“With this study, we wanted to see whether people’s perception of media bias affected their political participation, beyond voting,” says Dr. Andrew Binder, an assistant professor of communication at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research. “For example, if people think the news media do not reflect their views, are they less politically engaged? Or does it spur them to take political action?” Answer: It depends.
In the first part of the study, researchers asked 485 survey respondents if they felt news media were biased against their views in general. The respondents were then asked a series of questions designed to capture the extent of each participant’s political engagement – from working for a political campaign to writing a “letter to the editor.”
The researchers found no direct evidence of a connection between perceived bias and political engagement, but did find some evidence that perceived bias undermined both people’s trust in government and belief that they could influence government. Ultimately, this indirect influence also undermined their likelihood of engaging in political behavior.
In the second part of the study, researchers asked about a particularly controversial political issue. Specifically, 508 respondents were asked whether they felt mainstream media were biased against their views on stem cell research. They were then asked about the extent of their political engagement in regard to stem cell research.
On this specific issue, the researchers found a direct link between perceived media bias and an increase in political action.
“The people who perceived the most media bias on stem cell research were also the most willing to join a demonstration or take other political action,” Binder says. “I think this shows that people are more likely to get involved in the political process if they do not feel their views are represented by the media on specific issues. That does not hold true for people who feel a general disconnect between their overarching views and the media.
“This has clear implications for politicians and interest groups. It seems to be far less effective for them to make sweeping claims that the media are universally biased than it is for them to attack the media on specific issues.”
The paper, “The Role of Perceptions of Media Bias in General and Issue-Specific Political Participation,” is published in the May issue of Mass Communication and Society. The paper was co-authored by Binder; Dr. Shirley Ho of Nanyang Technological University; Dr. Amy Becker of Towson University; Dr. Patricia Moy of the University of Washington; and Drs. Dietram Scheufele, Dominique Brossard and Albert Gunther of the University of Wisconsin. The research was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
by Matt Shipman, NC State News Services
CHASS celebrated its outstanding faculty, such as Martha Crowley (pictured with Dean Jeff Braden), at a recent reception, and applauded its hard-working staff at a spring luncheon. See what makes CHASS such a destination college, and meet just a few of the team members who keep the wheels turning. "I'm writing something," he says to me. "You write?" "Not yet. Anyway, tell me what you think. Ok, so there's this guy..."
Just an excerpt from Josh Eure's flash fiction story "It's Sci-Fi," which recently appeared in the Raleigh Review literary and arts magazine. While publication of his work is certainly cause for celebration, more congratulations are in store for Eure, who just graduated from NC State with an MFA in fiction. His story was also nominated for the prestigious Best of the Net award, and won placement in this year's anthology.
The Best of the Net Anthology showcases some of the brightest up and coming writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and is circulated each year by Sundress Publications. The project is dedicated to promoting a diverse and growing collection of pieces by authors who, like Eure, choose to publish their work online.
Eure's journey has certainly been a long and winding road. At 15, he dropped out of high school and left home for the Outer Banks to work. After a series of unconventional jobs--hammock weaving among them--Eure aimed for a goal no one in his family had previously achieved: a college degree. He took two years of community college classes after completing his GED, and then earned an undergraduate degree in Creative Writing at NC State. Before he was accepted into the MFA program, Eure won the coveted Dell Magazines Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing for his story, "We Were Real."
For more on Eure's history and his experience working with CHASS's own creative writing expert Dr. John Kessell, check out a previous news piece on the Community of Scholars webpage.
by Lindsay Williams, communication intern "Promoting, Implementing, and Expanding Restorative Justice"
This June, the third National Conference on Restorative Justice will commence with the shared goal above. Taking place in Raleigh at the Sheraton Hotel, the conference will bring together academics, community leaders, educators, faith leaders, judges, politicians, policy-makers, practitioners, and concerned citizens to explore the use of restorative justice principles and practices.
Joining keynote speaker Nontombi Naomi Tutu, daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and survivor of apartheid South Africa, will be research fellows, theorists, authors, and founders of both local and international organizations, all dedicated to this growing social movement--a unique approach to justice focused on finding peaceful resolutions to violations of legal and human rights.
Also present at the conference will be NC State's own Dr. Joan Pennell, Professor of Social Work and Director of the Center for Family and Community Engagement. Together with Penelope Griffith and Mary Koss, Dr. Pennell will participate in a panel focusing on violence against women, with an outline provided by Dr. Pennell on safely conducting family meetings in situations of child maltreatment and domestic violence.
Visit the website for registration information, a full list of speakers, and a schedule for the June 8-10 national conference.
Music historian Dave Tompkins (Poli Sci ’92) is author of How to Wreck a Nice Beach, a history of the vocodor. The L.A. Times calls the work-whose title derives from the mis-hearing of the vocoderized phrase “how to recognize speech” - “one of the best music books ever written.” What’s a vocodor? A synthesizer that makes human voices sound robotic. Vocoders were used in World War II as cryptography devices. More recently, musicians ranging from Peter Frampton to rapper T-Pain have used them to modify their voices. Listen to NPR's Morning Edition interview with Tompkins on the vocoder. And be sure to watch this vocodorized music video: the 1983 hit "Pack Jam" that was the theme song for the 1983 national championship Wolfpack men’s basketball team.
A version of this article originally appeared in the NC State Alumni Association’s Red and White for Life blog.
A chance to relive history awaits Doaa Dorgham later this week. But first, there is Oprah.
Dorgham is a junior psychology major with a minor in international studies. The Raleigh resident is also a Caldwell Fellow. She is one of 40 students chosen from across the country to take part in the 2011 Student Freedom Ride being organized by PBS to promote an upcoming documentary, “Freedom Riders,” on the 1961 Civil Rights bus rides.
The 2011 Student Freedom Ride is bringing a select group of current college students and some of the original Freedom Riders together on a bus that will retrace the 1961 trips. The journey begins Friday in Washington and will take Dorgham and the others through seven Southern states.
On Wednesday May 4, some of the original Freedom Riders will join the students on Oprah Winfrey’s show.
Dorgham is a Palestinian American who was born in Kuwait. She has traveled throughout Latin American and the Amazon as part of the Caldwell Fellows program. Dorgham is also the outreach chair for the Muslim Student Association at NC State.
This article is reprinted from the NC State Alumni Association's Red and White for Life blog.