Research Publication Roundup: October 2019

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.

Below is a list of recently published or presented scholarship by UNC Hussman faculty and students.


Jin, Y., & Austin, L. L. (2020). Crisis communication and social media. In F. Frandsen & W. Johansen (Eds.), Handbook of Crisis Communication. Handbooks of Communication Science series, Volume 23. Berlin: De Gruyter.

The aim of this handbook is to provide an up-to-date introduction to the discipline of crisis communication. Based on the most recent international research, this handbook introduces the reader to the most important concepts, models, theories, and debates within the field of crisis communication.


Lazard, A., Byron, M. J., Peters, E., & Brewer, N. (2019). Communicating about chemicals in cigarette smoke: Impact on knowledge and misunderstanding. Tobacco Control.

The U.S. must publicly share information about harmful and potentially harmful chemicals in tobacco products. The researchers sought to understand whether webpages with chemical information are “understandable and not misleading to a lay person.” Using an online experiment of U.S. adults and adolescents (n=1441, 18% smokers), this study found knowledge of chemicals and health effects can increase after viewing a website, but websites may not correct the misunderstanding that some cigarettes are safer.


Lazard, A., Saffer, A., Horrell, L., Benedict, C., & Love, B. (2019). Peer-to-peer connections: Perceptions of a social support app designed for young adults with cancer. Psycho-Oncology.

Social support is a critical yet often unmet need among young adults with cancer. These young adults desire age-appropriate resources to connect with peers, and peer-to-peer mobile apps can provide this social support. However, these apps will be more effective if they incorporate user input on whether app designs (look and function) allow for meaningful connections. Through interviews with 22 young adults at a cancer convention in April 2017, the researchers assessed perceptions of a peer-to-peer app. These findings demonstrate the promise of apps to fulfill young adult cancer survivors' unmet peer support needs and provide guidance for app optimization.


Morehouse, J., & Saffer, A. J. (2019). Illuminating the invisible college: An analysis of foundational and prominent publications of engagement research in public relations. Public Relations Review, 101836.

Researchers and practitioners say engagement is a fundamental element of public relations, but many have lamented that engagement is disorganized and conceptually murky. This bibliometric network analysis of 91 journal articles and over 3,000 citations reveals the structure of the "invisible college" of engagement research, identifies its foundational and prominent publications, and documents how these publications are influencing the development of engagement research in public relations.


Saffer, A. J., Yang, A., & Qu, Y. (2019). Talking Politics and Engaging in Activism: The Influence of Publics’ Social Networks on Corporations in the Public Sphere. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 63(3), 534-565.

Research has shown citizens’ political discussion networks have implications for elected political actors and can influence political and civic participation and knowledge. This research shifts the focus to another important political actor—corporations—to examine whether political discussion networks affect citizens’ perceptions of a politically involved corporation and their intentions to engage in consumer activism. Using an egocentric survey design, the authors found the ethnic diversity of discussion partners as well as their diversity of opinions substantially influenced individuals' perceptions and behavioral intentions.


Taillie, L. S., Busey, E., Stoltze, F. M., & Dillman Carpentier, F. R. (2019). Governmental policies to reduce unhealthy food marketing to children. Nutrition reviews, 77(11), 787-816.

Reducing children’s exposure to food marketing is an important obesity prevention strategy. This narrative review describes current statutory regulations that restrict food marketing, reviews available evidence on the effects of these regulations, and compares policy design elements in two of the leading countries in the fight against childhood obesity.