Course Director David Painter Honored for His Political Campaign Research

Course Director David Painter Honored for His Political Campaign Research

Thousands of college professors, students, and media professionals meet annually for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference (AEJMC), where they attend industry panels, share their journalism, public relations, and advertising research, and discuss their work in the classroom.

At this year’s conference in Montreal, Full Sail’s own Public Relations/New Media Journalism Course Director David Painter won the Top Faculty Paper Award in the Political Communication category. His paper – “Ad Tone and Political Talk in Campaign 2012: Information Efficacy and the Election’s Silence” – was the result of more than five years of research about the social media campaigns and advertising strategies behind political elections. It beat out dozens of other academic papers from scholars and universities around the world.

David’s paper summarizes an experiment he conducted during the 2012 presidential election to determine how campaign ads affected young citizens’ voter turnout. What he found was that people who watched campaign ads (both negative and positive ones) and talked about those ads with friends or via social media were more confident in their ability to participate in politics in an informed manner. So, if a political ad was getting someone to interact by commenting on a video or liking a status on Facebook, that person was more likely to get out and vote come election day.

“Watching television is a social process for most people, who are either in the company of other people or are connected to their social networks through mobile devices [while watching],” says David. “This social viewing process, in addition to the availability of both pro and con information about both candidates, is at least a partial explanation for the relatively large turnout of young voters, who have been a decisive force in both the 2008 and 2012 elections.”

The purpose of David’s study was to analyze and suggest ways that political groups can engage young citizens politically by facilitating their information-seeking and deliberative behaviors – both online and offline. David shared his paper during this year’s conference, along with accepting the Top Faculty Paper Award honor.

“Winning the Top Faculty Paper Award was an honor both for me personally and for Full Sail,” says David. “This recognition begins to establish Full Sail as a university on the cutting edge of media scholarship and academic research.”

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