Research Publication Roundup

A vibrant and collaborative interdisciplinary research culture at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media creates new knowledge, advances scholarship and helps reinvent media.

Doctoral student Autumn Linford recently published two pieces examining journalism history. More details on this study are listed below, along with a list of other recently published or presented scholarship by UNC Hussman faculty, students and alumni.


Linford, A. L. (2021). Rivington revisited: A nuanced look at James Rivington, America’s 'Tory' printer. Journalism History, 47(3), 285 – 301.

History remembers James Rivington (1724-1802) as an influential Tory printer active during the American Revolution. Yet his own writings seemingly contradict his identity as a staunch Loyalist and enemy of the Colonists’ cause. Not only did Rivington frequently state that his press was open to publication from all parties, but he also published essays from both Patriot and Tory perspectives. Details from Rivington’s published and private works paint a more complicated portrait. Implications for the current media landscape are discussed.

Linford, A. L. (2021). They'll never make newspaper men: Early gendering in journalism, 1884-1889. American Journalism, 38(3), 342-363.

Journalism has long been recognized as a gendered profession. This paper examines the first five years of "The Journalist," the first trade publication dedicated to standardizing the modern profession. Articles from "The Journalist" suggest that gender and professional norms in the newsroom have been intertwined and influencing each other since the early 1880s. Implications for current professional norms are discussed.  

Bell, T. ('19 Ph.D.), Noar, S. M., & Lazard, A. (2021). Narratives versus standard of care messages: Testing how communication can positively influence adolescents with Type 1 diabetes. Journal of Health Communication, 26(9), 626-635.

Many adolescents with Type 1 diabetes face a variety of challenges in managing their disease. Narratives, or stories, may help adolescents with Type 1 diabetes overcome disease management issues, but little research exists on their effectiveness. In this online experiment, 191 adolescents with Type 1 diabetes between the ages of 12 and 17 were randomized to view either a narrative about disease management or a standard message about disease management. Both the narrative messages and the standard of care messages scored high on perceived message effectiveness and positive emotional reactions; the narratives did not outperform the standard messages. The researchers conclude that both narratives and standard care messages may be helpful for adolescents managing Type 1 diabetes.

Parra-Murillo, M. F., Lowery, C., Gómez, L. F., Mora-Plazas, M., Smith Taillie, L., & Dillman Carpentier, F. (2021). Claims on ready-to-eat cereals: Are those with claims healthier? Frontiers in Nutrition, 990.

The use of advertising content strategies that suggest consuming a product will confer nutrient- and health-related benefits influences household food purchasing decisions, which increases consumption of energy-dense, nutrient-poor products. The authors examined the presence of marketing claims regarding nutrient content, health and nature in ready-to-eat (RTE) cereal packages in relation to the products' nutritional quality. A cross-sectional content analysis was conducted on 178 RTE cereal packages available in the six largest supermarket chains in four Colombian cities from August to November 2018. The majority (66.3%) of packages had claims related to nature, 57.3% had nutrient-content claims, and 15.7% had health benefit or risk avoidance claims. Most products with nature, nutrient-content and health claims were high in energy (99.2, 98.0, and 92.9%, respectively) and sugar (88.1, 87.3, and 92.9%, respectively). Results inform Colombian efforts to implement regulations restricting claims on food and beverage products high in nutrients of concern.

Guidry, J. P. D., O’Donnell, N. H., Austin, L. L., Coman, I. A., Adams, J., & Perrin, P. B. (2021). Stay socially distant and wash your hands: Using the health belief model to determine intent for COVID-19 preventive behaviors at the beginning of the pandemic. Health Education & Behavior.

The authors conducted a survey of 500 U.S. adults to understand the predictive effects of both demographic and psychosocial factors on respondents’ intent to adhere to the preventative behaviors suggested for reducing the spread of COVID-19. The authors found that gender was a predictor of adherence, with women more likely to intend to adhere to the suggested behaviors. Race/ethnicity was an infrequent predictor, but when it was a predictor, those who were of racial/ethnic minorities were less likely to report intention to adhere to the suggested behaviors. The constructs of the Health Belief Model predicted intended adherence, but they operated independently of the model. Future research should continue to consider the Health Belief Model and its constructs when constructing public health communications throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Austin, L., Jin, Y., Liu, B. F. ('06 Ph.D.), & Kim, S. ('19 Ph.D.). (2021). Coping with outbreaks: Toward an infectious disease threat (IDT) appraisal model for risk communication. Health Communication.

This study examined how individuals perceive and cope with the threat of infectious disease outbreaks. Using a nationally representative, online survey, the study explored the relationship among individuals’ threat appraisals (such as perceived controllability, perceived predictably and perceived responsibility) interacted with individuals’ cognitive coping (i.e., information seeking) and conative coping (i.e., protective actions). Results demonstrated that individuals’ threat appraisals differed significantly across the type of infectious disease threat (e.g., airborne, bloodborne, foodborne, etc.). Across all infectious disease threat types, predictability was the strongest factor related to participants’ cognitive and conative coping. Implications are discussed.