Communication Department Fall Research and Creativity Forum

Dear Buffalo State Community,
Welcome to the sixth annual Communication Department Fall Research and Creativity Forum. This year, a record-breaking snowstorm hit Western New York. At the same time, students soared and showed high levels of dedication and commitment to their work.

Change is the key. We see changes in the human condition, and we see changes in the field of communication. With changes, we see challenges, and our students are at the forefront of all these changes and challenges. Our students engage in research, creative, and professional activities to bring to light how communication evolves in our society and how humanity navigates challenges.

This forum is a celebration of student learning, and we are proud to share their accomplishments.

If you have comments or questions about any of the presentations, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I will relay your message to the presenter.

Enjoy the forum!

Ann Liao, Ph.D.
Forum Coordinator
liaoha@buffalostate.edu
 

 

2022 Research & Creativity Forum

Title: Don’t Worry Darling 
Presenter: Alicia Stark 
Description: My case study “Don’t Worry Darling, Messiest Movie of the Year,” follows the several controversies leading up to Oliva Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling movie release of Fall 2022. Going into this research, and as a movie lover, I wanted to see what the general audience truly thought of the movie, and if the drama leading up to the release would have more sway over the film’s pot. Scraping 300 comments from YouTube from movie reviewer, Karsten Runquist, I was able to analyze the data by sentiment and category to see if my research questions would find their answer.  

Title: College Students Eating Choices
Presenter: Alexis Brignoni


Title: Voice of the People!
Presenter: Lydia Charles
Description: I analyzed the impact of cancel culture on celebrities’ careers by scraping comments and posts from Instagram and Twitter.


Title: Marvel Studios
Presenter: Jayla Collins-Faison
Description: This case study is regarding the franchise Marvel Studios. I analyzed and interpreted comments on social media regarding their upcoming films and TV shows. I conducted this research in order to better understand the reactions and excitement towards the upcoming productions.


Title: Data Breaches
Presenter: Robert DiBenedetto
Description: In September of 2022 two large companies suffered data breaches by the same hacker who went under the alias “Teapotuberhacker” on Twitter and Telegram. The two companies were Uber and Rockstar Games.  By scraping tweets and comments off YouTube and Twitter we can see the public view on these two data breaches and make recommendations on how the companies should respond.  Five hundred comments/tweets were scraped with key words and videos focused on the two companies and the hacker himself. 


Title: Fusion Energy
Presenter: Stephen Fiore
Description: My first video is on the topic of fusion energy and whether it is a viable source for the energy needs of our future. I analyzed Twitter and YouTube content and did some sentiment analysis. My results indicated that the public was skeptical as to the possibility of fusion energy being a realistic solution anytime soon, but nonetheless, we should keep an eye on this as it develops, with both the private sector and government investing heavily in its potential.


Title: Exoplanets
Presenter: Stephen Fiore
Description: My second video concerns itself with the topic of exoplanets. This is an exciting area of discovery, and I attempted to tell an interesting data story by asking and answering questions about the discovery methods and properties of the exoplanets, including their similarity to earth. I also explored the possibility of using a machine learning model to predict the earth similarity index of the exoplanets, a parameter given by my data that one could be inclined to take a shot at predicting on one’s own.


Title: Yoga with Adriene
Presenter: Jillian Goodwyn
Description: Is YouTube yoga megastar Adriene Mishler really spreading as much positivity as we think? My analysis incorporates 500 scraped YouTube comments and Twitter posts to dive into some intriguing research questions regarding the beloved Adriene and her yoga following. 


Title: Recycling in Buffalo, NY
Presenter: Jillian Goodwyn
Description: After my own Buffalo neighborhood experienced a significant reduction in the amount of recycling we have been able to collect, I was interested in exploring recycling data about the greater Buffalo area. Combining data from over 30 Buffalo neighborhoods on recycling behavior, socioeconomic factors, and demographics, I explore the details of what could help explain some of the different outcomes we observe. 


Title: Investigating Employee Burnout on Social Media
Presenter: Christina Luke-Grace
Description: Employee burnout is rapidly increasing within the workplace and has only been exasperated with the onset of the pandemic, so it is essential to investigate how it was displayed and used within social media. In doing so, several questions pertaining to employee burnout were researched and examined on Twitter and YouTube. A total of 500 tweets and comments were reviewed, 400 tweets via a dataset created on the website Netlytic.com and 100 comments per two separate videos (50 comments each) randomly selected via a Python Code on Google Colab. All results were examined and further broken down into categories and sentiments, and placed onto Pivot tables, displaying what was obvious from the beginning. That much more needs to be implemented to combat employee burnout as a whole between organizations, management and employees alike.


