Nicole Smith Dahmen's research while affiliated with University of Oregon and other places

Publications (40)

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One measure of success for investigative reporting is impact: Did the story lead to any sort of outcome, from public awareness and dialogue to meaningful policy change? While investigative reporting is historically impact-oriented, there is a dearth of academic scholarship as to what journalists seek and expect when it comes to generating impact. U...
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Academic debate exists regarding the actual power that images possess to create journalistic impact—or outcomes of reporting. While there is a growing body of research on journalistic impact, it is an underexplored research area, and there are no known studies specifically bringing together journalistic impact research with photojournalism literatu...
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Applying person perception theory, this research uses quantitative content analysis to analyze 1,183 newspaper photographs of the two leading candidates from the 2016 presidential election. Study findings show that there were statistically significant differences in the photographic presentations of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the 2016 elec...
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Graphic and gut-wrenching images of death, violence, and pain fill our news media, despite debate about their effect on audiences and their potential to harm their subjects. This research uses in-depth interviews with photojournalists to explore the decision-making process and ethical considerations involved in capturing and publishing such images....
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The “gap” between journalist and audience expectations could be one reason why news media credibility is generally low. Journalistic expectations are often explored through analysis of the news worker’s role in society. One understudied topic in roles literature is perceptions of newer contextual reporting roles that consider society’s best interes...
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Solutions journalism, which is defined as rigorous and fact-driven news stories that include responses to social problems, has gained momentum in U.S. newsrooms. To date, research on this journalistic practice is scant, and has primarily focused on text. This study synthesized literature about solutions journalism, visual communication theory, and...
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Lack of trust is a paramount problem facing journalism. Solutions reporting, which focuses on credible responses to societal problems, could help improve news trust. In addition, narrative journalism has been associated with several positive outcomes. This study tested the novel idea that solutions stories and narrative transportation can positivel...
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Restorative narrative, a recently termed contextual news form, reports on the responses of communities and individuals in the wake of traumatic events or systemic dysfunction. Through textual analysis of restorative narrative reporting and in-depth interviews with the corresponding journalists, this research seeks to understand how restorative narr...
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Investigative reporting identifies social problems and names people in power who should be held accountable. Solutions journalism is an evidence-based reporting approach that covers credible responses to social problems. To consider these reporting approaches in tandem, this research uses a quantitative content analysis to examine both investigativ...
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Science museums are missing an opportunity to promote informal education, scientific literacy, public engagement and public visibility of scientists outside of museum walls via Instagram. With an analysis of 1,073 Instagram posts, we show that museums are using Instagram as a promotional broadcasting tool, with a focus on end results of collections...
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An increasing number of news organizations are reporting stories about responses to persistent societal problems, a reporting form known as solutions journalism. While this type of reporting practice is typically text-based, visual reporting can also be solutions journalism. Photojournalism theory and practice pose particular insights for advancing...
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Iconic images are those that rise to the forefront of our collective, visual public consciousness to become the defining, enduring image of an event: a naked Vietnamese girl screaming out in pain following a napalm attack, U.S. Marines raising the American flag at Iwo Jima, and a German dirigible engulfed in flames and falling to the ground. Iconic...
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This research uses national survey data from 727 Anglo individuals and 274 Hispanics and African Americans to examine racial differences in pro-environmental inclinations, after controlling for demographic factors. Findings disconfirm conventional wisdom about racial/ethnic minorities being less concerned about environmental and sustainability issu...
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Given the intense news coverage that mass shootings receive and recent findings on contagion effects, it is important to examine how news media organizations cover these crimes. While reporting the “who” of news is a standard journalistic practice, there is growing debate regarding the extent to which the perpetrators of mass shootings should be na...
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A recent news image – that of a drowned 3-year-old Syrian boy washed ashore on the Turkish coast as a result of refugees fleeing the ongoing war in Syria – resonated with international audiences and world leaders, becoming a seeming catalyst for action. But, as time has shown, the effect was short-lived. Through survey data, this research explores...
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Through surveys and in-depth interviews with members of the White House News Photographers Association, this study indicates that visual journalists understand the value of the watchdog role and that current White House practices interfere with this critical function. Limiting news media access and attempting to control the visual narrative undermi...
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This longitudinal research uses content analysis and survey data to consider both news media presentation and audience interpretation of images from the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina within the theoretical frameworks of iconic imagery and commemorative journalism. The data show that imagery themes, rather than select images, are remember...
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Contextual journalism calls for depth of news reporting rather than “just the facts.” A national survey of local television (TV) journalists indicated the increasing popularity of this more comprehensive reporting form. Although news sociologists contend that local TV routines facilitate the production of quick, less substantive stories, TV respond...
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Photojournalists assigned to the White House strive to provide an independent record of the president. Each presidential administration determines whether and how photojournalists may receive access to photograph the president. Narratives from professional organizations and interviews of photojournalists reveal that photojournalists' access to each...
