Melissa Tully

Melissa Tully
University of Iowa | UI · School of Journalism and Mass Communication

PhD

About

62
Publications
19,023
Reads
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1,163
Citations
Introduction
Melissa Tully currently works in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Iowa. Her current project is 'Examining the Effectiveness of Embedding News Media Literacy Messages in a News Aggregator.'
Additional affiliations
July 2018 - present
University of Iowa
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
August 2011 - June 2018
University of Iowa
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
Education
September 2007 - August 2011
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Field of study
  • Mass Communication

Publications

Publications (62)
Article
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Drawing on technology adoption research, particularly diffusion of innovations, this article analyzes organizational adoption decisions of a new ICT by organizations in Nairobi, Kenya. Through a multi-case study and interviews with potential adopters, this research assesses the influence of perceived innovation attributes on adoption decisions rega...
Article
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Partisans are poor judges of news content, rating neutral content as biased against their views (the hostile media perception) and forgiving biased content when it favors their side. This study tests whether a short news media literacy public service announcement appearing before political programming can influence credibility and hostility ratings...
Article
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This research analyzes a peace-media initiative in Kenya designed to promote conflict resolution and reconciliation in the months following the 2007 post-election violence. This multifaceted intervention featured a 19-episode television talk show that aired in Kenya for six months; a series of open-air screenings of the show; and workshops held in...
Article
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In 2010, Kenya's first internet meme arrived in the form of a vigilante named Makmende, the action-hero-inspired protagonist of a music video. Within days of the video's release, fans started creating Makmende tales, videos, and artwork, and circulating these works online. In this article, we analyze the Makmende phenomenon to understand why this v...
Article
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This study explores the role of political information seeking on social media and perceived exposure to misinformation in influencing online political engagement. A survey investigation of three Sub-Saharan African countries (Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa) suggests that both information seeking and perceived exposure to misinformation are positi...
Article
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This study uses computational methods to provide a comprehensive analysis of geographic distribution of journal authorship in the field of communication. Using the Scimago Journal & Country Rank (SJR) database, we collected data on publications appearing in 400 communication journals between 1990 and 2019. Our findings demonstrate a proportionate d...
Chapter
A growing body of work is focused on understanding audiences' engagement with various forms of misinformation that they encounter online. This chapter examines responses to misinformation in Kenya. It provides some background for understanding the misinformation context in Kenya. The chapter explores the Kenyan government's response to misinformati...
Article
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While research on misinformation in Africa has increased in recent years, and despite a growing body of theoretical and empirical work that considers the role of governments, platforms, and users in stopping misinformation globally, there is still a lack of empirical research addressing ways to curb its spread on the continent. Research has coalesc...
Article
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It is often assumed that media literacy serves to protect and uphold democratic practice and that media literate citizens are the best safeguards for democracy. However, little attention is paid to defining this practice and its relationship to ongoing inequities within democratic societies. In this essay, we argue media literacy operates from thre...
Article
A growing body of work in journalism studies focuses on understanding audiences’ relationship with news and misinformation. This article adds to this area of inquiry by exploring Kenyans’ experiences with news and (mis)information in their everyday lives, how they use traditional and social media to meet their information needs, and how they naviga...
Article
Given concerns about the persuasive power of video misinformation on social media for health topics, we test two techniques – exposure to a news literacy video and user corrections – to limit the effects on misperceptions. An online sample of American adults from August of 2019 was randomly assigned to view two simulated Facebook videos. The first...
Article
Interest in news literacy inside and outside the academy has grown alongside related concerns about the quality of news and information available. Attempts to fully define, explicate and operationalize news literacy, however, are scattered. Drawing on literature across journalism and mass communication, we propose a definition of news literacy that...
Article
