge creation within organizations and society. It is proposed as a model for schools of Library and Information Science (LIS) to follow when considering curriculum changes. Instead of producing two sets of graduates—those in information and those in knowledge, each lacking the insight of the other—this model provides a foundation for embedding knowledge throughout the curriculum to equip information professionals with the requisite skills and understanding to lead innovative knowledge work in whatever organization they join. It includes three groupings and six elements. The groupings bring into focus the complexity of organizational life, the power of conversation in knowledge creation, and barriers to the integration of information and the application of knowledge. The elements within these groups control for aberrations in the image of an organization due to a fuzzy view of human potential and agency, an illusion of perfection, a distorted view of power, excessive homogeneity, and barriers that limit the power of an organization’s information and knowledge. This article does not contain a set of specific classes or learning outcomes; rather, it outlines a flexible model that can be used to contextually embed knowledge within the curriculum of schools of LIS and information. The librarians, data scientists, project managers, information architects, and others who graduate from these schools are uniquely positioned to lead this work; a curriculum based on the Knowledge Lens equips them to do so. Link

Her article, "Negotiating Digital Spaces in Everyday Life: A Case Study of Indian Women and Their Digital Use," was published in the open access peer-reviewed journal First Monday. Her study examines narratives from women in India about their everyday adoption, use and enjoyment of information and communication technology as she looked for factors affecting Indian women's use or avoidance of technology for information and communication in their daily lives.
Citation: Paul, A. & Thompson, K. M. (2018). Negotiating digital spaces in everyday life: A case study of Indian women and their digital use. First Monday, 23(11).
Abstract: New developments in digital technology and better and affordable access allow women unprecedented access to information and communication networks — if they are able to use digital technologies to access networks and digital information. This study presents a case study of motivations of women to use information and communication technologies (ICT) in a ubiquitous information environment. This study follows an interpretive paradigm to explore an understanding of culture and gender in a middle-class Indian context. Women in this report varied in terms of heavy/light and mandatory/voluntary use. We discuss the implications of such variations in terms of technology adoption for digital inclusion. Social factors, such as the role of parents and social communities, were found to influence women to develop and maintain interests in ICT that were reflected in their professional and personal lives. Some women were slow to adapt to ICT use as they tended to adhere to normative expectations which hindered ICT use. Women tend to have greater ICT use if it is for fulfilling familial roles and for communication. Link


LUCY SANTOS GREEN and MELISSA P. JOHNSTON (University of West Georgia)
She presented research findings from her publication, "Still Polishing the Diamond: School Library Research over the Last Decade," at the Association for Educational Communications and Technology International Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, from Oct. 23-27.
Citation: Citation for presentation:
Green, L., & Johnston, M. P. (October, 2018). A systematic review of a decade of research on digital and information literacy for student learning in the field of school library media. Association for Educational Communications & Technology, Kansas City, MO.​
Citation for paper upon which the presentation is based:
Johnston, M., & Green, L. (2018). Still polishing the diamond: School library research over the last decade. School Library Research, 21.
Abstract: This presentation will report the results of a systematic review of a decade of research on digital and information literacy skills for student learning in the field of school librarianship. Using a predetermined protocol, researchers carefully investigated over 109 studies culled from fourteen prominent instructional technology and library and information science journals. Results identify research gaps, particularly amongst underserved populations, and point toward new and critical questions for the field to pursue.
Link to paper upon which the presentation is based
Link to conference presentation


She received a distinguished scholar invitation to present a series of lectures and workshops to students at the National Chung Hsing University in Taichung, Taiwan. There, she was also able to discuss potential research collaborations with the faculty at the university. Her engagement was funded by the Taiwan Ministry of Education.
Citation: Thompson, K. M. (October 16-18, 2018). Digital inclusion, public libraries, and research writing. Link



This chapter is in a textbook written for mass communication undergraduate students who are taking a Hispanic media course. She was invited to write the chapter because of her ability to read and interpret Brazilian literature, interview professionals and her general knowledge of mass communications.
Citation: Habib, S. (2018). Don’t Forget the Brasileiros: Reaching the Brazilian Audience. In Coronado, K., & Kight, E. (Eds.). LatinX Voices: Hispanics in Media in the US. Publisher: Routledge, of Taylor & Francis.
Abstract: Brazil is the largest country in South America. Surrounded by Spanish speaking countries, it stands alone as the only country below the U.S. southern border where Portuguese is the official language. Brazilians are often lumped into the Hispanic group in American institutions. However, is that the case with media companies? Students should have a better understanding of Brazilian media and audience within the context of Hispanic audiences after reading this chapter. Link


Her qualitative study examined how advertising agency leaders are adapting to constant change in media, technology and agency roles.
Citation: Padmini Patwardhan, Sabrina Habib & Hemant Patwardhan (2018): Managing
Change and Finding Identity: A Grounded Analysis of Advertising Agency Leadership, Journal of
Current Issues & Research in Advertising.
Abstract: This study is one of the first to examine advertising leadership as agencies adapt to the knowledge era. Using grounded-theory methodology (GTM) analysis, it explores how effective leadership is viewed, articulated, and practiced in a period of change in contemporary United States-based ad agencies. In-depth interviews with 16 leaders led to formulation of a grounded theory of agency leadership with three interdependent core concepts: managing change, finding identity, and leading effectively. Successful leadership at the agency is a process of negotiation, adaptation, and collaboration. Negotiating external change poses numerous internal challenges and adaptation: talent flight, internal turf wars, and cultural shifts in agency composition. Leaders must demonstrate capability through both being (qualities) and doing (actions) and lay equal emphasis on performance (product) and human capital (people). Leaders’ change management abilities, hard and soft skills, collaborative vision, and managerial pragmatism are key to agency success. Future research may explore topics like leadership and agency culture, global contexts of agency leadership, and issues in leadership training. Link

Citation: Freeburg, D. (2018). Identifying Layers of Intellectual Capital by Analyzing Unique
Contexts. Electronic Journal of Intellectual Capital 16(2), 84-98.
Abstract: This research analyzed the Intellectual Capital (IC) in churches, noting the contextually specific elements tied to unique definitions of success. It aimed to open up to questioning the traditional classifications of IC, while considering the importance of context. American churches were chosen to uncover unique layers and attributes of IC, as they represent a very different organization from those typically studied in IC research. The leadership teams of four churches engaged in 90-minute focus groups, where they discussed success, assets, liabilities, and attempts to leverage value from assets. By approaching it qualitatively, and without prompting participants about the traditional definitions of IC, a more valid and natural discussion revealed unique assets not found in other contexts. Analysis validated the traditional three-part classification of IC into human, relational, and structural assets, yet it showed unique subcategories not captured by previous research. It outlined unique relationships among asset classifications, and revealed areas of missed opportunity and leakage of assets. This adds to the growing list of possible specific IC assets that can be considered by other organizations, as well as ways to leverage these assets. Analysis also found that assets can easily become liabilities if not properly managed and maintained. This approach can be used in future research to uncover additional layers of IC that can be used by other organizations not previously aware of the existence or potential value of such assets. Link

Citation: Kim, J.K., Overton, H.K., Hull, K., & Choi, M. (2018). Examining public perceptions of CSR in sport. Corporate Communications: An International Journal. Link 

Citation: Jun J. (2018) Cancer/health communication and breast/cervical cancer screening among Asian Americans and five Asian ethnic groups, Ethnicity & Health.
Abstract: This research examined cancer/health communication factors (i.e. cancer/health information seeking, patient-provider communication (PPC), cancer screening information from providers) and screening for breast and cervical cancer among Asian Americans and five Asian ethnic groups (Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese) in comparison to Whites. Additionally, the relationship between cancer/health communication disparity and cancer screening gaps between Asian Americans and Whites was investigated. Data comes from a nationally representative sample of 2011–2014 Health Information National Trends Surveys (HINTS). Asian Americans and most Asian ethnic-groups reported significantly lower rates of cancer/health information seeking and lower evaluations for PPC as compared to Whites, though differences within Asian ethnic groups were observed (Koreans’ greater cancer/health information seeking, Japanese’ higher PPC evaluation). When the cancer/health communication factors were controlled, Asian Americans’ odds of cancer screening were increased. Especially, Asian Americans’ odds of adhering to the breast cancer screening guideline became nearly 1.4 times greater than Whites. This research demonstrates that health organizations, providers, and Asian American patients’ collaborative efforts to increase the access to quality cancer information, to make culturally competent but straightforward screening recommendations, and to practice effective communication in medical encounters which will contribute to diminishing cancer disparities among Asian Americans. Link

Citation: Choi, M., Overton, H.K., & McKeever, R. (2018). When organizational advocacy and public advocacy intersect in CSR: Examining stage of partnership and activism in CSR partnerships. The Journal of Public Interest Communications. 2(2), 264-288.
Abstract: CSR partnerships have evolved and taken various forms as companies and nonprofit organizations work toward creating societal change for the public good. This study examined public relations advocacy in the context of CSR communication through a 2 x 2 online experiment with a sample of 240 participants. Specifically, this study examined interactions between CSR fit, stage of partnership, and individuals’ activism levels on individuals’ attitude toward a company, a nonprofit, and skepticism levels toward the CSR partnership. High fit and philanthropic stage of partnership became significant factors on attitude toward the company. Individuals’ activism levels had a positive interaction with stage of partnership in predicting skepticism toward the partnership. Theoretical implications and practical applications for public interest communications are discussed. Link

Citation: Overton, H.K. (2018). Examining the impact of message frames on information seeking and processing: A new integrated theoretical model. Journal of Communication Management, 22(3), 327-345. Link




Citation: Karami A., Webb F., Kitzie V. (2018), What do the US West Coast Public Libraries Post on Twitter?, Proceedings of the 81th Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIST), Vancouver, Canada. Link» 


Received a $298,000 grant for a three-year investigation into how public libraries can promote the health of their LGBTQ+ communities.
Citation: 2018-Present Examining Public Library Service to LGBTQ+ Communities for Health Information, IMLS. Link»

They received a $219,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to develop a clearer picture of the many ways that public libraries contribute to the prosperity and well-being of those who live in their service areas. Link»

Through funding from the Jacqueline M. Albers Guest Scholar in Children’s Literature Fellowship, she visited Kent State University from September 10 – 14. She conducted research about social justice issues in graphic novels through the use of the collections in the Reinberger Children’s Library Center at KSU. The title of the study is “Visualizing Change through Multicultural and Social Justice Graphic Novels in the U.S. and Australia.” They are analyzing graphic novels in both countries, and will be writing about how K-12 librarians and teachers can use them with students across the curriculum. 

This $90,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in digital humanities advancement will be used for the development of an open access, user-friendly tool to allow scholars and the public to study and document the spread and evolution of information shared over social media networks.
Citation: Evolution in digital discourse: Toward a computational tool for identifying patterns of language change in social media.


