Munno, Craig and Richards co-author paper on ethics in student journalism

Greg Munno, assistant professor of magazine, news and digital journalism (MND) co-authored the paper, “Student journalists exhibit different mindsets but agree on the need for truthful reporting” with Megan Craig, adjunct, and Alex Richards, assistant professor, both in MND. The paper was published in Media Practice and Education.


This study investigates the ethical orientations journalism students bring to the profession they seek to enter. Using Q methodology to explore the participants’ subjective conceptions of journalism, we map their attitudes and beliefs about journalistic norms and ethics. Participants (n = 54) sorted 28 statements about journalism from ‘most like’ their journalistic mindset to ‘most unlike.’ Factor analysis identified two distinct mindsets among the participants, one expressing a traditional journalistic mindset, the other embracing a more involved, vocal journalism. Yet both factors expressed strong support for many facets of traditional journalism and embraced an orientation towards the search for truth and the need for truthful reporting.

Concepcion co-authors paper on hybrid and online learning environments

RC Concepcion, digital post-production specialist in visual communications, co-authored the paper, “Thriving in ‘The New Normal:’ Student-Centered Practices, Design, and Tools of Hybrid and Online Learning Environments” with Christopher J. McCollough, Jamie Ward and Adrienne A. Wallace. The paper was published in the Journal of Public Relations Education.


Online learning became our new normal over two weeks in Spring 2020 and remains a critical component for instruction at many institutions as the process of vaccination and return to campuses continues. The rapid shift brought technological integration, pedagogical shifts, and evolution in assessment. This left many educators and students overwhelmed, frustrated, and confused in the process. Originally presented in a panel as part of the 2021 AEJMC Public Relations Division’s Virtual Conference, this team of educators in public relations and media production offer insights on online instructional design and share tools and resources valuable to public relations education used during the pandemic response, with applications beyond the pandemic. In addition to providing a review of several tools, this article will share perspective on managing diverse learning styles, content delivery for diverse platforms, ensuring accessibility for all learners, class engagement, and assessment, while providing some personal reflection on their experiences in offering traditional public relations offerings during the pandemic.

Faculty-student research team will examine media portrayal of Native Americans

Representations of indigenous populations in the news media is the focus of a funded research project spearheaded by Hector Rendon, assistant professor of communications at the Newhouse School.

Hector Rendon

The project, to be conducted from January to May, is funded by a grant from the Syracuse Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Engagement (The SOURCE).

Rendon will hire two undergraduate students to help conduct research about representations of indigenous populations in TV news stories. Examining the country’s four major news networks—ABC News, NBC News, FOX News and CNN—the team will seek to identify patterns of news media coverage of indigenous populations, and compare specific patterns of Native American representations among networks.

“This is a great opportunity for undergraduate students from Newhouse who want to develop research skills,” Rendon says. “I believe that this kind of project, focused on social justice, can have a positive impact on the students’ careers, and also on the community, because this will help us further our understanding about how Native American populations are generally portrayed by the news industry.”

Once the team finishes the research project, Rendon says the intention is for the study to be published in an academic journal with the student researchers as co-authors. “Publishing in an academic journal while still at the undergraduate level will give our students a great advantage in their careers,” Rendon says.

The SOURCE’s mission is to foster and support diverse undergraduate participation in faculty-guided scholarly research and creative inquiry. Student participants progress from training in research or other creative skills to designing and revising the structure of their projects to research, creative and professional contributions that are original and timely.

Doctoral students co-author paper on consumer reactions to corporate social responsibility messaging

Newhouse doctoral students Jeongwon Yang and Ploypin Chuenterawongco-authored the paper, “Speaking Up on Black Lives Matter: A Comparative Study of Consumer Reactions toward Brand and Influencer-Generated Corporate Social Responsibility Messages” with Krittaphat Pugdeethosapol, a doctoral student in electrical engineering and computer science. The paper was published in the Journal of Advertising.


The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement ignited divergent social media reactions and conversations. Addressing the importance of message sources, this study aims to (1) compare audience reactions toward BLM content posted by brands and by influencers with brand sponsorship and (2) apply computational methods in influencer marketing to examine a large volume of social media texts qualitatively and quantitatively. A total of 32,702 comments on 110 Instagram posts on BLM were collected and analyzed through both human efforts and machine-learning algorithms. As a result, we found that black-influencer-created BLM attracted higher consumer engagement than posts by nonblack influencers and brands. Moreover, we generated seven different themes among which brands received the highest percentages of criticism, demands for more proactive actions, and purchase/boycott intentions. Influencers had more comments that reflected personal stories and emotion regarding BLM. Black influencers in particular received the highest percentage of praise and appreciation. Finally, comments on brands’ BLM posts embedded the highest proportion of negative sentiment, while those of black influencers’ posts were predominantly positive. Therefore, the comparisons of BLM sources elucidate the promising potential of influencers in communicating corporate social responsibility (CSR) messages of racial equality—a topic which engenders high relevance to every individual in our society.

Faculty, doctoral students awarded internal funding for research projects

Two faculty members and two doctoral candidates are the recipients of funding through the Newhouse School’s inaugural internal grants program. The program is administered by the Office of Research and Creative Activity under the leadership of associate dean Regina Luttrell.

Recipients and their projects are:

The purpose of the new initiative is to grow the research enterprise and enhance scholarship at the Newhouse School in order to increase external funding and high-quality scholarly or creative output, according to Luttrell.

