Theses/Dissertations - Journalism, Public Relations and New Media

Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 34
  • Item
    Analyzing effectiveness of image repair theory through social media responses : a case study of Dan Snyder and the Washington Commanders.
    (May 2023) Burkley Jr., Kerry, 1999-; Tefertiller, Alec C.
    The following study provides an analysis of user generated responses on social media reflecting a timeline of scandals that occurred in the last two years involving the Washington Commanders and their owner, Dan Snyder. The organization has experienced crises regarding workplace sexual harassment allegations, electronic mail containing verbal abuse, and mismanagement. Using the framework of William Benoit’s Image Repair Theory (IRT), this study seeks to measure the effectiveness of the Commanders response to investigations of their franchise amid a two year long organizational crisis through reactions to a statement reported on Twitter. Through a thematic analysis and analyzing the statement through Benoit’s five image repair strategies of 626 tweet reactions, the study concluded that the Commanders’ statement was ineffective in reducing offensiveness of their organization’s investigation and instead dealt more damage towards the organization’s image, as four themes regarding the Commanders’ image, reputation capital, and team ownership were concluded as significant, negative factors.
  • Item
    At the crossroads of the American dream and mass media in a global pandemic as seen through the lens of small business in franchising.
    (May 2023) Feid, Monica, 1968-; Neill, Marlene S.
    Franchising filled a critical role in standing up for small businesses in the COVID-19 pandemic and providing a voice in the media to protect the American Dream. However, franchise leaders say much work still needs to be done to educate the media on the franchise business model as an important part of America’s small business sector. This qualitative study included interviews with franchise leaders across the country. Using agenda-setting theory, they were asked about media coverage they witnessed, how they participated in that conversation with media outlets if applicable, and how the industry was impacted. Looking at issues management, they also showed how they navigated their organizations through the pandemic. Findings lead to public relations and marketing communications recommendations for helping the media better understand franchises as both small businesses owned and operated by franchisees, and household names across the country and around the world.
  • Item
    Should I stay or should I go? Examining leader-member exchange theory in millennial job retention.
    (December 2022) Soto, Cody R., 1995-; Tefertiller , Alec C.
    Previous research has shown that a Millennial holds value and high volume in the workplace, but their consistent movement to other companies has become a necessary area of study for job longevity’s sake. This paper shows how Millennials have previously been studied and what researchers have historically seen as a desirable workplace. The other weathering factors of job meaning and satisfaction have forced others to reconsider their organizational commitment. Through qualitative in-person interviews, results show that the leader-member exchange theory involves a wide variety of interpretation that will affect the Millennial’s commitment to staying at their current workplace. This research dives into the three deepest areas of this theory: trust, professional respect, and loyalty. The results emphasize the important of building a relationship between a leader and employee and fostering an open communication in the workplace to help reduce turnover, increase work tenure, and influence job satisfaction.
  • Item
    Is it legit? A look at corporate social responsibility and perceived legitimacy in company vaccine policies.
    (August 2022) Shull, Richard G., III, 1996-; Bates, Elizabeth.
    In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic began and quickly spread across the world. As governments and businesses navigated the disease, politics began to seep into the discourse over handling the disease. Through the theories of strategic issues management, corporate social responsibility, and reputation management, this study explores how social media networks change a consumer’s view of corporate legitimacy towards a company. Network and content analyses were conducted on two Twitter networks to gain insight on the consumer attitudes and perceptions of two companies. Tweets in each network were coded to determine legitimacy, attitude, and purchasing intent. The findings of this study offer insight on how corporate social responsibility initiatives affect the company’s non-financial assets.
  • Item
    News and film : preferred partnerships – assessing the efficacy of documentaries and feature films for augmenting the reflective integration of news stories.
    (2022-03-29) Able, Pete, 1973-; Tefertiller, Alec C.
    Recent research has attempted to understand the relationships between film and journalism. Some articles address how we process content using image schemas, and some analyze the benefits of social media versus traditional news to generate public awareness. Others, how viewers empathize with characters which helps to process the information. Few studies have attempted to quantitatively measure the impact of film’s ability to augment the viewer’s desire to understand the subject presented – specifically, to what degree the viewer has reflected on the news conveyed. This research will expand utilization of schema theory and information processing theory by observing the capacity of two types of media - feature films and documentaries - to improve critical reflection on news of historical significance. This experiment (N=119) demonstrates that film leads to higher levels of reflective integration than traditional news articles, and within film types that documentaries lead to more reflective integration than feature films.
