Gall Myrick, two alumni win AEJMC research award

Marah Harbison • June 18, 2015
Jessica Gall Myrick
Assistant professor Jessica Gall Myrick (Maggie Richards, BA’15 | The Media School)

Assistant professor Jessica Gall Myrick, along with two IU Journalism alumni, has been honored with the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Research Award for 2015.

Gall Myrick, Jason Martin , PhD’11, assistant professor at  DePaul University, and Kimberly Walker, PhD’09, assistant professor at the University of South Florida, received the award and $10,000 in funding for their proposal, “Get Your Game Frame Off My Obamacare: The Cognitive, Affective and Attitudinal Effects of Health Care Legislation News Coverage on Young Adults.”

This project will investigate how digital news coverage of the Affordable Care Act influences the attitudes, emotions and decisions of some of the citizens most in need of healthcare. 

“Data indicates that many of the people who could most benefit from signing up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act refuse to do so,” said Gall Myrick. “What we want to do with our study is test how different aspects of news coverage of the ACA might contribute to people acting against their own self-interest and risking endangering their health.”

Walker, who taught journalism and public relations for several years at Indiana-University Purdue University Indianapolis, said the team’s research will focus on a specific audience of young American adults ages 26 to 30 who do not have health insurance or are underemployed.

“With the funding, we are able to study a sample of this cohort’s cognitive and affective reactions to mediated messages, along with individual variables such as political ideology, to begin to unravel the message frames that have the potential for positively impacting this key public,” she said.

The award, established by AEJMC’s Mass Communication and Society Division, is given to any AEJMC member’s proposal focused on mass communication research on the macro-social level, according to the organization’s website. Martin said in an email that the team’s success should be attributed to the IU Journalism program.

“I can’t begin to share how grateful I am for all of the instruction and training I received, and how exciting it will be to get to work with two other IU alumni on this project,” he said.

The trio will receive the award Aug. 8 during the AEJMC national conference in San Francisco.