Online News Challenge


Online News Challenge

Source: Online News Association

Funding period: December 2017 - December 2018

Co-PI: Joe Grimm

The ONA Challenge Fund provides money for experimental projects that encourage innovative ideas and enhance journalism curriculum. In this project, we tested how transmedia local journalism can help explain issues related to schools of choice policies. The end goal is to improve the way communities receive information and interact with journalists. 

You can learn more about our project here and see the content students produced here. Our magazine can be found here and embed below.


News effects & attitudes toward Black protest

News effects & attitudes toward Black protest

Funding source: Mass Communication and Society Division at AEJMC

Period: August 2018 - August 2019

Collaborator: Danielle Kilgo

This project builds on an extensive research agenda on news portrayals of Black Lives Matter (BLM) conducted by the principal investigators since 2016. In three prior studies (Mourão, Kilgo & Sylvie, 2018; Kilgo, 2017; Kilgo, Mourão & Sylvie, 2018), we conducted content analyses to identify the nature of protest coverage of the deaths of unarmed Black men and women, including Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and Sandra Bland. Then, using a representative survey of U.S. respondents, we found that specific patterns of news consumption are associated with the rejection of BLM's core ideas, but these findings rely on self-reported media consumption and attitudinal data. Considering the heightened awareness of racial inequality and the grave impact inequality continues to have on the Black community, there is a critical need to empirically determine the direct influence of media presentation on attitudes toward specific protests, protesters and social movements, as well as the influence of pre-existing attitudes and psychosocial behaviors. Funding from the MC&S division will allow us to take a step further and experimentally assess how the different patterns of news stories we found influence audience perceptions and support for the movement.

Using a 2x2x2 experimental design, we will test if marginalization devices and legitimizing coverage impact news audiences’ attitudes toward BLM and its ideas, accounting for pre-existing attitudes toward race-related social movements more generally. This study, thus, contributes to theory-building by focusing on an underexplored area of the protest paradigm literature. Findings will aid in the development of effective media production strategies to help improve journalistic coverage and social progress.