Faculty members and students present at ICA
By: Yasmeen Ebada
Several E.W. Scripps School of Journalism students and professors presented their research at the annual International Communication Conference (ICA) in Washington, D.C., in May 2019.
Professor and Director of the Institute for Applied and Professional Ethics, IAPE, Dr. Bernhard Debatin, Andreas Ströhl, from the Goethe Institut, and Media Arts and Studies Assistant Professor Dr. Wolfgang Suetzl leading a preconference session: Beyond Germany: German Media Theory in a Global Context.
The preconference, hosted by the Goethe Institut, examined the reception of German media theorists beyond the boundaries of the German language. The preconference offered a forum to discuss the exchange of media theory between German-language writers and the global community of communication scholars as German media theory becomes available in translation across the globe.
Dr. Parul Jain and Master’s student Raymond Humienny also presented their research, entitled: “Normative influences on the role of prescription medicine abuse among college students in the United States.”
Prescription medicine misuse is a growing problem on college campuses across the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control has declared that the problem has reached epidemic proportions. Norms based on public health campaigns that have been used in the past to address college students’ substance abuse have seen mixed success rates.
Jain and Humienny used the theory of normative social behavior in their study arguing that a lack of focus on relevant mediators and moderators could be responsible for the failure of previous campaigns. The research will be published in the journal Health Communication.
In addition, doctoral student Aaron Atkins and Dr. Jatin Srivastava presented their research entitled, “Fake News, Competence, and the Internet: An Experimental Examination of Self-Assessment and Perceptions of Ability to Assess Truth in Social Media News Stories.”
Atkins is interested in media literacy and how the role of education in news stories are perceived by an audience. He also wants to understand more specifically how stories are assessed for accuracy, what people look for in a news story, how they assess its credibility and what they look for in story presentation when assessing that credibility on social media sites.
Mirroring a social media feed, the research participants viewed a series of 48 news stories in a Facebook feed simulator then assessed whether or not each story was real or fake. Each story in the simulator was pulled from actual real and fake news stories published on Facebook at some point over the last two years. The majority of them were real fake news stories that were shared around social media in 2016, and Atkins manipulated them using the source code on the web browser to fit the experiment.
“They are all based on actual fake news stories that were shared on social media websites and I appropriated them, screen captured them, plugged them into the simulator that I built and then tweaked everything to make it fit my needs,” Atkins said. “The stories were carefully controlled to where it was presented in a way that I wanted it to be presented, like for instance, if I wanted a story to support a conservative viewpoint on a news story that is what I did.”