Title: Why Target?
Presenter: Sabrina Ragonese


Title: Try Guys
Presenter: Meghan Wren


Title: David Pakman 
Presenter: Karina Zayas
Description: The presentation I chose to record is the case study project on David Pakman. David Pakman is the host of a talk radio program called, “The David Pakman Show”. On this show, he discusses controversial topics and answers questions from callers. I analyzed comments from YouTube and Twitter to find out what his viewers think about his show, his content, and the image that he portrays to the public. Some of the categories that the comments fell into were Content, Politics, Creator, and Media. Overall, the majority of the YouTube comments were positive while the Twitter comments were negative.

Title: Meta
Presenter: Marcus Barney
Description: This is a case study on Meta with a focus on Mark Zuckerberg and the obstacles he faces towards the company’s long term goals.


TitleA Tale of Two Security Companies
Presenter: Aliyah Carroll
Description: "A Tale of Two Security Companies" is an excerpt from a Case Study I wrote in SPC 407. My presentation includes a brief background history to the two security companies I compared, including the mission statements both companies abide by. In addition, I addressed common challenges the security industry faces, along with internal challenges both companies face. Lastly, I demonstrated course content I learned in SPC 407 and applied it to my case study. Note: Company and contractor names were left anonymous for security purposes.


Title: How is the Nike brand still relevant today?
Presenter: Anthony Childs
Description: In this case study, I will be talking about the Nike brand and how they became who they are today. I will be breaking down their mission statement and their organizational views and standards. Most importantly, I will be discussing how Nike manages social situations. The reason for this question is because Nike has been around for decades now, people still wear their products, and Nike still makes a ton of profit from athletes and their marketing. In this presentation I will be using current day events to discuss how Nike handles these situations. What you can expect from this case study is a deeper look into Nike as an organization. 


TitleExamining H&M
Presenter: Olivia Cinquino
Description: In this video I summarize a case study done on the organization H&M. I cover the topics: what is H&M, who they cater to, the key stakeholders, challenges this organization has faced, how they have tried to overcome these challenges and their future goals.


Title: Case Study on the Function of the Treasury Department
Presenter: Chellsie Colas
Description: I have chosen to study the department of US Treasury, aka, the IRS, because it is one, if not the most prominent organizations to work for and its purpose and how it affects each individual who works and lives in the United States.

I am always hearing bad things about the IRS and wanted to find out what precisely the Agents and other staff members do and how their work affects the general public. The main thing I will focus on is the Agents’ job and whether there is some truth behind the hiring of thousands of armed agents, as the news media declared recently.

I have spoken with an individual who works for the Treasury department and asked him a few basic questions. We discussed his everyday job, what he thinks of the service, what things he would like to see change, and what are some of the challenges and benefits of working for such a large organization. This individual has been working for the Treasury Department for over thirty years. He is on the verge of retiring in a few years. He explained how he got the job from an advertisement in the newspaper. Back then, the internet was not as popular. Hence, people got their jobs from word of mouth, by searching newspaper ads, etc.  He had to take an exam to cover basic accounting since he was interested in becoming an IRS Revenue Agent. He explained that there are different types of Agents in the service. Some Agents work on joint delinquent tax returns and outstanding payments. Other Agents, known as Revenue Agents, do the auditing. That is reviewing tax returns that are filed and picking out the cheaters. He stated that there are too many cheaters and not enough agents to catch them, so it becomes like a lottery, and people feel they can get away without being noticed. By cheating, they receive a much bigger refund. One function of the Revenue agent is to prevent people from cheating if they know that Revenue Agents are out in the field auditing random employees and prosecuting high-profile cases where these individuals violate the laws and regulations. We discussed the benefits of having the IRS instead of a society without one. We discussed challenges like dealing with the public and how they use the funds collected.


Title: Buffalo Sabres
Presenter: Nicholas Germele
Description: This case study report will focus on the Buffalo Sabres and the challenges the organization has faced over the years. I will examine how they overcame these challenges. Some issues discussed are the Ryan O’Reilly situation, the Jack Eichel situation, as well as general management issues. 


