A treasure trove of research papers on blogging at the 2006 AEJMC Convention



If you’re a practitioner interested to learn about weblogs in PR and communications, do yourself a favor and participate to the 89th Convention of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), to be held on San Francisco on August 2-5, 2006.

Since there’s no easy way of referencing the blog-related papers to be presented at the Convention, I posted below a list of (selected) abstracts — and, boy, are they interesting! Here’s the complete list of papers (divided in 3 pages), and here you can find more information if you want to participate to the event.

Memo to the big PR firms with blog practices: establish a partnership amongst you and work with the AEJMC to sponsor a dedicated website to post all the conventions’ papers related to blogging. (Yes, some of the papers are available in the archives of AEJMC@LIST.MSU.EDU, but they’re not really in the best form.) Make the site an institutional repository, and host published papers, and theses and dissertations. You’ll do a great service to practitioners, professors and students, and the general public. And it will good for your reputation, too :)


Credibility and the Uses of Blogs Among Professionals in the Communication Industry • Kaye Trammell, Lance Porter, Deborah Chung and Eunseong Kim, Louisiana State

Communication professionals are beginning to take note of blogs as more turn to them for information and deem blogs “credible.” Using an online survey of professionals in journalism and public relations, this study investigated the use of blogs within the communication industry. Factor analysis revealed simplistic blog use categorizations as being either passive or active. Results also indicate that those who are labeled “high users” in both factors assign more credibility to the medium.

Roles and Blogs in Public Relations • Lance V. Porter, Kaye D. Trammell, Louisiana State University and Deborah Chung, University of Kentucky

A national email survey of public relations practitioners investigated the use and perceptions of weblogs or blogs and how that use is related to roles and status. Cluster analysis challenged Porter and Sallot’s 2003 roles typology, reverting to the previous manager-technician dichotomy. While blog use was on par with national audiences, practitioners were maintaining mostly personal blogs and using blogs professionally at low levels. Furthermore, women lagged behind men in the strategic use of blogs.

Impact of Blogs on Relationship Management during a Crisis • Kaye D. Trammell, University of Georgia and Emily Metzgar, Louisiana State University

Using a post-test only experimental design with control group, this study investigated the impact of blogs on relationship management during a crisis. Participants (N = 109) were exposed to a personal blog (n = 45), organizational blog (n = 46), or control (n = 18). Results indicate blogs impact the perception of the level of crisis an organization experiences. Additionally, relationships created through blogs impact the perception of crisis. Use and credibility were also investigated.

Revisiting the Issue of Blog Credibility: A National Survey • Stephen Banning, Bradley and Kaye Trammell, Louisiana State

This study investigated the relationship between credibility, third-person effect, and blog use. Through a national phone survey (N = 575), researchers found support for all hypotheses. While credibility was neutral overall, blog authors assessed blogs as being more credible than non-bloggers, and credibility correlated with likelihood to act (behavior). Third-person effect was found in reference to blogs and it correlated with blog credibility and likelihood to act. Findings and future research are discussed.

The Source Cycle: Intermedia Agenda-Setting Between the Traditional Media and Weblogs • Marcus Messner and Marcia Watson, Miami

This study examined the intermedia agenda-setting effects between the traditional media and weblogs based on the use of one as a source by the other. A content analysis of 2,059 newspaper articles was combined with a separate content analysis of 120 weblogs. It was found that the newspapers increasingly use weblogs as sources and that weblogs heavily rely on the traditional media as sources. Thereby, traditional media and weblogs engage in a source cycle.

An Experiment Testing the Agenda-Setting Effect of Blogs • Kaye Trammell, Louisiana State

This study explored the agenda-setting effect of communication style and interactivity on blogs among young people. As a multi-cell experiment on undergraduate students, this study exposed participants to blog posts that discuss an issue in 1). an anecdotal manner told from a first-person perspective or 2). report-like manner discussing facts and statistics about an issue. Results confirm the agenda-setting power of blogs, but find mixed results regarding the hypothesized impact of communication style and interactivity.

Uses and Gratifications in the Blogosphere: Identifying Motives, Antecedents, and Outcomes of Weblog • Trent Seltzer and Michael Mitrook, University of Florida

Initial studies on weblogs have considered their influence on social, business, and political institutions; however, the motives and antecedents that lead individuals to blog, as well as the outcomes associated with weblog use, should also be investigated. This study surveyed 228 college students to identify the uses and gratifications associated with weblog use. Comparisons were also made between bloggers and non-bloggers to identify differences in their patterns of Internet use.

Women in the Blogosphere: Access, Practices, and Gender Politics • Dustin Harp, University of Texas at Austin and Sandra L. Nichols, Towson University and Mark Tremayne, University of Texas at Austin and Tina Castronovo, Towson University

Using ethnographic content analysis this paper presents a case study of BlogHer, an organization and accompanying website that serves as a bridge between the virtual world and the real world to offer women a location for improving access to and articulating gender discrimination in the Blogosphere as well as strategizing solutions. We describe the locations of interaction on BlogHer and analyze how they work together to create a subaltern public sphere.

Blogging 101: Issues and Approaches to Teaching Blog Management in Public Relations Courses • Richard D. Waters and Jennifer A. Robinson, University of Florida

As the social impact of blogging continues to grow, public relations practitioners must be prepared to develop and manage constituency relationships by managing and responding to blogs. This paper highlights how blog writing/management can be purposefully incorporated in public relations curricula, including a sample assignment. Results of informal interviews (n = 28) with students enrolled in a public relations writing course are reported and a variety of issues raised by students are discussed.

