Ph.D. Profile: Rhoda Olaleye

Rhoda Olaleye is a third-year Ph.D. student focusing on advertising methods in emerging and existing communication spaces, more specifically social media. Her research explores the impact of social media advertising on consumer behavior as well as the outcomes of consumer interaction with social media influencers and personalities. Her current research examines the effectiveness of skinfluencer advertising through source credibility on the attitudes and behavioral intentions of people of color and has relevance in both health and science communication.

Prior to Grady, Olaleye worked at a media print house in Houston, Texas, where she gained experience in graphic design, content creation and content writing.

Following is a brief interview with Olaleye.

GC: What made you decide to pursue your Ph.D.?

RO: The need for more knowledge in my chosen area of specialty. I’m currently a third-year Mass Communications major with a focus in Advertising and an idea of what I want, careerwise, after graduation. But, I wasn’t always that sure of my career direction. Although I loved communications, I never had an “aha” moment that helped decide what area of communications I wanted to specialize in until I took an advertising class close to the completion of my master’s program. After graduation, I finally figured out my desired niche in advertising but felt like I wasn’t well equipped to move forward with the little I knew. I decided to pursue a Ph.D. because the program offered a structured avenue for me to learn more about a plethora of advertising approaches and elevate my already existing knowledge in the field with experienced and advanced educators.

GC: What do you hope to do once you get your degree?

RO: I hope to work in the advertising industry once I get my degree. My interests have been deeply entrenched in strategic communications as well as brand management, and I believe that my enrollment in this program has provided me with the advanced capability to synthesize complex problems while delivering visible solutions, which is an asset in the industry.

GC: What made you decide to come to Grady College?

RO: The program as well as the testimonial of current students. The University of Georgia is known for its high educational quality, and Grady College can be identified as one of the contributors to its prestige. Based on my online research, Grady College was described as a place where career preparation and student involvement were taken seriously. As my goals were career driven, my application was a no brainer.

GC: Please provide a brief explanation of your thesis topic and why it’s important to you.

RO: My dissertation is titled “Race and Sunrays: effects of skinfluencer credibility on consumer attitudes and behavioral intentions of people of color towards sunscreen.”

With the understanding that sunrays are an equal opportunity offender with no regard to ethnicity or race, this study intends to discover existing myths and beliefs that influence the use and purchase of sunscreens by people of color. It also intends to examine the effectiveness of influencer advertising through source credibility on the attitudes and behavioral intentions of people of color. Due to the idea that melanin provides certain protection from sun exposure, there has been a gap in the education of people of color in regards to their susceptibility to skin conditions such as melanoma, hyperpigmentation, etc.

This study is important to me because I hope it’s completion will spur a need for higher awareness and better targeted advertising of sunscreen products to people of color and assist in reducing their risk to various skin conditions connected with sun exposure.

Rhoda Olaleye poses outside of Grady College with an orange shirt on.
Olaleye earned her master’s degree at the University of Bridgeport and her bachelor’s degree at Crawford University. (Photo: Sarah E. Freeman)
GC: What other projects (research, teaching or otherwise) have you been involved with as a doctoral student?

RO: From my first year until now, I have worked as a research assistant on a humor-focused NSF research project under Dr. Michael Cacciatore. Although this research has strong roots in health and science communications, I find myself learning immensely from my experience.

GC: What has been the highlight of your doctoral education to date?

RO: The highlight of my doctoral education has to be the unending access to like-minded individuals. With my time spent in Grady, I truly believe that there are individuals always willing to assist and answer questions. In my opinion, this makes the entire academic journey much more pleasurable.

Ph.D. Profile: Leslie Klein

Leslie Klein is a current Grady College Ph.D. student concentrating in Journalism. Formerly a high school English, yearbook and journalism teacher, Klein is researching the intersection of media law and scholastic journalism. She plans to use her research to advocate for student speech and press rights.

Following is a brief interview with Klein.