Title: New Year Same Turmoil Same Results
Presenter: DaRon Hughey
Description: My research comprises gathering information on the Brooklyn Nets organization, including both internal and external stakeholders. I started from management down to the fans that support the franchise at every game. My conclusion is that stability and effective communication has become a big problem for this organization, causing them to seem disoriented and disengaged with each other. In a team sport, especially at the pro level, it is imperative for all the key stakeholders to have unity amongst each other in order to promote growth as an organization. Going back to the summer of 2022, the nets have received bad publicity ranging from their star players to management. Mercurial star Kyrie Irving has been in the news on many occasions himself for controversial comments and questionable antics. Many of my findings are from media outlets that cover this organization daily. This includes ESPN, New York Daily News, NBA.com, etc. My conclusion about this organization is that they need to create a good work environment to create better stability and trust. In addition, there must be an understanding that top-down effective communication is key. Key players along with management should be informed about what’s better for the organization. I will discuss what changes can be made as well as what communication strategies will work for this organization.


Title: Sue No More: NFL Player Safety 
Presenter: Keontae Key 
Description: Over time the NFL has faced criticism and lawsuits about its approach to safety issues. My case study presentation tackles these challenges they face as an organization when it comes to player safety and how they can better safety rules. When diving into the solution or tactics the NFL uses to prevent the players from suffering long-term injuries, I circle the possibility of new technology innovating the league's rules and equipment. CTE is one injury I bring light to because it has caused players to suffer mental illness or die from it. A concussion is a very common injury that occurs in contact sports but if you suffer too many you are bound to get early symptoms of CTE, so it is better to prevent that from happening. You have star players like quarterback Andrew Luck and linebacker Luke Kuechly who retire early based on their issues with injuries. They both did this for their long-term health so they can be around their family instead of being crippled or dying if they keep re-aggravating their old injuries. As the NFL continues to be around, these changes will happen as the commissioner and the league want to maintain a positive image with the national media and audience by ensuring they care about the player's health. 


Title: Netflix
Presenter: Karli Metros


Title: TikTok
Presenter: Juan Paredes
Description: Delayed gratification is far more difficult to maintain than it was in generations past. The average person, especially younger adults, has trouble with not looking at their phones for more than 5 minutes. The majority of people would go absolutely insane if they were away from their technology devices for more than a day. One reason why this happens to be the case is the uprise of social media. No social media platform has more control over the metaverse than TikTok. Formerly known in China as Douyin, TikTok would merge with a similar app in Musical.ly on August 2, 2018. TikTok’s meteoric rise is credited to an indirect assist from the Covid-19 pandemic. Influencers such as Charli D’Amelio, Khabane Lane, and Bella Poarch have found great success on the app. However, there are several concerns associated with the app and the people behind it. In-depth revelations about Tik Tok’s Terms of service have the U.S. government as well as other nations looking to deny their citizens access to the platform. Countries such India and Indonesia have already done so. TikTok has proven to be sufficient in taking the steps necessary to avoid any regulations that are put in place to tame their exponential growth. As a result, the company generated $61.7 billion in revenue. In this case study, you will have a deeper understanding of TikTok, their ownership and their organizational approach. You will come to realize that everyone is motivated by their own self-interest, regardless of the collateral damage. 


Title: Michelin and Vans 
Presenter: Grace Rife 
Description: For my case study, I chose to research and analyze the Michelin and Vans campaign. The main question I answered in my research was whether or not this campaign was successful. I concluded after my analysis that it was indeed successful. The reasoning for this campaign started when Michelin found that the leading cause of death in teenagers is car accidents. In finding out this information, Michelin decided they wanted to launch a campaign that would bring awareness to low tire tread in teens’ cars. They chose to implement this campaign by partnering up with Vans, a popular shoe company, and releasing a unique, limited-edition shoe. They made it so that teens could only obtain this shoe by submitting a photo online of them checking their tire tread with a penny and posting it online with the hashtag “streettread”. Instead of trying to sell these shoes for a profit, Michelin and Vans decided to give these shoes away for only a penny, in an effort to show that they only care about safety and education rather than money. To make sure they spread awareness, this campaign consisted of a number of different events. They held a sneaker launch party in New York City, they made a custom shoe car, they partnered with social media influencers, and they hosted a country-wide scavenger hunt. All of these tactics were used in an attempt to motivate teens to participate, have fun, and to make sure they reached as many of these key publics as possible. After reviewing all of these methods and tactics, I found that there were more than 1.6 billion gross impressions, 5.8 million combined social & in-person engagements, and over 4,500 teens submitted a #StreetTread photo. Needless to say, this campaign was very successful and reached a big amount of their target audience. What can be expected with my research is that I did a thorough analysis of this case study and that I did not pull any punches. I enjoyed researching this case and I think this campaign did some great work. 