Kenya’s M-Pesa has arguably become the most recognizable symbol of mobile money globally. The success of M-Pesa can be partially attributed to Safaricom’s continuous product innovation. However, few studies have examined the role of M-Pesa employees (called agents) in the adaptation of M-Pesa. To address this gap, we explore the role of M-Pesa agen...
Article
In most African countries, “fake news,” politically motivated disinformation, and misinformation in the media were common occurrences before these became a preoccupation in the Global North. However, with a fast-growing population of mobile users, and the popularization of apps such as WhatsApp, misinformation has become much more pervasive across...
Article
Full-text available
In most African countries, "fake news," politically motivated disinformation, and misinformation in the media were common occurrences before these became a preoccupation in the Global North. However, with a fast-growing population of mobile users, and the popularization of apps such as WhatsApp, misinformation has become much Motivations for Sharin...
Article
Full-text available
In most African countries, "fake news," politically motivated disinformation, and misinformation in the media were common occurrences before these became a preoccupation in the Global North. However, with a fast-growing population of mobile users, and the popularization of apps such as WhatsApp, misinformation has become much Motivations for Sharin...
Article
We experimentally test whether expert organizations on social media can correct misperceptions of the scientific consensus on the safety of genetically modified (GM) food for human consumption, as well as what role social media cues, in the form of “likes,” play in that process. We find expert organizations highlighting scientific consensus on GM f...
Article
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Misinformation spreads on social media when users engage with it, but users can also respond to correct it. Using an experimental design, we examine how exposure to misinformation and correction on Twitter about unpasteurized milk affects participants’ likelihood of responding to the misinformation, and we code open-ended responses to see what part...
Article
Cyberbullying is a major health concern for today's youth and a pervasive stressor for adolescents and their families. This study offers qualitative insights into how parents perceive their children's technology use and engagement in cyberbullying based on gender. Eight focus groups were conducted with 48 parents of adolescents ages 10–17. Findings...
Article
Despite renewed interest in news literacy (NL) as a way to combat mis- and dis-information, existing scholarship is plagued by insufficient theory building and inadequate conceptualization of both “NL” and its application. We address this concern by offering a concise definition of NL and suggest five key knowledge and skill domains that comprise t...
Article
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The World Health Organization has declared that misinformation shared on social media about Covid-19 is an “infodemic” that must be fought alongside the pandemic itself. We reflect on how news literacy and science literacy can provide a foundation to combat misinformation about Covid-19 by giving social media users the tools to identify, consume, a...
Article
Media coverage of influencer marketing abounds with ethical questions about this emerging industry. Much of this coverage assumes influencers operate without an ethical framework and many social media personalities skirt around the edges of legal guidelines. Our study starts from the premise that influencer marketing is not inherently unethical but...
Article
A number of solutions have been proposed to address concerns about misinformation online, including encouraging experts to engage in corrections of misinformation being shared and improving media literacy among the American public. This study combines these approaches to examine whether news literacy (NL) messages on social media enhance the effect...
Article
In March 2018, British and American news outlets published extensive reporting on Cambridge Analytica’s (CA) ethically and legally questionable activities in political campaigns around the world. This reporting primarily focused on three issues: data privacy and protection, unethical political campaigning on social media, and foreign involvement in...
Article
This study investigates the site of intersection between legacy and social media, whereby it asks how local legacy media (St Louis Post-Dispatch and Richmond Times-Dispatch) invoked social media (Facebook and Twitter) discourse within their coverage of the Ferguson (2014) and Charlottesville (2017) events. It thus explores how gatekeeping is manife...
Article
Amid growing concerns about misinformation on social media, scholars, educators, and commentators see news literacy as a means to improve critical media consumption. We use a nationally-representative sample to investigate the relationship between news literacy (NL), seeing and posting news and political content on social media, and skepticism towa...
Article
As concerns grow about the spread of misinformation through social media, scholars have called for improving the public’s media literacy as a potential solution. This study examines the effectiveness of deploying news literacy (NL) messages on social media by testing whether NL tweets are able to affect perceptions of information credibility and NL...
Article
