New Research in Communication
In each issue of NCA Inside & Out, we highlight a few recently published articles from NCA’s journals. Please note that members have free online access to all articles in NCA’s 11 journals by logging into the NCA website and then selecting the Read the Journals tab under Publications.
A number tattoo on the left forearm is a familiar symbol of the Nazi Holocaust. Among Jewish Holocaust survivors, the tattoos tell stories of survival. But, what meanings are communicated about the Holocaust when members of younger generations tattoo their ancestors’ Auschwitz numbers on their own bodies? The practice has generated unique controversies. Brouwer and Horwitz analyzed coverage of this practice in the media including newspapers, website discussions, and the documentary video “Numbered.” The researchers found that there were several forms of justification for progenic Auschwitz tattoos.
Politicians today face a multitude of pressures, as the speed and reach of older and new technologies increase the potential perceptions to change rapidly. Waisanen and Becker asked the question: “What does it mean to communicate an identity in this crowded, fragmented media environment?” The authors conducted an in-depth investigation of comedic representations of Joe Biden as a test case for understanding a politician’s intended and unintended personae. They found that representations of Joe Biden were centered around three different personae: a folksy guy, a gaffe machine, and a party animal. Overall, when a politician’s images circulate across many electronic platforms, persuasion about personality becomes a difficult undertaking.
Virtual work teams are becoming increasingly common, with 1.3 billion employees worldwide now working virtually. One way to prepare students for the expectations of their future employers is to offer them an extended opportunity to complete a meaningful group project with other students who are geographically dispersed. The approach Messersmith outlines has been successfully used in online Group Communication courses across a 16-week semester, but can be adapted or scaled based on course content and time restrictions. Students usually are pleasantly surprised with how much they are able to accomplish with group members, despite never meeting in person, says Messersmith.
Social networking sites (SNSs) such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can help immigrants adapt to a new culture by increasing their connections with locals and providing access to resources and information. SNSs also help reduce emotional stress, improve linguistic fluency, and increase social support. This is not true for all immigrants, however. Croucher and Rahmani undertook a longitudinal examination of the role of Facebook on the cultural adaptation of immigrants to the United States, finding that Muslim immigrants who used Facebook frequently for social interaction with other Muslim immigrants were less likely to be motivated to culturally adapt to the U.S. dominant culture.