  • Item
    Influencer-consumer relationships : a qualitative analysis of trust, credibility and loyalty among female consumers on social media.
    (2022-04-21) Gibson Briggs, Lauren A., 1997-; Tefertiller, Alec C.
    Influencers have become increasingly popular on social media over the past decade. Whether these individuals are spreading awareness about social change, or simply promoting products, they have greatly impacted the world of advertising and marketing, but most importantly, the lives of consumers. Through a qualitative research approach using personal, in-depth interviews, this study aims to understand why young adult females follow influencers online. Participants’ feelings and attitudes associated with influencers were analyzed by addressing three key topics— trust, credibility and loyalty. Findings reveal two distinct groups of participants. That is, those who are selective and focus on connection with the influencer, and those who are not as selective and purely follow influencers based on inspiration, information or material gain. The three foundational theories that were consistently present in the findings include the parasocial interaction theory, the social-exchange theory and the source-attractiveness theory.
  • Item
    Scrolling your way to a warped sense of self : body image, social media, and college-aged females.
    (2022-04-25) Jennings, Jaden R., 1997-; Neill, Marlene S.
    Body image concerns among females on social media have become an emerging topic in news headlines, specifically during 2020-2021. However, there is a limited amount of qualitative research about the issue, especially with body image concerns on new media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. Seventeen in-depth interviews were conducted for this study with college-aged females (18-24) which resulted in new insights regarding coping mechanisms with social media, and the pressure of “what I eat in a day” videos on TikTok during the onset of the pandemic affecting body image perceptions. As young women have access to any media at their fingertips, it is crucial to understand more on this topic to identify solutions when dealing with image and video-based media.
  • Item
    Examining the impact of emerging media on classroom community and engagement in higher education.
    (2022-03-30) Davis, Kailey L., 1996-; Neill, Marlene S.
    Over the years, the affordances of the digital age have had implications in nearly every industry, including education. Through the connectivism learning theory and the diffusion of innovation lens, this study seeks to understand how the integration of emerging media and digital tools in higher education has impacted factors such as classroom community and student engagement. In-depth interviews were conducted with 12 professors to gain their perspectives on the implications and challenges of integrating emerging media into higher education. The interviews were categorized based on the conceptual framework and key variables under study to reveal recurring themes. The findings of the study explicate how professors define and implement emerging media, which forms of media professors are integrating, the perceived impact of these emerging tools on student engagement and classroom community, and the training, challenges and benefits professors encountered throughout the process of selecting and implementing emerging media resources into their courses.
  • Item
    Voting the Bible, the Texan way : a comparative analysis of how megachurch pastors framed the 2016 and 2020 U.S. presidential election.
    (2021-08-11) Guajardo, Emily Alexandra, 1996-; Moody-Ramirez, Mia.
    Rooted deep in the southern United States, Texas has played a role in moving the needle in various election outcomes, particularly concerning conservative issues. Stereotyped by many as a conservative and biblically focused state, Texas has become a forerunner in many matters regarding politically conservative candidates. Looking specifically at the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, Texas led the ‘Bible Belt’ in conversations concerning politics and candidates, including the safety and sanctity of pulpits. Using framing and First Amendment theories, this analysis takes a critical look at how Texas megachurch pastors used framing techniques and their personal opinions to frame campaign topics in their election-day sermons. An analysis of sermons suggests the following tactics were common: using scripture references as metaphors, linking Old Testament traditions to modern practices, and linking God’s favor to political leadership. The number of pastors with large congregations who discussed politics offers a glimpse at the role Texas megachurches play in the framing of U.S. Presidential candidates for congregants. Future studies might assess the impact of this type of rhetoric on society. Other studies might assess its impact on how people vote.
  • Item
    North Korean female defectors' gender roles portrayed in South Korean media.
    (2021-07-14) Yeom, Seung-woo, 1990-; Neill, Marlene S.
    This study analyzed how North Korean female defectors were depicted in South Korean media through a content analysis of the reality television show “South Korean Men, North Korean Women.” Among the episodes (N=142), 14 episodes of season two were analyzed. Through the lens of framing and identity theories, this study took a close look at the television show's captions (N=467), South Korean male entertainers' dialogue (N=131) describing North Korean female defectors, and self-description of North Korean female defectors (N=75). This study found that the television show emphasized portraying the role of North Korean female defectors as femininity and masculinity, while the female defectors and South Korean male entertainers on the show focused more on cultural factors.
  • Item
    Dig yourself! The ascent of Stokely Carmichael, Black Power and the death of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
    (2020-04-14) Dunn, Daniel A., 1977-; Moody-Ramirez, Mia.
