Annenberg School for Communication

Founded in 1959 through the generosity and vision of diplomat and philanthropist Walter Annenberg, The Annenberg School for Communication stands at the forefront of education, research, and policy studies on the processes, nature, and consequences of existing and emerging media. The School offers students a firm grounding in a wide range of approaches to the study of communication and its methods, drawn from both the humanities and the social sciences. Home to a wide range of centers and projects, including the Annenberg Public Policy Center, the Center of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research, the Center for Global Communication Studies, the Scholars Program in Culture & Communication, the Institute for Public Service, and others, research at Annenberg encompasses political communication, global communication, health communication, visual communication, cultural studies, children and media, as well as new media and information technologies, with interests extending beyond the classroom. For decades, research conducted by faculty and students at the Annenberg School has influenced public discussion of the role of the media in shaping the perceptions of the viewing public.

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 1459
  • Publication
    The 700 Club as Religion and as Television: A Study of Reasons and Effects
    (1985) Hoover, Stewart
    There has been a great deal of public debate recently over the phenomenon known as the "Electronic Church." This label has come to be attached to a rather large group of religious television broadcasters who syndicate programming nationally and who pay for their use of this expensive medium through commercial-like appeals for funds from viewers. These broadcasters have come to public attention and scientific scrutiny recently due to their prominence in programming schedules nationwide (a function of technological and Federal policy developments) and to their presumed involvment in "right of center" politics.
  • Publication
    Cure Without Communication: Self-Help Books and Popular Notions of Self and Communication, 1860-2000
    (2002-01-01) Woodstock, M. Louise
    This study traces the development of a basic premise, that what we think manifests in reality, underlying much of psycho-religious self-help literature in the United States. This premise posits alternative ways of thinking about the self, the community, and the communicative relationship between them. The belief in the power of thought to impact action - in the capacity of thought to instill good health, confident mindsets, and optimum circumstances — makes the claim that one can repair reality without social interaction. This study excavates the various evolutions of that claim and considers its impact on both notions of the self and the collective as well as on our understanding of how communication works. The study emphasizes three periods during which self-help and the genre’s attending interest in “thought as communication” have been particularly resonant. In the early period, popular from roughly 1880 to 1910, psycho-religious self-help books were published by writers of “mind cure” or “New Thought ” movements, alternative spiritual movements that promised relatively easy remedies for health and happiness. By rallying their powers of mind, readers were told they could control and direct their thoughts so that they exactly mirrored the intentions of God with the resulting consequence of perfect health and happiness. The underlying mechanism at work, according to these books, posited a direct relationship between thought and material consequence. This belief in the power of thought to construct reality continued to weave its way through our culture, becoming especially popular again in a middle period of 1940 -1960 under the name “positive thinking.” During that period, the full effects of popular psychology were manifested in the self-help genre, positioning scientific knowledge alongside God and offering an alternative conception of the ways in which “communication” could improve our lives. At the same time, “negative thinking” books encouraged readers to identify and accept painful elements of their pasts. By the late period of the 1980s and 90s, the concept previously called “mind cure” and “positive thinking” had incorporated popular psychology into a hybrid “spirituality,” a concept that encouraged readers to place painful problems in the past while holding strong to a “positive” future. The self-help genre provides a valuable written record of how the self and thought have been constructed into a particular cultural discourse. The self-help rhetoric about “thought as communication” claims that individuals in isolation can in fact accomplish the restorative and healing functions regularly attributed to social interaction. Surrounding this core self-help concept, however, circle many changing characterizations of religion, science, health, personhood, and community.
  • Publication
    Mass Media and Memory Traces: Multilevel Explanation of Encoded Exposure to Television Content
    (2002-01-01) Southwell, Brian G.
    One construct that is useful when discussing media effects is the notion of encoded exposure, described here as a retrievable memory trace in an individual. Based on past research, encoded exposure to electronic media content should be associated with a variety of predictors on multiple levels of conceptualization, including variables related to the environmental prevalence of media content in question, individual media use, interest, processing ability and tendency, conversation with others, and formal content features. Past work also suggests that an explicitly multilevel model of encoded exposure including such predictors should be more useful than single-level prediction efforts alone. This volume describes and validates a recognition-based measure of encoded exposure developed as part of an evaluation of a national health communication effort, namely an antidrug mass media campaign sponsored by the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy. In order to test a multilevel model of encoded exposure, this study assesses three types of data. The National Survey of Parents and Youth, administered by Westat and the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication to a nationally representative sample of U.S. adolescents, contributed both the encoded exposure measure and a variety of other individual measures. Television gross rating point estimates from the campaign provided environmental prevalence indicators. Lastly, electronic copies of campaign television advertisements also were a rich source of data concerning formal content features. Not all hypothesized predictors garnered significant coefficients in the final analyses. As hypothesized, nonetheless, a multilevel model of encoded exposure (including significant individual-level predictors and significant content-level predictors) found strong support among a sample of U.S. adolescents with regards to television content from the campaign. In short, encoded exposure appears to be both related to individual-level variables, such as media use and conversation with others, and a function of content-level variables, such an environmental prevalence and formal features related to the depiction of time and space.
