Brian Calfano

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    Why journalists should think twice about calling themselves “storytellers” in today’s partisan environment

Why journalists should think twice about calling themselves “storytellers” in today’s partisan environment

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Journalists often brand themselves as “storytellers” to signal their reporting expertise. But in new research, Brian Calfano, Jeffrey Blevins and Alexis Straka find that because of the public’s perception of the label, using the “storyteller” brand may actually have negative implications for journalists, especially those who report on politics.

A common brand journalists use to describe themselves professionally is “storyteller.” […]

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    New research shows that there is still broad audience appeal for gentler political television comedy.

New research shows that there is still broad audience appeal for gentler political television comedy.

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In today’s politically polarized environment, late night political comedy is often caustic and personal when aimed at elected officials. But do older and more gentle forms of political comedy still appeal to modern audiences? With this question in mind, Brian Calfano and Lori Han tested a series of political jokes with survey audiences. Those surveyed responded most favorably to […]

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    How the King of Late Night’s political influence helped turn public opinion against a president.

How the King of Late Night’s political influence helped turn public opinion against a president.

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Can comedians and entertainers make a difference in politics all the way to the top? In new research, Brian Calfano and Lori Han examine the influence of the host of The Tonight Show, Johnny Carson’s mentions, between 1972 and 1974, of the Watergate scandal and President Richard Nixon. They find that Carson’s comments on Watergate likely influenced public opinion […]

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    Reporting government reactions to claims of electoral fraud can help maintain public trust in the media.

Reporting government reactions to claims of electoral fraud can help maintain public trust in the media.

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The 2020 US Presidential election campaigns have raised questions about the media and its credibility among US citizens. While many view the media as an important part of democracy, there is also an awareness of its role in furthering political divisions. Brian Calfano, Richard Harknett, Gregory Winger and Jelena Vicic examine the crucial relationship between the government and the […]

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    Electoral officials can do little to combat information which undermines elections

Electoral officials can do little to combat information which undermines elections

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As the 2020 presidential election approaches, there is growing concern over disinformation about the electoral process which may work to undermine the legitimacy of the election’s outcome. In new research, Brian Calfano, Richard Harknett, Gregory Winger, and Jelena Vicic surveyed nearly 9,000 Americans to determine the effect of messaging from Secretaries of State to counter disinformation. They find that […]

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    New research shows how groups often in conflict with each other can be brought closer together

New research shows how groups often in conflict with each other can be brought closer together

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Recent years have seen growing conflicts between groups over issues such as police brutality and immigration. In response to these conflicts, many cities have begun to use a human relations approach to bring people together through dialogue and an emphasis on group identity. Through new survey research, Valerie Martinez-Ebers, Brian Robert Calfano and Regina Branton look at the effectiveness of […]

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    Studying how law and order issues are framed has helped to uncover 2016’s shy Trump voters

Studying how law and order issues are framed has helped to uncover 2016’s shy Trump voters

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In the 2016 election, Donald Trump appealed to many white voters’ concerns about crime through dog whistle rhetoric. Did Trump’s use of this racist rhetoric mean that many of those who did vote for him were unwilling to admit their support in the lead up to the election? In new research, Kevin H. Wozniak, Brian R. Calfano, and Kevin […]

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    How the ‘ESPN effect’ of framing politics as a conflict benefits more combative candidates like Trump and Sanders

How the ‘ESPN effect’ of framing politics as a conflict benefits more combative candidates like Trump and Sanders

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For many observers, how we discuss politics is beginning to have more and more common with the rhetoric of sports. In the 2016 election, candidates like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders adopted a more adversarial style. Lori Cox Han and Brian Calfano examine how a more head-to-head campaign style influences voters, finding that both Trump and Sanders benefit if […]

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