    In his role as chairman, Stokely Carmichael helped usher in a dramatic change for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a five-year old civil rights organization that had organized voting drives and schools for Black people throughout the south. While SNCC morphed into a more militant group to face the last half of the decade, Carmichael rode his popularity and the wave of Black Power around the world through conferences and speeches. In the end, SNCC had difficulty surviving due to internal conflicts and a lack of funding. Using a critical race lens, this study examines Carmichael’s leadership skills and the issues he and veteran SNCC members faced before eventually being expelled from the group. While SNCC would never recover, its efforts had a lasting impact on the south, Black people and the civil rights movement.
  • Item
    Brand community practices of the BMW Electronauts.
    (2020-04-27) Jackson, Cynthia J., 1959-; Neill, Marlene S.
    Drawing from practice theory, this study examines the online brand community comprised of BMW ActiveE electric vehicle field trial drivers, dubbed the Electronauts. In-depth interviews were also conducted to explore the Electronaut experience and the extent to which BMW communicated with and designed the activities of the community. The brand community thrived with very little contact or investment from the company, instead organically forming a structure of its own, providing technical and personal support to one another, and maintaining relationships long after the field trial ended in 2014. This study uncovers new understanding of the positive impact organic power relations has in online brand community. Implications to brand marketers are evident: 1) invest in community over one-on-one brand relationships, 2) grass-roots brand community is highly sustainable, 3) monitor the community and be ready to step in to resolve small issues before they become problems and 4) regard members of the brand community as equals in product development and brand meaning.
  • Item
    Baylor in black and white : a study of desegregation at a Texas University as it played out through the student newspaper.
    (2019-11-20) Platt, Jonathon S., 1993-; Darden, Bob, 1954-
    As social spaces began to desegregate, media organizations across the nation covered the process. This reporting left behind what we now use as the first draft of history. At Baylor University, the messy process of desegregating the campus was covered by the student newspaper, the Baylor Lariat. Using theories of press coverage, threshold theory, existing studies on the role of student media, and a blended content analysis of both quantitative measurements and qualitative narratives, this study constructs a deep understanding of important history, which has been left ultimately untouched. While studies on local civil rights are frequent, studies into the tactics and results of college student papers’ reporting are rare. The combination of the two allows for a unique look into an extremely important topic to preserve.
  • Item
    Apology : a content analysis of public school district apologies in race-related incidents and crises.
    (2019-04-04) Davis, Magen C., 1994-; Moody-Ramirez, Mia.
    The need for crisis communication for public school districts is at an all-time high as school shootings and other such crises occur at a high frequency (Gainey 2009).1 Incidents relating to racism are rarely studied in the realm of crisis communication especially in public school districts. When an organization is at fault, in a crisis of reputation, a statement of apology can be one of a few ways to atone for the incident. Using the Situational Crisis Communication Theory, this research will work to analyze the content of public apologies and statements from 32 public school districts which have faced race-related crises in the last several years. In particular, this study aims to answer three questions for each study: • RQ1: Are statements more/less likely to include direct mentions of race in certain terms? • RQ2: Will more/less statements include the transcendence strategy than not? • RQ3: Are district statements that do/do not address race directly more/less likely to have negative news coverage? The apologies and statements from principals, assistant principals, superintendents, and/or administrators were coded for the presence of specific strategies found in the SCCT. As a second method of analysis, social media comments were coded for overall satisfaction with one of the apologies and with the racial elements of the apology. Findings indicate fewer statements mentioned race in certain terms, about half utilized the transcendence strategy. Conclusions also indicated that in statements that did not mention race, news coverage was consistently less negative.
  • Item
    Framing Flint : comparing mainstream and black newspaper coverage in the wake of environmental racism.
    (2018-11-28) Rieper, Kaitlyn B., 1994-; Moody-Ramirez, Mia.
    Flint, Michigan, has been in a water crisis for four years now after the predominately black community was lead-poisoned following the decisions of government officials they should have been able to trust. The city’s insistence on using polluted river water along with a history of environmental injustices quickly drew criticism as an issue of environmental racism. Fighting environmental racism often originates from grassroots efforts and depends on voices from minority communities. By drawing on critical race and framing theories, this study considers how local black newspapers, the Chicago Defender and the Michigan Chronicle, have framed the Flint water crisis in comparison to mainstream newspapers, the Chicago Tribune, and the Detroit Free Press. The analysis found key differences in the way that the newspapers framed race, especially in the context of poverty. However, the top themes were the same across all four newspapers.