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This study examines the relationship between travel influencers (e.g., bloggers and social media personalities) and destination marketers within the changing travel and tourism industry. Through in-depth interviews, observations, and document analysis, we explore the tensions between travel influencers and destination marketers that shape the way t...
Article
We examined whether news media literacy (NML) messages attenuate selective exposure and avoidance. One week before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, participants were randomly assigned to see a NML video advertisement before entering a simulated news aggregation website where behaviors were unobtrusively tracked. For three of the four NML messag...
Article
Parent involvement is considered essential to preventing cyberbullying, yet little is known about how parents respond to cyberbullying when it occurs. With this in mind, this study uses data from focus groups with parents (n = 48) to examine their responses to hypothetical cyberbullying scenarios in which their child is presented as a victim, aggre...
Article
Despite the importance of news exposure to political outcomes, news consumption is notoriously difficult to measure, and misreporting news exposure is common. In this study, we compare participants’ news behaviors measured on a news aggregator website with their self-reported story selection immediately after exposure. We find that both individual...
Article
This study investigates how nonprofit organizations use hyperlinks embedded in tweets for strategic communication during global health crises. Within the 1,494 links included in tweets about Ebola, organizations shared owned and earned media, including news stories directly or indirectly referencing their work and positive mentions from others on s...
Article
Drawing on interviews with a diverse group of adults living in the United States, this study examines news media literacy and how perceptions of personal bias and news bias affect news choices and interpretation in general and evaluation of two news stories specifically. Findings suggest that while people recognize that their worldviews shape their...
Article
The state of teen childbearing in Iowa (USA) is positioned by community leaders as a discursive battleground for intervention. In 2015 meetings with community stakeholders, participants framed ‘culture’ (which they defined as ethnicity and religion) as a barrier in decreasing the state’s teen pregnancy rate and increasing girls’ economic self-suffi...
Article
This in-depth case study examines attempts to transform a traditional newsroom to one oriented around civic journalism principles, offering a unique look at the resistance toward those principles even in a digital environment that facilitates new audience relationships. Civic journalism emphasizes understanding and addressing community concerns fro...
Article
Developing news media literacy skills is recognized as an important part of becoming an informed citizen, but not enough research examines how growth in media literacy differs by individual characteristics. Using a panel study of undergraduate students, we examine which predispositions predict growth in news media literacy beliefs over the semester...
Article
Social isolation is a problem facing many older women. Isolation can contribute to poor health as adults age without social support. Increased and tailored communication offers service organizations more opportunities to provide social support to these adults. This research examines perceptions of aging to explore communication behaviors, barriers,...
Article
Book review: http://itidjournal.org/index.php/itid/article/view/1608/571
Article
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Although Twitter chats and other forms of social media engagement events are idealized in the literature as opportunities for dialogic communication between organizations and individuals, less is known about how engagement is operationalized within these spaces. Using textual and content analysis, we conducted two studies to explore how health orga...
Article
This research analyses Safaricom, one of the most established mobile operators in Kenya. Alongside the provision of mobile services, Safaricom has closely engaged with the government of Kenya, even getting involved in the nation’s politics. This study examines Safaricom’s advertisements from 2010-2014 to explore its use of national sentiment in its...
Article
Moving media literacy messages out of the classroom and onto the Internet, where much news consumption happens, offers an opportunity to extend media literacy education to a wider public. However, in doing so it becomes important to consider how the context in which such messages are seen conditions their impact on media literacy attitudes and know...
Article
Background: Schools are often held responsible for preventing or addressing cyberbullying, yet little is known about school administrator perceptions of cyberbullying and the challenges they face in addressing this public health issue. Aims: The goal of this study is to examine school administrators' perceptions of the facilitators of cyberbully...
Article
In an evolving news environment, our understanding and application of ?news media literacy? must also evolve to equip individuals with the skills to critically engage with news and participate in public life. Using an experimental design, this study tests different news media literacy messages to determine whether certain messages appeal to some gr...
Article
