Faculty Highlights

Zhang wins top paper at NCA conference

Communication professor Ruonan Zhang recently received a top paper award at the 2020 annual meeting of the National Communication Association (NCA). Her paper—“How Perceptions of Chinese Immigrants and Mainland Chinese, Media Use, and Political Ideology Affect Americans’ Opinion of the U.S.-China Trade War”—examines the role of perceptions of Chinese immigrants and those from the mainland. 

The paper concludes that the more negative perception of Chinese immigrants and mainland Chinese, the more Americans support the U.S. trade tariffs. Perceptions of Chinese immigrants have stronger influence than perceptions of mainland Chinese. Only those negative perceptions that relate to the immigrants’ use of social welfare benefits, job displacement, and competition from China have significant relationships with the support of the tariffs. Political ideology is the most significant predictor of American public opinion on the trade tariffs. For media exposure, only partisan media exposure influences their opinion.

NCA’s annual conference is one of the largest academic conferences for scholars of communication in the world, typically seeing more than 5,000 in attendance. Zhang’s paper was judged to be one of the top four papers submitted to the conference’s Chinese Communication Division.