Kimberly Jones, Utah State University The purpose of my research project is to analyze the ethics of what prevents assistive technology from being used for children and adults with multiple disabilities. A person with multiple disabilities by definition cannot perform a number of everyday functions on their own, leaving them to rely entirely on others. The parents of these individuals, as well as their lawmakers, have historically been opposed to new assistive technologies for these individuals for a variety of reasons. I am going to examine why parents and lawmakers may be opposed and how different ethical frameworks can suggest solutions to these problems. In particular, I will use two ethical frameworks to look at this issue. The first is the ethics of care as described by Joan Tronto. This ethical framework is especially fitting because individuals with multiple disabilities by definition cannot care for themselves; they rely entirely on care from others. I will research how care, which is framed as trying to better the world around you, is being used for them already and see where it might be lacking. Care is all about community and recognizing as well as fulfilling the needs of others. The second framework I will use is virtue ethics as described by Shannon Vallor. Virtue ethics is all about self-cultivating certain virtues in order to live a good life. I am going to examine how assistive technology may allow individuals with multiple disabilities to cultivate virtues for themselves in ways they never could before, as well as how other people involved in making decisions for them (such as parents and lawmakers) may feel compelled to allow assistive technology or may feel compelled to ban it based on their virtues. This framework helps expand the research into a place it’s never gone before by asking certain questions that have never been asked. Such questions would be: what is different about cultivating virtues in oneself compared to in a person with multiple disabilities? How does care ethics suggest the community look at the situation and handle these individuals who rely so wholly on others? Where does this assistive technology fit into these frameworks and how does it change the way we have done things for these individuals in the past? I do not want to look at this issue in a binary way; rather, I want to ask questions that have not been asked before and see where they lead.
Ryan Baker, University of Utah
Jacob Willis; Dallon Glick; Riley Creer, Brigham Young University
A Tale of Two Cities: Spatial Rhetorics, Homeless Exclusion and Salt Lake City’s Housing First Initiativ e
Duncan Stewart, University of Utah Communications Space is used as a rhetorical mechanism in Salt Lake City to separate the lives of the wealthy and the precarious bodies that are marginalized as hungry, unemployed, and homeless. This separation sustains a self-reproductive system of exclusion fueled by an unquenchable desire for profit and spatial separation. One way this separation is articulated is around the notion of “home,” insofar as the housed and the homeless represent this separation and are sustained by the political economy of the city. While the state efforts to address homelessness are valuable, the scope of the homeless problem requires that we critically reflect on how anti-homeless programs demand we conceptualize homelessness and the place of people experiencing homelessness in the space of the city. I will argue the space of the city is organized as a sorting mechanism that reinforces class and material divisions. Spatial separation becomes a regulatory operation where those who appear potentially able to participate in the economics of the cityscape are welcome and those who are not become legally excluded. One way this is accomplished is by enacting policies that promise to “solve” the problem of homelessness. Thus I will use Salt Lake City’s housing first initiative as lens to address the material consequences of such rhetorical force. Following this, I will highlight some of the major rhetorical themes that emerged in the analysis of discourses surrounding “Housing First.” Finally, I will consider how these insights help further an understanding of homelessness, expose how contemporary responses reify the marginalization of homeless populations from urban life, and point toward new ways of conceptualizing solutions to the “homeless problem.”
Chet Norman, Dixie State University Communications Maintaining alumni relationships can be difficult with a changing institutional culture and identity. For example, the name change from Dixie State College to Dixie State University (DSU) and change of the mascot’s identity, from the Rebels to the Red Storm, has caused alumni to become detached from the institution they once knew. This study, conducted in coordination with DSU’s Alumni Office, investigates strategies to communicate and foster relationships with discouraged alumni. A dynamic outreach strategy, based on academic theory and research from the disciplines of human communication and business marketing was developed to reach this goal. In particular, uncertainty management theory (UMT) and narrative storytelling methods were employed to develop a marketing campaign to further involve disheartened alumni through YouTube videos, monthly e-newsletters, alumni card program, social media interaction, and contests. This presentation will consist of a brief overview of the history of change in DSU’s identity, application of theories used to decrease alumni uncertainty, and lastly an identification of strategies for implementation.
