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Conferences & Invited Lectures

Associate Professor Jon Schuldt served on the panel “Climate Change Public Opinion and Recognition of Inequities within the U.S.” The panel was part of a congressional briefing on “Public Polling on Climate Change" and featured speakers from Yale University, Pew Research Center, and NPR. Listen to a recording of the session!

Events

Join us for COMMColloquium this Friday, March 10, at 2:00 pm in 102 Mann Library Building. Associate Professor Drew Margolin will present “Relational Epistemology: Accountability in the Knowledge Forager-Nester Bond.” The colloquium is followed by a reception, located in The Hub of the Department of Communication.

Publications

Associate Professor Brooke Duffy and Colten Meisner, March 2023, “Platform Governance at the Margins: Social Media Creators’ Experiences with Algorithmic (In)Visibility,” Media, Culture and Society. This article draws upon in-depth interviews with 30 social media creators—sampled from historically marginalized identities and/or stigmatized content genres—to explore their perceptions of, and experiences with, algorithmic (in)visibility.

Amelia Greiner Safi, Motasem Kalaji, Rosemary Avery, Professor Jeff Niederdeppe, Alan Mathios, Michael Dorf and Professor Sahara Byrne, January 2023, “Examining Perceptions of Uncertain Language in Potential E-Cigarette Warning Labels: Results from 16 Focus Groups with Adult Tobacco Users and Youth,” Health Communication. To assess reactions to e-cigarette warning labels, the research team conducted 16 online focus groups with youth and adult tobacco users. Each focus group viewed and discussed eight potential warnings messages. Respondents’ reactions were often negative but varied based on specific usages of uncertainty, existing beliefs about uncertainty in law and science, and smoking/vaping use patterns that supported the use of uncertainty related to e-cigarettes. Many youth (and some adults) believed that uncertain language enabled audiences to minimize the likelihood of harm or interpreted it as meaning there are both healthy and unhealthy e-cigarettes. This qualitative study provides evidence that certain types of uncertain language, frequency of that use, and/or selection of particular words in warnings may not achieve the intended public health aims of increasing understanding of risk, deterring youth uptake, and/or facilitating a substantial switch from cigarettes, and it appears to have significant potential to bring unintended consequences. Suggestions for research and policy are included. Dr. Greiner Safi is a former Senior Research Associate with the department and now Professor of the Practice in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Kalaji is a recently graduated Ph.D. and assistant professor at California State University, Northridge.

Rosemary Avery; Professor Sahara Byrne, Michael Dorf, Amelia Greiner Safi, Motasem Kalaji, Alan Mathios, Professor Jeff Niederdeppe, and Research Associate Norman Porticella, December 2022, “Challenges in Communicating the Benefits of Switching from Cigarettes to E-Cigarettes: Responses from Eight Adult Focus Groups with Various Smoking Experience,” Preventive Medicine Reports. This study explored the effectiveness of nuanced messages, described as warnings, that seek to convey the potential benefits of switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes for adults. The messages were designed to convey the potentially complex idea that e-cigarettes are likely less harmful than combustible cigarettes but that e-cigarettes still present a risk. Eight adult focus groups with varying smoking profiles responded to a set of messages that are used by government agencies and non-government organizations to convey the benefits of switching and the ongoing risk associated with e-cigarette use. Results indicate that a suggestion of health benefits from exclusive use of e-cigarettes was met with skepticism from users of e-cigarettes and combustible cigarettes, and generated confusion about what these benefits were. Messages suggesting that individuals who have switched to e-cigarettes should not switch back to combustible cigarettes elicited the strongest statements of doubt and mistrust among focus group participants, regardless of smoking status. Participants representing all smoking profiles agreed with the message suggesting that switching from combustible cigarettes to e-cigarettes still exposes the user to ongoing health risks. Focus group discussions suggest that adult smokers may not interpret nuanced messages about harm reduction in a way that will encourage switching behavior.

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