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The Castle/Nikki Heat Phenomenon: A Detailed Examination of Female Representation in Entertainment Media

Description: As entertainment reflects a culture's ideology, it is important for researchers to study its messages and subsequently its potential meanings. Entertainment has the power to inform and persuade, creating models for behavior with which the public interacts. The entertainment texts for the purpose of this study are the Castle television series and the Nikki Heat novels. Together, they create a unique multi-layer fictional world. By using postmodern, feminist, communication, and entertainment theories, the results of this study provide a tightly focused lens which views a narrow aspect of entertainment media. Each text was thoroughly examined using textual analysis, Feminist Poststructuralist Discourse Analysis, and conversation analysis. Contrary to expectations, the results indicated that the Castle and Nikki Heat texts support hegemonic ideology, particularly through the use of exaggerated stereotypes, strict gender roles, imagery, and narrative choices that help perpetuate rape culture. The discussion outlines how these results can be interpreted through the dominant messages presented in the texts. This research is intended to serve as a foundation for future research regarding entertainment media.
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Date: December 2016
Creator: Skinner, Katharine Virginia

Comparing Media Usage of Binary and Non-Binary Transgender Individuals when Discovering and Describing Gender Identity

Description: This study was conducted through in-depth interviews to examine potential differences between binary-aligned transgender individuals and non-binary individuals in regards to media usage when learning about, articulating, and explaining their gender identity. Results showed numerous differences between transgender people with binary-aligned and non-binary gender identifications in regards to social media preferences and differences in perceived media importance and effects. Additional information was found in regards to the age at which gender identity is articulated and the importance of individuality in comparison to one's gender identity.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Laljer, David B

King of the News: An Agenda-Setting Approach to the John Oliver Effect

Description: Journalists have insisted that John Oliver has inspired a new kind of journalism. They argue that Oliver's show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has inspired real-world action, a phenomenon journalists have called the "John Oliver Effect." Oliver, a comedian, refuses these claims. This thesis is the result of in-depth research into journalists' claims through the lens of agenda-setting. By conducting a qualitative content analysis, I evaluated the message characteristics of framing devices used on Oliver's show, then compared those message characteristics to the message characteristics and framing devices employed by legacy media.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Ryan, Kevin

The Persuasive Power of Ridicule: A Critical Rhetorical Analysis of Gender and Humor in U.S. Sitcoms

Description: The serious investigation of humor's function in society is an emerging area of research in critical humor studies, a "negative" subsect of the extensive and "positive" research that assumes humor's goodness. Using Michael Billig's theory of ridicule as a framework, this study explored how humor operated to discipline characters who broke social norms or allowed characters to rebel against those norms. Layering this with gender performative theory, the study also investigated how different male and female characters used ridicule and were subject to it themselves. After examining ridicule in The Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls, and The Odd Couple using a critical rhetorical analysis, the findings revealed that disciplinary ridicule was used more overtly throughout all three programs, while potentially rebellious ridicule emerged in only a few scenes. In addition, men were overwhelmingly the subjects of disciplinary ridicule, although women found themselves as subjects throughout all three programs as well. The discursive ridiculing of non-normative bodies constructed and maintained social norms about gender and sexuality, thereby uninviting these bodies from participating in society.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Waters, Leah E

Sources Say … He May Have Been Depressed and Angry: A Case Study and Content Analysis of Mental Illness Sources Used in Newspaper Coverage of Mass Shootings in 2015

Description: The increase of mass shootings in the U.S. has amplified news reporting on mental illness as a possible factor in the shootings despite no evidence linking the two issues. Sources used to explain mental illness in stories that explore the motivations of mass shooters affect audience perception. Through a qualitative content analysis of local newspaper coverage of five U.S. mass shootings in 2015, journalists linked mental illness as a possible motive through sources who were not qualified to treat or diagnose mental illness. Journalists also ignored professional guidance from the Associated Press on mental illness reporting in the context of mass shootings. Additionally, journalists assumed the audience was knowledgeable of mental illness in general terms and specific diagnoses. These findings indicate coverage of mass shootings includes inaccurate information about shooters' motives, and it also continues to frame mental illness as dangerous.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Fellows, Jacqueline L

The Struggling Dance: The Latino Journalist Experience Covering Hispanic and Latino Communities in Dallas

Description: This qualitative study addresses how the Dallas Morning News and Al Día reporters and editors determine what type of news related to the Dallas Latino and Hispanic communities gets covered. It also looks into how and why each newspaper tackles the coverage of these communities. Through a systematic analysis of 8 in-depth interviews and a 6-month ethnography, the findings of this study suggest that Latino and Hispanic journalists in Dallas feel the Latino and Hispanic communities are regarded as the "other." This study suggests the newsroom's hegemony and its news production routines influence the way Latino and Hispanic communities are covered in Dallas, and the way Latino and Hispanic reporters and editors who primarily cover these communities are treated. Though the newsrooms have made an effort to diversity its staff, reporters and editors claim they still have a long way to go before the staff accurately represents the large Hispanic and Latino population in the city.
Access: This item is restricted to UNT Community Members. Login required if off-campus.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Limon, Elvia