Graduate students to represent Baylor at journalism conference

By Julia Vergara | Staff Writer

Baylor’s journalism, public relations and new media (JPRNM) graduate program will be sending its highest number of representatives to the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Midwinter Conference.

The conference will take place Friday and Saturday at the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez, graduate program director, said four graduate students have been accepted to present their research at the conference, two will serve as moderators and she will serve as a discussant for the Minorities in Communication Division.

“I’m very pleased with the work that our students are turning out,” Moody-Ramirez said. “I’m excited that we have students who are interested in submitting their work and interested in presenting.”

Moody-Ramirez said the Midwinter Conference serves as a preliminary to a larger AEJMC Conference, which will be held at Washington D.C. in the summer. The Midwinter Conference provides an opportunity for graduate students to receive feedback on their papers and presentations so they can refine their work before submitting it to the summer conference.

Moody-Ramirez said the research papers accepted to the Midwinter Conference were projects that students worked on in two of her classes — gender, race and media and mass media theory.

“In those two courses, students are required to write a research paper and in the theory class, they’re required to actually submit it to AEJMC Midwinter,” Moody-Ramirez said. “All of the ones that were accepted — those were projects that they worked on in my class.”

Grandbury graduate student Carlye Thornton said her accepted paper is called “Girls Just Wanna Work: A Content Analysis Regarding the Occupational Development of Females on Modern-Day Television Shows.”

For her research, Thornton looked at two TV shows that had women as the lead or secondary role and examined their on-screen time in their workplace.

“I realized that they were focusing on the mom aspect, or this dramatic 20-year-old going through life,” Thornton said. “No one was really focusing on the workplace environment and I think that’s really important in this day and age. Women are trying to solidify themselves as professionals and I think it’s important that modern TV reflects that.”

Holland, Mich., graduate student Mayra Monroy said her accepted paper is called “Fighting the Wall of Misrepresentation: A Study of Latino Representation in Popular Media.”

Monroy said as an individual with a Hispanic background, she did not see herself reflected in TV shows a lot while she was growing up. Now, her younger sister is in the exact same situation.

Monroy said she came up with the idea for her research while she was watching the movie “Selena” with her sister.

“She [her sister] was just blown away about this musician — basically Queen of Tejano music,” Monroy said. “And I was just like, ‘Oh well this is interesting to see how Latinos are represented in media.’ So I just decided to look at Latino representation in this ever-changing field.”

Other accepted JPRNM papers include “Uninformed Diversity: Analysis of Twitter Response to Trump’s Ban on Transgender in Military Service” and “Disaster Memes: A Thematic Study of Social Media Content in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey” — both by Andrew Church, as well as “Framing ISIS: A Comparative Analysis of Time and Newsweek Magazines” by Abbey Little.

Thornton said the graduate students had to submit an abstract in order to apply for the Midwinter Conference. An abstract typically includes an introduction, the inspiration for the research, a lit review — an overview of previous studies that are relative to the applicant’s research, preliminary findings and conclusions.

Monroy said this will be her second time attending the Midwinter Conference. Last year, only one other graduate student attended the conference with her. This year, three other graduate students will be attending the conference with her.

“We’re fortunate because we have some graduate students who are very strong in research and writing,” Moody-Ramirez said. “I think we’re probably going to continue to see this trend of our students presenting their work at the conference.”