GC: What made you decide to pursue your Ph.D.?

LK: I started my career as a high school English, journalism and yearbook teacher. While in that position, I became passionate about advocating for student press rights. There was a lot I learned about journalism on the job, but I wanted a formal education in the subject, and I wanted to dive deeper into this niche area that consumed so much of my time and interest.

Graphic with Klein's answers to three Q&A questions.

GC: What do you hope to do once you get your degree?

LK: I think of myself as a teacher first and researcher second, so I hope to find a position as a professor at a teaching institution after I graduate. I would also love to go back to advising because there’s something so special about the work that happens in a student newsroom. So fingers crossed there will be a college newspaper out there somewhere that’s looking for a new adviser when I’m on the job market!

GC: What made you decide to come to Grady College?

LK: When I was applying for my Ph.D., Dean Earnest Perry at the University of Missouri (where I got my master’s) recommended I add UGA to my list of potential schools because of the strong connections between the two programs. I ultimately chose Grady because I wanted the chance to work with my now-adviser Dr. Jon Peters, who is an absolute wealth of knowledge when it comes to communications law (and a great guy)!

GC: Please provide a brief explanation of your thesis topic and why it’s important to you.

LK: Student journalists are journalists. In many communities, college newspapers often function as the local paper of record. Yet, student journalism seems to be constantly under attack. (Look no further than Texas A&M, where university administrators just unceremoniously eliminated the print edition of their student newspaper.) I want to use my research to support student journalists and their advisers and advocate for the value that these organizations can bring to both their surrounding communities and the field of journalism as a whole.

Leslie Klein, Ph.D. student, stands on the walkway outside of Grady College.
Klein received her master’s degree in journalism law and conflict resolution from the University of Missouri and her bachelor’s degree in English education from Florida State University. (Photo: Sarah Freeman).
GC: What other projects (research, teaching or otherwise) have you been involved with as a doctoral student?

Since coming to Grady, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with several faculty members on research projects that are in various stages of development. The faculty here really want you to engage in research and take the lead on projects, and the program facilitates those connections for you so you are able to start researching right away. This summer, I will also be joining the Torrance Center for Creativity and Talent.

GC: What has been the highlight of your doctoral education to date?

Last month, I learned that the first paper I wrote as a first author was accepted to a journal, and that was such a rewarding feeling. Knowing that people find your contribution to the field valuable after you have spent months thinking about it and writing makes all the time spent on the project worth it!

Ph.D. Profile: Farrah Youn-Heil

Growing up with immigrant parents, Aarum (Farrah) Youn-Heil said she feels like television and movies helped raise her. From a young age, it stuck out to Youn-Heil that not everyone she saw on the screen looks like she does. She wondered: “If people saw Asians on TV as outsiders, would they see me like that too?”

It’s that very question that inspired Youn-Heil to seek her Ph.D. from Grady College’s department of Entertainment and Media Studies.

“Pursuing my Ph.D. has provided me an avenue to keep exploring the impact that TV and movies have on people of color,” said Youn-Heil. “Beyond that, I’m curious how we communicate about race interracially and how TV could be a pedagogical tool for difficult racial conversations.”

Graphic indicating Youn-Heil's answers to three questions: Why pursue your Ph.D? Why Grady? and What do you want to do with your degree?

Ultimately, Youn-Heil, who received her master’s in interpersonal communications from UGA in 2020, wants to use her doctoral degree to become a professor and a researcher. She is eager to help facilitate conversations about race and media both inside and outside of the classroom.

 “I hope to be an educator that encourages students to question who and what they see on the screen,” Youn-Heil said. 

As a doctoral student over the past two years, Youn-Heil has conducted interviews with individuals about their experiences with interracial communication apprehension.

“During a time of social distancing and a rise of racial violence, people of color struggle having conversations about race interracially,” she explained. “Personally, I see how it has impacted our mental health as well.”

Throughout her time on campus, Youn-Heil has also prioritized helping those pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees at UGA build their communication skills.