Title: Buffalo Bills
Presenter: Tanner Saunders


Title: The National Lacrosse League
Presenter: Logan Toth
The National Lacrosse League is one of the most successful professional lacrosse leagues in the entire world. Despite its successes, the league has faced a lot of adversity in recent years. They’ve struggled to grow the league to a broader audience, and other professional lacrosse leagues have already seen instant success. The National Lacrosse League has struggled to adapt to the new social media world that we live in, and I believe that there are many possibilities that can come from being prominent on social media platforms nowadays. The new startup league known as the Premier Lacrosse has a big social media presence in only three years of its existence and has seen incredible results already. I also think that the league has seen very good success from taking risks throughout the years. For example, they developed their own indie video game in 2010, and it was critically acclaimed by various gaming critics. They’ve also taken risks on broadcasting deals, and those have worked out quite nicely. They had a deal with Canadian network Sportsnet, and CNN as well. If the National Lacrosse League can continue to take calculated risks, I think that this league has an incredibly bright future to grow the game of lacrosse.


Title: “Cup of Joe”
Presenter: Ashley Yan
Description: We all at one point or another need an old cup of joe in the morning to kick start our day. Maybe you have heard of Starbucks, one of the biggest corporations out there that sells “exotic” espresso drinks. According to Fortune magazine Starbucks is the fifth most admired company in the world not only that but number one in the food and beverage industry. Now you may be wondering why I am telling you all of this… well it is because recently there has been a massive movement in the national labor relations board fighting for Starbucks workers’ rights, wages and working conditions. According to external sources there have been many ongoing strikes and protests. This has created a divide between employees and management, which in turn affects the quality of the consumer's experience.
 

2021 Research & Creativity Forum

Title: What Is Beauty? Exploring the Mundane and Ordinary with Photography (PDF)
Student: Andrew DiMartino
Description: This project attempts to challenge our definitions of aesthetics and what we consider artistic by examining ordinary scenes of everyday life from a different perspective.


Title: Unfiltered Black Beauty (PDF)
Student: Leah Herndon


Title: The Always Something Farm: A Farm To Fork Photo Essay (PDF)
Student: Lisa Michael

Description: This photo essay documents live on a local sustainable farm and follows its pork from farm to kitchen to table.


TitleSemester's Best Photojournalism Shots (PDF)
Student: Branden Rivers

Title: Lost in Time
(4:29 mins)
Filmmaker: Ryan Guzman
Description: Lost in Time is a personal account into my relationship with my connection to 80’s action cinema. Ever since I was little, I could remember watching old action movies, using all the free time I had on these films. I developed a connection to them. Especially films that starred actors Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal. I felt connected to these films because of the art style, choreography, sometimes even thinking that they were watching over me, making sure I was safe. While making this video I wanted my viewers to feel comfortable while understanding my reasoning. I wanted them to see the clips associated though my “eyes” using specific video filters to get that feeling that you are watching these scenes through various screens and televisions. This was a great project to make because it allowed me to get a little personal with my audience without drowning out the message I am trying to send.


Title: The Long Road: Rays of Hope to Waves of Progress
(4:59 mins)
Filmmaker: Joana Leamon
Description: The Long Road: Rays of Hope to Waves of Progress traces the development of women’s rights through the history of Western Civilization. For the vast majority of that history, the firm grip of patriarchy allowed few women to break through and shine a light on women’s capacity for full inclusion in society alongside men. Finally, beginning in the late nineteenth-century, Western society produced several waves of women who effectively confronted the patriarchy. This short documentary focuses on the American branch of those waves. 


