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K-State Today

February 27, 2013

A.Q. Miller School graduate students present at national symposium

Submitted by Angela Powers

International graduate students working with K-State professor Angela Powers are learning about local media in the U.S. and presenting their research at the College of Communication and Information’s 35th annual Research Symposium at the University of Tennessee.

Mengmeng Li, Xaiofei Song, and Alix Bilip presented their paper analyzing the websites of family-owned media in Kansas at the University of Tennessee’s research symposium on "Communication and Information Research in an Age of Convergence" on Feb. 27.

The students became interested in media competition while taking a graduate class in media management offered by the Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Powers, who teaches the class, says it was apparent from the beginning that these students were going to do well.

"These are first-year students from Cameroon and China in our master’s program who want to assume leadership positions either in this country or back home once they are finished with their graduate studies. Their motivation for quality research was impressive," Powers said.

The students initially assisted in Powers’ research on family-owned media by conducting interviews with media managers. Then they analyzed a subset of the data to write their own paper and submit it to the symposium.  

"When the paper was accepted, the students were thrilled. It sparked their interest in conducting more research and pursuing a Ph.D," Powers said. "This is one way we tie students and our program into the 2025 research vision."

Their research findings indicated that the websites of local Kansas newspapers were most successful in terms of news to advertising ratios when they incorporated interactivity such as online commenting sections, registration, blogging, weather updates and personalization.

Other research topics at the symposium included science and nature collaborations on Pinterest and social media as a precursor to Arab uprisings.