As the communications consultant with the Division of Academic Enhancement’s Presentation Collaboratory, Youn-Heil helps students strengthen their public speaking abilities and overcome communication apprehension. And while working as a graduate assistant for the organization International Student Life last summer, Youn-Heil and her peer ran a workshop series solely for international doctoral students at UGA.

“The workshops were dedicated to building their intercultural communication skills and creating thought-provoking research conference presentations,” explained Youn-Heil. “It was an amazing experience getting to be creative and collaborate with a doctoral student in another discipline! I learned so much!”

Farrah Youn-Heil at the Division of Academic Enhancement’s Presentation Collaboratory on campus.
Youn-Heil at the Division of Academic Enhancement’s Presentation Collaboratory on campus. (Photo: Submitted)

Youn-Heil went on to explain how grateful she has been for her time at Grady, learning from and working with top scholars dedicated to her research.

When asked if she has any advice for someone considering pursuing a Ph.D, Youn-Heil said: “Take advantage of your curiosity, and go for it! I never felt like a school person. But, as a doctoral student, I think of it less as school and more as a time to be an explorer.”



Ph.D. Profile: Marcus Howard

Marcus Howard is reaching the final stretch of his doctoral degree and he can look back knowing he packed a lot into his time at UGA.

While at Grady College, Howard taught several classes including newswriting and Journalism Ethics and Diversity; he wrote a book about media literacy called “How Journalists and the Public Shape our Democracy: From Social Media and ‘Fake News’ to Reporting Just the Facts;” and he worked as a graduate assistant with the UGA at Oxford program.

“Learning from University of Oxford faculty and mentoring undergraduates has been an incredible experience,” Howard said.

Howard earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Boston College and a master’s degree in political and global affairs journalism from Columbia University before enjoying a career as a reporter for Reuters, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, among others. He soon realized he missed the in-depth discussions and atmosphere that academia provides.

“I also wanted to deepen my knowledge and understanding of issues surrounding politics, race and media,” Howard continued. “Ideally, I would like to work at a university in a position that would allow me to also continue writing for mass audiences in some capacity.”

While at Grady College, his research has focused on political and international communication with an emphasis on race, culture and social movements, and it is through his teaching that he has earned a more varied understanding of his studies.

“Teaching has been rewarding because the process forced me to consider journalism from a broader perspective than what one experiences as a reporter knee-deep in it. Studying the history, concepts, great stories and future of journalism, along with students, has given me new perspectives of the profession.”

Marcus Howard is teaching Journalism Ethics and Diversity this semester.

As he nears the end of his studies, he advises that students considering going back to school for a doctorate degree should seriously consider the amount of work and sacrifice involved.

“Ultimately, it’s a rewarding journey, but one not without some hardships,” Howard concludes. “Having a clear idea of what you want to study and which faculty researchers you’d like to work with are very helpful. And, having emotional support and/or an outlet for stress are invaluable.”

Ph.D. student profile: Andrea Briscoe

Many Ph.D. students return to school to study a subject they experienced first in the work world. Such is the case for Andrea Briscoe (ABJ ’12) who returned to study women who are freelance photojournalists.

While Briscoe did not do a lot of freelance work, she did gain experience as the official photographer for Governor Nathan Deal.

Her dissertation is focused on research gained from personal interviews.

“It has been an amazing opportunity to meet these women and to listen to their stories,” Briscoe said. “I feel honored to have the opportunity to learn from them, and I hope to share what I have learned in a way that provides meaningful, positive change for women in photojournalism.”

Briscoe’s work also focuses on the shift to digital news and the industry’s increased reliance on project-based work. Arguing that precarious work situations redefine the industry and those who can work in it, she explores how these changes have impacted women’s experiences working as freelance photojournalists.

“I’m very thankful to have Dr. Acosta-Alzuru as my chair, because she has been an amazing leader and mentor for me,” Briscoe continued. “She pushes me to be a stronger academic while also showcasing great care and empathy for me as an individual.”