Davis co-authors paper on decontamination of SARS-CoV-2 contaminated respirators

Jason Davis, research professor in the Office of Research and Creative Activity, co-authored the paper, “Scalable, effective, and rapid decontamination of SARS-CoV-2 contaminated N95 respirators using germicidal ultraviolet C (UVC) irradiation device.” The paper was published in Nature-Scientific Reports.


This study describes a rapid and effective UVC irradiation system that would facilitate the safe re-use of N95 respirators and provides supporting information for deploying UVC for decontamination of SARS-CoV-2 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Willnat journalism study to commence in January

Lars Willnat
Lars Willnat

The American Journalist study, a representative, decennial survey of American journalism and its practitioners, will commence again in January 2022.

The most comprehensive survey of its kind, this fifth edition will invite more than 6,000 reporters, editors, producers, and other full-time journalists to contribute to a representative sample of print, television, radio, and online newsrooms from across the United States.

The study is funded by Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the John Ben Snow Foundation. It is led by Dr. Lars Willnat, who also co-authored the most recent version of the survey, “The American Journalist in the Digital Age.”

“The American Journalist in the Digital Age” documented significant changes in U.S. journalism, including a dramatic decline in the size of the journalism workforce, increases in the proportions of women and minorities employed in newsrooms, and changes in job satisfaction. It also won the 2017 Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for research about the profession.

The 2022 survey will examine journalists’ perceptions of their professional roles, their trust in the practices and functions of American journalism, and their thoughts on how traditional media organizations can support democracy.

STUDY: Media and Modern Racism: Understanding Anti-Asian Attitudes and Behaviors During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Lars Willnat

Lars Willnat


John Ben Snow Endowed Research Chair

Who worked on the project?

Jian Shi, doctoral student and Lars Willnat, John Ben Snow Research Professor.

What was the focus of the project?

According to a recent report by Stop AAPI Hate, more than 9,000 anti-Asian incidents have been reported across the United States since the coronavirus pandemic began. These anti-Asian incidents represented about 16% of all reported hate crimes in 2020, making Asian Americans the third-most racially targeted group, following black Americans and Jewish Americans (Donlevy, 2020).

In light of this unprecedented rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, our study examines how exposure to partisan news media and the growing political polarization of the American public might affect xenophobia toward Asian Americans through perceptions of symbolic and realistic threat.

What questions did your project seek to address? What were the research questions, hypotheses, etc?

We argue that the consistent media coverage of President Trump’s attacks on China and his frequent use of discriminatory terms such as “Chinese virus” or “Kung Flu” has boosted anti-Asian attitudes by increasing perceived levels of symbolic and realistic threats associated with Asian Americans. Specifically, we hypothesize that the news media can “prime” audiences to stigmatize Asian Americans through repeated displays of prejudicial text and images of Asian Americans.

We also argue that this mediated stigmatization is associated with higher levels of perceived symbolic (values or beliefs) and realistic (economic and physical well-being) threat coming from Asian Americans, which, in turn, might increase anti-Asian attitudes.

What were your findings?

The study is based on a national online survey with 1,200 randomly selected U.S. adults conducted in August 2021.

Our findings indicate that exposure to news about the pandemic on Fox News and social media was associated with higher levels of anti-Asian stigmatization related to the pandemic.

What do you think are the implications for the discipline/profession?

As predicted, this mediated anti-Asian stigmatization significantly boosted participants’ perceptions of realistic and symbolic threats coming from Asian Americans, which, in turn, increased respondents’ racist and hostile attitudes toward Asian Americans. Specifically, more than one-fifth of respondents expressed that they had sometimes or frequently felt fear, nervousness, or discomfort toward people of Asian descent.

This study has received a 2021 CUSE Grant.

Willnat co-edits book on U.S.-China Trade War

Lars Willnat, John Ben Snow research professor, co-edited the book, “The U.S.-China Trade War: Global News Framing and Public Opinion in the Digital Age” with Louise Ha. The book is published through Michigan State University Press.


Drawing on data from three national surveys, three content analyses, computational topic modeling, and rhetorical analysis, The U.S.–China Trade War sheds light on the twenty-first century’s most high-profile contest over global trade to date. Through diverse empirical studies, the contributors examine the effects of news framing and agenda-setting during the trade war in the Chinese and U.S. news media. Looking at the coverage of Chinese investment in the United States, the use of peace and war journalism frames, and the way media have portrayed the trade war to domestic audiences, the studies explore how media coverage of the trade war has affected public opinion in both countries, as well as how social media has interacted with traditional media in creating news. The authors also analyze the roles of traditional news media and social media in international relations and offer insights into the interactions between professional journalism and user-generated content—interactions that increasingly affect the creation and impact of global news. At a time when social media are being blamed for spreading misinformation and rumors, this book illustrates how professional and user-generated media can reduce international conflicts, foster mutual understanding, and transcend nationalism and ethnocentrism.

Luttrell co-authors paper on corporate message framing around social justice issues

Regina Luttrell, associate professor of public relations, co-authored the paper, “Silence has no place: a framing analysis of corporate statements about racial inequity, immigration policy and LGBTQ rights” with Yvette M. Sterbenk of Ithaca College; Jamie Ward of Eastern Michigan University; and Summer Shelton of the University of Southern Indiana. The paper was published in Corporate Communications: An International Journal.


This study explores the framing of messages delivered by 105 Fortune 500 companies across 21 sectors in June 2020 in response to three social justice issues that took prominence that month in the United States: racial inequity, immigration laws and LGBTQ rights.