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Using data from a national survey of US newspaper journalists (N = 1318), this study examines attitudes toward news coverage of mass shootings. Following Shoemaker and Reese’s hierarchical model, the analysis also considers how individual characteristics, journalistic practices, and organizational factors influence these attitudes. Participants gen...
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A survey (N = 1318) evaluated US newspaper journalists’ attitudes toward contextual reporting – stories that go beyond the immediacy of the news and contribute to societal well-being. Results indicated that journalists highly value professional roles associated with contextual reporting. Responses revealed new journalistic role functions, including...
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Aesthetic theory considers the reciprocal relationship between the creator, the object, and the viewer of an artwork. When viewing artworks on a museum website, a new element is added to the aesthetic model: the mass-mediated representation of the art object. This research brings together art and media theory, as well as technological understanding...
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An analysis of 901 photographs from newspaper front-page coverage of the 50-year anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination shows 29 percent of photos represent remembrance, such as Kennedy’s grave and the eternal flame. Although the assassination, itself, is clearly present, photographs are not highly-graphic in nature.
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A recently labeled genre of journalistic storytelling, termed “restorative narratives,” intends to cover the story beyond the immediacy of the breaking news, and in doing so, to help individuals and communities move forward in the wake of large-impact events. Specifically, this research emphasizes visual reporting, which functions both effectively...
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This research examines photographs of candidates in the 2012 presidential general election to understand how newspapers presented Obama and Romney. Significant differences existed in regard to behavior, context and perspective, but photo coverage was balanced on the whole.
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In late Spring 2014, Joni Ernst was a relatively unknown name in Iowa (Rucker & Balz, 2014). Then she released a provocative ad that immediately went viral, propelling her to the top of the Republican primary and to an eventual victory in the Iowa Senate race. The “squeal” ad became the talk of cable news and was viewed nearly 4,000 times on YouTub...
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As mass communication scholars and educators, we should be greatly concerned about how we teach ethics to our students. This research posits improving the quality of mass communication education with the intention of producing top-notch journalists who are dedicated to raising the credibility of the profession. Specifically, the research assesses t...
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Media gatekeeping has been a critical theoretical tenet in the formation of iconic images. Traditionally, news photographs became iconic, in large part, through their prominent placement on elite newspaper front pages. But as we move away rapidly from print news towards a digital news environment, what is the effect on this traditional tenet of ico...
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One of the longest-running ethical debates in visual journalism is the extent to which graphic and/or violent photographs should be present in our news media. The current research is designed to elicit further understanding about this complex topic from a framing effects perspective. The research uses a 2 (level of graphicness) × 3 (story topic) ex...
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This analysis of 170 photos published in print newspapers on the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center shows how newspapers visually framed the observation as a story of a somber remembrance. Images of the physical site prevailed.
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A growing body of research examines media framing of key scientific issues of our time, specifically, those issues that include political and moral components, such as global climate change and stem cell research. In regard to the mass media, framing refers to the process by which the media organize and make sense of the news, which has an effect o...
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Hurricane Katrina was a natural disaster of cataclysmic proportions. The images of such devastation were unprecedented and unforgettable. Using both content analysis and survey data, the current research takes a longitudinal approach to understanding the most memorable images of Hurricane Katrina in order to determine iconicity. We conclude that me...
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Full-text available
This 2 × 3 experiment investigated the impact of Web-based political campaigns on viewers. Three distinct sites were created as stimuli: the first is positive about the feature candidate, the second is negative toward his or her opponent, and the third contains both positive and negative messages. Subjects viewed identical Web sites sponsored by th...
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A recent case in the United States has called into question the value that we, societally speaking, place on truth. This research attempts to understand how an audience of reasonable persons—opinion and editorial writers—reacted to and subsequently framed truth in the James Frey case. The editorial pages provide a place with which to begin public d...
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Although framing studies traditionally focus on text, this study examines news photographs of stem cell research. Based on the ability of the media to set the public agenda, and given the fact that stem cell research provokes such vehement debate, it is crucial that we have a clear understanding of how the media frame stem cell research. For both n...
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When pictures become journalistic, historical, and popular icons, there is a common belief that they also have a single, usable meaning, and media, political, and academic elites typically determine it. Yet, research on how people interpret images suggests that believing is seeing: Pre-existing prejudices and experiences affect what meanings we dra...

Citations

... There is wide recognition of visuals' ability to help readers make sense of complex information that would be difficult to grasp otherwise, especially that of infographics (see Coleman, 2010;Dan, 2018c). Moreover, visuals can put a face on a story that would otherwise be difficult to tell in an engaging way, as "agents for change" that might touch audiences and readers emotionally (see Dan, 2018a;Dahmen, Miller, & Walth, 2021). The headlines and captions surrounding such visuals act as "handles," helping readers "reenter the space of the photograph" (Berger, 1992, p. 14). ...
