An Editorial Comment
Riffe, Daniel, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly
Much of the earliest mass communication research focused on persuasion and conversion of opinions, political beliefs, and attitudes. As data accumulated, scholars recognized the importance of focusing on political knowledge gain, maintenance, or gaps, because of the importance of knowledge in shaping, reinforcing, and, on occasion, contributing to change in political beliefs and attitudes and behaviors.
This issue features six empirical studies that involve political knowledge and beliefs and that explore the role of mass media coverage in those beliefs and knowledge levels. Familiar processes of "framing," "priming," and "agenda setting" are brought to bear.
For example, an experimental study of participants' issue knowledge about Mainland China-Taiwan relations by Han, Chock, and Shoemaker demonstrates how issue unfamiliarity moderates framing effects on knowledge. On the other hand, Valenzuela's study of Canadian election data shows how political knowledge moderates priming effects on political involvement. A study by Wu and Coleman, focusing on the 2004 U.S. presidential campaign, explores how secondlevel candidate attribute information leads to a strong agenda-setting influence.
In an analysis of data from five national surveys, Hindman adapts the familiar "knowledge gap" metaphor to beliefs, finding that ideology - rather than education - contributes to a "belief gap." Shaker examines the distribution of local political knowledge and the role of media access in that distribution. Singer offers an update on how newspaper Web sites disseminate knowledge about politics and campaigns.
In other articles, Houston's meta-analysis examines the relationship of media coverage of terrorism to posttraumatic stress, while ConnollyAhern, Bortree, and Ahern's sampling study is consistent with Quarterly's commitment to methodology. Lin explores how online radio's attributes contribute to positive affect about adoption, and Lumsden investigates how the Black Panther newspaper transformed images of black women from "restrictive stereotypes" to portrayals of female resistance.
We rely on seventy-seven members of the Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly Editorial Advisory Board identified on the inside front page of each issue and on the service of other reviewers from throughout the world. Not counting the editor and four outstanding associate editors, a total of 246 nationally and internationally known scholars participated in the manuscript reviewing process in 2009. The listing that follows is offered to identify 169 of our colleagues not on the board who have provided reviews during the past year and to afford us a chance to express our gratitude. Thank you for your service.
Kevin G. Bamhurst
Oliver Boyd Barrett
Stella C. Chia
Cindy T. Christen
Francesca Dillman Carpentier
Brian J. …