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Trust in many government organizations is low, creating a challenging environment for communication during outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases, like Ebola. In a thematic analysis of 1,010 tweets and four Twitter chats during the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, we found that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasized organizational co...
Article
This research analyzes Uongozi, a massive multimodal civic education campaign that culminated in the Uongozi reality television show, situating the campaign within its socio-political context. Our analysis suggests that Uongozi framed and promoted a version of leadership that is tied to an idealized progressive, youth leader despite the lack of qua...
Article
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In this study, we test the effectiveness of a short news media literacy message with audiences who differ in their media literacy education. We manipulate whether individuals are exposed to a news media literacy public service announcement (PSA) immediately before viewing a political program among two groups: students enrolled in media education co...
Article
Diffusion of innovations theory typically has been applied to the spread of a particular technology or practice rather than the interplay of a cluster of innovations. This case study of a news company undergoing significant change seeks to offer a deeper understanding of multi-faceted industry upheaval by considering the diffusion of three interdep...
Article
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Measuring news media literacy is important in order for it to thrive in a variety of educational and civic contexts. This research builds on existing measures of news media literacy and two new scales are presented that measure self-perceived media literacy (SPML) and perceptions of the value of media literacy (VML). Research with a larger sample o...
Article
Rapid change in the news industry and the prevalence of layoffs, buyouts, and closings have led many newsworkers to experience job insecurity and worry about their long-term futures in journalism. Our research uses a case study of employees at an independently owned media company in the United States to explore the various ways newsworkers respond...
Article
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This article examines an entertainment-education program, The Team, which began airing in Kenya after the 2007–2008 postelection violence. The show promotes cooperation and national unity among Kenyans through the metaphor of Kenya as a football (soccer) team. The focus of this article is twofold: viewers’ identification with and reaction to certai...
Article
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Through an analysis of popular Kenyan hashtags on Twitter, we argue that everyday leisure and entertainment practices interact with development and civic engagement in Kenya. This research draws from participation in the Kenyan Twittersphere, analysis of spaces created by hashtags, and fieldwork conducted in Nairobi between 2009 and 2012. Through h...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this chapter, Tully investigates social media communication surrounding a deadly bomb explosion and an unrelated bomb scare that occurred in Nairobi, Kenya within three days of each other in 2010. The chapter reports that although these two bombing incidents had very different outcomes, the reaction on social media followed similar communication...
Article
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This study tests the proposition that hostile interpretations of media content can be reduced through news media literacy training. Within the context of the controversy over the adoption of biofuels as an energy source, we employ a web-based experimental design that manipulates subjects’ exposure to media literacy training and then presents them w...
Article
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Researchers found those exposed to a media literacy presentation were less likely to perceive a story on a controversial issue to be biased.
Article
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The Internet in Africa has generated a lively debate in the popular press and among commentators about what its growth will mean for Africa and its people. Through indepth interviews and observations, we consider one aspect of Internet practice in Africa: how use of the Internet for making friends and dating allows young, urban Ghanaians to craft l...

Projects

Projects (2)
Project
This project will examine how news media literacy messages that promote critical thinking and encourage thoughtful engagement with news can be embedded in everyday media consumption online. Media literacy education promotes understanding of how the media operate, media contexts, and media effects. News media literacy focuses on news-making processes, encourages audiences to be critical news consumers, and emphasizes the importance of news to a functioning democracy. We plan to test the effectiveness of different news media literacy messages that focus on complementary yet discrete components of successful news media literacy education through exposure to public service announcement (PSA) messages in a simulated news aggregator context to mirror real-life online news consumption. This project fills a gap in existing research by testing media literacy messages embedded in social-news contexts, where much news consumption occurs. This research will have an impact on media literacy education, research, and practice, as the findings will shed light on the effectiveness of news media literacy messages embedded in online contexts to encourage critical news consumption.