Their social bots research was featured in the New Scientist. Link»


KEVIN HULL, GRACE YAN and NICK WATANABE (both on USC Sports Management faculty)
They examined how fans used Twitter during the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final. They analyzed almost 20,000 tweets before, during, and after the match and found that large sport entities and star players dominated the conversation and individual citizens had a difficult time generating influence on the conversation.
Citation: Yan, G., Watanabe, N., Shapiro, S., Naraine, M., & Hull, K. (accepted for publication). Unfolding the Twitter scene of the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final: Social media networks and power dynamics. European Sport Management Quarterly.
Abstract: This study investigated the Twitter networks of the Champions League hashtag (#UCL) across the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final. Through an examination of network parameters and shifting structures, the analyses disclosed patterns of attention and power distributed among various sport stakeholders and fans. Overall, the data included 19,869 posts for pre-match, 3,276 posts for halftime, and 5,691 for post-match. The #UCL network emerged with relatively low density and heterogeneous communication interest during the pre-match, and then moved towards higher density. Meanwhile, emergent game dynamics played a meaningful role in structuring the networked relationships. 

Outlined a new approach to the classroom that engages students in critical questioning of existing information by having students work on a new canon in whatever discipline the course is in.
Citation: Freeburg, D. (2018). Going beyond the text: Turning classrooms into communities of practice to uncover and create noncanonical knowledge. Education for Information, 34(1), 79-95.
Abstract: Every discipline has an existing canon – seen in textbooks, scholarly journals, conference proceedings, etc. – that explicitly outlines existing practice and thought. Recognizing the inadequacy of these canons, the current paper outlines an approach to classroom instruction that helps students move beyond these texts as they create and discover noncanonical knowledge. This noncanonical approach focuses on turning classrooms into Communities of Practice (CoP). There is myriad literature on the utility of such groups for knowledge creation and learning in organizations, yet this paper is unique in introducing it to classroom instruction. By turning classrooms into an adapted CoP, instructors are situated to move beyond the texts or canons of their disciplines. This occurs as they a) invite unique student contributions to create ideas and knowledge that go beyond existing texts, b) develop trust and community among students that goes beyond simple icebreakers and standard group work, and c) engage consistently in action that recognizes the practical utility of what is learned. This is essential to any discipline, yet it has a special place in the field of Library and Information Science (LIS) which – long a discipline of the text – is itself moving outside of this as it focuses on knowledge creation [1 ]. In addition to its theoretical foundation, the paper provides practical steps instructors can take to turn their classrooms into CoPs that move beyond the existing text.

This research, published in Addictive Behaviors, examined smokeless tobacco users' comparative optimism in assessing the health and addiction risks of their own product in comparison with cigarettes and the effects of comparative optimism on cessation information-seeking.
Citation: Jun, J. & Nan, X (2018). Comparative risk assessment and cessation information seeking among smokeless tobacco users. Addictive Behaviors. 80, 14-21
Abstract: An analysis of nationally-representative sample from the 2015 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS)-FDA revealed; the presence of comparative optimism in assessing both health and addiction risks among smokeless tobacco users. Comparative optimism was negatively correlated with most cessation information-seeking variables. Health bias (the health risk rating gap between the subject's own tobacco product and cigarettes) was associated with decreased intent to use cessation support. However, the health bias and addiction bias (the addiction risk rating gap between the subject's own tobacco product and cigarettes) were not consistent predictors of all cessation information-seeking variables, when covariates of socio-demographics and tobacco use status were included. In addition, positive correlations between health bias and past/recent cessation-information searches were observed. Optimistic biases may negatively influence cessation behaviors not only directly but also indirectly by influencing an important moderator, cessation information-seeking. Future interventions should prioritize dispelling the comparative optimism in perceiving risks of smokeless tobacco use, as well as provide more reliable cessation information specific to smokeless tobacco users. Link»

LUCY GREEN, ROBIN WILSON (Georgia Southern University) and EUNBAE LEE (The Catholic University of Korea)
This journal article reports that instructors in fields that include complex academic language can use pedagogies from the field of foreign language learning to help students master complex and confusing terminology.
Citation: Wilson, R., Lee, E., & Green, L. (2018). Law is a foreign language: An analysis of the language of law and the use of second-language teaching pedagogy in an undergraduate business law course. Journal of Legal Studies in Business, 21. Link»


Citation: Park, Y.J., Jang, S. M., Lee, H., & Yang, G. (2018). Divide in Ferguson: Social media, social context, and division, Social Media and(+) Society. 4(3).
Abstract: We examine the patterns of social polarization, with the case of Michael Brown shooting as an empirical basis for discussing the role of social media in promoting polarized viewpoints. In doing so, we test a model that synthesizes the interplay between text polarity in Twitter and four attributes of U.S. cities (N=216): (1) geographic location, (2) race, (3) poverty, and (4) technological condition. Our findings supported hypothesized functions of socio-environmental traits. However, the extents of polarization in tweet-texts were subtler than expected. Furthermore, the finding concerning poverty suggests that certain urban environments are more conducive to exacerbating racial tensions, reproducing them into social media narratives. We suggest future studies and discuss the implications for societal divide. Link»


Presented two sessions in Kuala Lumpur at the International Federation of Libraries and Institutions (IFLA) World Congress. The first session was “Going Global with the IFLA School Library Guidelines: Preparing Resources and Best Practices to Help School Librarians Implement the New Guidelines.” The second session was “Regional Workshops – Collaborative Professional Development for In-Service Librarians in South Carolina, USA.”




Communication Technology Update and Fundamentals, 16th edition” was published June 20, 2018. Since 1992, this book has provided the latest information on electronic mass media, computers, consumer electronics, telephony, and networking.

Citation: Grant, A. E. & Meadows, J. H. (Eds.) (2018). Communication technology update and fundamentals (16th edition) Boston: Focal Press (June 2018, 324 pages).


Thompson’s chapter in the book “Re-envisioning the MLS: Perspectives on the Future of Library and Information Science Education Vol: 44, Part B” provides context through a brief history of Australian LIS education, then examines the knowledge, skills and qualifications required for current and emerging LIS professionals. Finally her chapter introduces the changing nature of the LIS academy and the profession in Australia, and discusses whether there are aspects of current LIS education that we need to hold on to or let go of in order to re-envision LIS education. 

Citation: 1. Kennan, M. A., Carroll, M., & Thompson, K. M. (2018). Letting go, holding on or re-envisioning? Challenges and opportunities for LIS Education in Australia. In J. Purcell, L. C. Sarin, P. T. Jaeger, & J. C. Bertot (Eds.), Re-envisioning the MLIS: Perspectives on the future of library and information science education (pp. 161-176). Bingley, UK: Emerald.


Citation: Karami A., Pendergraft N. M. (2018), Computational Analysis of Insurance Complaints: GEICO Case Study, International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling, & Prediction and Behavior Representation in Modeling and Simulation, Washington, DC. Link» 

ARNOVA-Asia Paper

Citation: Zheng, Y., McKeever, B.W., Xu, L., Leung, W. (July, 2018). Improving fundraising outcomes in China: Exploring the roles of media preferences and demographics.

This was presented by Wan Chi Leung, an alum of our Ph.D. program, in Hong Kong in July 2018.


Received a Global Health Initiative Course Development Grant from the Center for Teaching Excellence at USC. The funding was awarded for new courses or content related to global health. She is using it to help develop JOUR 562: Communicating, Science, Health & the Environment, which is being offered in the fall of 2018


Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to examine how corporate and nonprofit leaders partner on public relations for corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. Through semi-structured interviews across the USA, and stretching into Europe and South America, leaders (n=24) from US-based corporations top-ranked for corporate citizenship, and the nonprofit organizations with which they have developed CSR programs, shared insights and best practices. It was found that corporate and nonprofit leaders who collaborate on CSR programs spoke independently about several essential shared values, including community-focused collaboration, fiscal responsibility, and strategic alignment. How they described their CSR partnerships reflects a mutual commitment to a distributed leadership model, which involves the need to span organizational boundaries, share unique expertise across levels and roles, and sustain long-term relationships. Link»

Citation: Al-Saggaf, Y. & Thompson, K. M. (2018). ICT women professionals’ perceptions of workplace ethical problems: A quantitative survey. Journal of Information Ethics, 27(1), 59-73. Abstract: Which ethical problems are most frequently experienced by ICT women professionals and which ethical problems experienced by ICT women professionals are of most concern to them as individuals? A quantitative survey of 2,315 Australian ICT professionals of which 15.4% were females revealed that the top 15 most frequently faced ethical problems that the females identified were nearly identical to those identified by males. Gender only predicted three problems that affect females personally, namely overworking staff, bullying, and discrimination, which they also believed occur more frequently than other problems. Experienced women professionals have a greater concern about these problems than women in junior roles. Regardless, these results are concerning and therefore deserving of attention in a future study.

This is the fourth in a series of articles looking at why students major in journalism and mass communications. In this article, we identify differences between students who major in print vs. broadcast journalism, applying the eight-dimension scale we developed in the first article in the series.
Citation: An examination of print and broadcast journalism students’ personality traits (2018). (Serena Carpenter, Ann Hoag, and August E. Grant). Journalism and Mass Communication Educator, 73(2), 147-166.
Abstract: Journalists identify with a medium because it aligns with their interests and talents, and they may resist tasks incongruent with their perceived creative strengths. Occupational conflict arises when one’s personality does not align with expected work tasks within a role according to Holland’s theory of vocational choice. We carried out a quantitative survey of aspiring print and broadcast journalists to investigate whether they differed in personality traits (i.e., extraversion, conscientiousness, life values, and journalism degree motivations). Results show broadcast journalism students perceived themselves as more extreme on many measures including extraversion, conscientiousness, and certain life values. Broadcast students were also more likely to choose journalism as a degree for social prestige, sports, reporting, and photography reasons, whereas print students were more likely to choose writing as their primary motivation. Link»

Citation: Kitzie, V. (2018). "I pretended to be a boy on the Internet": Navigating affordances and constraints of social networking sites and search engines for LGBTQ+ online identity work [Special issue, Queer Internet Studies]. First Monday, 23(7).
Abstract: In this multi-platform study, I analyze interviews with 30 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) individuals in the United States (U.S.) to demonstrate how social networking sites (SNS) and search engines afford and constrain their identity work. Data analysis identifies three key affordances and constraints for how participants create, negotiate, and sustain their LGBTQ+ identities: identity expression, visibility, and anonymity. I explore each using a tripartite analytical frame of stigma, tactics, and authenticity. Findings describe how participants navigate hetero- and gender-normative discourses encoded into SNS and search engines to affirm their LGBTQ+ identities. Designers can use these results to create platforms inclusive of LGBTQ+ identities that afford, rather than constrain, these navigations. Link»


A descriptive analysis of LIS job descriptions to look for wording inviting diversity, specifically with an eye for invitations inclusive of applicants with disabilities.
Citation: Muir, R., Thompson, K. M., & Qayyum, A. (2018, July/August). Differently abled staff welcomed by library recruiters. InCite: Magazine of the Australian Library and Information Association, 39(7/8), 22-23.


