Communications professor David Painter recently attended the Association for Educators in Journalism and Mass Communication conference of more than 2,000 higher-education faculty and graduate students in Washington, D.C.
Painter won the second-place faculty paper award in the political communication division with his paper, “They’re Not ‘Just’ Words: The Verbal Style of Televised U.S. Presidential Debates.” This paper describes a longitudinal content analysis of 138 primary and general election debates between 1960 and 2016, offering analysis of the differences in the verbal style of debate rhetoric between primary and general election debates, between Republican and Democratic candidates, and across the six decades of debates. The results suggest that general election debate rhetoric is more certain, optimistic, and more focused on everyday matters that affect people’s lives than general election debates.
Additionally, Painter presented another paper with Alison Kubala ’18 and fellow communications professor Sarah Parsloe entitled “Playing Doctor on TV: Physician Portrayals and Interactions on Medical Drama, Comedy, and Reality Shows,” which developed as a result of a research project through the Student Faculty Collaborative Scholarship Program in summer 2017. This paper analyzes the portrayal of television doctors’ demographic characteristics (ethnicity, age, nationality), behaviors (unprofessionalism and struggles with work-life balance), and patient-provider communications on a comedy (Scrubs), drama (Grey’s Anatomy), and a reality show (New York Med). This project was the first to analyze a medical comedy, and it was also the first to analyze television shows by scene instead of by episode in order to account for the time each character was shown on screen.
“I was extremely proud to watch Alison, one of Rollins’ top 2018 graduates, present our research at the national conference for college communication educators,” says Painter. “I was also very honored to be awarded the second-place faculty paper award from this group of highly esteemed scholars representing from across the country.”