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K-State Today

December 18, 2019

Communication studies professor Soo-Hye Han wins 2019 Roderick P. Hart Outstanding Book Award

Submitted by Department of Communication Studies

Soo-Hye Han

Soo-Hye Han, associate professor of communication studies, won the 2019 Roderick P. Hart Outstanding Book Award for her book, "Votes That Count and Voters Who Don’t: How Journalists Sideline Electoral Participation (Without Even Knowing It)." Han co-authored it with Sharon Jarvis at the University of Texas and the book is published by Penn State University Press, 2018.

The award was presented by the Political Communication Division of the National Communication Association at its annual conference held in Baltimore, Maryland. This prestigious award is given annually to recognize the authors of an outstanding book in the field of political communication published in the previous two years.

This book takes a mixed-method approach to study the linguistic cues surrounding voting in the United States. It tracks not only how journalists have told the story of electoral participation but also how individuals respond to two key portrayals in coverage. Findings are taken from multiple studies, including a content analysis of decades' worth of presidential election cycle new articles, focus group research, an experimental study, and interviews with more than 50 journalists and news professionals on how the story of electoral participation might be told in ways that meet, and support, both democratic and journalistic values.

Here are some of what reviewers have had to say on the book:

"Why are reporters constantly tempted to predict — or even to declare — election results before people even vote? In this fascinating book, Jarvis and Han identify a growing attitude of dismissiveness that echoes academic research on easily manipulated citizens and reinforces the public's cynicism about democracy. They show that this condescension has serious consequences. The authors' analytical rigor is matched by their respect and concern for everyday people: a rare and worthy combination." — Peter Levine, author of "We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: The Promise of Civic Renewal in America."

"'Votes That Count and Voters Who Don't' will be invaluable reading for scholars, journalists, and citizens who care about elections — not just about who wins them, or the microscopic analysis of voting behavior, but about the fundamental exercise of power that elections represent. Jarvis and Han show us how it matters when journalists portray voters as those who are acted upon rather than as empowered democratic actors." — Regina G. Lawrence, executive director, George S. Turnbull Portland Center and Agora Journalism Center, University of Oregon.