Quoted in a media piece about how information studies makes a difference in the community. This media piece allowed her to make a statement about the value of the MLIS in communities around the world.
Citation: Charles Sturt University.  (July 25, 2018). Information Studies: See Can It Make a Difference In Your Community.
Abstract: The public library system is very important in Australian society, giving information studies professionals a lot of scope, not only in their career but also in the services they provide to communities. Link»



Dr. Hull won first place in the the AEJMC Mass Communication and Society Promising Professor Competition. More info 


Citation: Mikitish, S., Kitzie, V., & Connaway, L.S. (2018). Assessing for alignment: How to win collaborators and influence stakeholders. In Shaping the Campus Conversation on Student Learning and Experience: Activating the Results of Assessment in Action (pp. 213-222). Chicago, IL: Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). Link


Paper to be presented at the  Evidence for Global & Disaster Health [E4GDH] Special Interest Group in partnership with Medical Libraries Group Malaysia IFLA Satellite meeting, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Thursday, August 23, 2018

Abstract: In times of crisis, public libraries, in addition to health, fire, and police departments, are community outreach centers and sources of credible information. In October 2015, several counties in the state of South Carolina in the United States of America experienced catastrophic flooding that caused severe damage. Situation-specific research was conducted to investigate public libraries’ value to their communities in providing critical information services, as well as the libraries’ legitimacy as partners of public health agencies. The research framework is one recommended by public health experts for risk communication preparedness and implementation during pandemic influenza. In 2015, a case study investigated 1) public librarians’ use of multiple channels and technology for information distribution and services; and 2) public libraries’ collaboration with multi-level agencies to facilitate emergency response and recovery. In 2017, a survey study examined community members’ use of disaster information sources and evaluation of the information’s credibility during and after the 2015 flooding. The results show that the public libraries in the areas affected by flooding created disaster-recovery centers, illustrating the libraries’ value in facilitating emergency response and recovery. However, the findings also show public librarians were not fully prepared to provide disaster and health information for adult users, especially through online venues. Even though most of the community members in the 2017 survey study indicated that it was easy or very easy to find information, some of them did not use any credible information resources either during or after the disaster. It is recommended that public libraries provide reliable, user-friendly disaster and health digital resources for adult users. Public librarians can use social media network sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, to increase awareness of these library resources and to distribute real-time messages of interest. 

Citation: Radford, M.L., Connaway, L.S., Kitzie, V.L., Mikitish, S., & Floegel, D. (2018). Investigating and Mitigating Microaggressions to Support Inclusive Information Services. Paper presented at the 2018 LIDA Conference, June 13-15, Zadar.
Citation: Kitzie, V. (2018). Information Practices of LGBTQ+ Individuals: Evidence-based Implications for Libraries.  Paper presented at the 2018 LIDA Conference, June 13-15, Zadar. 

Citation: Robinson, E. (2018, June 15). Courts’ Recognition of Academic Privilege: Law or Legend?, American Association of University Professors 2018 Annual Conference, Arlington, VA.

Abstract: Ethics require confidentiality of respondents in social science research, and academics often assert an “academic privilege” to protect this information. But this can conflict with courts’ demands for this information. This presentation examines the cases in which courts have evaluated claims of academic privilege and the extent to which they have recognized the validity of such a privilege.


Dr. Gavigan received a 2018-2019 Southeastern (SEC) Conference Visiting Faculty Travel Grant

Abstract: The grant, Visualizing Change through Multicultural and Social Justice Graphic Novels in the United States and Australia, is a collaboration between two educators of school librarians from two different continents.  Dr. Karen Gavigan is an associate professor in the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at the University of South Carolina.  Dr. Kasey Garrison is a lecturer in the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University in Australia. The purpose of the study is to examine multicultural and social justice graphic novels published for children and young adults in the United States and Australia, and to share ideas for how school librarians and teachers worldwide can use them with their students. The grant will enable Dr. Gavigan to visit the University of Florida for one week where she will examine the graphic novel collection of the Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature. The Baldwin Library, used by scholars worldwide, contains more than 130,000 books and serials from the mid-17th century to the present.


Abstract: College students have often been surveyed about their general information seeking behaviors. However, little has been done to explore what specific system features they use to find and save information when they are working on their real-life tasks. In this study, 32 college students were invited to an information interaction lab for a session in which they recalled a recently finished task and worked on a to-be-finished task using a computer in the lab. They were asked to complete questionnaires regarding what systems they used to finish their tasks and what features were helpful for searching and for saving information. Results showed that college students rely more heavily on the Internet sources than on library sources, even for their course related work. The study identified fourteen categories of system features helpful for information search and eight categories helpful for information saving. The findings have implications for designing systems that will better help people accomplish their tasks. Link


Dr. Rathbun-Grubb chaired the Education Committee of the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services. The committee was asked to define core competencies for professionals in the acquisitions field, and this document (“Core Competencies for Acquisitions Professionals”) was endorsed by the ALCTS Board of Directors. Association for Library Collections & Technical Services endorses acquisitions core competencies.

The "Core Competencies for Acquisitions Professionals" outlines competencies that are needed across the span of an individual’s professional career to perform acquisitions functions. The intended audience for these competencies include students and new practitioners as well as managers and administrators who specialize or manage acquisitions functions in any library setting. Link


Citation: Tu-Keefner, F. Liu, J., Freeburg, D., Lyons, D. & Corbo, M. (2018). Disaster information needs, credible information access, and use of social media for crisis communication: A survey study of the adult general public in 11 counties during two disasters. Submitted to MLA 2018: Medical Library Association Annual Meeting and Exhibition, Atlanta, GA, May 18-23, 2018 (Accepted for Poster Presentation)

Abstract: Catastrophic disasters (e.g., hurricanes) occur in a particular Southern coastal state almost annually.  The study examines which disaster information sources the community members used and their evaluation of the information’s credibility during two disasters in 2015 and 2016.  An investigation of how people shared information with others (for instance, social media such as Facebook) during disasters is also included. Link




“Reading and Writing Comics and Graphic Novels: Collaborative Best Practices between School Librarians and Teachers,” published in the book, “Comics and Graphic Novels: Pedagogy and Practice for the 21st Century” by David Seelow.



Citation: Boling, K. S. (2018). “We matter”: The launching of a counter-narrative Black public affairs program in Columbia, S.C., Accepted for presentation at the 2018 AEJMC National Conference in Washington, D.C.

Abstract: Through oral history interviews and archival documents, this article examines how African American public affairs shows, like Awareness, played an integral role in the Civil Rights
Movement by presenting a counter-narrative to what was seen on mainstream news. Through this counter-narrative, Awareness had the unique ability to elevate the conversation beyond protests and demonstrations, and deeply discuss issues that could potentially alter the Southern mindset of stereotypical Blacks and improve race relations in the South.


Citation: Boling, K. S. (2018). Enjoying Crime: Examining Disposition Theory in the True Crime Audience, Accepted for presentation at the 2018 AEJMC Conference in Washington, D.C.

Abstract: This study explores disposition theory within the true crime podcast audience and potential impact on the criminal justice system. Using an online survey (n = 308), this study found that the true crime podcast audience listens for entertainment (92.47%) and enjoyment (84.58%), but they also see the potential for societal impact and they want to be part of the movement. Over 80% of respondents believe the podcasts are already having an impact on the cases covered. 

KEVIN HULL and MINHEE CHOI (Ph.D. student)

Citation: Choi, M., Hull, K., & Kian, T. (2018, April). Examining the growth of sport communication programs in higher education through a survey of program coordinators. Paper presented at Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) 2018 National Conference (Sports Communication Interest Group), Washington D.C.

Abstract: As higher education institutions seek ways to attract, recruit, and retain students, some schools and colleges are creating sports communication programs. This study surveyed coordinators of those programs regarding their opinions of this quickly growing field. Results demonstrate that student interest, administrative and financial support, and having components already in place before designing curricula are keys to success. Results of this study can be used by schools looking to launch sport communication program.


Citation: Hull, K., Kim, J. K., Haun, D., & Stilwell, M. (2018, April). Slam dunk: An examination of how magazines can create loyal readers. Paper presented at Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) 2018 National Conference (Magazine Media Division), Washington D.C.

Abstract: As various sports magazines have eliminated print issues, the basketball magazine Slam continues to have a strong and loyal following. Using impression management and social identity theory as a guide, both visual and textual analyses were used to examine the magazine’s covers. Results demonstrate that Slam’s covers were designed for a demographic that is familiar with the players, interested in being on the cutting edge of information, and passionate about the sport of basketball.


Citation: Hull, K., & Wilson, B. (2018, April). Journalism or public relations? Coverage of sports teams in high school journalism programs. Paper presented at Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) 2018 National Conference (Scholastic Journalism Division), Washington D.C.

Abstract: Just as professional sports reporters are often embedded with teams, high school sportsjournalists have to go to class with the athletes they cover. However, high school reporters lack the expertise of professionals, leading to an examination about whether high school media
coverage of sports was more like public relations or objective journalism. In a survey of high school media advisers, the scholastic sports coverage was found to be a trade-off between objective journalism and positive public relations produced by students — who gain valuable skills — for students.


Citation: Harrison, G., Pegoraro, A., Romney, M., & Hull, K. (2018, April). How race, gender, and American politics influenced user discourse surrounding the Jemele Hill controversy. Paper presented at Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) 2018 National Conference (Minorities and Communication Division), Washington D.C.

Abstract: On September 11, 2017, ESPN’s Jemele Hill tweeted that United States President Donald Trump was a “white supremacist.” Online reaction was swift and divided. The purpose of this study was to analyze how people were discussing the incident on Facebook using the theoretical lens of framing. Results demonstrate that discussions devolved into stereotypical tropes and uncivil discourse. Ultimately, Hill’s race and gender became as much of a topic of contention as did her comments about Trump.

KEVIN HULL and LAUREN SCHWARTZ (senior broadcast major)

Citation: Hull, K., & Schwartz, L. (2018, April). "Mighty" Kacy: Gender framing within American Ninja Warrior. Paper presented at Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) 2018 National Conference (Entertainment Studies Interest Group), Washington D.C.

Abstract: While previous studies have demonstrated that sports and primetime television programming have traditionally treated women in a less flattering light compared to men, the show American Ninja Warrior has emerged to challenge that tradition. Using framing as a guide, an examination of episodes from season nine revealed that female and male competitors receive the same personality, performance, and physicality taxonomies when their athletic successes and failures are described by the announcers.