Samantha Tommer, Dixie State University Communications This study examines how heavy media coverage of court cases may produce a social stigma towards defendants that are found innocent in the criminal justice system. Trial by media is a central focus in this study on how court cases portrayed to media audiences influence information gathering and analyzing abilities. Since audiences only see certain frames of media, media court coverage may cause audiences to develop a negative stigma towards acquitted individuals by not seeing all aspects of the case, listening to analysts’ opinions, and receiving bias information through various news agencies. The study evaluated the responses of two groups of participants. The control group viewed a neutral video clip while the experimental group viewed a video of media court trial coverage and reporter analysis. Participants then answered a question regarding their level of comfort regarding if an individual accused of murder moves into their neighborhood. The researchers hypothesized that those participants who watched the media clip would rate their level of comfort much lower than those who watched the neutral clip, thus producing a social stigma towards the acquitted individual. After three weeks of watching the clip, all participants were contacted to and asked the same question to measure if the stigma had lessened and if so, how much.
Michael Nagy, Dixie State University Communications The sketch TV show Saturday Night Live has, since its inception, produced actors and actresses that have gone on to create and act in comedic films. Mike Myers wrote and acted in the second SNL sketch to become a film, Wayne’s World (1992). The first was The Blues Brothers (1980). Through writing the central character of Wayne Campbell, Mike Myers explored the idea of the unattractive hero. Most of Myers’ post-SNL characters are in opposition to the stereotypical idea of a hero. This stereotype is a strong, tall, bold, outgoing, courageous, attractive character, the perfect image of a hero. Myers uses quite the opposite of these elements to subvert the stereotype of a hero, yet still make his characters heroic. Through the mixture of quirky attributes and unpleasant characteristics, Myers invents a new kind of character that stretches the definition of antihero. Myers writes his characters as unattractive, goofy, clumsy, shy, oddball, gross, or creepy, yet they are just as successful in their role as the hero. He isn’t afraid to introduce strong female roles into his writing with Cassandra in Wayne’s World and Vanessa Kensington in Austin Powers. Females that display strength, confidence, and power while remaining feminine are key players in Mike Myers comedy writing while his male leads are unattractive heroes. Later comedic films created by former SNL cast members adopt the unattractive hero as a central character, showing the influence Myers had on his peers. Films like The Coneheads and A Night at the Roxbury grew from Myers lead in the genre with other SNL alumni at the helm. This presentation will examine the particular construction of the main characters of Wayne’s World and Austin Powers, in the films with the same titles, as heroes within the framework of comedy. It will also attempt to examine how Myers subverts the conventions of an ideal hero to create a source of comedy for his movies.
An Uncertainty Management Theory and Strategic Planning Perspective on Mitigating Ebola Pandemic Anxiety
Spencer Robb, Dixie State University Communications Ebola is making history as one of the most feared viruses in the world. It has demonstrated its power by infecting over 14,000 people and continues to spread. It has caused cities in Africa, filled with thousands of people, to become desolate. As death rates have increased, other countries outside of Africa have been affected as well. This pandemic has driven many people and researchers frantically searching for a cure, a vaccine, or preventative implementation that will decrease this sense of urgency. Perhaps even more dangerous than the physical spread of Ebola within these non-African nations, is the anxiety caused by the uncertainty and fear of a possible pandemic. Indeed, the more any society is exposed through numerous media channels to outbreak concerns, the more fear, for that group, becomes a self-perpetuating force. This presentation, therefore, will utilize the extant academic and journalistic resources to examine two pathways of inquiry: the first is how the Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides service to those who have been infected with Ebola virus as well as the evaluation of steps used to prevent more infections. The second is how Uncertainty Management Theory can provide potential strategies for mitigating fear and anxiety surrounding Ebola by explaining that with more information a situation can go in one of three directions — reduce, maintain, or increase uncertainty. According to this theory, we can better gauge our information and fear prerogatives and formulate better protocols as a result.
Skyler Hunt, Dixie State University Communications This critical film piece examines Walt Disney Animation Studio’s Frozen through a lens of identity construction. By examining the film’s context, music, and dialogue, the identity formation of principal characters Elsa and Anna are interpreted as each identifies with different audiences. At the core of Elsa’s identity is a struggle with suppression incited by social expectations, linking her character to marginalized groups, such as the trans* community. Anna’s identity is seen forming in isolation through images displaying gender expectations, resulting in her cisgender status and role as an ally to her disenfranchised sibling. The interplay of these identities is also interpreted as a social appeal to audiences for acceptance of diverse internalizations of identity.
