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University at Buffalo ​a rumor or rumor is a tall tale of explanations of events circulating from person to person and pertaining to an object event or issue in public concern however a review of the research on rumor conducted by Pendleton in 1998 found that research across OC ology psychology and communication studies had widely varying definitions of rumor in the social sciences a rumor involves some kind of a statement whose veracity is not quickly or ever confirmed in addition some scholars have identified rumor as a subset of propaganda rumors are also often discussed with regard to misinformation and disinformation rumors thus have often been viewed as particular forms of other communication concepts early work french and german social science research on rumor locates the modern scholarly definition of it to the pioneering work of the German William Stern in 1902 stern experimented on rumor involving a chain of subjects who passed a story from mouth to ear without the right to repeat or explain it he found that the story was shortened and changed by the time it reached the end of the chain his student was another pioneer in the field Gordon Allport the experiment is similar to the children's game Chinese whispers 1944 study a psychology of rumor was published by Robert nap in 1944 in which he reports on his analysis of over 1,000 rumors during World War Two that were printed in the Boston Herald's rumor clinic column he defines rumor as a proposition for belief of topical reference disseminated without official verification so formidable II defined rumor is but a special case of informal social communications including myth legend and current humor from myth and legend it is distinguished by its emphasis on the topical where humor is designed to provoke laughter rumour begs for belief nap identified three basic characteristics that apply to rumor one they're transmitted by word of mouth too they provide formation about a person happening or condition and three they express and gratify the emotional needs of the community crucial to this definition and its characteristics is the emphasis on transmission on content and on reception based on his study of the newspaper column NAT divided those rumors into three types pipedream rumors reflect public desires and wished for outcomes for example Japan's oil reserves were low and thus World War two would soon end bogey or fear rumours reflect feared outcomes for example an enemy surprise attack is imminent wedge driving rumors intent to undermine group loyalty or interpersonal relations nap also found that negative rumors were more likely to be disseminated than positive rumors these types also differentiate between positive and negative rumors 1947 study in the 1947 study psychology of rumor gordon allport and joseph postman concluded that as rumour travels it grows shorter more concise more easily grasped in told this conclusion was based on a test of message diffusion between persons which found that about seventy percent of details in a message were lost in the first five to six mouth-tomouth transmissions in the experiment a test subject was shown an illustration and given time to look it over they were then asked to describe the scene from memory to a second test subject this second test subject was then asked to describe the scene to a third and so forth and so on each persona euro unregister trademark s reproduction was recorded this process was repeated with different illustrations with very different settings and contents all port and postman used three terms to describe the movement of rumor they are leveling sharpening and assimilation leveling refers to the loss of detail during the transmission process sharpening to the selection of certain details of which to transmit and assimilation to a distortion in the tran mission of information as a result of subconscious motivations assimilation was observed when test subjects described the illustrations as they ought to be but not as they actually were for example in an illustration depicting a battle scene test subjects often incorrectly reported an ambulance truck in the background of the illustration as carrying a euroa medical supplies a gyro when in fact it was clearly carrying boxes marked a gyro OE tnt gyro social cognition in 2004 Prashant bordier and Nicholas DiFonzo published their problem-solving in social interactions on the internet rumor as social cognition and found that rumour transmission is probably reflective of a collective explanation process this conclusion was based on an analysis of archived message board discussions in which the statements were coded and analyzed it was found that twenty nine point four percent of statements within these discussions could be coded as a euro OE sense-making euro statements which involved a euro a attempts at solving a problem a euro it was noted that the rest of the discussion was constructed around these statements further reinforcing the idea of collective problem solving the researchers also found that each rumor went through a four-stage pattern of development in which a rumor was introduced for discussion information was volunteered and discussed and finally a resolution was drawn or interest was lost for the study archive discussions concerning rumors on the internet and other computer networks such as bitnet were retrieved as a rule each discussion had a minimum of five statements posted over a period of at least two days the statements were then