As a graduate student, Briscoe teaches classes in photojournalism and has learned how to be an empathetic professor, as she has experienced from others.

“I learn a lot from my students when teaching introduction to photojournalism: the educational and personal roadblocks they encounter, their professional fears and concerns, their passions and dreams and so much more. All of these lessons are a constant reminder to continue to learn more about the field of photojournalism, particularly as it relates to diversity issues, so I can serve as the most effective leader for them in the classroom.”

Briscoe also appreciates the opportunity to travel to international academic conferences and present papers like she did when she traveled to Toronto in 2019 to present results from her study of gender and reality TV.

Andrea Briscoe had the opportunity to moderate a Women in Leadership panel at Grady College in March 2019.

While Briscoe has enjoyed the journey to earn her doctoral degree, she does offer a word of advice for students to take care of themselves and their mental health since studies show that graduate students are more likely than the average American to experience mental health disorders and depression.

“When considering pursuing a Ph.D. or deciding on what specific program you would like to attend, make yourself aware of the environment you’ll be in as well as the resources available to you,” Briscoe advises. UGA offers a myriad of mental health services available to all students including Counseling and Psychiatric Services and the Aspire Clinic, just to name a few.

Briscoe earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Grady College and decided to return after earning her master’s degree from Louisiana State University and working for several years.

“The biggest reason I decided to return to UGA for graduate school was the support I felt from faculty,” Briscoe said. “In particular, Mark Johnson was such an incredible source of support and my biggest advocate. I knew I would be able to go to him for teaching advice, to talk about research ideas regarding photojournalism, and to feel connected to the field through the various opportunities he provides for his students. Dr. Hume was also incredibly encouraging and expressed support of my academic and professional goals.”

Ph.D. student profile: Shuoya Sun

Shuoya Sun (MA ‘16) found that Grady College with its Digital Media Attention and Cognition (DMAC) Lab was the best place to pursue her research interests: how media context affects processing and evaluation of digital ads.

Sun said it was her previous job as a media planner that started her interest in consumer psychology.

“I wonder how consumers make decisions and how different media choices and environments affect their responses to ads,” Sun said of her interest. “I thought graduate school was the place to seek answers.”

Last Fall, Sun was the lead author on a paper that earned recognition at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication virtual conference. The paper, “How multitasking during video content decreases ad effectiveness: The roles of task relevance, video involvement, and visual attention” won third place in the Advertising Division and was co-authored by Bart Wojdynski, director of the Digital Media Attention and Cognition Lab and a Jim Kennedy New Media Professor; Matt Binford, Ph.D. student; and Charan Ramachandran, an undergraduate student.

Media multitasking is pervasive, and the research found that divided attention during multitasking may reduce how advertising is attended to and processed by consumers. Sun and her collaborators collected the data in an experiment with 153 participants, using the DMAC Lab’s eye-tracking equipment and through attitudinal and task-relatedness surveys completed by participants.

“The research aligns with my primary research interest and looks at the advertising format I like the most—in-stream video ads,” Sun said. “I’m grateful to my collaborators from the Digital Media, Attention, & Cognition Lab. It is their support and hard work that make this award more meaningful.”

Sun looks forward to expanding her research but is also interested in topics like ad effectiveness-related topics in green advertising and how humor may influence ad processing Sun also researches.

Not surprisingly, it’s the professors that make Grady stand out in Sun’s opinion.

Shuoya Sun (second from right) enjoys attending college activities like Dawgs with the Dean with other graduate students. Also pictured are Ph.D. students (from left) Andrea Briscoe, Youngji Seo and Marilyn Primovic. (Photo: contributed)

“I think the professors at Grady are really helpful,” Sun said. “They love to hear about your research ideas and work with you on a research project. They would also involve you in their projects when there is the chance.”

She also appreciates the funding opportunities through scholarships and graduate assistantships.

