Research Articles (Communication Science)

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  • ItemOpen Access
    An evaluation of COPE's communication strategy for 2011 municipal elections campaign in the Northern Cape
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2012) Turkington, Jamie-Ryan; De Wet, Johann C.
    The article is guided by the following research question: What factors found expression, and influenced the extent to which COPE’s 2011 municipal elections campaign in the Northern Cape met the objectives set in the developed communication strategy? Following the framework of systems theory, the developed communication strategy included an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing COPE prior to the election, as well as recommendations for the messages the campaign would use to persuade voters; the techniques it would use to reach them; and a targeting strategy that aimed to identify the priority localities where campaign resources should be focused in order to reach the required number of votes to achieve the campaign’s objectives and goals. The success of the communication strategy was then evaluated post-election by explaining to what extent the campaign was able to meet the objectives and goals set for it. The main factors influencing COPE’s election outcome were found to be non-adherence to targeting strategy; lack of national media coverage; poor distribution of campaign resources; state resources and patronage; insufficient visibility in targeted areas; COPE’s poor campaign organisation; the Mompati defection; and insufficient training.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Knowledge management in higher education
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2011) Coetzee, Mercia
    Abstract not available
  • ItemOpen Access
    Tattooing amongst youth in Bloemfontein: skin deep communicative signs of a minority group?
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2014) Lombard, Elbie; Bergh, Luna
    This article reports on a research project that was undertaken to determine both the scope and communicative value of tattoos mainly among students of the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein, South Africa. The owner of the tattoo shop on the Bloemfontein Campus of the UFS was interviewed, while clients of the tattoo shop as well as undergraduate Communication Science students, a larger random group of students and young working adults of the same age completed a questionnaire anonymously. The expectations were that tattoos among the four groups mentioned (i) would not be predominantly culturally determined, nor (ii) visible all the time; nor (iii) chosen specifically to communicate a rebellious message. In a follow-up study on the same campus, Communication Science students requested fellow students to complete a slightly adapted questionnaire as part of a class assignment. The findings of the analysis are evaluated in terms of both incremental and entity theories, against the background of a brief history of tattoos as a means of expressing identity. This study contributes to the understanding of the role tattoos play in expressing the identities of communities. The findings indicate that the participants choose tattoos for different reasons than a few decades ago in other parts of the world. It can also be concluded that tattoos are by no means skin-deep communicative signs. Given that the majority of respondents have tattoos, the tattoos cannot be considered the signs of a minority group.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The use of Twitter in branding: the case of the University of the Free State
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2014) Snyman, Annette; Mulder, Dalmé
    Twitter is shaping brand communication globally at a mere 140 characters a time. Although Twitter is seen as a social media platform with little impact, the number of followers that can be attained “tweet” another story. This article focuses on the way in which marketers can utilise this social media platform to promote their brand image by improving their brand’s online presence. By investigating the branding strategies and characteristics of an Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) strategy, and more specifically the 5R model proposed by Schultz (2000), a framework was created to analyse social media messages. This framework was employed within a qualitative research approach to analyse all the Twitter posts of the University of the Free State (UFS) between 1 January 2013 and 31 July 2013. This was done to determine how the UFS made use of its Twitter profile to enhance the perceptions about its brand. The results underlined the importance of IMC characteristics in social media messages for the messages to contribute to the overall brand image of the institution. Furthermore, the results indicated that in order for a brand to have a successful online presence, the marketers should embrace technology and align all messages with specific objectives. When each online brand message contains an IMC characteristic, a core value of the institution and a motivational objective, there are no boundaries for how far the “little blue bird” can take the brand.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The rhetorical imprint from a constructivist perspective
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2014) Cawood, Stephanie; De Wet, Johann C.
