Friday, 12 December 2014

Abstract: Media Watch January 2015
(Vol. 6, No. 1)

Impact Factor: SJIF 3.276 | IIFS 0.993 | ISRA 0.834

DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i1/55371
Sharing Fear via Facebook: A Lesson in Political Public Relations

Jan Boehmer1 & Michael B. Friedman2
1University of Miami, Florida, USA
2University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, USA

Our study compared the use of fear messages on Facebook by Barack Obama and Mitt Romney during the 2012 U.S. presidential elections. Results show that written fear messages embedded in photographs posted on Facebook by both candidates affected the degree to which those photographs were shared. More specifically, photographs containing written fear messages were shared more often than photographs not containing written fear messages. Furthermore, while the challenging candidate, Mitt Romney, used more photographs containing fear messages, the increase in shares was consistent across candidates. Implications regarding information distribution within communities, public relations practitioners specializing in political campaigning and society as a whole are discussed.
DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i1/55376
Fake News? A Survey on Video News Releases and their Implications on Journalistic Ethics, Independence and Credibility of Broadcast News

Chandra Clark & Shuhua Zhou
University of Alabama, USA

The traditional lines between journalism and public relations are now intertwined and public relations practitioners have an influential role on the content consumers see every day in newspapers and on news broadcasts. This survey looked at video news releases and their implications about journalists’ ethics, integrity, independence and credibility. 533 participants from three different populations (average viewers, communication college students, and journalists) responded to a 54-question survey that employed two predictors (i) level of experience and (ii) years of journalism experience. The results indicated that average viewers found the use of video news releases (VNRs) more unethical than journalists and communication students, although experienced journalists believed VNR use is having an impact on journalistic independence in news. Implications are discussed.

DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i1/55381
Perception of Government Public Relations Practice by the People in Sabah: A Public Opinion Survey

Mohd Hamdan bin Adnan
University Malaysia Sabah, Malaysia

This survey focuses on how the people in Sabah perceived Malaysia’s governmental public relations practice and their perception of the government based upon it. It includes how the different types of mass media and its content that they expose themselves to have influence their image of the nation administration as well as its policies and implementations. Also included are how their own experience with the various government agencies has impacted their views with regard to those authorities specifically and the government generally. Method used for this public opinion survey is the random sampling technique. Respondents selected were 600 people based on four categories. All of them were located in and around Kota Kinabalu and chosen randomly. For the interview a structured questionnaire was prepared and pilot tested on 40 respondents with ten from each category. This survey finding further revealed that the media the public chose and exposed themselves to, do impact their perception of the government and its public relations, positively or negatively, depending on its content. However, the survey found that the impact was rather moderate with about half of the respondents declaring positively and the remainder not so positive and a few negatively.

DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i1/55387
Advertising and Ethnicities: A Comparative Study of Sri Lanka and Northeast India

Darshana Liyanage
University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka 

Ethnicity has become a key interest of advertisers in diverse societies. Contrary to the popular argument that ethnic identities are threatened by the intensified influence of media and consumer culture, they have become the core sites of representation and reproduction of ethnic identities. It is arguable that in today’s (mass) mediated societies there are no ways of imagining ethnicities without the media’s influence and impact on them.  Advertising1, no longer a mere commercial activity, is an important component of popular culture and hence plays a crucial part in the social and cultural life of our times. Sri Lanka2 has long been a country of communal unrest, which culminated in a civil war. Northeast India is a region where a number of conflicting identities are in a constant battle of production and reproduction. The ways the ethnic identities are represented in advertisements in these two societies are worthy of studying in this context. When ad-makers segment a market for a particular brand, they mostly rely on ethnic identities. As a result, advertisements too become a site of reproduction of ethnic identities. This paper is intended to identify and analyze the ways of representations of ethnic identities in advertisements in Northeast India3 and Sri Lanka by a comparative reading of a sample of print and electronic advertisements.   

DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i1/55389
Community-Based Media in Promoting Identity and Culture: A Case Study in Eastern Thailand

Griffith University, Australia

This paper analyses the role of community-based media in information distribution in the Riverside community, a cultural tourism destination in Chanthaburi, Eastern Thailand. It has started to produce its own media, and to use social networks to promote itself to the nation. Exploring the role of community media produced by locals will reinforce the idea that community media have provided much more effective communication channels for local people in a community environment. By using ethnographic action research as a methodology, this research gains strength through a rich understanding of the community by following an ongoing research cycle of planning, doing, observing and reflecting. Moreover, this study reflects the idea of ‘hyperlocal’ media. With approximately one hundred households on which to focus, it is much easier for ‘hyperlocal’ to reach local people by providing local news, covering local politics and engaging people in the affairs relevant to their area.

DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i1/55390
Social Media Challenges and Adoption Patterns among Public Relations Practitioners

Radhe Krishan
Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies, New Delhi, India

Social media has altered the design of modern society. It has changed the way people lived and worked. Though no profession or industry is left untouched by the communication revolution stirred by social media, yet communication professionals bore maximum impact. This paper analyzed the usage and perception of public relation (PR) professionals regarding the use of social media, particularly, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  The primary research questions, this paper attempted to find answers for, are: (i) Did social media transformed the modus operandi of PR practitioners?; (ii) Do PR practitioners rely on one social media tool/platform over the other?; and (iii) To find out whether social media is an aid or a burden for a PR practitioner? By attempting to answer these three questions the paper explored fresh aspects of social media with regards to public relations. For the purpose of the study a survey was conducted among PR practitioners based in Delhi and working with prominent multinational companies or PR agencies.

DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i1/55391
Branding Unity: Impact of Advertisements
on Patriotism, Unity and Communal Harmony

Jyoti Raghavan
Kamala Nehru College, University of Delhi, India

Patriotism and national unity have become favorite brand positioning propositions for advertisers in India. The paper explores the reasons behind the popularity of these patriotic themes that also embrace notions of nationhood, communal harmony and national unity in commercials and public service advertisements. While these patriotic themes used to be the exclusive domain of the government media in the country, they are being taken up in a big way by private business houses in their public communication endeavors. The research study has examined six frequently telecast advertisements on Indian television networks centered upon the theme of national pride, communal harmony and national unity. While tracing the historical context of these advertisements, the paper also attempts to study their impact upon the public. The primary research for the study comprised interviews with respondents to explore the impact of these advertisements upon the public. The findings of the study show that positioning brands on the themes of national pride, unity and patriotism succeed in establishing a strong emotional connect in public minds leading to brand recall.

DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i1/55393
Communication through Advocacy Advertising
for Public Health Promotion

Mahendra Kumar Padhy
Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, India

This research work is an investigation into the reception of anti-smoking advertisements that make use of “fear appeals”. The objective of the research is to bring audience perceptions, interpretations and making sense processes of such advertising campaigns to the limelight. Instead of measuring effects or effectiveness of anti-smoking messages using shocking images, this project has at its basis the assumption of an active audience that interprets, makes sense and decodes media texts in various ways. Research methods used in this study are qualitative by nature.  Research findings show that the prospective audience champion the use of anti-smoking advertisements and see the use of fear appeals as a one-way road to drawing the audience’s attention, they nevertheless perceive these communication efforts in a highly individualized manner, resisting to advertising techniques of persuasion and showing signs of desensitization towards fear appeals. Findings show that advocacy advertising using fear appeals are always decoded within the wider media context and the identity of smokers themselves often nourished by media representations of smoking, which plays an  role in the way the audience gives different interpretations and relates to these messages.

DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i1/55397
Digital Access and Inequality among Primary School Children in Rural Coimbatore

Sudha Venkataswamy
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, India

This paper examines the dynamics of access and exclusion in children’s Internet use, in both private and public school spaces and interrogates the role of socioeconomic and demographic predictors as well as the schooling system in shaping Internet habits. More specifically, it explores the nature of Internet use by primary school children, mainly for education and information and attempts to understand the differences across and within two types of schools- a rural public school and an elite private school. Through in-depth interviews, this research investigates the level of computer and Internet literacy among the primary school children in the age group of 8-10 years and reports the differences observed among the various social dimensions. It attempts to stress the significance and need in today’s context to provide the opportunities for physical and material access so that disadvantaged children are not excluded from the digital opportunities.

DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i1/55438
Social Media and the Arab Spring

M. Rabindranath & Sujay Kapil
Central University of Himachal Pradesh, India

This paper discusses the effect of social media on the occurrence of ‘Arab Spring’. In the Arab world no country could claim to be truly democratic and most were autocratic coupled with desertification (68.4 per cent of the total land area), phenomenal rise in population and scarcity of water. Moreover, about 60 per cent of the population is under 25 years and this group belonging to lower- middle class with high education, self- constructed status, wider world views and global dreams forced them to raise their voice and change the autocratic set up. But, in the absence of effective social media since the year 2000 made it possible to raise their voice unitedly through facebook, twitter and blogs culminating to the ouster of Hosne Mubarak in Egypt. The ‘top to down’ approach adopted by the Western social scientists, thus proved wrong and ‘bottom to top’ approach through social media brought the dramatic changes in Arab nations.

DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i1/55398
Constructing a Comprehensive Coverage Criterion of Indian States and Union Territories News

Umesh Arya
Guru Jambheshwar University of Science & Technology, India

The study posits a twelve pronged formulation of indices to measure the over coverage and under coverage of the Indian states and union territories by newspapers on socio-economic, demographical and political aspects. Union territories (UT), mainly Delhi and Chandigarh were unjustifiably favoured on all twelve counts which clearly points out media’s biased leanings to cater to the regional aspirations and preference to the power center. Northern states were most favourably covered and the coverage reduced with increasing distance of the state from the power center i.e., the capital of India whereas north eastern states suffered severe coverage blackout. Quantitative and spatial indices were developed to see news coverage in a new perspective.

DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i1/55399
Public relations: Scope and Challenges in Digital Era

Manish Verma
National Institute of Fashion Technology, Kangra, India
With the emergence of new media in 21st century communication industry has been revolutionized. Although digital or social media provides an advantage to reach the audience in minimum time but it is critical to draft a right message for this medium. Digital media has indeed changed the way of communication for public relation practitioners around the world. Now information is disseminated much quicker through the internet and mobile phones. In this digital era, it is imperative that public relation would need to adapt to technological advancement happening around the world and utilize this advancement as tools to effectively reach its audiences and achieve the communication objectives. To achieve public relation, it has become important for a PR practitioner to adapt to these new changes. The new technologies and methods of communication have made public relations a much more versatile and effective tool. New communication technologies allow inventive ways to accomplish a public relation campaign to build stronger association and trust between businesses and target consumers.