Believing Blogs? Examining the Influence of Gender Cues on Credibility • Cory Armstrong and Melinda McAdams, University of Florida

This study examines how gender and occupational cues influence Weblog credibility. Using an experimental design method, this study manipulated the source descriptors of a Weblog author and had participants rate the overall credibility of the entry. While male authors were deemed more credible than female authors in a main effect, that difference disappeared among blog users. The relationship between gender cues and credibility was moderated by blog usage. Implications are discussed.

Blog Ads Revisited: A Follow-Up Analysis of Advertising on Weblogs • Daniel M. Haygood and Amanda L. Miller, University of Tennessee and Cassandra Imfeld, SunTrust Bank

Weblogs, a form of personal expression placed on the Internet, are now often the front lines of political debate and candidate races; just one of the many changes occurring on weblogs. Among those changes is the growing presence of advertising. This research, a follow-up study from six months ago, gauges the advertising presence on weblogs to determine just how advertising has changed since that time, a substantial amount of time in technological terms.

Blogs in the Media Conversation: The Knowledge Factor in the Diffusion Process • Nanette Hogg, Carol Lomicky, Ruth Brown and Syed Hossain, Nebraska-Kearney

A content analysis of 1,168 stories in seven media outlets found blogs first mentioned in 2000. The number of stories mentioning blogs tripled every year until 2004 when the rate of increase slowed. Researchers concluded media provided knowledge about blogs as an innovation, consistent with the first step identified by Rogers in the innovation-decision process. Qualitative analysis revealed media generally discussed blogging in positive terms.

Pioneers in the Blogosphere: Profiling the Early Adopters of Weblogs • Byeng-Hee Chang and Trent Seltzer, Florida

Weblogs, or “blogs,” are increasing in their use, visibility, and impact. Using the Innovation Diffusion Theory literature as a theoretical framework, a secondary analysis of data gathered by the Pew Internet and American Life Project indicated that there are significant differences between adopters and non-adopters of weblogs in terms of demographic profile, innovativeness, use of other new communication technologies, and Internet use.

Blogging for Better Health: Putting the “Public” Back in Public Health • S. Shyam Sundar, Heidi Hatfield Edwards, Yifeng Hu and Carmen Stavrositu, Penn State

Weblogs are a relatively new and unique online communication tool. This paper examines blogs that focus on mental health issues to better understand the function and content of these particular types of blogs. The researchers discuss theoretical issues surrounding technological and psychological aspects of health blogs and employ quantitative content analysis as well as qualitative textual analysis to determine who mental health bloggers are, why they blog, and the nature of mental health blogs.

Personal journalism before blogs (anc! before ‘zines): The “amateur press” or “amateur journalism” since 1786 • Dane S. Claussen, Point Park University

After introducing blogging and the “amateur press” movement (primarily late 1860s onward), including listing “amateur journalists” who went on to become prominent newspaper editors and publishers, this paper compares and contrasts today’s blogging with yesteryear’s amateur press movement. Similarities include heavy preponderance of confident, even egotistical, youth; usually short durations; small audiences; financial investment but little or no return; inexpensive technological advances; society’s influences on content; formation of journalists’ community; and no quality control.

Somebody’s Got to Do It: How Three Editors Explain to the Public • Neil Nemeth, Purdue – Calumet

This paper explores how editors of three metropolitan daily newspapers explain their publications’ activities to the public. The paper features an examination of the public columns written by the editors of the Rocky Mountain News, the Seattle Times and the San Antonio Express-News from 2003-2005 and one editor’s blogs. The findings suggest that editors may have to assume an additional role of aggressively promoting their newspapers in the turbulent media landscape of the 21st century.

Invoking Privilege Since Branzburg: Are Bloggers Like Other Non-Traditional Journalists? • Jason Shepard, University of Wisconsin-Madison

In the 33 years since the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a First Amendment-based reporter’s privilege’ most federal and state courts have nonetheless carved out a privilege under certain circumstances. An analysis of cases in which non-traditional journalists have sought the privilege provides significant guidance in determining whether bloggers can invoke the privilege.

The WMD coverage of blogs and mainstream media: a comparison of two media types • Jue Kook Lee and Jaekwan Jeong, University of Texas, Austin

This study analyzes coverage of Iranian and North Korean WMD by blogs and mainstream media, and examines how the two media types deal with international news, with theoretical framework of second-level intermedia agenda-setting. The blogs attribute agenda is found to have strong correlations with the mainstream attribute agenda with regards to the issue of WMD coverage. The results suggest that despite many distinct characteristics, blogs cover international news in very similar way to mainstream media.

Something Ventured, Something Gained: Moderating Impact of Blogs on Political Activity • Daekyung Kim and Thomas Johnson, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and Barbara K. Kaye, University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Based on an online survey that attracted 1,366 blog users during the 2004 presidential election, this study examines not only the effects of traditional interpersonal discussion but also the potential of blogs in facilitating political activity. Results of this study show different roles of online media in connection to political discussion. While blog reliance has little influence on political activity and political knowledge, it increases feeling of political involvement.

Truth and Transparency: Bloggers’ Challenge to Professional Autonomy in Defining and Enacting Two Journalistic Norms • Jane B. Singer, University of Iowa

Commitments to truth and to “transparency” or public accountability are two central normative aspects of professional journalism. This paper considers ways in which both are challenged and complemented by other communicators, particularly bloggers. It proposes that while all professions claim autonomy over articulation and enactment of their own norms, the Internet environment is one in which definitions of professional constructs are open to reinterpretation and in which oversight of professional behavior is shared.

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