C is for Carrots, Community Gardens, and Co-ops: A Thematic Analysis of the W ays Sesame Street Approaches Nutrition, Sustainability, and Social Justice
Erin Olschewski, University of Utah Communications In the realm of entertainment education and media studies, there is a sizable amount of research linking children’s nutrition and early educational television shows; Sesame Street being one of the most commonly studied television programs. However, there is no work that attempts to connect nutrition with sustainability and social justice in the context of children’s educational television, despite the fact that the portrayal of these issues in the media is incredibly significant, especially in regards to children and their understanding of these complex topics. In my research, I am thematically analyzing the ways in which Sesame Street relays important messages about nutrition, sustainability, and social justice to its viewers. After a primary viewing and coding of three seasons and online food-related content, I have concluded that while health is being tackled in many episodes, issues surrounding sustainability and social justice are being neglected. As my research continues I will be analyzing these gaps on a deeper level to examine motivations behind the lack of content in these two crucial issue areas. Furthermore, this study connects the often disjointed fields of food studies, media studies, and environmental and health communication and provides a more holistic perspective on how these important topics are being conveyed, or not, to our children.
A Novel Romance: Parasocial Interaction, Attachment Style, and Jealousy in female readers’ romantic relationships
Emma Josey, Dixie State University Communications Romance novels seem to be a staple in the devoted reader’s array of books and have remained an extremely popular genre throughout the centuries. Not only are the actual stories appealing to the readers, but some readers go a step further and interact with or create a relationship with characters themselves. A phenomenon called parasocial interaction. This research study seeks to discover if the parasocial interactions female romance novel readers experience relate to a practice of a particular attachment style and jealousy in their romantic relationships. These characteristics are important to the health and sustainability of people’s romantic relationships, and this study seeks to learn whether or not the quasi relationships romance novel readers create with characters influences those relationships.
Sydney Tycksen, Utah Valley University Communications An award winning research project, this summary highlights research conducted by Communication students at Utah Valley University of a grassroots public relations campaign created to increase awareness among middle school students, parents, educators, and community leaders of the serious short and long term consequences of youth bullying. The study also demonstrates how the campaign informed audiences of the steps they should take to help prevent bullying. The goal of the research was to understand the short-and-long term effects of bullying, types of bullying, and the prominence of bullying in the surrounding community where the research was conducted. A public relations strategic communication plan was developed based on the research to change bullying behavior in the community. The campaign aimed to spread awareness of the short and long term effects of bullying and outline the steps to report and prevent bullying through the development of strategies and tactics. These steps help students, parents, educators, and community members understand bullying, recognize the signs and types, and know the appropriate authority to whom to report the behavior. This presentation will show how the research provided the students with the information needed to establish measureable objectives for the campaign, reach their key publics and provide an evaluation of the strategies and tactics used to meet campaign objectives. The document reviews the outcome and evaluation of each strategy and tactic implemented during the campaign, including media relations and social media tactics, The summary concludes with an overview of how campaign objectives of teaching key publics how to take steps to prevent bullying were achieved due to thorough research and understanding of how to effectively use messaging to generate behavior changes within the key public.
Sarah Dursteler, Weber State University Communications The culture of sex outside intimate relationships including dating scripts and sexual scripts has shifted to one of more ambiguity. Multiple changes in sexual scripts have occurred in the last 50 years with the diversification of types of relationships in which sex occurs, including, a greater acceptance of sex outside of relationships (Gagnon & Simon, 1987). This study is in response to the call for more research on how social identities influence perceptions of sexual interaction (Backstrom, Armstrong, and Puentes, 2012). The purpose of this study is to examine hook-up culture outside of traditional intimate relationships. This study explores the extent of the shift from traditional dating scripts to a culture of hooking up as perceived by males and females that identify with the predominant Latter-Day Saint (LDS) religious culture. Using the tenants of social exchange and scripting theories this study examined the attitudes of males and females. Transcripts from four same gender and religion focus groups and 100 open-ended survey responses provided data for analysis. The constant comparative method (Glaser and Strauss, 1967) provided the means by which to analyze data within emergent categories. One open-ended response question was reviewed to assess content theme analysis. The constant comparative method indicated distinct contrast of perceptions of sexual intimacy between males and females. Findings suggest that there are distinct differences between male and female and LDS and non-LDS attitudes about and perceptions of hook-up culture. These results are consistent with previous research indicating that hooking-up can be a functional strategy used to shift focus from traditional intimate relationships to more academic and professional goals.
