Subscribe to RSS Feed

Early v. Election-Day Voters: A Media Profile

Mark D Harmon, University of Tennessee - Knoxville

CCI Auditorium, 321 Communications Building


The researcher conducted a secondary analysis of three major surveys of voters: the 2008 National Annenberg Election Survey, and the 2007 and 2008 Cooperative Congressional Election Surveys. All three of these surveys had media components, making it possible to create a profile of significant media differences between Election Day voters and those who vote early.

Early voters, contrasted to those on Election Day, are super citizens—the kind of extremely likely voters campaigns seek out and contact. Early voters (at p < .0001 level of significance) were more likely to be contacted by campaigns by both mail and e-mail, and at a p < .05 level of significance were more likely to be contacted by campaigns face-to-face and by phone.

Early voters, compared to election-day voters, are more likely to mention News and Documentary among their top-four favorite types of TV programs, and less likely to mention Science Fiction, Comedies, Reality Shows, and Music Videos. The only tested programs significantly favored by Election Day voters over their Early Voting counterparts were: The Simpsons, Scrubs, and Family Guy. A long list of news, documentary, news talk, and news satire programs, however, tend to be favored more by early voters than by those who vote on Election Day. Early voters were more likely than Election Day voters to listen to National Public Radio’s All Things Considered news program, and to listen to news gabbers such as Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Neal Boortz, Mike Gallagher, Clark Howard, Bill Bennett, and Dr. Laura Schlesinger.

Emergency Text Messaging Systems and Higher Education Campuses: Expanding Crisis Communication and Chaos Theory

Tanya Desselle Ickowitz, University of Tennessee - Knoxville
Michael J. Palenchar, University of Tennessee - Knoxville

CCI Auditorium, 321 Communications Building

Recent public safety threats affecting college and university campuses during episodes of natural disasters and mass violence have exposed numerous challenges and opportunities in risk and crisis communication. This study addresses how colleges and universities have incorporated emergency text messaging systems into their crisis communication plans; how these institutions have tested such emergency notification systems; and what, if any, prevalent gaps exist between audience expectations and actual practices. Using grounded theory, the data collected in this study through in-depth phone interviews (N=10) of university public relations practitioners, as well as a document analysis of media coverage of campus crises (N=36), offered a humanistic and constructivist perspective about circumstances related to emergency text message alert systems that few researchers have explored. The analysis of the data also revealed and confirmed that chaos theory can play a role as a significant theory and potentially guiding paradigm of crisis communications research.

Social Media as Precursor to Arab Revolt

Mark D Harmon, University of Tennessee - Knoxville
Brittany Rose Nauta, University of Tennessee - Knoxville

CCI Auditorium, 321 Communications Building

This research examines the use of the Internet and social media as related to 2011 to 2012 Arab protests and civic unrest, testing the widespread belief that communication revolutions played a large role in the political revolutions sometimes known as the Arab Spring. The researchers take a two-pronged approach. They examine the pre-uprising communication firmament in Egypt, specifically seeking and finding correlation between Internet use and political dissatisfaction. This was done using a secondary analysis of the Egypt portion of the 2008 World Values Survey. Secondly, the researchers use secondary analysis of the Arab Barometer, first wave 2006-2007, seeking and finding further confirmation of the association between heavier Internet use and greater political dissatisfaction--and greater hope for an answer in democratic systems.