  • Item
    Creating vocal advocates on Twitter : examining the importance of purpose in social media communication.
    (2018-11-13) Gonzalez, Alyssa B., 1995-; Neill, Marlene S.
    Social media is a powerful tool for organizations to build relationships, promote services and encourage community activism. Through content analysis, this study investigates which types of messaging on Twitter are effective in turning members of the public into vocal advocates for education-based nonprofits. The study identifies current Twitter practices among the organizations and describes how they can influence social change. The situational theory of publics is used to analyze online engagement. This study also examines the importance of organization-public relationships and their utilization on social media platforms to promote advocacy. Findings revealed that informational posts are the most frequently used form of messaging by education-based nonprofits on Twitter and are the most successful in garnering engagement. Education-based nonprofits prefer to have a majority of their tweets originate from their organization. Furthermore, they are utilizing Twitter’s other media related tools by including links in 65 percent of their posts.
  • Item
    Selling a university : a content analysis of NCAA Division I colleges’ featured YouTube videos using the Spirituality in Advertising Framework.
    (2018-11-13) George, Amber R., 1980-; Neill, Marlene S.
    American universities are using social media outlets to reach audiences; moreover, the collegiate YouTube channels included in this study had more than 1.5 million subscribers as of August 31, 2018. Past studies have identified spiritual elements within commercial advertising (Marmor-Lavie & Stout, 2016). Explicitly identifying aspects of spirituality using the Spirituality in Advertising Framework (SAF), this study analyzes NCAA Division I videos (n=115) featured on the institutions’ official YouTube channels. A key finding was the presence of spiritual ideas in each NCAA conference, in public and private colleges, in Carnegie R1, R2 and R3 research institutions and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). The SAF core idea most frequently identified in the study's video was the “integration with others” (n=51) or to join with others and be a part of something (Marmor-Lavie, Stout, & Lee, 2009, p.9). Nevertheless, represented at varying frequencies were all 16 SAF core ideas.
  • Item
    An analysis of cultural appropriation in fashion and popular media.
    (2018-04-25) Monroy, Mayra, 1994-; Moody-Ramirez, Mia.
    Fashion is an outlet for creative expression and a reflection of personal and cultural identity. Fashion designers increasingly use cultural artifacts as inspiration for clothing. Previous media studies looked at cultural appropriation and found its place in fashion through traditional media outlets such as television and magazines. This study used a two-pronged analysis of tweets and newspaper articles. Findings indicate overall that the tone of tweets emphasizing cultural appropriation was negative, with many highlighting celebrities, fashion and commentary on the concept. Newspaper articles on the topic were generally negative, emphasizing fashion designers and culture. A spike in news coverage occurred in 2015 and surged through 2017, possibly due to the coverage the topic received on social media.
  • Item
    Intimacy issues : a content analysis of intimacy levels and engagement rates between celebrities and influencers.
    (2018-04-30) Thornton, Carlye Elizabeth, 1993-; Moody-Ramirez, Mia.
    The development of social media marketing has amplified the value of peer recommendations, leading brands to utilize the inclusive nature of Instagram to employ celebrity endorsement and/or influencer techniques. Though the two strategies are different, individuals outside the industry often confuse them, resulting in lower engagement rates and credibility. The purpose of this research is to establish the type of relationships celebrities and influencers have with their followers and to recognize their differences. By using Consumer-Brand Relationship Theory, Social Influence Theory and Para-Social Interaction Theory, the researcher identified key components of online intimacy and analyzed Instagram content from three celebrities (Kendall Jenner, Ariana Grande and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) and three influencers (Miranda Sings, Lilly Singh and Tyler Oakley). The researcher examined N=320 Instagram posts to determine the presence of intimacy and calculate engagement rates.
  • Item
    What does it all meme? : a look into gender stereotypes and traits in the 2016 presidential primary campaign.
    (2017-03-16) Spencer, Elizabeth Ann, 1993-; Moody-Ramirez, Mia.
    This content analysis examines how social media memes portrayed presidential primary candidates during the 2016 United States presidential election. In the wake of Internet and social media evolutions in communications, memes of candidates have been added to the new paradigm of American political news consumption. Along with framing theory, the researcher used feminist communications and media theories to analyze the 2016 presidential election and Democratic primary candidates, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, as well Republican primary candidates, Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz. This thesis seeks to find how political memes used common gender biases and stereotypes to frame the politicians. The researcher gained results from N = 550 memes collected from Google and Facebook groups.