“Both at Grady and UGA at large, there are research-related funding opportunities to apply for,” Sun added.

Sun earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and journalism from the Communication University of China in Beijing. When she decided to return for her master’s education, she researched graduate schools online before deciding to apply to Grady College.

“I learned that it’s home of the renowned Peabody Award, offers different concentrations to suit student interests, and enjoys a good reputation nationwide,” she said of her decision. “In addition, it’s in a southern state of subtropical climate with mild winters,” she added half-jokingly.

Sun plans to find a job in research once she has her degree.

“A relaxing short vacation is also desired,” she concludes.

Ph.D. student profile: Solyee Kim

Solyee Kim (MA ’16) is a Ph.D. student interested in diversity, equity and inclusion in public relations and media practices. Her research focuses on the experiences of marginalized communities including immigrants and racial and ethnic minorities in the practices and industries of public relations and media practices.

“Immigrants are some of the marginalized groups in the practices and research of journalism and mass communication,” Kim, a native of South Korea, said of her area of study. “By highlighting these experiences in my research, I would like to share some of the vibrancy and dynamics of those communities that are far from monolithic.”

Last Fall, Kim’s research about how South Korean restaurants promote their restaurants in the U.S. was recognized by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. The paper, “Communicating the Culture Through Korean Food Between Authenticity and Adaptation,” won third place in the student paper competition in the Minorities and Communications Division.

“This was my first time attending an academic conference and having my work presented as the first author. The award was a great reminder and encouragement to continue on this path.”

Her research used the Circuit of Culture framework that she learned about in Dr. Acosta-Alzuru’s qualitative research course to examine representation, production, consumption, identity, and regulation of the restaurants. Kim explained that she has always enjoyed exploring food culture.

“Since I first came to the U.S., this became more significant to me because food plays a critical role in understanding the different cultures that make up this country and my identity here. I spend a lot of time on the weekend in areas known for vibrant immigrant communities such as Buford Highway and Duluth to shop for groceries or to eat (although I have not been able to do that as much as I would like to due to COVID-19). In a highly multicultural country such as the United States, those immigrant communities play vital roles by providing economic, political, and cultural structures to many lives. I believe that food is imperative to understand those communities and their relationships with other communities.”

Kim said that it is a team effort to conduct research like this.

“I have so many staff, faculty, colleagues, and students to thank at the College and beyond,” Kim concluded. “It takes a whole village to get a Ph.D. In my case, the village might be a global one. I would also like to share my special thanks to my advisor, Dr. María Len-Ríos, and the advising committee members—Dr. Karen Russell, Dr. Bart Wojdynski, and Dr. Glenna Read—for always encouraging me and providing creative and invaluable insights.”

Before returning to Grady College to pursue her doctorate degree, Kim worked at a public relations firm in Atlanta and interned with a wide range of non-profit organizations including the United Nations Non-Government Liaison Service in New York, the International Rescue Committee in Atlanta, the Korean Federation of UNESCO and the Special Olympics. Prior to working in public relations, she worked as a freelance translator and interpreter traveling to the United States and the Middle East for various companies.

She earned her master’s degree in journalism and mass communication with a concentration on public relations from Grady College and a bachelor’s degree in German language and literature with a minor in political science and diplomacy from Chung-Ang University in Seoul, South Korea.

Grady College faculty and graduate students participate in the AEJMC 2020 Virtual Conference

Faculty and graduate students from Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication will present research findings, participating in panels and receiving awards at the 103rd annual Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference Aug. 6-9, 2020. The conference was originally set in San Francisco and is now an online virtual event due to COVID-19. 

All times below are noted as Pacific time zone unless noted otherwise.

The AEJMC is an educational association of journalism and mass communication educators, students and media professionals.


Graduate students Jeffrey Duncan and Taylor Voges co-authored a paper, receiving the James Carey Award as the Top Student Paper in the Cultural and Critical Studies Division. The award-winning paper is titled “EULAs as Unbalanced Contractual Power Between an Organization and its (Unannounced and Underage) Users: A Mobile Game Textual Analysis.” It will be presented Aug. 9 at 11 a.m.

