Research Publication Roundup: May 2022

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.

Recent graduate Dr. Pablo Miño ('22 Ph.D.) and his advisor Dr. Lucinda Austin recently published a case study examination of Chile's national branding campaign "Chile Que te Quiero” (Chile, I Really Love You)" and its implications for public relations practitioners. More details on this study are listed below, along with a list of other recently published or presented scholarship by UNC Hussman faculty and students. The names of students, faculty and collaborating school alumni are bolded in the list below.


Morehouse, J., & Austin, L. L. (2022). The impact of religion in situational crisis communication theory: An examination of religious rhetoric and religiosity. Journal of Media and Religion, 21(2), 105 – 123. 

This study conducted a survey-experiment to examine recommended crisis response strategies, based on the situational crisis communication theory (SCCT). The authors included religious rhetoric explore the impact of religiosity on stakeholder’s skepticism, attitudes, trust and supportive intentions. Results provided support for SCCT strategies and suggest that no religious rhetoric in post-crisis communication resulted in more supportive attitudes toward the organization. This study advances crisis communication theorizing by arguing that stakeholder identity — including religiosity — should be considered when responding to crises with a religious component, or crises within religious organizations.

Jin, Y., & Austin, L. L. (Eds.). (2022). Social Media and Crisis Communication (2nd ed.). Routledge.

The second edition of this textbook integrates theory, research and application to orient readers to the latest thinking about the role of social media in crisis communication. Specific crisis arenas, such as health, corporate, nonprofit, religious, political and disaster, are examined in depth, along with social media platforms and newer technology. The role of visual communication in social media and a more global review of social media and crisis communication literature are also included. The text also features an enhanced ethics section, a short communication overview piece, and case studies for each area of application.

Kim, S., Austin, L. L., Liu, B. F., & Jin, Y. (2022). Exploring differences in crisis literacy and efficacy on behavioral responses during infectious disease outbreaks. Public Relations Review, 48(3), 102204.

The authors tested the effects of literacy and efficacy on individuals’ implementation of protective action and information seeking during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. New measures of disaster literacy and crisis efficacy were tested with a nationally representative survey of 1164 U.S. adults. Results suggested that both crisis efficacy and organizational efficacy were associated with taking protective actions and intention to seek information. Disaster literacy, though, was associated with less protective action taking and information seeking. Health literacy was not associated with any outcome. The study highlights the importance of improving relationships between health authorities and the public.

Miño, P., & Austin, L. L. (2022). A cocreational approach to nation branding: The case of Chile. Public Relations Inquiry, 11(2), 293–313. 

This case study examines Marca Chile’s nation branding campaign “Chile Que te Quiero” (Chile, I Really Love You). The campaign, which ran between 2016 and 2018, aimed to facilitate dialogue among Chileans around their shared national symbols, traditions, and cultural artifacts to cocreate meaning around their nation brand. In this article, the authors propose that professionals working in nation branding campaigns should act as facilitators of dialogue among different publics within a country to find points of convergence and divergence around what constitutes the identity of their nation. The key role of dialogue and cocreation of meaning within public relations scholarship is explored, and implications for the future are discussed. 

Rohde, J. A., Fisher, E. B., Boynton, M. H., Freelon, D., Frohlich, D. O., Barnes, E. L., & Noar, S. M. (2022). A self-management SMS text messaging intervention for people with inflammatory bowel disease: Feasability and acceptability study. JMIR Formative Research, 6(5), e34960.

The authors developed a text messaging program called Text4IBD to provide support and self-management information to people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Participants received daily messages about support resources over the course of a two-week intervention. Nearly all 105 participants were able to recall at least one of the message topics they received through the program, and all viewed the program as feasible and acceptable. Most participants reported engaging with one or more of the external self-management resources recommended by the program. Participants in the program also reported significantly less IBD-related distress following completion of the program. Thus, SMS text messaging may be a useful way to support people with IBD.

Kurtzman, R. T., Vereen, R. N., Sheldon, J. M., Hall, M. G., Brewer, N. T., Gottfredson, N. C., & Noar, S. M. (in press). Adolescents’ understanding of smoking and vaping risk language: Cognitive interviews to inform scale development. Nicotine & Tobacco Research

Receptivity to tobacco prevention messages is commonly measured by perceived message effectiveness (PME). However, most of these measures have been developed with adults. Thus, the authors of this study conducted cognitive interviews with 20, U.S.-based adolescents, ages 13-17, to understand the meaning adolescents assigned to the items within the current PME scale. Three main issues were identified via the cognitive interviews: ambiguity of language, word choice, and item phrasing. Adolescents reported preferring direct, definitive language in items. For example, adolescents reported that “risky” was an easy term to discount, and they preferred other words, such as “harmful” and “dangerous”. The authors conclude that tobacco risk terms for adults hold different meanings for adolescents. The authors recommend changes to the PME scale items to improve clarity and reduce measurement error when working with adolescents.