ICMPA • Research, Articles & Books

The following is a sampling of ICMPA’s research studies
+ articles and books from ICMPA authors

COVID-19 image crop

STUDY • Media, Life & Community during the COVID-19 Pandemic    •  ICMPA has launched (Spring 2020) a global study of university students to investigate how they are using media during the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic both to stay informed and to connect with their communities. The study is investigating how students use media, across platforms, as providers of news and information, as educational tools, as sources of entertainment, as a means of communication with friends and family, and as ways to create and engage with their self-defined communities.  The study of university students’ media habits is being led by the ICMPA in partnership with over a dozen universities on five continents.    See here for a downloadable pdf of the academic consent form  &  See here for more on the on-going study.


addiction-grid-new-cropSTUDY • the world UNPLUGGED  •  This global study of university students’ media habits was led by the ICMPA in partnership with the Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change. Close to 1,000 students from five continents abstained from using all media for 24 hours.  In total the students wrote almost a half a million words.  The ‘UNPLUGGED’ study discovered that college students around the world are strikingly similar in how they use media – and how ‘addicted’ they are to it.  See here for a summary of the study.

24hoursSTUDY  •  A Day Without Media  •  This ICMPA study asked 200 students at the University of Maryland, College Park to abstain from using all media for 24 hours.  The students wrote responses to their experience that totaled over 110,000 words — about the same number of words as a 400-page novel.  According to the ‘Without Media’ study, most college students are not just unwilling, but functionally unable to be without their media links to the world.  See here for a summary of the study.

trump-clintonSTUDY • Picturing the 2016 Election — The Battle in Images  •  In an update of ICMPA’s study of the photos of the 2012 US presidential campaign, researchers analyzed how online news outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Fox News, CNN, Huffington Post, Politico, NPR and USA Today, visually portrayed the 2016 presidential election. The study showed discrepancies in the coverage and noted that media outlets made political — as well as ethical — decisions in deciding what photos to publish. See here for a summary of the study.

2012electionsSTUDY • The Politics of Photos — Images of the 2012 Presidential Campaign  •  ICMPA researchers analyzed over 5500 news photographs of Pres. Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney, published during the height of the fall election, and over 3200 photographs of the four major Republican challengers —Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum — that appeared during the primary season in the spring of 2012. In an election all about demographics and “Get out the vote,” the photos showed just how visibly broad a base President Obama attracted. See here for a summary of the study.

abc-news-gzmSTUDY • Uncovering Media Bias — The ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ Case Study  • With support from the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, ICMPA and the Gabinete de Comunicación y Educación from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain, analyzed how major news outlets across the globe covered the 2010 controversy over the location of a proposed Islamic community center near the former World Trade Center. Across most of the coverage, researchers noted that media repeated the politicized language and covered the provocative actions of the most partisan players, giving those strident and biased voices great prominence and authority. See here for a summary of the study.


STUDY • (RE)framing Islam: Who’s Winning? — Covering Elections in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan & Pakistan  •  ICMPA examined how US and British news media, together with Al Jazeera English, covered five years of presidential and parliamentary elections in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. Researchers observed that over time the media became more careful about what they called “terrorism,” although too often the outlets still made sweeping religiously-based characterizations of those they considered responsible for the violence: “radical Muslim clerics,” “Islamic extremists,” “Islamic radicals” and “Islamic fundamentalists.”  Rather than reference sectarian divisions and political parties, stories were frequently written in a frame of “Western” (us) versus “Islamic” (them).  See here for a summary of the study.

STUDY • The “Good” Muslims — US Newspaper Coverage of Pakistan  • ICMPA’s report, The “Good” Muslims: US Newspaper Coverage of Pakistan evaluated how  American newspapers covered the nation of Pakistan — first in the year following September 11, 2001 and then five years later, in 2006 – 7. What were the events and issues and angles that were covered? In the years since 9/11 and the attack by al Qaeda on New York and Washington did coverage change? As the study demonstrated, by 2006 and 2007, the debate in the US media about both Pakistan and the “War on Terror” had changed — to whether the US still could “claim to hold the moral high ground in the anti-terror campaign,” as a Miami Herald editorial wrote. “Must the United States use tactics that are reminiscent of those used by the terrorists that we seek to destroy in order to defeat terror?”  The data for this media study  were first gathered for a paper delivered at the American Institute of Pakistan Studies conference on Islamic Identities, Gender & Higher Education in Pakistan, held January 2007 in Islamabad.   See here for a summary of the study.   And see here for a pdf of the study.

toxicSTUDY  •  The Media & Weapons of Mass Destruction  •  In this 2004 study, ICMPA director Susan Moeller unveiled how US and UK media covered the 2003 hunt for WMD in Iraq, the 2002 public debate over WMD as as justification for war in Iraq, and the 1998 South Asian nuclear tests. The study showed that in 2002 and 2003 most media not only represented WMD as a monolithic menace, but accepted the White House’s argument that the “War on Terror” was a campaign against WMD.  See here for the full study.

lewis-baltimore-sunSTUDY • SportPix — A Photo Study of Super Bowl XLVII & the NCAA Basketball Championship  •  Researchers from ICMPA evaluated the photographic coverage of Super Bowl XLVII and the 2013 NCAA final game  by 16 major American sports and news outlets.  In their evaluation of over 3200 images, researchers were surprised to discover that in both those championship games, only half of the photos that were published were of the action on the field and court.  Across the Super Bowl coverage, Beyoncé received more attention than any other personality — more than the coaches, quarterbacks or players, even though her on-stage performance lasted only 14 minutes,   See here for a summary of the study.

transparency magnifying glassSTUDY • Openness & Accountability — A Study of Transparency in Global Media Outlets  •  ICMPA’s early study, in 2007, to investigate the transparency of major media outlets, including those in the United States and the UK, took note of a phenomenon only becoming more apparent in the years since then:  A majority of the public believes the media can’t be trusted.  The study explored what the online media sites of mainstream media were doing to try and foster more trust.  A major takeaway?  Fewer than half of the websites publicly corrected mistakes in their stories and only a handful shared with readers the journalistic and ethical standards that theoretically guide their newsrooms.  See here for a summary of the study.

The two shooters caught on Columbine’s high school’s security cameras in the cafeteria.

STUDY • Trauma Journalism Education — Teaching Merits, Curricular Challenges and Instructional Approaches  •  In 2009, researchers at ICMPA conducted the largest study to that date of how accredited journalism programs across the U.S. taught their students to cover violence, how to deal with the trauma of survivors, and how to manage their own personal and professional responses to such situations.. ICMPA found that three-quarters of the 106 schools did not yet offer stand-alone courses dedicated to teaching students how to cover violence and trauma, even though the vast majority of those surveyed agreed that students should be taught how to cover both cataclysmic as well as “every-day” violence and trauma: urban crime, traffic accidents, domestic violence, natural disasters, etc..  See here for a summary of the study.

natural-disasterARTICLE  • “Regarding the Pain of Others” — Media, Bias and the Coverage of International Disasters   •  An article by Prof. Moeller that appeared in the Journal of International Affairs argued that media often prioritize “gee-whiz” stories over major events. She noted: “crises are … a kind of virtual merchandise to be sold to fickle audiences who select what news to consume from an exhaustive menu of choices, from tragic disasters to celebrity breakups.”  See here for a pdf of the article.