Title: History of Music Videos 
(5:40 mins)
Filmmaker: Salifu Lowe
Description: A timeline of the most historical events that shaped how we visually view music videos to this day. From the early days of music videos being created on the scopitone, a technology in the 1960s that allowed a jukebox to play a music video as well as music to today's advancement of technology with 5k cameras, drones and, most importantly, the internet, it is safe to say that this genre of art has come a long way. I’ve always appreciated the music videos because they create this multi-dimensional experience where consumers can listen to songs while simultaneously watching the songs' visual representation. As someone who appreciates the director’s role, music videos are the ideal jumping-off point for up-and-coming directors to hone and explore their creativity and from artist perspective music videos form a large part of their creative vision and output, so how an artist visually represents their songs says a lot about them and their music.


TitleExpectations 
(3:10 mins) 
Filmmaker: Siobhan Ormond
Description: Expectations is a short video-essay that describes some faults in society I’ve noticed as a woman. The project details how women are often expected to fit a certain criterion of physical, emotional, and social perfection every single day.  It also gives a sense of how exhausting it is to have companies constantly preying on our insecurities, and to have other people constantly feel the need to tell us how to present ourselves. (This applies to all other genders as well, but I can only speak on it from my personal experience of womanhood.)  My goal was for people to see this video and realize that it’s okay to exist in ways that may be deemed unappealing by others, just as it’s okay to find joy in using makeup to make yourself feel good. Additionally, it stresses the importance of being kinder to yourself and letting go of the expectations you have of becoming someone else’s idea of perfect.


Title: Video Games are Art
(3:00 mins)
Filmmaker: Jeremy Schiele
Description: This is a sort of montage of gaming throughout the ages, since its inception in research labs in the mid-twentieth century. This is less a thorough history of video games, but a celebration of the games that paved the road for where we are today and what they personally mean to me. I notice quite often that this is a medium that struggles to receive the same respect or recognition as other art forms, such as movies or music. Games have creators and artists behind them just like any other creative piece of work, so I hope to have captured that with this piece.

Title: The Process WNY Artists-Shasti O'Leary Soudant
Video students
: Steven Clare, Joana Leamon, Tyler Nagy
Description: This is a short documentary about artist Shasti O'Leary Soudant's new sculpture installation Do Not Mistake Our Softness for Weakness which was installed in October 2021 outside the Burchfield Penney. This film is one of a series of short documentaries about Western New York artists produced in COM 433 Advanced Documentary, for service-learning partner the Burchfield Penney Art Center. This episode was produced, shot, and edited by Buffalo State College media production majors Clare, Leamon, and Nagy. This film was edited by Joana Leamon, and was selected by the artist from three edited versions of the documentary.

Title: J. Cole
Presenter: Dimitri Millis
Description: Dimitri examined how fans reacted to J. Cole’s new release, Heavens EP. Dimitri scraped and analyzed comments from YouTube

Title: Ticket Violations and Neighborhood Data (Buffalo) (PDF)
Presenter: Dimitri Millis
Description: Dimitri wanted to determine which ticket is the most common traffic violation in Buffalo, NY, which zip code gets the most tickets, which street gets the most tickets, and whether there is a correlation between violations and neighborhood population. He analyzed two datasets from OpenData Buffalo.


Title: Summer Walker’s Still Over It
Presenter: Nicole Roman Quezada
Description: Nicole scraped and analyzed Twitter comments from fans about Summer Walker’s new album release, Still Over It.

Title: Ford Bronco
Presenter
: Katelyn Brickhouse
Description: Katelyn scraped comments from YouTube and Twitter to see how consumers discussed Ford Bronco, especially with the ongoing shipping gridlock.

Title: 2019 Buffalo In Rem Auction (PDF)
Presenter: Katelyn Brickhouse
Description: Katelyn analyzed two datasets from OpenData Buffalo to know more about Buffalo’s economic and neighborhood development.


Title: Buffalo Sabres
Presenter: Patrick Dougherty
Description: Patrick analyzed the sentiments and opinions about the Buffalo Sabres by scraping comments from YouTube and Twitter.


Title: Elon Musk
Presenter: Travis Rosario
Description: Travis wanted to know people’s thoughts about Elon Musk. He scraped comments from YouTube and Twitter.

Title: Buffalo Crime Incidents
Presenter: Travis Rosario
Description: Travis examined two datasets from OpenData Buffalo to inform us about neighborhood and crime incidents.