Jeong (Janice) Hyun Lee and Solyee Kim were selected to participate in the 2020 AEJMC Presidential Diversity & Inclusion Career Development Fellowship for Graduate Students.

Solyee Kim is receiving the third-place award for a student paper in the Minorities and Communication Division (MAC) for “Communicating the Culture Through Korean Food Between Authenticity and Adaptation.” Kim is also receiving the AEJMC MAC Dr. Carolyn Stroman New Graduate Membership Award.

Grady Ph.D. student Shuoya Sun, along with Associate Professor Bart Wojdynski, Ph.D. student Matt Binford, and undergraduate student Charan Ramachandran received an award for the third-place paper in the Advertising Division. The award-winning paper is called, “How Multitasking During Video Content Decreases Ad Effectiveness: The Roles of Task Relevance, Video Involvement, and Visual Attention”, and the paper will be presented at 3 p.m. (PT) on Saturday, August 8.

Below are the Grady College faculty and graduate students who are presenting at this year’s conference.

Wednesday, Aug. 5 (pre-conference day — all times are in the Pacific time zone)

1-5 p.m. – Jonathan Peters (associate professor in journalism) is moderating a panel, “Inclusivity and Teaching Sensitive Topics.”

1-5 p.m. — María Len-Ríos (associate dean, academic affairs) is a panelist for “Women Faculty Moving Forward: 100 Years from Suffrage to Academic Leadership.”

Thursday, Aug. 6 (all times are in the Pacific time zone)

8:15-9:45 a.m. – Jonathan Peters (associate professor in journalism) is presenting an extended abstract and refereed paper, “Virtual Assemblies: Exploring Problems of Private Spaces and Press Protections.”

11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. – Kyser Lough (assistant professor in journalism) presents a refereed paper, “Judging photojournalism: The Metajournalistic Discourse of Judges in Two Photojournalism Competitions.”

1:30-3 p.m. – Jihoon (Jay) Kim (Ph.D. student), Joe Phua (associate professor in advertising), Nah Ray Han (Ph.D. student) and Taeyon Kim (Ph.D. student) present a refereed paper, “Investigating the Impact of Immersive Advertising on Attitude Toward the Brand: The Mediating Roles of Perceived Novelty, Perceived Interactivity, and Attitude toward the Advertisement.”

1:30-3 p.m. – Kyser Lough (assistant professor in journalism) is a panelist for, “Solutions Photojournalism: Visually Reporting Beyond the Problem-based Narrative.”

1:30-3 p.m. – Marilyn Primovic (Ph.D. student) and Joe Phua (associate professor in advertising) present a refereed paper, “Comparing Expectancy Violations Committed by Influencer Advertising Sources on Social Media.”

1:30-3 p.m. – Michael Cacciatore (associate professor in public relations) co-authored a refereed paper, “‘That’s Some Positive Energy’: How Social Media Users Respond to #Funny Science Content.”

1:30-3 p.m. – Taylor Voges (Ph.D. student) and Matthew Binford (Ph.D. student) present a refereed paper, “So Ordered: A Textual Analysis of United States Governors Press Release Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

1:30-3 p.m. — Karen Russell (associate professor of public relations), moderates a panel about “History and Public Relations Divisions Research.”

3:15-4:45 p.m. — Itai Himelboim (associate professor of advertising) has a submission in “Social Media, Civil Engagement, and Democracy” in the refereed paper session.

5-6:30 p.m. – Yan Jin (professor of public relations) presents a refereed paper, “Theoretical Advancements in Crisis Communication Research: Crisis Response Strategies.”

5-6:30 p.m. — Matt Binford (Ph.D. student) and Bart Wojdynski (associate professor) present a refereed paper, “’I Probably Just Skipped Over It:” Using Eye Tracking to Examine Political Facebook Advertising Effectiveness.”