    The rhetorical imprint, ideal for probing the rhetoric of a single rhetor, is defined as a unified set of characteristics that function at the manifest and latent levels of rhetoric. From a constructivist viewpoint, this concept is indicative of individual conceptual processes and structures. The constructivist lens is derived from George Kelly’s construct theory and his conception of a personal construal system governing human cognition and communication. Constructs develop from primitive constructs derived from human biology, while construct development is bound to embodied experience where the body mediates individual experience and provides content to the primitive constructs. The personal construal system resides in the cognitive unconscious and has a deep-seated and complex metaphorical structure, which is reproduced in the rhetorical imprint. A rhetorical imprint is dynamic and will evolve in concert with the personal construal system to make sense of the world, while remaining internally coherent. In a constructivist understanding of communication, sophisticated personal construal systems produce sophisticated communication, a crucial element of the rhetorical imprint. The rhetorical imprint corresponds to the classical canon of inventio where habitual topoi, metaphorical mental common-places from where available means of persuasion are sought, leave an indelible impression of a rhetor’s individuality in rhetoric.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A crisis communication plan for municipalities: the case of the Frances Baard district municipality
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2013) Kunguma, Olivia; Terblanche, Lydie
    A crisis communication plan facilitates the effective flow of information between relevant organisation(s) and a community affected by a crisis. In 2010 the Frances Baard District Municipality, situated in the Northern Cape, commissioned the development of a crisis communication plan for the municipality. It was to be developed in consultation with various stakeholders. Once developed, the plan had to be reviewed and serve as an educational document that could be used by other municipalities. The study found that drafting a crisis communication plan has to include best communication practices for each anticipated problem and effective implementation. Continuous evaluation and updating of the plan are necessary to ensure that critical business functions are not jeopardised in the event of a crisis.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The uses and gratifications of music, by personality type, of a central South African radio station's audience
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2013) Kotzee, Rozanne; Breytenbach, H. J.
    While music is the main product of many radio stations, this study seeks to gain insight into the music preferences of a central South African radio station’s audience. The study into the personality psychology of music has remained mainly mute. Various questions remain regarding individual differences and different uses of music, as well as individual differences and music preference (Rentfrow & Gosling 2003). By examining the patterns of music use and the relationship between music use and audiences’ psychographic profiles, and by employing the Ten-Item Personality Inventory (TIPI) and the Uses of Music Inventory (UMI), this study might contribute to the development of a more efficient model in the construction of a radio station’s music content and diversity.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Aspekte van narratiewe kommunikasie as retoriese strategie binne prediking
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2013) Van der Walt, Marésa; Marais, Willemien; De Wet, Johann C.
    Human beings are susceptible to the rhetorical power of narrative communication. Narrative communication is an organisational element that helps people to make sense of the world they live in. Rhetoric is the application of reason to imagination to bring the human will into movement. In the world of communication within the Christian philosophy, narrative communication can be used as a rhetorical strategy. This article discusses the different aspects of the use of narrative communication as rhetorical strategy within preaching. Both narrative techniques and narrative style elements can be used to contribute to the rhetorical effectiveness of a sermon. The use of “story elements” and “style elements” qualify a text (sermon) as “narrative”. The rhetorical success of narrative communication when used in sermons was tested in traditional Afrikaans-speaking Apostolic Faith Mission congregations in Bloemfontein. Churchgoers completed questionnaires to convey their experience and opinion of the use of narrative communication in preaching during 12 sermons. The results were overwhelmingly positive.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Qualitative news frame analysis: a methodology
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2012) Linström, Margaret; Marais, Willemien
    Framing theory has become increasingly popular in media analysis. The idea of framing is based largely upon the book by sociologist Erving Goffman (1974) titled Frame Analysis: An essay on the organization of experience. Goffman used the idea of frames to label “schemata of interpretation” that allow people “to locate, perceive, identify, and label” occurrences or events. With Robert Entman’s 1993 paper, frame analysis evolved into an important methodology. Since Goffman introduced the concept of frame analysis and Entman applied framing to the analysis of mass media, researchers have utilised it to understand how print and other media present information. Consequently for the last almost four decades, leading media scholars have applied the concept of framing to explain how the media structure their delivery of news, promoting certain interpretations of events by selecting certain facts. Frame analysis serves four main purposes within the context of media research – to define problems, to diagnose a course, to make value judgments, and to suggest remedies (Entman 1993: 52). In this article, the authors review the meaning of the concept of frame analysis, approaches to studying news framing, and qualitative news frame analysis. After defining news frames, we articulate a method for identifying news frames in print media.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Recurring crisis of credibility? The state of public relations in South Africa
    (Department of Communication, University of the Free State, 2011) Roodt, Zarine
    This article is based on the notion that Prisa's approaching 55th anniversary presents an opportunity to reflect on the current state of public relations in South Africa – a state of affairs brought into sharper focus by the substantive change in the country subsequent to 1994's new political dispensation. This qualitative field survey asked the following research question: How do the presidents of Prisa who have served terms of office since 1994 view the current state of public relations in this country? The purposive sample resulted in ten respondents and an interview strategy was utilised to elicit responses in terms of an interview schedule. The thematic analysis brought about a two-fold picture: there appears to be increasing pressure on the public relations industry from the outside, with a commensurate collapse from within the industry itself. The article concludes that in many respects this study underscores the fact that not much has changed in the public relations industry; therefore, one could argue that the findings point to a recurring crisis of credibility in the South African public relations industry.