Title: Bethesda Softworks
Presenter: Michael Wenz
Description: Michael studied how Bethesda Softworks, a video game company, was perceived by YouTube users.  Michael also examined the company’s Twitter main page to see how Bethesda Softworks communicates with the public.

Title: White Supremacy in Contemporary American News Media (PDF)
Student: McKenzie Locker
Description: The purpose of my research paper, “White Supremacy in Contemporary American News Media.” is to highlight instances of white supremacy that are not as obvious to readers who are not media literate. Many people in today’s society refuse to acknowledge white supremacy because it is not always shown in the ways people are familiar with. This paper looks at news articles from the past twelve months and uses them to show the phenomenon of missing white woman syndrome as well as to compare news coverage of Black Lives Matter protests and the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol. Using peer-reviewed articles to support my claims, I argue that white supremacy has been normalized in contemporary American news media, even more since the election of Donald Trump.


Title: Media Analysis of Racism & Gender Discrimination (PDF) 
Student: Natalie Maloy
Description: Race and gender analysis in the media takes three things: patience, an open mind, and determination. This paper analyzes media reports of missing persons, setbacks that women have in media careers, and disrespectful and racist advertising. Keeping these three things in mind and maintaining an open mind and determination has allowed me to conduct this analysis of rampant racism and gender discrimination in the media. 

2020 Research & Creativity Forum

Student: Alexis Abramo
Major: Television & Film Arts
TitleHue Perspective
Class: COM 340 Photojournalism
Faculty Mentor: Michael I. Niman
Note: Alexis asks that you view the webpage at your own pace as you listen to this audio file (mp3, 5.27MB).

Student: Omar Avent
Major: Journalism
TitlePKG Students in Quarantine
Class: COM 338 Electronic News Reporting
Faculty Mentor: Ellen Notarius

Student: Stephanie Delo
Major: Public Relations
TitleSchooling During COVID-19 (PPT, 6MB)
Class: COM 340 Photojournalism
Faculty Mentor: Michael I Niman

Student: Teddi Hastreiter
Major: Media Production / Philosophy
TitleBeing (Nature in Pandemic Times)
Class: COM 340 Photojournalism
Faculty Mentor: Michael I. Niman

Student: Elijah Hirschfelt
Major: Media Production
TitleTransfiguration Church Renovation (PPT, 31MB)
Class: COM 340 Photojournalism
Faculty Mentor: Michael I. Niman

Student: Peter Kazmierczak
Major: Communication Studies
TitleImplementing Covid Regulations at Local Music Businesses (PDF, 35MB)
Class: COM 340 Photojournalism
Faculty Mentor: Michael I. Niman

Student: Jennie Mauk
Major: Journalism
TitlePKG Artist Murals
Class: COM 338 Electronic News Reporting
Faculty Mentor: Ellen Notarius

Student: Jenna Maul
Major: Communication Studies
TitleQuarantine Thanksgiving (PDF, 41MB)
Class: COM 340 Photojournalism
Faculty Mentor: Michael I. Niman

Name: Joseph Morganti
Major: Journalism
TitlePKG Music Industry Struggles
Class: COM 338 Electronic News Reporting
Faculty Mentor: Ellen Notarius

Name: Angelea Preston
Major: Journalism
TitlePKG Womens’ March
Class: COM 338 Electronic News Reporting
Faculty Mentor: Ellen Notarius

Name: Jonathan Schultz
Major: Journalism
TitlePKG Small Business Impact
Class: COM 338 Electronic News Reporting
Faculty Mentor: Ellen Notarius

 

Student: Andrew DiMartino
Major: Journalism 
TitleTrump’s Rhetoric in the Oval Office: The Influence of the 45th President (PDF, 168KB)
Class: SPC 333 Race, Class, & Gender in Media
Faculty Mentor: Michael I. Niman

Student: Branden Rivers
Major: Communication Studies
TitleThe Rise and "Fall" of White Supremacy, the Culture Wars, and the Gleam of Diamond Joe (PDF, 900KB)
Class: SPC 333 Race, Class and Gender in Media
Faculty Mentor: Michael I Niman

Student: Ashley Adams
Major: Data Science
Title: Apple Watch v. Garmin: Which One Runs Better?
Class: COM 587 Communication Data Analytics
Faculty Mentor: Ann Liao

