Journalism students, faculty to present research at national conference

Jan 21, 2011 | General News, Liberal Arts

Three students and two faculty members in the journalism department at Louisiana Tech University have been accepted to present research at the 2011 Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference to be held in San Antonio in April.
Dr. Beth Barfoot Christian, an assistant professor of journalism, will present “Death in the Digital Age: Why Michael Jackson is Worth More Dead Than Alive,” which includes research from her book Rock Brands: Selling Sound in a Media Saturated Culture, published in December by Lexington Books, a division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishing.  The research examines how the Internet and Michael Jackson’s untimely death jump started a flailing year in music sales and how social media served as a global gathering place of mourning and remembrance — and created a way to keep Jackson alive forever.
Judith Roberts, instructor of journalism, and Kelly Belton, a junior journalism and political science major, will present “WikiLeaks, Transparency and Validation: How Social Media and Instant Access to Information is Changing How People Receive and Process Information.”  Christian will also be assisting on the research for this paper.
This paper will use WikiLeaks as the research example and examine what accessibility of previously unavailable or in some cases classified information means to transparency in our culture.
Patrick Boyd, a sophomore journalism and English major, will present research titled “Far From Home: The Dixie Chicks and the Radicalization of the Country Music Industry,” which explores the rebranding of the band after controversial comments nearly ended the group’s career.  While much has been written about the devastation the Dixie Chicks suffered as a country band, little has been done about the positive effects from moving to the mainstream and reinventing themselves outside of country.
And Justin Fort, a junior journalism and political science major, will present “Philanthropic Billionaires Pay It Forward.”  This research investigates the rise of “caring capitalism” with the creation of the Giving Pledge, a group created by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett last year to encourage the world’s richest to do social good.
“It is an honor to be selected to present at this prestigious national conference and I am proud to say that the journalism department at Louisiana Tech is well-represented,” said Dr. Reginald Owens, head of the journalism department. “The student and faculty research topics are indicative of the journalism department’s focus on the study of cutting edge social media and technology issues. This emphasis on new media is critical in our effort to prepare students for today’s rapidly changing media landscape.”