  • ItemOpen Access
    All politics is local: suggestions for an editorial policy on political news for community media
    (Department of Communication, University of Free State, 2011) Marais, Willemien; Linström, Margaret
    In South Africa, the three spheres of government perform distinct functions in terms of the Constitution. By spreading the responsibilities of government across national, provincial and local structures, the Constitution ensures that government does not become too far removed from citizens. If local government is the closest level of interaction for citizens, then media at community level provide the link for that interaction. It is against this backdrop that this article views the quote widely attributed to American congressman Tip O'Neil: All politics is local. Political news has social importance for virtually everyone (Gelman 2011). On the flip side of the coin, people are what matter in terms of community media (Lauterer 1995: 9). This implies that even at grassroots level, media should have an editorial policy on political reporting if they want their editorial content to be relevant to the community they are serving. This loyalty to the needs of the community is the essence of media at grassroots level (Milne, Rau, Du Toit & Mdlongwa 2006: 3-4). This article reports on a qualitative content analysis of the existing editorial policies of community radio stations and newspapers in the Mangaung area in the Free State. Based on these findings, suggestions are made for a framework to draw up an editorial policy on political news for community media.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Outsiders: making the existential tradition of communication theory come alive
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2011) De Wet, Johann. C.
    Albert Camus (1913-1960), recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, was one of France's greatest post-war writers. He published his first novel, The Outsider (L'Etranger), in 1942. Given that The Outsider is widely regarded as a classic existentialist work, the following research question is posed in this article: How, and to what extent, does the existential tradition of communication theory feature in the mentioned work? The Penguin edition of the novel (translated from the French by Joseph Laredo and published in 1983) is used in the study. With regard to the methodology used, the study necessitated in the main research of literature on The Outsider, existentialism and existential communication. The methods employed were analytical in order to determine the relationship between The Outsider, existentialism and existential communication; and critical, for purposes of highlighting aspects of the existential tradition of communication theory that can be read in the novel. A brief summation of the storyline is provided with particular focus on the communication of the protagonist, Meursault, followed by Camus's short interpretation of the novel which he wrote as a preface to the American university edition in 1955. Thereafter the gist of an existential perspective on communication and some recurring themes in existentialism are provided to facilitate and contextualise the ensuing analysis of The Outsider. The article concludes that The Outsider persuasively captures fundamental traits of the existential tradition of communication theory.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Communication indicators for integrating diverse cultures in junior female residences at a South African tertiary institution
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2012) De Lange, Lucrezea; Mulder, Dalmé
    Residences are directly affected by transformational change in South Africa, as these are key areas in transformation strategies of South African tertiary institutions. Although inroads have been made in this area, there is still room for improvement as transformation targets seem difficult to reach. To address this problem, the primary objective of this study was to recommend a theoretical communication framework that can contribute towards more effective communication during the process of change in multicultural junior female residences. A qualitative approach and grounded theory strategy were used as research design. As the grand theory of this study is based on the general systems theory approach, the Mitroff model (Mitroff et al. 1974) of problem-solving was applied. As a holistic perspective is deemed essential in order for an organisation to change successfully, the four dimensions of a contemporary organisation impacted by change were explored. The importance of organisational culture, and the essential place of the learning organisation where constant development of employees is encouraged to ensure that the organisation survives in, and adapts to, an ever-changing environment were emphasised. The central role of the manager, the importance of leadership communication, the engaging of employees, as well as the fact that listening to employees should be regarded as an action step critical to successful change implementation were discussed. An important factor often overlooked, namely the human factor or micro-emotional level of the organisation, was addressed. A five-pillar communication framework with indicators that can contribute towards more effective communication during a change intervention was recommended.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Visual dimensions of academic discourse in higher education
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2010) Archer, Arlene
    This article explores the visual nature of academic discourse within Higher Education in South Africa. It provides insight into the increasing influence of the visual in academic writing – arguing that the materiality and visuality of writing be considered alongside cognitive dimensions. The visual design of writing includes considering aspects such as spelling, typography, emphasis and layout. The article also considers the affordances of images and writing, the function of the visual, and the relations between images and writing. The aim is to create awareness in order to assist students in becoming conscious and active designers of meaning in a multimodal environment.