Training for a half marathon takes dedication, accuracy, and improvement. As I am training for my second half marathon, I often look for ways to measure my dedication, accuracy, and to improve my performance day by day and week by week. I depend on my Apple Watch to measure different variables during and after runs. For example, the distance I run a day and at what speed is important for training to ensure I am not only building endurance but decreasing the amount of time it takes to complete each mile. To maximize my tracking accuracy, I conducted research that analyzes runners’ reviews and comments from YouTube videos comparing the Apple and Garmin fitness watches and tweets from Twitter from everyday users of the products. I collectively scraped 1,500 comments between Twitter and YouTube. Combing through these, I was able to breakdown the scraped comments into four main categories and labeled them positive, negative, or neutral based on their content. From the research and analysis, I was able to conclude that the Apple Watch technology is behind and lacking when compared to Garmin. However, from a holistic approach the Apple Watch is more suitable for everyday use and is the market leader. I believe that Apple will catch up to Garmin’s technology and depending on your preferences this analysis will breakdown which watch suits you better.


 

Student: Elise Addeo
Major: Communication
Title: The True Cost of Recycling in Buffalo
Class: COM 447 Communication Data Analytics
Faculty Mentor: Ann Liao

How much does income level affect the amount of recycling that a household does? Based on previous research, products that are manufactured with their carbon footprint in mind are more expensive in nature.  While eco-friendly products are shown to be more expensive, people with the intention of reducing their environmental impact are more likely to recycle. In many towns, it also costs a fee to have your recycling collected. From this information it seems that these measures may be preventing lower-income families from reducing their environmental impact. This study will examine the amount of recycling that is done by a household based on their income levels. This study will use open data available on income levels in Buffalo, NY, as well as the amount of recycling by pound that is also tracked on Open Data Buffalo. At the time of preparing this abstract, I believe that the higher income households will recycle more than the lower income households. From this study, the audience can expect to have a better understanding of how money might be affecting households from reducing their carbon footprints.


 

Student: Uwasota Ayanru
Major: Data Science
Title: Is Artificial Intelligence Becoming Unethical?
Class: COM 587 Communication Data Analytics
Faculty Mentor: Ann Liao

This research focuses on the implementation of artificial intelligence in our everyday lives. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a relatively new branch of computer science. A tremendous amount of effort has gone into research associated with understanding biological systems, analyzing data to identify trends or genetic information that would predispose someone to a particular disease, analyzing data to help businesses make better decisions for the companies, or even just developing practical applications of AI since the year 2000. The goal of this science is to help make our everyday lives and tasks much simpler. However, we must be careful with creation of artificial intelligence especially when it comes to how well it can begin to predict information. The research that is being done will give us a better understanding on where most people stand today based on the sample taken. Social media platforms such as YouTube and Twitter were used for this project. Comments were gathered from posts and videos that spoke upon the topic of artificial intelligence, more specifically machine learning. The research concluded the importance of not violating people’s privacy. Certain information does not need to be collected. We need to monitor and stick to exactly what we said we were going to use the machine learning model for. Lastly the big issue lies with the people in charge that requested these models be created.


Student: Alantay Bell
Major: Business Administration
Title: Race, Class, and Gender in Political Campaigns
Class: SPC 333 Race, Class, and Gender in Media
Faculty Mentor: Michael I Niman

This paper explores topics from the 1800s to the present regarding to how race, gender, and class affect Americans through political campaigns. For centuries people of color rebelled against oppression and have been vilified and abused by the criminal justice system, including through biased police enforcement and other forms of systematic/institutionalized racism. For the victims, these centuries of trauma could then turn into self-hate, with victims believing that they are the problem and/or threat. At the same time, women’s voices are silenced, undervalued, and their bodies objectified. There has never been a woman president and there is a historic lack of women senators, members of congress and, until 2020, there has never been a woman as vice president in the United States. Muslims/Arabs do not get the opportunity to live the way they want without facing bigotry and stereotypes. Undocumented immigrants are threatened with exiled and/or separation from their families. Mexicans are falsely accused of crime. African Americans are derided as “dangerous.” My paper explores the impact of political campaigns on our understanding of these issues and also shows how each social class is locked in and very seldom will poor people make it to the upper-class divisions. Furthermore, privilege is determined by race for certain things such as housing and/ or job applications. My work shows how racist behavior is taught to make Americans hate, fear, and isolate instead of uniting as a nation. When the United States persists to use favoritism, discrimination, “whiteness” over knowledge is when the gap extends. Looking at recent campaigns, my paper examines how candidates use their platforms for racist or anti-racist acts which determine how Americans choose their leaders.