Citation: Kim, J. K., Overton, H. K., Hull, K., & Choi, M. (2018, April). Examining public perceptions of CSR in sport: The role of attributions, fit, and information source. Paper presented at Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) 2018 National Conference (Sports Communication Interest Group), Washington D.C.

Abstract: Despite the proliferation of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in professional sports leagues, research has not widely examined public expectations and perceptions of CSR in sport. This study employed a between-subjects online experiment to investigate how sports spectators infer motives of a professional sports team’s CSR efforts and how attributions and perceptions of fit between CSR activities and the team impact patronage intentions. Practical and theoretical implications are discussed.



Citation: McKeever, R., Kim, J.K., Li, J-Y., & Wen, T. J.  (2018, August). Third-person Effects of Conflicting Information about Childhood Vaccinations.: Role of Health Locus of Control and Issue Importance in Predicting Individuals’ Support for Immunization Requirements. Paper accepted for presentation to the Communicating Science, Health, Environment and Risk Division Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication  (AEJMC), Washington, DC.


Citation: McKeever, B.W., McKeever, R., Pressgrove, G., & Overton, H.K. (2018, August). Predicting Public Support: Applying the Situational Theory of Problem Solving to Prosocial Behaviors. Paper presented to the  Public Relations Division at the annual meeting of the  Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), Washington, DC.


Citation: Bhalla, N., and Moscowitz, D. (2018). “Objectified yoga: Commodity, identity, and embodiment in U.S. women’s magazines.” Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (Cultural and Critical Studies Division), Washington, D.C., August 2018.

Citation: Kenneth Campbell (2018). Pulpit and Press Pioneer: Samuel E. Cornish, the Minister, before Founding Freedom’s Journal. Paper to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), Washington, D. C., August 8, 2018.

Abstract: Before becoming a founding editor of Freedom’s Journal, America’s first African American newspaper in 1827, Samuel E. Cornish trained in Philadelphia to be a minister in the Presbyterian Church. It was an interesting choice given that black religious denominations were being formed, a number of other white denomination had black congregations, and the Presbyterian Church supported African colonization of blacks. Cornish, who became the second African American licensed as a minister in the Presbyterian Church (1819), began his ministry preaching in rural Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania (1819-1821). He moved his ministry to New York and established the first African American Presbyterian Church in the city (1821-1823). This first-time detailed examination of this aspect of his background shows his decision to join the Presbyterian Church resulted in coverage in newspapers and magazines and exposed him to contacts with white leaders who might have influenced him as he helped found Freedom’s Journal.

Presented "Social Media Analysis for Organizations: US Northeastern Public and State Libraries Case Study" at the Southern Association for Information Systems (SAIS) Conference, Atlanta, GA.

Citation: Collins M., Karami A. (2018),  Social Media Analysis for Organizations: US Northeastern Public and State Libraries Case Study, Proceedings of the Southern Association for Information Systems (SAIS), Atlanta, GA.

Abstract: Social networking sites such as Twitter have provided a great opportunity for organizations such as public libraries to disseminate information for public relations purposes. However, there is a need to analyze vast amounts of social media data. This study presents a computational approach to explore the content of tweets posted by nine public libraries in the northeastern United States of America. In December 2017, this study extracted more than 19,000 tweets from the Twitter accounts of seven state libraries and two urban public libraries. Computational methods were applied to collect the tweets and discover meaningful themes. This paper shows how the libraries have used Twitter to represent their services and provides a starting point for different organizations to evaluate the themes of their public tweets. Link 


Citation: McKeever, R., Kim, J.K., Rathbun-Grubb, S., & Tatge, M. (2018). It’s not Fake, it’s Alternative: Experimentally Parsing the Effects of Misinformation. Paper to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), Washington, DC.


Citation: Mohammadi E, Thelwall M, Kwasny M, Holmes KL (2018) Academic information on Twitter: A user survey. PLoS ONE 13(5): e0197265. 

Abstract: Although counts of tweets citing academic papers are used as an informal indicator of interest, little is known about who tweets academic papers and who uses Twitter to find scholarly information. Without knowing this, it is difficult to draw useful conclusions from a publication being frequently tweeted. This study surveyed 1,912 users that have tweeted journal articles to ask about their scholarly-related Twitter uses. Almost half of the respondents (45%) did not work in academia, despite the sample probably being biased towards academics. Twitter was used most by people with a social science or humanities background. People tend to leverage social ties on Twitter to find information rather than searching for relevant tweets. Twitter is used in academia to acquire and share real-time information and to develop connections with others. Motivations for using Twitter vary by discipline, occupation, and employment sector, but not much by gender. These factors also influence the sharing of different types of academic information. This study provides evidence that Twitter plays a significant role in the discovery of scholarly information and cross-disciplinary knowledge spreading. Most importantly, the large numbers of non-academic users support the claims of those using tweet counts as evidence for the non-academic impacts of scholarly research. Link

MO JANG, SEI-HILL KIM and ANAN WAN (Ph.D. student) and H.B. KIM (former Ph.D. student)
Citation: Kim, H.B., Jang, S. M., Wan, A., & Kim, S. H. (in press). Evaluating sampling methods for content analysis of Twitter data. Social Media and(+) Society. Link 

Citation: Wu, L., & Wen, T. J. (2018). Exploring the impact of affect on the effectiveness of comparative versus non-comparative advertisements. International Journal of Advertising.

Abstract: Affect is important in advertising, but it has not attracted sufficient attention in the research of comparative advertising. Two studies were conducted to explore how affect influences the effectiveness of comparative versus non-comparative advertisements. Study 1 focused on context-induced affect and showed that participants with positive affect expressed more favourable attitudes toward a comparative advertisement than a non-comparative advertisement. Study 2 addressed the coexistence of context- and ad-induced affects. Results showed that in the condition of positive context-induced affect, participants liked a comparative advertisement more than a non-comparative advertisement when ad-induced affect was positive. However, they evaluated both types of advertisement similarly in a negative manner when ad-induced affect was negative. In the condition of negative context-induced affect, participants expressed more favourable attitudes toward the advertisement eliciting positive affect than the one eliciting negative affect (regardless of ad type). These studies provided theoretical and practical implications, as well as directions for future research. Link

Citation: Liu, J. & Albright, K. (2018). Exploring the roles of the unconscious in information search behaviors. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science. First published online May 13, 2018.

Abstract: Increasing evidence from psychodynamic research suggests the unconscious influences our daily decisions. For information science, it is important to understand how the unconscious plays roles in information seeking. The current study uses subliminal psychodynamic activation to investigate how information searching may be influenced by textual messages that appear below the threshold of conscious awareness. Twenty-four college students participated in a controlled laboratory experiment, each searching freely on the Internet for needed information and saving useful sources for three search tasks. Each participant was systematically assigned to one of four subliminal psychodynamic activation conditions, with no or one of three different subliminal messages, “People walking”, “Mommy and I are one” and “I am enlightened”, each of which was displayed for 0.02 second every four seconds. Results show that users exposed to “People walking” had a higher effectiveness and higher efficiency in saving useful webpages than those exposed to “Mommy and I are one”. Results also show that search tasks influenced search behaviors regardless of subliminal psychodynamic activation conditions, which can be explained by task types. Our findings shed light on the underexplored area of the unconscious in information search and calls for future research along this line of research. Link

School Library Research from Around the World: Where It’s Been and Where It’s Headed, Published in the May / June issue of Knowledge Quest

Abstract: This article examines studies conducted by school library researchers around the world. The selected studies were conference papers, and articles published in School Libraries Worldwide. Findings from these studies are relevant to researchers and practicing school librarians, who may want to incorporate the findings into their library programs. 


Dr. Gavigan gave the keynote presentation at the Conference for the 2018 Australian Independent School Associations’ Teacher Librarian Conference. Karen’s presentation was titled “Reflections on Reading: Graphic Novels and eBooks.”



Dr. Copeland offered the keynote address for the Adaptive Umbrella Conference for the Bloomfield Township Public Library System. The Conference targeted public, academic and school librarians from the state of Michigan and across the United States. 



Dr. Hull wrote a journal article with three other authors, including Ph.D. student Matt Stilwell, and it was a finalist for the 2017 Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics "Article of the Year."  The awards ceremony was held in April at the College Sports Research Institute conference in Columbia.

Citation: Hull, K., Lee, J. W., Zapalac, R., & Stilwell, M. (2017). #HTownTakeover: Social media agenda setting and university branding efforts at the University of Houston. Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, 10, 162-181.

Abstract: Social media marketing efforts have quickly emerged as a powerful method of engaging the sport consumer and developing long-term relationships through a variety of platforms. In a state with some of the most well-known college football programs, the University of Houston engaged in a marketing campaign to differentiate themselves from their competition. The school created the H-Town Takeover promotion in order to draw more attention from fans, alumni, and the media.

The purpose of this study was to examine how the #HTownTakeover hashtag was used on Twitter during the first year following the hiring of head football coach Tom Herman. Two thousand eight hundred tweets (N = 2800) from the official team account were analyzed. Results demonstrate that the hashtag was often used to showcase the team’s success, but not frequently used in order to encourage fans to buy tickets or merchandise. Surprisingly, less than one percent of the tweets referenced the State of Texas or opponents within the State. Implications regarding agenda setting and stakeholder theory are addressed. Link


Citation: Characterizing Diseases And Disorders In Gay Users' Tweets, Proceedings of the 2018 Southern Association for Information Systems (SAIS), Atlanta, GA.

Abstract: A lack of information exists about the health issues of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people who are often excluded from national demographic assessments, health studies, and clinical trials. As a result, medical experts and researchers lack a holistic understanding of the health disparities facing these populations. Fortunately, publicly available social media data such as Twitter data can be utilized to support the decisions of public health policy makers and managers with respect to LGBTQ people. This research employs a computational approach to collect tweets from gay users on health-related topics and model these topics. To determine the nature of health-related information shared by men who have sex with men on Twitter, we collected thousands of tweets from 177 active users. We sampled these tweets using a framework that can be applied to other LGBTQ sub-populations in future research. We found 11 diseases in 7 categories based on ICD 10 that are in line with the published studies and official reports.  Link


Dr. Amir Karami, in collaboration with Dr. Suzanne Swan (psychology), has been awarded a 2018 ASPIRE research grant for the proposal "Knowledge Discovery in Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Experiences." Dr. Karami is the only CIC ASPIRE grant recipient this year. More info


Citation: Wu, L. (2018). Understanding how the message appeal of moral beauty influences advertising effectiveness under mortality salience. Journal of Marketing Communications.

