Communication Student's Research Takes Award at 2012 Expo

April 20, 2012

A Department of Communication student's study on news coverage of the Arab Spring received one of the top awards at the Bradley University 2012 Student Scholarship Exposition on Thursday.

Amy Greiner's study "Facebook Revolutions: Transitions in the Arab World, Transitions in Media Coverage?" was awarded an Honorable Mention Award in the Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts area of knowledge.

Greiner, a senior Public Relations student, collaborated with faculty mentors Dr. Maha Bashri and Dr. Sara Netzley, both from the Department of Communication, on a content analysis that examined how CNN online and Al-Jazeera English online covered the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt through their use of journalistic sources and channels.

The three women conducted a content analysis that examined a total of 941 sources in 70 news stories from the two outlets. Findings show that CNN resorted to the use of American officials and routine channels, such as press conferences, to report on the uprisings. In comparison, Al-Jazeera English mostly used original interviews with Tunisian and Egyptian citizen sources.

Greiner said she benefitted immensely from her collaboration with Bashri and Netzley

"The research I worked on helped me clarify my career interests and goals by acquiring new knowledge in my academic field that surpasses classroom study. Being a student working with faculty members gives me a cutting edge because I was given the opportunity to work on a more advanced level," she said.

Bashri is pleased that Greiner was able to work on a study that has practical, real-world implications that people can relate to.

"It recognizes the importance of the events in that part of the world. It recognizes the people who died and continued to die in that part of the world," Bashri said.  "Media coverage influences foreign policy here. It gets people mobilized to actually push their government to do something. And for Amy to be able to explain the importance of all of this and for the judges to actually be on the same page was phenomenal."