COMM’s Wright, Flewellen win awards at journalism historians’ conference

Liz Wright is congratulated by AU Communication Professor David W. Bulla at the AJHA SE Symposium.

Communication students Liz Wright and Emily Flewellen took first and second place, respectively, in the undergraduate research competition at the American Journalism Historians Association Southeast Symposium in Panama City, Florida, on Feb. 4.

Wright’s “Frederick Douglass vs. William Lloyd Garrison: An Exploration of Differing Opinions on Ending Slavery” examines how two major abolitionist editors framed the ending of slavery and how their reputations were largely shaped by this issue. Douglass stated that abolition had to be changed from within, while Garrison felt New England should secede from the Union and move on with a new country and a new constitution. Wright wrote her paper in a media history class at AU in Spring 2022.

Emily Flewellen

Flewellen will present her paper titled “The Launch of Southern Living: A Historical Look at Its Magazine Covers.” This study analyzes the primary themes of the magazine—food, garden, and travel—as creating a certain mood in its reader, thus exploring mood management theory in the process. Flewellen’s paper, which looks at the text on the magazine’s cover, is part of her honors thesis project.

“We are excited for both Liz and Emily,” said Professor David W. Bulla, the Communication chair who also presented a paper at the conference. “Both papers were excellent, and their presentations were maybe even better. I think this speaks volumes about how well our Communication professors prepare our students for public speaking situations.”

Professor Bulla talked about research he has done on The Loyal Georgian newspaper, which was started in Augusta just after the Civil War. He detailed how the newspaper focused on the Black community of Augusta, emphasizing employment and voting rights. The newspaper was published by two men, John Thomas Shuften, an Augusta barber, and John Emory Bryant, who was in the Freedmen’s Bureau.

Professor Emerita Debbie van Tuyll also participated in the conference. She talked to attendees about the scholarly journal that she and Bulla edit. It is titled The Southeastern Review of Journalism History, and it features student and faculty research, as well as book reviews. It is co-sponsored by the Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and AJHA. Professor van Tuyll encouraged attendees to submit their conference papers, as well as future work.

Conference attendees were from Augusta University, the University of Alabama, Mercer University, Samford University and the University of Florida.

In other AU Communication research news, Assistant Professor Carrie Reif-Stice scored big with a recent publication. Reif-Stice has just seen her article “Discerning the Effect of the Relationship between Disclosure and Responsiveness on Depression, Anxiety, and Compassion Fatigue among Veterinarians” published in the Journal of the American Veterinarian Medical Association.

Reif-Stice and her co-authors write: “Previous scholarship has posited that veterinarians experience more anxiety, depression, and compassion fatigue symptoms than the general population. Disclosure of psychological stressors, combined with positive responsiveness, may reduce psychological symptoms. The goal of this study was to test the relationships between disclosure, responsiveness, compassion fatigue, anxiety, and depression.”The AU Communication assistant professor hopes that the research will lead to application of the knowledge she and her co-authors have learned in the study.

“With this research, we hope to better understand the veterinarian mental health crisis and work toward practical recommendations to mitigate workplace stressors and improve mental health outcomes,” Reif-Stice said.

In Online Media and Global Communication, Reif Stice has published an article titled “The Mediating Role of Comments’ Credibility in Influencing Cancer Cure Misperceptions and Social Sharing.” The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between fake news, perceived credibility, social sharing, and belief in health misinformation. An online experiment revealed that a comments’ credibility rather than information credibility acts as a mediator between the effects of exposure to variations of comment on cancer treatment misperceptions and social sharing intension.

“Our findings highlight the importance of healthcare professionals and organizations engaging with misleading and potentially harmful misinformation posted on social media” Reif-Stice said. “Additionally, health practitioners need to provide media literacy workshops and training seminars to help individuals discern credible health information from misinformation on social media.

Also in Communication, Professor Bulla has two books coming out. Peter Lang has just published the second edition of Journalism in the Civil War Era, which he co-authored with Gregory A. Borchard of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

“This book was originally published in 2010 as part of Peter Lang’s Media American Series,” Bulla said. “We had a bunch of new material and asked Peter Lang if we could publish a second edition. The publisher graciously agreed two years ago. Greg and I estimate that there is about 45 percent new material in the second edition. We expanded from 10 chapters in the first edition to 16 chapters in the second. Much of the new material originated at the Civil War journalism conference hosted at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga by the late David Sachsman. We dedicated the book in part to Dr. Sachsman, who had a profound effect on a whole generation of mass communication historians.”

This spring, Bulla will see Cambridge Scholars of England publish Legacies of Slavery and Contemporary Resistance. His co-authors are Karen E. Bravo, Judith N. Onwubiko, and Kremena Dimitrova. This book is based on papers delivered at the Slavery Past, Present, and Future Global Meetings, a conference started by Bravo, who is the law dean at Indiana University. The 2022 meeting was held in Leiden, the Netherlands. Bulla and Bravo wrote the introduction together, and Bulla has a single chapter in the book. Onwubiko and Dimitrova are professors in England.

Professor Emerita van Tuyll has just seen her book The Midwestern Press in the Crucible of the American Civil War published by Peter Lang. She is co-editor the book, with Mary M. Cronin, a journalism professor at New Mexico State University. Professor van Tuyll has three chapters in this book. Bulla also is a contributor to the volume; he has two chapters in it.

Professor Edgar Johnson has seen a game titled Bloom of the Blood Garden published by Goodman Games. It is part of the Dungeon Crawl Classics series and will be released in March. This is a solo-authored “adventure module,” or role-playing game system. The story explores the key themes of tradition and innovation as the players encounter two countervailing supernatural influences, a nature goddess and what could be described as the spirit of the Internet, presenting new players with stark choices affecting the narrative’s resolution, and future game sessions. The work is nearly 12,000 words in length and includes interior art and maps based on originals produced by the author. Here is a link to the publication:

Assistant Professor of Communication Taylor Walker has received a grant to do research in the summer from the Augusta University Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship. The grant is worth $6,300.

Assistant Professor Dylan Wilson continues to shoot photography for the New York Times and was recently given honorable mention for his work in the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art’s “Sense of Place” exhibition.

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