Abstract: Consumers may be reminded of life mortality by some life events and media content. Mortality salience as a contextual factor has not been sufficiently investigated in the existing literature of advertising. The present research analyzes how the interplay between mortality salience and moral beauty influences consumers’ perceptions of life meaning and their responses to advertisements. Results of two studies confirmed that participants perceived increased life meaning when viewing advertisements that presented moral beauty. In Study 1, participants who were reminded of death evaluated an advertisement that presented moral beauty more favorably than an advertisement without such content. In Study 2, younger (i.e., age 18–25) and older participants (i.e., 55 and above) were recruited and the results indicated that the phenomenon observed in Study 1 was only prominent among younger participants. These results are believed to provide interesting insights to marketing communication both theoretically and practically. Link

Citation: Boling, K. S., & Hull, K. (2018). Undisclosed Information—Serial Is My Favorite Murder: Examining Motivations in the True Crime Podcast Audience. Journal of Radio & Audio Media, 25(1), 92-108.

Abstract: This study explores the true crime podcast audience within the uses and gratifications theoretical frame. Using an online survey (n = 308), this study found that the true crime podcast audience is predominantly female (73%), and 3 motivations were prominent for users: entertainment, convenience, and boredom. Additionally, three motivating factors were found to be significantly more salient for females than for males: social interaction, escape, and voyeurism. Practical and theoretical implications for genre-specific media are discussed. Link 

Citation: Xiao, A., & Overton, H.K. (2018). Examining the impact of value orientations on CSR evaluations and expectations among U.S. and Chinese publics. Public Relations Journal, 11(4).

Abstract: This study examines CSR evaluations and expectations among U.S. and Chinese publics through a cross-country survey conducted in both countries (N = 316 for U.S.; N = 315 for China). Specifically, this study explored differences in cross-cultural perspectives of expectations of CSR engagement and CSR communication across different industry types, various CSR activities, and the role of value orientations in shaping CSR evaluations and expectations.
Results indicated that both U.S. and Chinese publics reported the highest expectations for companies in the energy, healthcare, and technology industries to engage in CSR activities. Environment/sustainability and diversity and human rights causes are rated among the top areas in which companies should invest in both in the U.S. and China. Different value orientations may serve as predictors for the patterns found across each country and industry while self-transcendence values (benevolence and universalism) served as the common, positively predictor for many CSR variables in the U.S. and China. This study broadens theoretical developments in CSR and public relations research and provides insight for public relations practitioners and companies with regard to how to effectively communicate about social responsibility with key publics on a global level. Corporations in healthcare, energy, and technology industries should regularly engage in CSR activities and communicate their CSR efforts clearly, and CSR activities in environmental/sustainability and philanthropy areas might be top CSR areas in which both companies in both U.S. and China should engage. Findings from this study suggest that companies should emphasize universalism and benevolence values in their CSR programs and messages.


Presented a workshop titled: "Creating and Cultivating a Scholarly Identity within Digital Worlds" with faculty from other universities and OCLC.
Citation: Radford, M., Connaway, L., Kitzie, V., Floegel, D., Radford, G., & Chayko, M. (2018). Creating and cultivating a scholarly identity within digital worlds. Workshop presented at the iConference Annual Meeting, Sheffield, UK, March 25-28, 2018. 

Abstract: Relevant to academics at all levels, this workshop focuses on scholarly identity, including endeavors to build and promote their reputation, networks, and research impact. Such practices are increasingly essential for tenure and promotion, and can be accomplished and measured through data-driven methods/analytics for communicating and measuring influence. Workshop facilitators, in various career stages from three disciplines, will present viewpoints on considerations, connections, and consequences related to scholarly networks, and findings from an exploratory study of researchers’ use of online platforms, including social networking sites, to create and cultivate scholarly impact. Subsequent discussion and break-out sessions will provide hands-on demonstrations of selected digital tools, such as Twitter,, ORCID, and ResearchGate. Workshop outcomes include: identifying scholars’ needs in establishing and furthering scholarly identities, hands-on use of online platforms, and developing strategies to increase visibility by leveraging help from various resources including academic libraries. Participants should bring laptops/tablets or another smart device.


Dr. Mohammadi’s paper, “Mendeley readership altmetrics for the social sciences and humanities: Research evaluation and knowledge flows,” was identified as among the top 1 percent of cited papers in all social science disciplines worldwide. Highly cited papers are defined as those that rank in the top 1 percent by citations for field and year indexed in the Web of Science, which is generally but not always year of publication. These data derive from Essential Science Indicators℠ (ESI). The fields are also those employed in ESI – 21 broad fields, which are defined by sets of journals. Link

Dr. Wei has received the 2018 Outstanding Service Award from the Chinese Communication Association. The award will be conferred at the annual convention of ICA in Prague in May 2018. 




Citation: Wei, R. (ed.) (2018). The State of Asian Communication Research and Directions for the 21st Century. New York: Routledge.

Abstract: The 21st century has been called ‘the Asian Century’ by Eastern and Western academics, largely due to the economic and cultural rise of China and India. This volume explores both what this means for communication research, and the implications of Asia’s rising global power for communication scholars in Asia and from around the world. Hot topics and emerging trends are explored, encapsulating the new opportunities as well as the challenges for Asian communication scholars. Link»


Citation: Bowen, S. A., Hardage, G., & Strong, W. (2018). Managing the corporate character of the enterprise: Identity, purpose, culture, and values. In D. W. Stacks, D. K. Wright, & R. Bolton, (Eds.), The new era of the C.C.O.: The essential role of communication in a volatile world (pp. 71-90). New York: Business Expert Press.

Citation: Bowen, S. A., Stacks, D. W., & Wright, D. K. (2018). Emissions scandal: An example of bad Public relations on a worldwide scale and the defeat device that defeated a worldwide reputation. In J. V. Turk, J. Paluszek, & J. Valin, (Eds.), Public relations case studies from around the world, 2nd ed (pp. 3 - 21). New York: Peter Lang Publishing.


Citation: Gavigan, K. (2018). Reading and Writing Comics and Graphic Novels:  Collaborative Best Practices between School Librarians and Teachers. In Seelow, D. (Ed.) Comics and Graphic Novels: Pedagogy and Practice for the 21st Century.  Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers.


Page/Johnson Legacy Scholar grant to support her dissertation research, titled “The Effects of Self-Construal on Green CSR Perspectives in the U.S. and India: The Moderating Roles of Environmental Consciousness.”

Overton received a $5,000 grant from the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication for her co-authored research.

Citation: Moment of Truth: Understanding Corporate Rumors and the Psychology of Rumor Spread on Environmental Issues via Social Media.

Abstract: Featuring a survey and an online experimental study, this project attempts to investigate environmental rumors that corporations are facing on social media, as well as the psychological factors contributing to the spread of environmental rumors on social media. Study 1 aims to conduct a survey of public relations professionals to examine the types of corporate rumors related to environmental issues, their prevalence and impact on corporations, as well as rumor management strategies on social media.

Building on prior literature on rumor theory, Study 2 aims to reveal the underlying psychological motivations of rumor spreading behaviors on social media. Findings of this project could not only advance theory building toward social media rumor spreading, specifically in the context of environmental communication, but also could illuminate strategy development with respect to rumor intervention and management on social media for corporate PR practitioners.

Wu and Overton’s research proposal, "Understanding Native Communication of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)," received a $5,000 grant from the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication at Penn State University.

Abstract: This project aims to examine native messages in the context of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) communication. Specifically, this study will examine how native CSR communication influences publics’ perceptions of companies, as well as the social causes they communicate about, through two online experimental studies. Guided by arguments from the persuasion knowledge model (PKM), Study 1 aims to test the main effect of persuasion recognition and the mediating role of CSR skepticism. Study 2 aims to test the interaction effect between persuasion recognition and motivation attribution using arguments from the attribution theory. Ethical implications of native CSR communication efforts and participants’ psychological responses to social causes will be analyzed and discussed. The proposed project would add to existing CSR communication research by examining native advertising strategies in a novel communication context.


Citation: Bhalla, N., & Moscowitz, L. (in press).Yoga for Every (body)? A Critical Analysis of the Evolution of Yoga Representation across Four Decades in Yoga Journal. Journal of Magazine Media.

Abstract: This paper examines 41 covers of Yoga Journal magazine from 1975 to 2016. Using qualitative visual and linguist frame analysis of magazine covers, this project critically examines how yoga representations have evolved from a mental discipline to a commercialized form of exercise. Themes of religion, art, exercise, spiritual connection, and (male Indian) expertise were prominent cover displays from the 1970s-1990s. However, in the 2000s, young, white, thin female bodies came to signify the practice of yoga, anchored to hegemonic notions of femininity, displayed on the covers in objectified and commercialized forms. Implications for public health messaging, political-economic pressures on magazines, and mainstream perceptions of yoga are discussed.

Citation: Gavigan, K. (May/June, 2018). School Library Research from Around the World: Where It’s Been and Where It’s Heading. Knowledge Quest, 46 (5), 32-39.

Abstract: This article examines studies conducted by school library researchers around the world. The selected studies included international conference papers, and articles published in School Libraries Worldwide. Findings from these studies are relevant to researchers and practicing school librarians, who may want to incorporate the findings into their library programs.

MO JANG, QUEENIE LI, H.B. KIM (former Ph.D. student), C. HUANG and J. TANG (USC Computer Science Dept.)
Citation: Jang, S. M., Geng, T., Li, J., Xia, R., Huang, C., Kim, H., & Tang, J. (2018). A computational approach for examining roots and spreading patterns of fake news: Evolution tree analysis. Computers in Human Behavior, 84, 103-113. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2018.02.032

Abstract: To improve the flow of quality information and combat fake news on social media, it is essential to identify the origins and evolution patterns of false information. However, scholarship dedicated to this area is lacking. Using a recent development in the field of computational network science (i.e., evolution tree analysis), this study examined this issue in the context of the 2016 US presidential election. By retrieving 307,738 tweets about 30 fake and 30 real news stories, we examined the root content, pro- ducers of original source, and evolution patterns. The findings revealed that root tweets about fake news were mostly generated by accounts from ordinary users, but they often included a link to non-credible news websites. Additionally, we observed significant differences between real and fake news stories in terms of evolution patterns. In our evolution tree analysis, tweets about real news showed wider breadth and shorter depth than tweets about fake news. The results also indicated that tweets about real news spread widely and quickly, but tweets about fake news underwent a greater number of modifications in content over the spreading process. Link»

Citation: Karami A.,  Bennett  L. S. ,  He X. (2018), Mining Public Opinion about Economic Issues: Twitter and the U.S. Presidential Election, International Journal of Strategic Decision Sciences (IJSDS) 9(1).

Abstract: Opinion polls have been the bridge between public opinion and politicians in elections. However, developing surveys to disclose people's feedback with respect to economic issues is limited, expensive, and time-consuming. In recent years, social media such as Twitter has enabled people to share their opinions regarding elections. Social media has provided a platform for collecting a large amount of social media data. This paper proposes a computational public opinion mining approach to explore the discussion of economic issues in social media during an election. Current related studies use text mining methods independently for election analysis and election prediction; this research combines two text mining methods: sentiment analysis and topic modeling. The proposed approach has effectively been deployed on millions of tweets to analyze economic concerns of people during the 2012 US presidential election. Link»

Citation: Johnston, P., & Green, L. S. (2018). Still polishing the diamond: School library research over the last decade.  School Library Research, 21.

