Below are abstracts from the Mass Communication grad student presentations made during the 2012 Best Brains research colloquium, June 16, at the  Witt Stephens Nature Center in downtown Little Rock.

Arkansas Press Women would like to thank Dr. Dale Zacher of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for organizing this year’s colloquium.

The Gazette and the Mighty 7th War Bond Drive: How the Gray Lady Lent Support to the War Effort
by Michael Taggard

World War II was among the most expensive events of the 20th Century, the military effort was largely funded by donations from corporations, banks and Ma and Pa taxpayer.  This paper is an examination of ways the Arkansas Gazette, known at the time as the paper of record, covered one particular bond drive that occurred during the end of 1944.  The 7th drive of the second World War, known as the Mighty 7th, was widely publicized by the Gazette in a variety of ways.  This is an examination of the many ways the Gazette brought this issue to the forefront of the everyday Arkansan and pushed for the state to take part and build a reputation to erase the national stigma of poor, illiterate, barefoot hillbillies that was very common for the time.  The Gazette used propagandistic techniques, local celebrities, a host of cartoons and psychology to get the people of Arkansas on board with yet another bond drive.  In the end, the paper was very successful in making this key drive a success around the state and showing that Arkansas was ready to embrace the modern aspects of the 20th Century.

Crisis as Catalyst: The Painful Path to an Independent Cherokee Press

by Lisa Beckham Reber

This article looks at how a rarity in Indian Country came to be: the Cherokee Independent Press Act of 2000 and its companion Cherokee Freedom of Information and Rights to Privacy Act of 2001. Drawing on the context of nearly 200 years of Cherokee journalism and focusing on the painful events of the tribe’s 1997 constitutional crisis, this study examines the story behind the legislation’s passage as it was documented by Oklahoma newspapers and Cherokee journalists themselves. The crisis devolved into violence and led to a takeover of tribal law enforcement by the United States government. Cherokee citizens were injured, criminal acts were alleged, lawsuits were filed, and finally, a new Cherokee administration that supported free press was elected. This study seeks to show that the crisis was an ugly but necessary catalyst for expanding press independence for the Cherokee, and by extension, for all native journalists and those who cover tribal news.

The Journalistic Roles of Arkansas Internment Camp Newspapers, 1942-45
by Michael A. Guanella

The Japanese internment camps of World War II were small communities throughout the United States that utilized camp newspapers to distribute information to residents as any local newspaper. Under the unique operating circumstances, however, limitations were placed upon their operations. This thesis focuses on the
Communique/The Denson Tribune and The Rohwer Outpost camp newspapers located at the Jerome and Rohwer, Arkansas internment camps respectively. These camp newspapers are evaluated based on their coverage in order to determine which roles of community, prison, and ethnic media were fulfilled, if any. After careful evaluation, the
author argues that a limited number of community, prison, and ethnic roles were actually fulfilled due to government oversight and regulation. Additionally, the evaluations showed that these publications possessed the characteristics of prison journalism, which described these publications as merely a sounding board with little

Being a Good Neighbor: Changing Attitudes and Calming Fears Towards Pine Bluff Arsenal’s Chemical Weapons Mission, 1996-1997
By Rachel Newton

In 1996 and 1997, the U.S. Army Pine Bluff Arsenal was still almost two years away from starting construction on the chemical weapons incinerator. In the ramp up to construction, systemization and operations of the disposal facility, several factors came into play during this two-year time frame. There was a great amount of public activity surrounding the incineration project– everything from delays in permitting, funding and construction to emotional and vocal community concerns about the safety of the project. This media case study will examine how the local print media in Pine Bluff and Little Rock, Ark., brought the story of the U.S. Army Pine Bluff Arsenal’s chemical demilitarization mission to the public during those years. This study will also attempt to analyze and answer the question about why this time frame was noteworthy- yet so volatile – in the history of the incinerator mission using historical context from local newspapers, and personal interviews with individuals historically connected to the project.

Discourse analysis of the coverage of the Revolution through Social Networks in Belarusian media
By Tatjana Koroliova

This study examines the way the Revolution through Social Networks (the series of protests organized with the help of social media in Belarus in 2011) was covered in Belarusian press. First, it looks at the difference in the nature of discourse on the Revolution through Social Networks in major Belarusian state-run and independent newspapers. Later, the study addresses the question of how the discursive strategies help to explain the ideological standpoints developed by the mass media. A total of 72 news stories from four Belarusian newspapers were examined with the use of the method of discourse analysis. The framework for analysis of media discourse included two stages: textual and contextual analysis. The study revealed a significant difference in the nature of discourse on the Revolution through Social Networks in major Belarusian state-run and independent media. The state-run media covered the event occasionally and disseminated the ideological standpoints of protesters as “others” (stigmatization), represented Internet and mass media as a threat, and constantly applied anti-revolutionary pathos. Independent media covered the event systematically, made attempts to evaluate the phenomenon, and attached to it a significant importance.