Jessica Read, Brigham Young University Communications As the world of online social networking has changed to accommodate public interest, online dating sites have become increasingly popular. With this new trend in social media there has been an increased awareness as to how one might present him or herself in the most favorable way possible through computer mediated stimuli. To find out if nonverbal cues played a significant role in online impression formation, we had males and females randomly assigned to one of two variables, where they viewed stimuli of a member of the opposite gender. The stimuli that was presented was either a photograph accompanied by a written autobiography about a member of the opposite gender, or a video of the person reading their own autobiography, which allowed for the presence of nonverbal cues. Participants rated the subjects in the assigned stimuli on a number of different scales ranging from trustworthiness to sexual attractiveness based on their first impressions. Results showed no significant differences between the presence of nonverbal cues in the video stimuli or the photographic stimuli, reasoning for the indifference participants had towards the nonverbal cues is discussed. However, there were significant gender differences among the first impressions formed, other findings are presented.
Taylor Topham, Dixie State University Communications With the new generations comes new forms of entertainment. Rarely is there a home without a television. The Cultivation Theory presented by George Gerbner and his colleagues states that television is so common in our society that it has an affect on our perceptions of the world. The Cultivation Theory specifically looks at violence on television and its effects on the viewer. Those that are heavy viewers of television often have what is known as mean-world syndrome. Because of the violence they watch on television, they are more likely to see the world as a violent place (Littlejohn & Foss, 2011). Along with a television often comes some type of video gaming system. Studies state that over 65% of North American households now have a video gaming system (Chiawen, Aiken & Huang, 2012). The purpose of this research is to determine if video gaming effects the perception of individuals similarly to that of television as described by George Gerbner’s Cultivation Theory.
Communication & Single Parent Families; Support Programs Impact Communication Between Parents and Children.
Indigo Klabanoff, Dixie State University Communications With globalization and the minority population changing, it is extremely important to learn the real statistics that are out there when it comes to single parenting. The most important thing though, is to figure out is which communication styles work in healthy communication, with single parent families.
Change, Conflict and Community in Utah’s West Desert: Industrialization in Tooele as Portrayed by Community Newspapers
Emma Penrod, Brigham Young University Communications A newspaper is the catalog of a community’s past. I spent about three years researching the impact of industrialization on Tooele from a variety of angles, primarily by reading archived newspapers from 1905 to 1970. During this time, I also collected and scanned nearly 200 original photographs. Industrialization came to Tooele in force in 1908, with the construction on the International Smelter and the Tooele Valley Railroad. Prior to the railroad and the smelter, Tooele was a small, predominantly Mormon community with an agrarian economy. Construction of the railroad, the smelter, and several affiliated projects could have employed 72 percent of every man, woman and child living in Tooele City in the early 1900s. An influx of immigrants changed the social landscape dramatically, reshaping Tooele as one of Utah’s most diverse communities. Through the early 1900s, conflict between the original Mormon settlers and the transplants embroiled the community in something of a perpetual identity crisis. Temporarily, a sort of physical segregation solved the problem-Mormons lived west of Main Street, and the immigrants set up shop east of Main Street. But it wouldn’t be long before the Tooele newspapers came to accept the newcomers and the advertising revenue they had to offer. The Great Depression and football, of all things, finally brought the community back together, and throughout the 1940s and 1950s, the immigrant families were invited to fly their native colors at important community events that celebrated Tooele’s heritage.
Whitney Evans, Brigham Young University Communications The United States adopted a freedom of information law earlier than the United Kingdom, but the latter has surged ahead with its adoption of an Information Commissioner’s Office, well equipped to handle complaints and mediate in complex situations. This article delves into the attitudes of those who are intimately involved with freedom of information laws: journalists, lobbyists, campaigners, advocates and government officials. This qualitative research showed a similar attitude at a government level in both countries, namely, a hesitance of government officials to warm up to the law. The Information Commissioner in the United Kingdom and the Office of Government Information Services in the United States are essentially limited to recommendation and mediation services. The United States, initially progressive in its open government laws, has lagged behind many other nations in terms of disclosure. Because the law is nearly 50 years old, the Freedom of Information Act here is often taken for granted. Complacence, rather than outright defiance, obstructs successful implementation of this law. The United Kingdom has the lingering legacy of an Official Secrets Act obstructing what would otherwise be a clean slate on which to build their government disclosure laws. The key to successful utilization of freedom of information laws in both countries lies in a shift in each country’s culture, instigated by a marked change in the stories being told.