Abstract: In 2003 Delia Neuman wrote “Research in School Library Media for the Next Decade: Polishing the Diamond.” One of the most influential pieces on school library research written in the last twenty years, the article provided a map for school library research by defining areas of concern and importance. Neuman developed questions grounded in the research and scholarship of the field at that time. These questions served as a charge for researchers to address in the next ten years. Neuman called on researchers to “polish the diamond and make it shine more brightly in its own right and sparkle more valuably in the larger field of education” (2003, 504). This study uses Neuman’s model of the diamond to examine school library research and scholarship from 2004 through 2014. Following Neuman’s guiding questions through a systematic review of the literature from the past ten years, this study finds that there is still much “polishing” to be done by school library researchers, and like Neuman, defines new “facets” that provide future direction to “move forward both the field’s research agenda and its effective practice” (Neuman 2003, 505). Link»


Robinson’s presentation, “Courts’ Recognition of Academic Privilege: Law or Legend?,” has been accepted for the American Association of University Professors 2018 Annual Conference on the State of Higher Education, which will be held in Arlington, Virginia in June.

Abstract: Ethics require confidentiality of respondents in social science research, and academics often assert an “academic privilege” to protect this information. But this can conflict with courts’ demands for this information. This presentation examines the cases in which courts have evaluated claims of academic privilege, and the extent to which they have recognized the validity of such a privilege.

Wagner and Dr. Waters were invited by The Sophia Institute to give facilitate a co-presentation on their work to preserve the community archives of South Carolina Women. The presentation was titled “Preserving Personal Archives: Remembering South Carolina Women’s History” and was held in Charleston, South Carolina, on March 14.

Abstract: The personal archive functions as a method to preserve one’s identity. In most cases, such collections reflect personal interests, hobbies, and cultural moments that are too idiosyncratic to prove relevant to a larger population. Yet, a collection can also become indicative of social movements, capturing important figures and their voices that, for various reasons, have been forgotten. As such, conserving these moments becomes important as these personal acts of preservation speak truth to moments of injustice and highlight the resiliency of the persons involved. The Archiving South Carolina Women Project is an ongoing attempt to chronicle this history, focusing directly on the lives of women within the state. What started as a small project to digitally preserve the work of one woman within South Carolina blossomed into a thriving community archive as other women within South Carolina became interested in adding their voices and memories to this often overlooked history. As the project grew it became clear that not only were prominent women in South Carolina excited to offer their histories to the project, but for many this was the first time they had ever been asked to offer such insights. In just two years, the collection has grown from a few boxes of VHS tapes and fliers to include thousands of papers, recordings, photographs, and a variety of other ephemera. Furthermore, the Archiving South Carolina Women Project includes collections from women working in politics, public health, business, and the arts, each helping to embolden the narrative of the many women of South Carolina. This talk will focus on the early stages of the Archiving South Carolina Women Project and follow the evolution of the work to include the introduction of the collection to college classrooms as a way to teach about the history of women in the state. Finally, the talk will conclude by exploring some of the highlights of the collection, while also sharing tips and suggestions on how those in attendance can work to build their own personal and community archives as well. Link» 


A blog journalism website (Pacific Standard) covered Jang’s article, “Why do school shootings produce more polarization?” This article introduces the findings of his research published in Media Psychology, “Mass shootings backfire.” (Feb. 28, 2018)
In addition, Jang was interviewed by podcast journalist Allen McDuffee, a former Washington Post journalist, about this research. Link»

A State Newspaper reporter interviewed Maye for a story about the merits of Coach Dawn Staley’s defamation lawsuit against the University of Missouri athletics director.

Citation: Greg Hadley, Staley Faces a Difficult Legal Battle Against Missouri’s AD, The State, March 4, 2018, at 4B. Link»

Robinson’s March column for the South Carolina Press Association was republished by Daniel Island (S.C.) News, the Gaffney (S.C.) Ledger, and the Greenwood (S.C.) Index-Journal. Link»



Award: Top paper award to be presented in March at International Public Relations Research Conference (IPRRC).

Citation: Chen, Y.R., Bowen, S. A., Hung-Baesecke, F., Zerfass, A., Stacks, D. (2018, March). Effective Leadership for Creating Shared Value: A Cross-National Study in the United States, Germany, and China. Paper presented at the International Public Relations Research Conference, Orlando, FL. *Brigham Young University Top Ethics Paper Award Winner. Abstract: Porter and Kramer’s creating shared value (CSV) has become a promising CSR approach since 2011, but has not been much examined
in the public relations discipline. This study investigates whether publics expect companies to practice CSV in comparison to intrinsic CSR, which is totally separate from profit-making. It also explores the role of leadership in implementing effective CSV as perceived by the publics. A public preference for CSV over intrinsic CSR was found by analyzing the online-survey data of 1,784 participants in the US, Germany, and China. Effective CSV competencies were constructed as a unidimensional concept in the US but German and Chinese viewed it as two-dimensional. The publics perceived that leaders’ moral characters play a more important and core role in effective CSV compared to their altruistic and behavioral attributes. Network analysis of the perceived effective CSV-characteristics provides further implications for CSV communication.

Book Chapters

Citation: Bowen, S. A., & Li, J. Y. (2018). Communication ethics for risk, crises, and public health contexts. In H. D. O’Hair, (Ed.), Risk and health communication in an evolving media environment (pp. 227 - 248). New York: Routledge.

Citation: Bowen, S. A., Hardage, G., & Strong, W. (2018). Managing the corporate character of the enterprise: Identity, purpose, culture, and values. In D. W. Stacks, D. K. Wright, & R. Bolton, (Eds.), The new era of the C.C.O.: The essential role of communication in a volatile world (pp. 71-90). New York: Business Expert Press.

Conference Papers

Citation: Boling, K. (2018). Lost in Translation: The Disturbing Decision to Limit Access to Audio Court Files for Podcasters. Accepted for presentation at the 2018 AEJMC Southeast Colloquium in Tuscaloosa, AL. Abstract: In its October 2017 decision in Undisclosed LLC v. The State, the Georgia Supreme Court recognized that Georgia Rule 21 allows for public access to court files including both inspecting and copying records. However, the court held that a court reporter’s audio files from trial are not actually court records because only the official transcripts, not the audio tapes, are led with the court. Therefore, audio tapes cannot be copied by the media for use in podcast production. This article explores the problems with this Supreme Court decision and argues that the courts need to revisit the right to access and produce a definitive answer to the current dilemma for emerging media in the wake of true crime podcast growth. 

Citation: Liu, J. & Li, Y. (2018). Supporting information task accomplishment: Helpful systems and their features. Proceedings of CHIIR 2018. Accepted to ACM Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval.

Citation: Liu, C., Liu, J., & Yan, Z. (2018). Personalizing information retrieval using search behaviors and time constraints. Proceedings of CHIIR 2018. Accepted to ACM Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval.

Citation: Freeburg, D. (2018). Training knowledge creation facilitators: The alignment of organizational needs with LIS expertise and curriculum. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Library and Information Science Educators, Denver, CO.

Citation: Pardun, C. & Mortensen, T. A Faceism study of racism and sexism in the media. Paper to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association (ICA), Prague. Abstract: A large body of research examines and suggests visual stereotyping by the media as it pertains to gender (e.g. Kitch, 2001; Reynolds-Dobbs, Thomas & Harrison, 2008; Wade & Sharp, 2012), but few do so with any quantitative measures beyond faceism and submissivism. Stereotypes in the media most often emphasize the differences between women and men or whites and blacks. McGinley (2009) notes that these studies are “comparative measurements to the standard bearer: the white, middle class, heterosexual male” (McGinley, 2009, p. 712). However, in the study of stereotypes of women, few systematic, consistent approaches have been developed. Exceptions can be found within the area of gender mediatyping, where two approaches have been used with some frequency to examine common negative stereotypes applied to women via the media. These two approaches, submissivism and faceism, respectively, examine a) women’s lower social positions in relation to men and b) women’s lack of intellectual abilities and importance in relation to men.

Citation: Place, K. R., Edwards, L., Bowen, S. A. (2018, May). Empowering the Voice of LGBT Research and Ethics in Public Relations: Current Status and Avenues for Future Research. Paper presented at the meeting of the International Communication Association, Prague. Abstract: Despite recent attention to diversity-related research (e.g. Austin, 2010; Brunner, 2008; Gallicano, 2013; Garcia, 2013; Hon & Brunner, 2000; Mundy, 2015), the voices of lesbians, gays, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals remain largely missing from public relations research. Indeed, a dearth of scholarship exists regarding the LGBT community (Mundy, 2015). Continued research regarding diversity, gender identity, and sexual orientation is necessary for both internal and external public relations efforts to communicate effectively, responsibly, respectfully,
and ethically to increasingly diverse stakeholders and publics. Although some scholarship has focused on diversity as an element of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives (e.g. Bear, Rahman, & Post, 2010; Hou & Reber, 2011), little, if any research has explored diversity and LGBT- based public relations efforts with regard to ethics. We see ethics as the implementation of core values of an organization (such as diversity) that o er meaning, purpose, and identity in relation to an organization’s mission, vision, activities, stakeholders, and publics.

Citation: Jang, M., Mortensen, T., and Liu, J. Media Literacy and Fake News Identification. Paper to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association (ICA), Prague.

Citation: Boling, K. (2018). “The Bad Guys”: Examining Consumer Perceptions and Media Myths about Registered Sex Offenders. Accepted for presentation at the 2018 AEJMC Southeast Colloquium in Tuscaloosa, AL. Abstract: This study explores the impact that media can have on consumer perceptions and myths regarding registered sex offenders. Using an online survey (n = 200) and four previously-tested scales, this study found that when confronted with dissonant depictions of sex offenders and real-life impact of the law, overall views regarding sex offenders and belief in the laws that govern them lessen. Participants
were also found to be more likely to interact with a sex offender socially after being presented with dissonant depictions of sex offenders and real-life impact of the law, indicating that knowledge of the criminal’s gender and the law’s impact on their life affects social distance intent. Belief in common media myths were found to be relatively low, but increased usage of media did impact participant’s attitudes regarding the dangerousness of sex criminals. Fear of crime was found to be a mediating factor between gender and attitudes toward sex o enders. Practical and theoretical implications are also discussed.