5-6:30 p.m. — Karen Russell (associate professor of public relations) is a discussant of “Public Relations, Scholar-to-Scholar Refereed Paper Session, Topic X – Social Media and Dialogic Communication.”

Friday, Aug. 7 (all times are in the Pacific time zone)

8:15-9:45 a.m. – Solyee Kim (Ph.D. student) and Hyoyeun Jun (Salve Regina University) present a refereed paper, “First-generation Immigrants’ and Sojourners’ Susceptibility to Disinformation.”

8:15-9:45 a.m. — Ph.D. students Tong Xie, Xuerong Lu, Jiaying Liu, have a submission in “Topic IV – Refugees, Immigrants, and “Others”

10-11:30 a.m. – Karin Assmann (assistant professor in journalism) is presenting a refereed paper, “We Are the People – Audience Engagement as Catalyst for Newsroom Unionization.”

11:45 a.m. – Jeffrey Duncan (Ph.D. student) and Taylor Voges (Ph.D. student) receive the Top Student Paper Award in the Critical and Cultural Studies Division.

11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. – Solyee Kim (Ph.D. student) presents a refereed paper, “Communicating the Culture Through Korean Food Between Authenticity and Adaptation.”

5-6:30 p.m. – Dongjae Lim (Ph.D. student) and Nah Ray Han (Ph.D. student) present a refereed paper, “Choosing Appropriate Colors for Green Advertising: Perceived Greenwashing through Color Choices.”

5-6:30 p.m.  Porismita Borah (Washington State University), Itai Himelboim (associate professor), Bryan Trude (Ph.D. student), Matt Binford (Ph.D. student) and Kate Keib (Oglethorpe University) present a refereed paper, “You Are a Disgrace and Traitor to Our Country: Uncivil Rhetoric Against ‘The Squad’ on Twitter.

Saturday, Aug. 8 (all times are in the Pacific time zone)

8:15-9:45 a.m. – Nah Ray Han (Ph.D. student) presents a refereed paper, “Ethical Consumption as Fetishism.”

1:15-2:45 p.m. — María Len-Ríos (associate dean, academic affairs) moderates the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Elected Standing Committee on Research, Award panel session and the Deutschmann Award.

3-4:30 p.m. — María Len-Ríos (associate dean, academic affairs) is a panelist for “Addressing Diversity and Inclusion in the Practice and Scholarship of Science Communication.”

3-4:30 p.m. Shuoya Sun (Ph.D. student), Bart Wojdynski (associate professor), Matt Binford (Ph.D. Student), and Charan Ramachandran (undergraduate student) will present a refereed paper, “How Multitasking During Video Content Decreases Ad Effectiveness: The Roles of Task Relevance, Video Involvement, and Visual Attention.”

Sunday, Aug. 9 (all times are in the Pacific time zone)

9:15-10:45 a.m. — Itai Himelboim (associate professor of advertising) is a panelist for “From Silicon Valley Virtual Communitities to Trump Twitter Networks: Political Social Networks Visualized.”

9:15-10:45 a.m. — María Len-Ríos (associate dean, academic affairs) is a moderator for the Research Chairs training session.

11-12:30 p.m. – Jeffrey Duncan (Ph.D. student) and Taylor Voges (Ph.D. student) present a refereed paper, “EULAs as Unbalanced Contractual Power Between an Organization and its (Unannounced and Underage) Users: A Mobile Game Textual Analysis.”

11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Matt Binford (Ph.D. student) and Laura Hudgens (Ph.D. student) will present a refereed paper, “Fun in the Sun or Something More Serious? An Analysis of News Story Visuals About Heat Waves.”

Scholarships help doctoral students with summer research

While many Grady College students were enjoying summer internships or travel, others were continuing the work they do throughout the school year—researching communications topics that often contribute to dissertation proposals.