  • Publication
    Attack, Pain, and Danger in Group Life: "Thrown to the Wolves"
    (2001-01-01) Ostfield, Marc L.
    This dissertation examined the process o f group attach those events when three or more members attack an individual in the small group setting. Using qualitative research with a grounded theory perspective, this study observed participants in a series of Tavistocktype self-study groups at a major university over a two-year period. The research identified three distinct perspectives on group attack: projection (i.e., scapegoating), displacement, and discarding. Data collected from the observation o f the small groups indicated that those groups that used more violent language and metaphors in initial discussions later had the most extreme or dramatic group attacks. Observation data also indicated that group attack virtually always took place in the first “half" of group life — when the institutionally-designated authority was perceived to be weak, absent, or nonresponsive. Groups appeared to use group attack to establish or reinstate the very authority they craved. Thus, groups “created” transgressors as a means of enforcing group norms. In addition, group attacks appeared to be driven by the members’ competition with the course’s authority figure. And, groups seemed to use group attack to create the role o f a “victim” in order to compel the Consultant (professor) to assert authority. Women initiated virtually every instance o f group attack observed, and were also the initial supporters in all episodes — possibly because the goals and format of Tavistock-type self-study courses privilege conventionally defined women’s interaction vii and simultaneously inhibit behavioral responses more conventionally available to men. The data also indicated that group members from non-Westem countries or cultures often seemed to be rendered essentially invisible — particularly with respect to group attack events. And, while this invisibility marginalized their perceived participation in group life, it also seemed to protect the students from non-Westem environments from involvement or implication in group attack episodes.
  • Publication
    Some Communicational Aspects of Patient Placement and Careers in Two Nursing Homes
    (1982) Sigman, Stuart Jay
    The dissertation is concerned with selected communicational aspects of nursing home patients' intra-institutional careers (life courses). The specific investigatory focus is "social recruitment," i.e., that system of multichannel interaction by which individuals are moved into filling the statuses or positions which comprise a given social structure. The dissertation proposes that nursing homes, in order to ensure their continuity, must organize to meet the recruitment demands occasioned by residents' deaths, discharges, or transfers to different institutional positions. Two skilled care facilities were selected as sites for this study which employs ethnographic methods. It was hypothesized that the two nursing homes (one church-affiliated, the other non-sectarian) would exhibit different patterned processes for the selection of individuals for entry into each facility, and for the assignment of these residents to existing social positions. It was further hypothesized that different behavioral expectations would be placed on residents with different assignments and in anticipation of or preparation for positional reassignments. Interview and observational data were collected during a nine month period. The comparative data indicate a number of similarities and a number of differences with regard to how each nursing home patterns its particular recruitment processes. At both nursing homes, recruitment was seen to consist of rules for admitting applicants to each facility, procedures for assigning individuals to the available residential positions and training them for "appropriate" behavioral performances, and routines for monitoring all participants and for deciding status continuations, transitions, and expulsions. However, the data also indicate that one nursing home's recruitment system was related to the existence of distinctly defined and evaluated wards, while the second facility avoided most attempts at segregating the various categories of patients. The dissertation relates these differences to the respective ideology and "mission" of each institution.
  • Publication
    Women, Press, and the Presidency
    (2001-01-01) Falk, Erika A.
    This dissertation is an analysis of the press coverage of seven women who ran for President between 1872 and 1999 (Victoria Woodhull-1872, Belva Lockwood-1884, Margaret Chase Smith-1964, Shirley Chisholm-1972, Pat Schroeder-1987, Lenora Fulani-1988, and Elizabeth Dole-1999). I compared the press coverage of the women to that of the most equivalent man in the same race by analyzing the highest circulating paper in each candidate’s home state in the year they ran and the New York Times. Results indicated that men received more overall coverage and more issue coverage. The women had more biographical coverage and quotations and were more likely to be described physically and as having emotions. They were also more likely to have their family mentioned, and to be referred to by their first names. The women were repeatedly framed as “firsts,” and as representing women. Three arguments were regularly presented against women in office: That they are unnatural in the political sphere, incompetent (usually because they are perceived as being too emotional and unable to handle crises), and unviable as candidates. I present the research in the context of existing literature that establishes that language and the media can effect how people perceive and act in the world.
  • Publication
    Turkish Tv Series In Bulgaria And Russia: The Terribly Charming Turk In The Global Media Matrix
    (2021-01-01) Celikkol, Yasemin Yusufoff
    In the last decade, Turkish television series transformed from a mostly local product to a global phenomenon with perplexing popularity even in countries adversarial to Turkey. Through the study of public discourse and media texts about Turkish series in Russia and Bulgaria, this study answers: What transpires when transnational media from the Other traverses and settles in the Self’s media sphere? Findings indicate that viewers, the majority of whom are women, value Turkish series for their high production quality and for presenting an alternate modernity that values family and is devoid of rampant individualism and liberalism, revealing underlying issues related to the everyday lives of viewers. Alongside their popularity, Turkish TV series are also perceived as a threat to national sovereignty in Bulgaria, and actively countered in Russian media through orientalist media texts, positioning Turkey exclusively as East and Russia as West. This global media study that triangulates Russia, Bulgaria, and Turkey, highlights the complexity of culture, the mutually constitutive relationship of popular culture and geopolitics, the role of women in global media and geopolitics, and the interconnectedness of global media, which I term the global media matrix.