Journal Articles

Citation: Wen, J., & Wu, L. (2018). Communicating ALS to the public: The message effectiveness of social-media-based health campaign, Health Marketing Quarterly, DOI: 10.1080/07359683.2018.1434865. Abstract: Celebrity endorsement has been proved to be a very powerful tool in health campaigns. This study examined how celebrity–issue match-up presented in utilitarian and hedonic appeals influences attitude toward the video, perceived issue severity, and behavioral intentions in the context of ALS communication. The findings showed that celebrity–issue match-up condition outperformed nonmatchup condition in generating positive attitude and behavioral intentions. The results also indicated that utilitarian appeal with matchup condition triggered significantly greater behavioral intention than that with nonmatchup condition. However, no difference was found in hedonic appeal between matchup and nonmatchup conditions. Theoretical and practical implications are also discussed. DOI:

Citation: Ott, H.K., & Xiao, A. (2017). Examining the role of culture in shaping public expectations of CSR communication in the United States and China. Asian Journal of Public Relations, 1(1), 57-83. Abstract: This study examines the role of culture in shaping publics’ expectations for corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication through survey research in the United States (N = 316) and China (N = 315). Based on Kim and Ferguson’s (2014) investigation of what and how to communicate CSR among U.S. publics, this study aims to further contribute to CSR communication literature by examining public expectations of corporations’ CSR activities in a global context. Furthermore, this study applies Hofstede’s cultural dimensions as adapted by Vitell et al. (2003) to determine how various cultural elements may serve as predictors for why and how publics in both the U.S. and China develop expectations and perceptions of companies’ CSR efforts. Two online surveys were administered through a Qualtrics panel to include a representative sample of general U.S. consumers and general Chinese consumers. The English survey was administered to the U.S. sample, while the Chinese survey (translated and examined by two bilingual researchers) was administered to the sample in China. Questionnaire items measured participants’ expectations of companies’ CSR communication and several cultural dimensions that could potentially impact participants’ expectations of effective CSR communication. Results highlight differences in each public’s expectations of what and how companies should communicate CSR. Specifically, this study found that Chinese consumers seem to place higher importance on CSR communication content (e.g., what to communicate) than U.S. consumers. Also, U.S. consumers prioritized communicating about who is benefiting from a company’s CSR activities while Chinese consumers felt that it was most important to communicate the consistency of the company’s commitment to its CSR initiatives. Both samples felt that message tone was the most important factor when considering how companies should communicate CSR information. Among Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, uncertainty avoidance and masculinity are identified as the strongest predictors for CSR variables, but results regarding what and how publics expect from companies’ CSR communication efforts highlight different items that participants in each country rate as the most important factors to them. Overall, results suggest that the role of culture might be slightly stronger in shaping CSR expectations in China than in the U.S. since there were more predictor variables and stronger coefficients in the Chinese sample than in the U.S. The study broadens theoretical developments in CSR and public relations research and provides insight for public relations practitioners and companies who continue to search for best practices to effectively communicate about social responsibility with key publics on a global level.

Citation: Karami, A., Dahl, A. A., Turner-McGrievy, G., Kharrazi, H., & Shaw, G. (2018). Characterizing diabetes, diet, exercise, and obesity comments on Twitter. International Journal of Information Management, 38(1), 1-6. Abstract: Social media provide a platform for users to express their opinions and share information. Understanding public health opinions on social media, such as Twitter, offers a unique approach to characterizing common health issues such as diabetes, diet, exercise, and obesity (DDEO); however, collecting and analyzing a large scale conversational public health data set is a challenging research task. The goal of this research is to analyze the characteristics of the general public’s opinions in regard to diabetes, diet, exercise and obesity (DDEO) as expressed on Twitter.
A multi-component semantic and linguistic framework was developed to collect Twitter data, discover topics of interest about 

Citation: Sisson, D., & Mortensen, T. (2017). The ethics of online information graphics of nonprofit organizations. The Journal of Public Relations Education, 4(2). Abstract: This study employs a visual content analysis to examine variables within three concepts pertaining to public relations ethics and infographic-design ethics, specifically: transparency, clarity, and stewardship. The subject of study is nonprofit organizations’ infographics (n = 376) that have been released on Twitter. Findings suggested that nonprofit organizations are not following public relations ethics guidelines in their infographics, suggesting difficulty in translating ethical principles to visual design. Additionally, findings revealed that visual ethics principles may not be as clearly understood and applied by public relations practitioners. The most commonly applied strategies include responsibility and reporting, variables within the concept of stewardship. This study informs public relations practitioners in the nonprofit sector by illuminating strengths and weaknesses in current online infographic and using these findings to suggest best practices for more ethical infographic design.

Citation: Mortensen, T., Moscowitz, L., Wan, A. & Yang, A. (2018). The marijuana user in US news media: An examination of visual stereotypes of race, culture, criminality and normification. Visual Communication, forthcoming. Abstract: In the wake of growing legalization efforts, both medicinal and recreational marijuana use in the United States is becoming more prevalent and societally acceptable. Still, racial, criminal and cultural stereotypes linger in mediated visual portrayals. This study examines the extent to which mediated visual portrayals in mainstream news have been impacted by these recent legalization efforts. Employing a quantitative as well as qualitative analysis of visual images used to represent marijuana use in mainstream news, this study draws upon the power of visual framing and the construction of social reality to examine how visual symbols and iconic signifiers are used to construct both stereotypical as well as “main-streamed” or “normative” depictions of marijuana use. Analyzing 458 visuals across 10 different media outlets across the political spectrum, both before and after legalization of marijuana in Colorado, this study shows how news portrayals perpetuated stereotypes about marijuana users, particularly around criminality and pot-culture iconography. Relatively few depictions of marijuana users in the United States are visuals of ordinary, “normal” people or families. This study thus interrogates the relationship between representations of race, criminality and “pothead” stereotypes associated with marijuana use, and how these visual representations differ amongst liberal and conservative news sites, finding that the political ideology of the news outlet largely influences the visual stereotyping of marijuana users. The study concludes by considering both the legal and cultural implications of how mainstream news visually represents marijuana use, considering how persistent decades-old representations were largely perpetuated rather than challenged in light of legalization efforts.

Citation: Mortensen, T., & Gade, P. (2018). Does the photojournalist matter? A content analysis of photojournalism in the Times Herald-Record before and after layoffs of the photojournalism staff. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, forthcoming. Abstract: This study explored the photojournalism and news presentation of the Middletown (N.Y.) Times Herald-Record before and after the newspaper laid off its entire photography staff. Differences between professional and non-professional photographs were also compared. Following the layoff, the paper published fewer images, presented smaller and less prominently. Professional images captured significantly more elements of photojournalism than non-professionals, including emotion, action, conflict and graphic appeal. Professional images were presented larger and more prominently. Results of this case study provide evidence that – despite clear differences in image content – photojournalists are struggling to assert their professional legitimacy in the digital age.

Citation: Mortensen, T., Yang, A., Wan, A. (2018) Now that the smoke has cleared: Examining visual stereotypes of marijuana users before and after legalization in Colorado. Visual Studies, forthcoming. Abstract: The perception of marijuana in the contemporary move toward decriminalisation – what Go man (1963) called “normification” – in the US and elsewhere will be a effected by the manner in which the media visually and textually portray the drug. This study examines the visual and headline framing of marijuana prior to and following legalisation in Colorado, concentrating on issue framing and the valence or tone of visuals, words, and their interaction. Results reveal different valences and issues amongst outlets and across time, and show complex and sometimes conflicting pairings of images and text. Neutral news outlets, while seemingly most neutral in image and in headline, were more slanted when pairing images with headlines, although they most frequently paired neutrally-toned headlines with neutrally-toned images. On the other hand, liberal and conservative news outlets most frequently showed neutrally-valenced images with neutrally-valenced headlines. While neutral news outlets may be lauded for presenting issues in a neutral tone, they are sending more mixed messages, visually, than the other outlets. Mostly framed as a political issue, marijuana was also heavily emphasized by its criminal and medical aspects. However, conservative news outlets presented its criminal aspect more than the other outlets.


Citation: Bowen, S. A. (2018, May). Creating ethical opportunities to build trust in public sector organizations. Panelist at the meeting of the International Communication Association, Prague. Public Relations Division. Abstract: Dr. Bowen’s talk focuses on Kantian ethics, relationship management theory, public policy, internal communication research and government relations. She will address current research on ethical public policy and building voice and trust. Her recent grant research will be discussed in adding internal relations management as a valuable component of instilling ethics throughout an organizational culture. Her data collection, and a subsequent study, found that trust increased over time with ethical behavior, attention in the organization to matters of ethics and ethics training, and senior leaders in the organization modeling ethical behavior. Because trust in governmental organizations is at an all-time low, Bowen will make recommendations for how governmental bodies can be more accessible and transparent, engaging publics, instilling voice for publics in organizational decisions, and offering an ethical culture as a foundation for the building (or rebuilding) of trust. Bowen’s research is grounded in the excellence theory of public relations and seeks to create symmetrical dialogue between organizations and stakeholders or publics. Symmetrical communication seeks a moving equilibrium in which interests, values and priorities can be discussed in an analytical and ethical manner, fostering inclusion and moral responsibility. Governmental and public-sector organizations can benefit from such inclusion and from creating an organizational culture that values ethics and fosters a means of ethical deliberation and ethical concern for internal and external publics, constituencies and stakeholders.


Senior faculty profile of Dr. Bown on the PR Division website of AEJMC, organized by Nandini Bhalla. Read»

Dr. Wei joins the editorial board of the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media (JoBEM). One of the legacy journals in our discipline, JoBEM published its first issue in 1957.

Lisa has been appointed to a faculty mentor position with the Center for Teaching Excellence and will meet one-on-one with designated faculty who need assistance with their teaching techniques and style.

A State Newspaper reporter interviewed Dr. Maye for a story about the merits of Coach Dawn Staley’s defamation lawsuit against the University of Missouri athletics director.