coded as being one of the following prudent apprehensive authenticating interrogatory providing information belief disbelief sense making digressive or uncut abell each rumor discussion was then analyzed based on this coding system a similar coding system based on statistical analysis was applied to each discussion as a whole and the aforementioned four-stage pattern of rumor discussion emerged political communication strategy in the past much research on rumor came from psychological approaches the focus was especially on how statements of questionable veracity circulated orally from person to person scholarly attention to political rumors is at least as old as aristotle's rhetoric however not until recently has any sustained attention and conceptual development been directed at political uses of rumor outside of its role in war situations almost no work had been done until recently on how different forms of media and particular cultural historical conditions may facilitate a rumors diffusion the Internet's recent appearance as a new media technology has shown ever new possibilities for the fast diffusion of rumor as the debunking sites such as snopes com urban legend calm and factcheck.org demonstrate nor had previous research taken into consideration the particular form or style of deliberately chosen rumors for political purposes in particular circumstances in the early part of the twenty-first century some legal scholars have attended to political uses of rumor though their conceptualization of it remains social psychological and their solutions to it as public problem are from a legal scholarly perspective largely having to do with libel and privacy laws and the damage to personal reputations working within political communication studies in 2006 Jason Hassan introduced the concept of the rumor bombers a response to the widespread empirical phenomenon of rumour s communication in contemporary relations between media and politics especially within the complex convergence of multiple forms of media from cell phones and internet to radio TV and print hassan starts with a widespread definition of rumour as a claim whose truthfulness is in doubt and which often has no clear source even if its ideological or partisan origins and intents are clear he then treats it as a particular rhetorical strategy in current contexts of media and politics in many societies for Hassan a rumor bomb extends the definition of rumour into a political communication concept with the following features a crisis of verification a crisis of verification is perhaps the most salient and politically dangerous aspect of rumor Berenson defines rumor as a kind of persuasive message involving a proposition that lacks secure standards of evidence a context of public uncertainty or anxiety about a political group figure or cause which the rumor bomb overcomes or transfers onto an opponent a clearly partisan even if an anonymous source which seeks to profit politically from the rumor bamba euro unregistered trademark s diffusion a rapid diffusion via highly developed electronically mediated societies where news travels fast in addition Hassan locates the rumor bomb within other communication genres such as disinformation and propaganda as rumor has been viewed by others however he distinguishes it from these concepts as well since this information is often too associated with government and propaganda is a widely varying concept used to describe attempts to control opinion without regard for ethics and accuracy of statement similarly spin is a generic term for strategic political communication that attempts to frame or reframe an event or a statement in a way that is politically profitable for one side and detrimental to another though at its core it may simply be a red herring in addition a smear campaign is a term that loosely means a coordinated effort to attack a person's character unlike a smear campaign rumour bombs need not be about discrediting a person a euro OE Spina euro also specifically refers to an event and it's reframing rumor bombs may seek to produce events themselves a rumor bomb can be seen as having some characteristics of these general concepts but rumor bombs happen in very particular cultural and historical conditions they are not about mouth to air interpersonal rumors as much rumour research has been interested in they begin in a rapport between deliberate dissing formers and media whether TV news talk shows newspapers radio or websites the then circulate across these media perhaps but not necessarily resulting in interpersonal mouth to ear rumor diffusion hassan distinguishes the rumor bomb from other more general concepts of rumor by emphasizing changes in politics media technology and culture according to hassan rumor in politics has always existed but recent changes have created an environment ripe for a new kind of political rumour a new media convergence culture where information produced on the internet can influence the production of media content in other forms new media technologies and business values that emphasize speed and circulation that combine with entertainment values in news political marketing and public craving of tabloid news that mirrors other entertainment genres rumors of affairs of weapons of mass destruction and their alleged removal to other countries John Kerry is French Obama is a Muslim John McCain had an illegitimate black child Obama's healthcare plan would legalize death panels Shirley Sherrod is a resistor euro all of these involve statements whose veracity is in question or that are simply false other statements may have an ambiguous nature that makes them potentially appealing to different audiences who may interpret them in particular ways and circulate them Hassan builds on rumor research that has emphasized social cognition and diffusion of propaganda he extends Prashant and Defoe gios work in particular since they attempt to distinguish rumor from gossip in that rumor is supposedly about public issues and gossip is about private trivial things the emergence of


infotainment and tabloid ization in especially American and British News has broken that distinction since politics is now just as much about bringing the private into the public view as was clear with a Clinton Lewinsky scandal strategic communication similar to their appearance and function in political communication wherein rumors can be deployed for specific deleterious effect or can otherwise plague a candidate for office rumors also play an important role in strategic communication strategic communication is the process of crafting messages in support of specific organizational goals and is usually concerned with governments militaries and non-governmental organizations adroit strategic communication requires an understanding of stories trends and mems circulating within a culture rumors can be viewed as stories that seem rational but that are steeped into speculation in connection with a certain narrative landscape in their book narrative land mines rumors Islamist extremism and the struggle for strategic influence coauthors Daniel Bernardi Pauline hope Keown Chris laundry and Scott W Ruston coin the term narrative IED to help explain the function and danger of rumors in a strategic communication context rumors as narrative IEDs are low cost low tech communication weapons that can be used by anyone to disrupt the efforts of communication civil affairs or outreach campaigns such as those undertaken by governments in crisis response situations or militaries in insurgencies as Bernardi notes a 0 a like their explosive cousins rumors can be created and planted by nearly anybody require limited resources to utilise can be deadly for those in its direct path and can instill fear a euro see also apple community snopes com website for checking the truth of rumors phim a project addressing the detection and spread of rumors over social media references external links spread of false information causes dangers New York Law School.

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