  • Publication
    How Brand Names Brand Societies: A Comparative Study of Brand Names Registered in Selected English-Speaking Countries 1870-1980
    (1995) McClure, Charles Augustus
    Objectives were to investigate the registered brand name system in selected English-speaking countries, to determine attributes of brand names ("brands") and whether brand attributes characterize their source countries. Officials in Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Kenya, the United Kingdom, and the United States provided data routinely recorded in registering brand names--identified by random numbers preselected by this author. Each brand, whether only verbal, or only design, or mixed verbal/design, was coded for several dozen characteristics: general, morphological, goods-related, and meaning-related, including, for each, official numbers and dates, registering or renewing entity, goods so branded, and any goods-related meaning. Included, if verbal, were initial letters and word length; and, if design, whether abstract or pictorial, and type if pictorial. Brand names were characterized as a long-continuing mass communication symbol system. Textile brands are omnipresent, but in the developing countries medical (and sometimes cosmetic and/or leisure) brands are more frequent than brands for the biblical necessities of food, clothing, and shelter--which predominate in the industrialized countries. Over time, brand verbal content has increased whereas embellishment, as in use of borders and overt design content, has decreased markedly. India ranks highest in purely design and mixed verbal/design brands, and Ireland ranks highest in purely verbal, lowest in mixed verbal/design, brands. Recent years show modest resurgence in registration of designs--more in brand names with verbal content than in pure designs. Yet mixed verbal/design brands, possibly expected to survive better than do purely verbal or purely design brands, are less likely to be renewed. Renewal of registration was selected as a survival measure of success. Brands with trivial ("arbitrary") meaning or excessive ("descriptive") meaning about the branded goods survived better than intermediate ("suggestive") ones. Source countries were characterized according to their brand name features--and were found to cluster together, or to diverge from one or more others, depending upon feature(s) selected.
  • Publication
    Gandhi and Mao As Communicators: A Comparative Study of Practice and Theory
    (1978) Singh, Kusum Jitendra
    This study is a comparative analysis of the communication practice and theory of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Mao Tse Tung during the period in which they were the major leaders of the national liberation movements in India and China. In broadest terms, the problem dealt with is how they succeeded in communicating with hundreds of millions of illiterate peasants without the use of such modern means of communication as radio and television. If they had not solved the problem of communication, they would have been would-be leaders with very few followers and their movements would have been doomed to failure. The major method is that of content analysis in the context of the broader patterns of historical change in the countries involved. The first step, therefore, is a panoramic summary of the socio-economic and political situations in India and China during the period between World Wars I and II, the growth of the Indian and Chinese movements for independence from foreign control, and the detailed phases of national struggle during the critical war-time years of 1942 through 1944. The next step is a detailed content analysis of the major themes in almost all the recorded messages of Gandhi and Mao in the 1942-44 period. The quantitative analysis shows that, despite many differences with respect to other themes, the various themes relating to leadership style, received the greatest amount of attention from both. The qualitative analysis shows that, despite important differences, both Gandhi and Mao discussed leadership in terms that dealt not only specifically with channels of communication but also with goal values as alternatives to the perceived conditions of crisis, two broader themes that helped establish a sense of communality and understanding between the leaders and the led. The next step pulls together the communication theories of both Mao and Gandhi, a presentation based not only on the content analysis for the 1942-44 period but also on explicit statements over a longer period and tacit premises which are inferred from more general statements. It is suggested that the operational doctrines of both Gandhi and Mao have important implications for communication theory and that the more specific communication of each is a version of what, in Mao's terminology, has been called "the mass line." Finally, conclusions are reached concerning the multi-modal, multi-directional communication behavior of both Gandhi and Mao and their emphasis on the necessity that the communicator identify himself with the needs and even the life-styles of the recipients. These conclusions, it is suggested, have possible implications for future research on the vital connection between communication and development and particularly on the possibility of non-charismatic leadership in so-called "developing" countries.
  • Publication
    Children's Susceptibility to Television Advertising: A Behavioral Test of Cognition and Attitude
    (1974) Rossiter, John R
    Television's alleged effects on children have been the object of considerable debate since the early 1950's. The effects of television commercials, however, have been the focus of only a handful of studies. According to recent FCC figures, television commercials now comprise 20 percent--12 minutes or more per hour--of television broadcast content (Johnson, 1973). Earlier figures reported by Steiner (1963) placed commercials as the third largest content category on television, following movies and comedy-variety, but ahead of action dramas and eight other programming categories. Although content emphasis may have changed over the decade, e.g. an increase in action dramas, advertising is still a paramount content category occupying one-fifth of air time. At today's viewing levels, this means the average child is exposed to approximately 100 television commercials per day (Action for Children's Television, 1971).