Journal Articles

Citation: Jang, S. M. (in press). Mass shootings backfire. The boomerang effects of death concerns on policy attitudes. Media Psychology. Abstract: Fear-inducing communication is commonly adopted in the public domain. For example, advocates of gun control have believed that the tragic cases of mass shooting would be an effective persuasive tool to draw favorable public opinion about gun control policies. However, this assumption does not meet reality. Despite a rash of mass shootings over the past two decades, public support for gun regulation has continued to decline. To resolve this dilemma, this article conducted three experiments and provided compelling explanations of how threatening shooting stories generated the unintended e ects. In line with the terror management theory, the moderated mediation model showed that shooting stories produced partisan polarization on gun policies. Theoretical and practical implications of fear-inducing messages are discussed. DOI: 10.1080/15213269.2017.1421471

Title and Publication: “A ect, Cruelty, and the Engagement of Visual Inti- macy.” Communications and Critical/Cultural Studies. (Full citation not yet available.) Abstract: This essay considers cruelty as a shared cultural value in the Age of Trump. In particular, I examine the representation and societal positioning of cruelty in two lm depictions from 2017, the first year of the Trump presidency. I invoke affect theory as a heuristic for reading the application of cruelty, and I reify visual intimacy on screen as a technique for how contemporary publics might engage and respond to the cultural role of cruelty. DOI: 10.1080/14791420.2018.1435081 (not yet published)

Citation: Mallia, K. L., & Windels, K. (2018). Female Representation among Advertising’s Creative Elite: A Content Analysis of the Communication Arts Advertising Annual. Advertising & Society Quarterly, 18(4). Abstract: This study examined issues of the Communication Arts Advertising Annual in 1984, 1994, 2004, and 2014 to assess women’s inclusion among award winners, which represent the upper echelons of the advertising industry’s creative ranks. Findings showed that women have token status, as they represented 7% of all creative award winners in 1984, 11% in 1994, 6% in 2004, and 11% in 2014. Creative women in advertising have not made much progress toward equity in the past 30 years. This has implications for the ads that get made, the culture of the agency creative department, and the career prospects of advertising students. This also demonstrates a continuing disconnect between female consumers and the agency personnel developing the advertising targeting them. Read»

Citation: Robinson, E. (2017). Libel by the numbers: The use of public opin- ion polls in defamation lawsuits. First Amendment Studies, 51(2), 62-85. Abstract: After a rocky start, polls became ubiquitous in the twentieth century in a variety of elds. However, the courts generally resisted accepting polls and other social science evidence until the early 1950s, on the grounds that they were hearsay. But while social scientists understand reputation in a variety of ways, the law sees an individual’s reputation as a social phenomenon. This makes the opinions of others an inherent part of the legal claim of defamation, and polls an obvious type of evidence in such cases. But use of polling evidence in defamation cases remains rare. This article examines courts’ acceptance of polling data as evidence in defamation cases, including the actual cases in which it has been used as evidence, and concludes with recommendations on how defamation litigants and courts considering defamation cases can use such evidence. Read»

Creative Productions

Hagon was recognized and acknowledged by Lexington Medical Center for the concept of the 2017 “I Am Heart Attack” commercial for the Just Say No to Heart Disease campaign. This spot is the fourth in a series of commercials featuring an actor who personifies a heart attack. In addition, the concept for this installment of the series came from a University of South Carolina student. We introduce you to her — and the rest of the talented crew responsible for “I Am A Heart Attack” — in this “behind the scenes” video. Watch»

Conference Papers

Citation: Karami A. (2017), Taming Wild High Dimensional Text Data with a Fuzzy Lash, The 5th ICDM Workshop on High Dimensional Data Mining (HDM’17), New Orleans, LA. Abstract: The bag of words (BOW) represents a corpus in a matrix whose elements are the frequency of words. However, each row in the matrix is a very high-dimensional sparse vector. Dimension reduction (DR) is a popular method to address sparsity and high-dimensionality issues. Among different strategies to develop DR method, Unsupervised Feature Transformation (UFT) is a popular strategy to map all words on a new basis to represent BOW. The recent increase of text data and its challenges imply that DR area still needs new perspectives. Although a wide range of methods based on the UFT strategy has been developed, the fuzzy approach has not been considered for DR based on this strategy. This research investigates the application of fuzzy clustering as a DR method based on the UFT strategy to collapse BOW matrix to provide a lower-dimensional representation of documents instead of the words in a corpus. The quantitative evaluation shows that fuzzy clustering produces superior performance and features to Principal Components Analysis (PCA) and Singular Value Decomposition (SVD), two popular DR methods based on the UFT strategy. Read»

Citation: Song, B., Wen, T. J., & Zhang, N. (2018). Mixed Emotions in Non-Pro t Communications: An Experiment of Blood Donation Message. Accepted by the 2018 International Communication Association (ICA) Annual Conference, May 2018, Prague, Czech Republic. Abstract: Appraisal tendency framework (ATF) suggests that both incidental emotion and integral
emotion are capable of influencing decision-making and behaviors. Such effect is subject to the interaction between incidental and integral emotions. In order to effectively use emotional appeals in public service announcements (PSAs) for non-profit communication, it is particularly informative to study the interaction between the carry-over effect of incidental emotion and the direct effect of integral emotion. Specifically, this study focuses on the application of pride and hope as discrete integral emotions in blood donation PSAs, as well as the interaction between the two integral emotions and incidental emotions, i.e. potential donors’ pre-existing emotions of anger and fear before viewing the PSAs. The results of a 2 x 2 factorial experiment with 313 participants suggested that congruence in appraisal dimensions between incidental and integral emotions could lead to better perceived message e ectiveness, stronger issue advocacy, higher intention for blood donation, and increased attitudes for the non-profit organization. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Citation: Dodoo, N. A., & Wu, L. (2018 March). Understanding the interplay between control and regulatory focus on advertising effectiveness. Paper accepted for presentation at 2018 AAA Annual Conference, New York, NY. Abstract: This research investigates the possible influence of control and regulatory focus in persuasion and tests three competing underlying mechanisms. Grounded in the theoretical framework of Regulatory Focus Theory, which suggests distinct motivational principles, this research proposes that a promotion focus or prevention focus coupled with the boundary condition of control determines variations in consumer evaluations and behavioral intentions. The results show that regulatory focus interacts with perceived control such that a promotion focus advertisement is more effective under the condition of sufficient control. Emotion regulation was found to be the underlying mechanism that accounted for the results. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Citation: Wu, L., Park, S-Y., & Ju, I. (2018 March). Exploring the influence of future time perspective on the effectiveness of process- and outcome-focus mental simulation in advertisements. Paper accepted for presentation at 2018 AAA Annual Conference, New York, NY. Abstract: Future time perspective is an important construct in cognitive psychology. It could prominently influence individuals’ perceptions and behaviors. So far, limited research has focused on this construct in the advertising field. An experiment was conducted in the present study to analyze the influence of consumers’ future time perspective on the effectiveness of process- and outcome-focus mental simulation in advertisements. The results indicated that participants with extensive time perspective evaluated an outcome-focused ad more favorably than those with limited time perspective and participants’ growth-seeking orientation accounted for such effects. These findings are believed to contribute to the advertising literature by examining the impact of a relatively underplayed concept in the advertising field and provide useful suggestions to practitioners with regard to delivering process- and outcome-focused advertisements strategically.

: Wu, L., Zhang, N., Noland, C., & Wan, A. (2018 March). Under-standing the influence of customization on brand evaluation among consumers with different levels of uncertainty and uncertainty avoidance. Paper accepted for presentation at 2018 AAA Annual Conference, New York, NY. Abstract: The online environment is filled with uncertain situations. Limited research has explored whether communication technology aids consumers to deal with the psychological state of uncertainty during online information processing. The present study focused on the technological affordance of customization. A lab experiment was conducted to analyze the interplay be-tween uncertainty, customization, and uncertainty avoidance on consumers’ brand evaluation. The results indicated that participants with high levels of uncertainty avoidance highly evaluated a brand on a customizable website and underrated the brand on a non-customizable website when they felt strong uncertainty. Such effects were not observed among participants with low levels of uncertainty avoidance. These findings are believed to contribute to the literature of human-computer interaction and provide useful suggestions to practitioners of digital advertising.

Citation: Wen, T., & Morris, J.D. (2018). Facing anger versus fear: How individuals regulate level of control in risk communication. Accepted and will be presented at the 2018 American Academy of Advertising (AAA) Annual Conference, March 2018, New York, NY.  Abstract: Grounded in the motivational aspect of emotions, the current study proposes the underlying mechanism to explain how people in different levels of control (i.e., anger versus fear) are motivated to regulate their emotions. To further test this mechanism, this study utilizes various emotional appeals to examine different routes that individuals take to restore or maintain their level of control in the context of anti-terrorism communication. Angry people report greater feeling of control and more favorable ad attitude when exposed to a positive and high-dominance message as well as a negative and low-dominance message. In contrast, fearful people report similar results when exposed to four different emotional messages. In addition, the significant findings on ad attitude and behavioral intention is more prominent among angry people who have a higher need for control.

Citation: Dodoo, N., & Wen, T. (2018). The effects of personality traits and tailored messages on advertising avoidance on social networking sites. Accepted and will be presented at the 2018 American Academy of Advertising (AAA) Annual Conference, March 2018, New York, NY. Abstract: Social network advertising’s growth and prominence as an alternative avenue for advertisers to deliver their messages to consumers is now a mainstay. Similarly, consumers’ adoption of varied strategies, such as ad avoidance, to mitigate their exposure to advertising messages appears to be on the rise. Within literature is the established connection between personality traits and SNS use. Bearing in mind that online behavior can be determined by personality traits, such traits may be significant in predicting how consumers engage in SNS ad avoidance. Research also suggests that messages that are tailored to to personality traits are regarded as more persuasive. This study examines how SNS ad messages tailored to t personality traits function to determine individuals’ engagement in SNS ad avoidance. As predicted, messages that are tailored to match personality traits are influential in determining SNS ad avoidance. Specifically, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and neuroticism did influence SNS ad avoidance with the exception of concientiousness. Perceived relevance mediated the relationships between the personality traits and perceived intrusiveness and SNS ad avoidance. Perceived intrusiveness also was positively related to SNS ad avoidance. Theoretical contributions and implications are discussed. 

White Papers

Citation: Braum, H. (2017). What’s next after a library community’s legislative advocacy campaign? Three scenarios from the Kansas library community. The Political Librarian. 3(1). Abstract: Almost all public library funding in the United States is controlled by local, state, and/or federal budgets, policies, and laws. Influencing budgets, policies, and laws happens through lobbying and advocacy campaigns. When significant changes or cuts to library funding are proposed, how do stakeholders respond and what is the potential outcome of advocacy efforts? As (fictional) President Josiah Bartlett asked again and again throughout the TV Series The West Wing, “What’s next?” (Sorkin, 1999). This study explores the question of “what comes next” by crafting three theoretical scenarios for the Kansas library community set in 2030, based on Kansas library history, lessons from other states, and the numerous advocacy messages posted to social media and submitted testimony against HB 2719. Read»

Speaking Engagements

: Grant, A. E. (2018). The Educational Technology Revolution. Presented to 13th Annual TFI Communications Technology Conference, Austin, Texas.

Citation: Grant, A. E. (2018). The Big Media Shu e: Is Bigger Better? Presented to 13th Annual TFI Communications Technology Conference, Austin, Texas.

Citation: Moore eld-Lang, H. M. (2018). Mobile makerspaces: Take your making on the road. Webinar presented for ALA Publishing Elearning Solutions. Abstract: In this workshop, makerspace researcher Heather Moore- eld-Lang teaches you everything you need to know about mobile maker- spaces  —from the different types, styles, and examples of mobile maker- spaces to the activities that you can employ with them. Heather covers a variety of ways that making can be taken on the road with all types of libraries — school, public, and academic. You’ll leave the workshop with a clear vision for how you can take your making mobile.


Robinson’s letter to the editor was published in The State on Jan. 31. Read»