Sixteen doctoral students were awarded scholarships this summer to offset research expenses. The scholarships were awarded from the Paul C. and Margaret B. Broun Student Support Fund.

“The scholarship funds I received during my first year of the Ph.D. program at Grady College are significant in helping me achieve my research goals and aide me in finding my identity as a scholar,” Andrea Briscoe said.

Briscoe, who is starting her second year as a graduate student, focused most of her research this summer on gender and visual media, a topic she presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference last week.

The funds offset the costs of travel to the conference in Toronto.

The Broun Scholarship helped support Andrea Briscoe’s conference travels to Toronto, her first international trip. (Photo: courtesy of Andrea Briscoe.)

Briscoe continued: “While attending conferences are the expectation for graduate students, this conference meant more to me than a line on my CV. With help through funding of the graduate program along with this scholarship, I was able to share the work I had done on gender and reality television with a diverse group of people. I was able to sit in the same room with incredible scholars and creative thinkers and learn from them. But most importantly, I received numerous calls and texts from family where they shared how proud they were of me.”

Hyoyeun Jun, another doctoral student who was granted a scholarship from the Broun fund, also conducted research this summer that was presented at the AEJMC conference and will serve as a foundation for her dissertation.

Her research focuses on developing the most effective messages to overcome the stigma surrounding HPV and to increase behavioral intention by young adults to get vaccinated. She spent the summer gathering data on risk tolerance, or how individuals tolerate new health risks. The information will be used to determine what factors influence people not to behave in a certain way. Jun presented some of the qualitative research findings at AEJMC.

Jun, who is a native of South Korea and is studying here with a student visa, has specific requirements for work, including the fact that she cannot work outside of campus. Therefore, the funds from the scholarship are a vital form of support.

“With generous support from Grady scholarships, I could sustain myself better,” Jun said. “I could concentrate better on my research, not worrying about how I am going to pay my rent and get groceries. I am very thankful that Grady awarded me scholarships additional to my assistantship during the semester.”

Grady doctoral student’s fake news research becomes book

Marcus E. Howard, journalist and Grady doctoral student, recently wrote a media literacy book in partnership with the Georgia Humanities Council and Atlanta Press Club.

“How Journalists and the Public Shape Our Democracy: From Social Media and ‘Fake News’ to Reporting Just the Facts” educate the public on the societal phenomenon surrounding facts and misperceptions of journalism.

Janice Hume, head of Grady’s journalism department and Carolyn McKenzie and Don E. Carter Chair for Excellence in Journalism; Kelly Caudle, Georgia Humanities; and Lauri Strauss, Atlanta Press Club, approached Howard about the controversial phenomenon of “fake news.”

“As we see globally today and historically, people suffer when there is only one version of the truth handed down from the government,” Howard said.

As a journalist for more than ten years, Howard agrees that criticism of the press is good, however, political attacks on the media can alter accountability of reporting. He hopes the book will demystify journalists’ efforts for timely and accurate news while also demonstrating to readers how mistakes occur and how the profession works towards correcting and improving journalism.

“Marcus did a fantastic job pulling together all the research and writing on a tight timeline,” Caudle said.

The book is in narrative form, when each chapter starts with a story related to the topic. Issues range from social media to native advertisements.

“One minute you’ll be reading about the journalism ideals of Walter Lippmann and the next minute you’ll learn how the Kardashians’ use of native advertisements landed them in hot water,” Howard said.

Howard spent last summer researching on campus and reaching out to media experts at Grady and within the state. Monica Pearson (MA ’14), a retired WSB-TV Atlanta news anchor, wrote the forward of the book in order to bring trusted credibility to the project. Howard also spent the summer attending panels and events.

“[Atlanta] featured panel discussions with prominent journalists who talked about many of the issues raised in the book,” Howard said. “The turnout was impressive, which I think is a testament to how interested and concerned people are about the state of news media. I hope the book enlightens them on their paths in some small way.”

Read Howard’s book, available online, here.