... The variable Image Management has been analyzed by looking at the presence and absence of the political leaders. Although this kind of examination is useful and provides interesting results, it would be important to examine other aspects of nonverbal behavior such as facial expressions and activity (Dahmen, 2020). The analysis of the number of likes and shares gives a general idea about audience reactions in connection to specific strategies, but it does not offer definitive answers about what the people actually think about the verbal and nonverbal elements. ...
... Visual images in the media can generate recall, serve as iconic exemplars for events, create an esthetic impact, or exert emotional and/or political power (Domke, Perlmutter, & Spratt, 2002;Spratt, Peterson, & Lagos, 2005). Photojournalism research has examined the role of photojournalists in editorial decision making (Fahmy & Wanta, 2007), the recording and dissemination of graphic imagery (Miller & Dahmen, 2020;Perlmutter & Wagner, 2004), and the ability of news photography to evoke emotions (Pfau et al., 2006;Zillman et al., 1999). Visual framing research has often analyzed specific news events to determine how those events were represented visually. ...
... Willnat, Weaver, and Wilhoit (2017, 425) found that, while journalists are more likely to think 'providing analysis of complex problems' and discussing national and international policy are important, the public is more likely to prefer direct, less-interpreted information. This finding is in line with Abdenour, McIntyre, and Dahmen (2020), who found that average citizens were significantly less likely than journalists to say that a fundamental role of journalism is to provide analysis of complex problems. ...
... Several decades of newsroom cost-cutting have led to major reductions in international newsgathering resources at U.S. news outlets [25] while also greatly reducing policy coverage and instead focusing on political competition and strategy [26,27]. There are commendable efforts underway to reverse this trend such as the solutions journalism movement [28][29][30]. We believe that international policy comparison news is a particularly promising form of solutions journalism. ...
... Also, it is unclear how different ways of reporting news in journalism relate to the impact of media and political trust on news avoidance. Previous research shows that the communication style in journalism has an effect on trust in politicians (Otto & Maier, 2016) as well as trust in news (Thier et al., 2021). It might be the case that tabloid journalism, including strong dramatization of the topic, lowers trust in news and the government in times of the pandemic and thereby indirectly increases news avoidance. ...
... While public apathy is the primary concern of critics discussing compassion fatigue, journalists' frustrations with the limitations of routine reporting are also nothing new nor resolved, evidenced by the frequency with which Moeller continues to appear in modern scholarship (Dahmen et al. 2019, Irawanto 2018, Wahl-Jorgensen 2019. In both broadcast and print journalism, this emerged in the form of "parachute" and "voice-over journalism," where writers are tasked with reporting with confidence on stories they know little about in places they have never been, becoming "parachutists" who are "trained in crisis, not countries" (Hess cited in Moeller 1994, 26-27). ...
... When communicating a crisis such as a natural disaster or the COVID-19 pandemic, constructive journalism suggests making use of restorative narratives (McIntyre & Gyldensted, 2017). Restorative narratives are a subtype of constructive journalism and include a shift of perspective in the coverage of negative events from suffering and tragedy to recovery and resilience (Dahmen, 2019). By focusing on coping strategies and the progress made by people who have to cope with dramatic events, restorative narratives have been shown to evoke more positive emotions and less apathy in news consumers compared with the negative narratives usually applied in crisis communication . ...
... Eine systematische Literaturanalyse zur Verwendung des Begriff Storytelling verdeutlicht, dass der Begriff als Deckmantel für zahlreiche Umsetzungsformen dient: Hierzu zählen die Konzepte des "narrativen Journalismus" (Neveu, 2014;van Krieken & Sanders, 2017) und "slow journalism" (Ball, 2016;Dowling, 2016;Le Masurier, 2016) ebenso wie "literary journalism" (Jacobson et al., 2016;Morton, 2016) und "longform journalism" (Dowling & Vogan, 2015;Hiippala, 2017;Tulloch & Ramon, 2017;Wolf & Godulla, 2016). Auch "solutions journalism" (Walth et al., 2019) und "feature journalism" (Steensen, 2009) dienen dem strategischen, (multimedialen) Erzählen einer Geschichte und stehen somit im Zusammenhang mit Storytelling. ...
... No estudo do diagnóstico bucal, mídias sociais mais visuais, como o Instagram, ganham evidência. O Instagram é uma rede social voltada ao compartilhamento de imagens e vídeos projetada principalmente para uso em dispositivos móveis (Jarreau et al., 2019). Segundo o site Statista (2022), a plataforma atingiu a marca de 2 bilhões de usuários ativos em todo o mundo em dezembro de 2021, provando ser uma ferramenta promissora e em crescente aderência. ...