  • ItemOpen Access
    'n Fantasietema-analasie van Maas se artikel 666 is net 'n syfer
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2011) Terblanche, Lydie; Jordaan, Danie
    Given the reality of persuasive communication practices in South Africa, the question arises as to which rational and/or non-rational characteristics of the contents of rhetorical messages contribute to the way in which recipients of such messages are so dramatically affected by them that they are motivated to display certain behaviour. It would seem that the symbolic convergence theory (SCT), along with its methodology, fantasy theme analysis (FTA), as developed by Bormann (1972) and his colleagues, is especially appropriate to explain this phenomenon. The identification and observance of a comparatively large number of possible phases in FTA aids the critic in his/her task to acquire the skills and proficiencies that are essential for the analysis of fantasy themes. On close examination rhetorical criticism is an art form that “requires” a competent rhetorical critic to display a unique approach, as well as the application of his/her own creative insights in the analysis of symbolic realities. Based on the principles of FTA, this article gives an indication as to why Deon Maas, with reference to his article 666 is net 'n syfer, is regarded as a controversial figure. In particular, an investigation is carried out in respect of the role played by the chaining out of fantasy themes in the creation of a rhetorical vision and the motivation of behaviour relating to the events surrounding the Maas article.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Fantasy themes and frames in The Star on Oscar Pistorius in the aftermath of the 2013 shooting
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2014) Marais, Willemien; Grobler, André; Terblanche, Lydie; Litabe, Boitumelo
    This article reports on research conducted as part of two studies focusing on media reportage in the immediate aftermath and bail application of athlete Oscar Pistorius after fatally shooting his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on 14 February 2013. The first study examined how print media portrayed Pistorius after he shot Steenkamp, but before his bail application. It was informed by Bormann’s fantasy theme analysis (1972), based on his symbolic convergence theory, to identify fantasy themes. The second study was a deductive frame analysis of the primary news frames in articles published in print media during Pistorius’ bail application. The news frames identified were a combination of the common frames identified by Neuman et al. (1992: 74) and Semetko and Valkenburg (in De Vreese 2005: 56) and include conflict, human impact, human interest, attribution of responsibility and violence. Both studies focused on a number of South African newspapers, but this article reports specifically on the results as they pertain to The Star, a leading South African newspaper. The period under investigation is 15-23 February 2013. The fantasy themes identified have indicated that, in Pistorius’ case, he was mostly depicted in a negative light, while there were very few instances where he was portrayed positively. Conflict was the most common primary news frame found in the frame analysis.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Die dagboek van'n Boeremeisie in diens van die vyand-siekte en sorg in die Bethulie-kamp
    (Faculty of the Humanities, University of the Free State, 2011-09) Pretorius, Engela; Krige, Daleen
    The many published diaries kept by women in the concentration camps constitute an extraordinary aspect of the Anglo-Boer War. Undoubtedly, some diaries have only survived within families – like the one kept by Susara Johanna (Sarie) Roos. Armed conflict can be considered to be the antithesis of public health and, as such, it constitutes a health issue. Central to every war one finds the health care staff, and specifically the nurse, who has to deal with the physical, emotional and social consequences of the conflict. Sarie Roos, a young Boer woman, was employed by the British as a nurse in the Bethulie camp. In the main, her narrative deals with this role. This article aims to describe and analyse her experiences in this camp – one of the most devastating of its kind. During the course of her narrative, documented history comes to light, which serves to verify the reliability and authenticity of her diary. It does, however, also provide a somewhat different view of the events – from the perspective of a Boer woman employed by the enemy to serve her own people.