Elon University/Today at Elon/School of Communications releases 25th edition of its research journal

In the Spring 2022 issue of the Elon Journal, six student researchers delve into a variety of media topics, including the media framing of mass shooters and whether the portrayal of these perpetrators has changed after the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. .

The School of Communications has published the Spring 2022 issue of the Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications, featuring student research on topics ranging from Instagram’s role enabling toxic and parasocial relationships between athletes and fans to representing identities marginalized in predominantly white TV shows.

The Spring 2022 issue of Elon Journal features six student-produced articles addressing media-related topics.

The issue contains six research articles written by students from the School of Communications, including a topical examination of online media coverage of black and white mass shooters, and whether the portrayal of these perpetrators has changed after the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests.

Michaela VanDerVelden conducted the aforementioned research, completing a qualitative content analysis of 36 articles regarding mass shootings. His findings suggest that articles about black abusers were less likely to include discussions of mental health. Additionally, VanDerVelden found that articles were more likely to include behavioral details about the shooter that were irrelevant to the crime.

In his letter From the Editor, Professor Harlen Makemson noted that for decades bloggers and citizen journalists have shaped public discourse and upended the old media order. “In the age of social media, the phenomenon of users creating meaning has only proliferated, as the Spring 2022 edition of the Elon Journal shows,” he writes.

For example, published research by Olivia Archer examines how Instagram facilitates parasocial relationships between fans and professional athletes, with sometimes painful results. Archer conducted a quantitative analysis to find out how fans of professional tennis players Naomi Osaka and Eugenie Bouchard interacted with online content. Similarly, Madeline Distenfeld investigated how TikTok users have shaped debates around fast fashion and sustainable fashion.

While focusing on public perceptions and not social media, Jeremy Palladino investigated how fictional characters exhibiting symptoms of aphasia, a mental disorder causing difficulty in speech production or language comprehension , are depicted in scripted films and television. In a semi-structured focus group, a college-aged audience rated three characters (Hodor from “Game of Thrones,” Timmy from “South Park,” and Michael Armstrong from “Hot Fuzz”) and discussed of their initial reactions of the characters. exhibit aphasia.

Representations of society’s constituencies by mainstream media were also addressed in the most recent issue of the journal. Matisse Gilmore used a quantitative methodology to explore the appearance of marginalized identities in prime-time television sitcoms, and his findings indicate that there has been a growth in representation. Additionally, Emily Holland conducted content analysis of female appearances in Super Bowl commercials, an area largely unexplored in recent years.

For this Spring 2022 issue, Makemson assembled an editorial board of more than 20 communications faculty members who participated in the multiple-blind review process to select the best student work.

The Elon Journal began in the spring of 2010, with spring and fall editions each year. The Spring 2022 review marks the 25th edition.

The Council on Undergraduate Research lists more than 200 student research journals nationwide, and the Elon Journal is one of the few to focus on undergraduate student research in journalism, media, and communications.

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