Student: Vishal Brar
Major: Data Science
Title: The Equality of All: Black Lives Matter in Professional Sports
Class: COM 587 Communication Data Analytics
Faculty mentor: Ann Liao

This research aims to discover the public reaction of the “Black Lives Matter” movement through social media. The main source of data used for this study will be comments made by Stephen A. Smith, who is a prominent figure in professional sports journalism. His stance is very dominant and takes direct aim at “white privilege.” Based on this, I hypothesized that the general sentiment will be mostly negative or mostly positive as is the case with most dominant political stands. The two social media platforms that were used to gather the general public’s comments were YouTube and Twitter.  The comments from YouTube and Twitter were extracted using Python code. A total of 750 comments were analyzed, which consisted of 500 from YouTube and 250 from Twitter. The comments were categorized by sentiment as either positive, neutral or negative based on keywords. Furthermore, the comments were also categorized by common themes which helps with assessing the public’s notion on BLM. The results show that user engagement across the platforms was 2.5 times higher than an average Stephen A. Smith social media post. It was also noted that both the BLM movement and the 2020 Election may have caused a more negative sentiment than should be expected from the general public.


Student: Evelyn Ezquerro
Major: Communication
Title: Ariana Grande and her provocative side
Class: COM 587 Communication Data Analytics
Faculty Mentor: Ann Liao

Women, and particularly women in music, are more susceptible to negative comments when they produce more provocative music or a more provocative image than male artists. For my case study, I decided to analyze the comments surrounding Ariana Grande’s new single and music video entitled “Positions.” The single is on the more provocative side than other music Grande has put out before whether it was a collaboration or by herself. I wanted to see if the comments had any negative sentiments or if the comments were positive, empowering and/or uplifting. I chose this as my topic because Ariana Grande usually ends up receiving negative backlash if she does anything more mature or grown up so I wanted to examine the comments and sentiments about her new single to see if that statement would still stand. For my research I wanted to determine if a majority of people left positive comments on her music or if a majority left negative comments, and if people supported her move toward a more mature song and more mature lyrics. I analyzed a total of 824 comments across YouTube and Twitter in order to help determine if the majority of sentiments were positive or negative.
 


Student: Tiffany Fuzak
Major: Non-degree
Title: Data suggests positive messages can win hearts and minds
Class: COM 587 Communication Data Analytics
Faculty mentor: Ann Liao

As social media becomes more and more central to our economy, it has also become a vital part of any marketing and public relations strategy. Non-profit organizations (NPOs) have no choice but to employ this highly technical medium. Though social media campaigns can be less expensive, organizations must first know how to use this medium technically and strategically. Much is available online to learn the technical side, however, there is still very little information about best practices for specific types of organizations such as NPOs. This study offers NPOs some helpful insight into what is working for one of the most successful NPOs in the country.

Most significantly, in a medium that is often known for its negative and politically divisive messages, the data in this study demonstrate that positive and wholesome messages and images can be just as effective. Over 80% of Barn Sanctuary messaging related to animal advocacy or fundraising did not leverage celebrity or the popularity of the founder and the television series. Most of the Barn Sanctuary’s Twitter and YouTube activity contains cute or fun animal photos or stories. The organization does sprinkle both media with information about animal cruelty and pleas for donations, however this study found that the social media campaign is clearly more concerned with cultivating a love for farm animals and those who care for them. And this approach seems to be equally effective.


Student: Zale Gaskin
Major: Political Science 
Title: Media, Intersectionality, and the Trump Campaign
Class: SPC 333 Race, Class, & Gender in Media
Faculty Mentor: Michael I. Niman

In 2016, Donald Trump shocked the world when he won the United States presidential election against longtime politician Hillary Clinton leaving the world to wonder how he could have done it.  Four years later, the Trump campaign has decided to use similar tactics in hopes of winning re-election. This research analyzes how The Trump Campaign, alongside the media, used the intersectionality of race, religion, gender, and class on top of respectability politics, in its effects on the results of the presidential election in 2016 and how those results will possibly look in 2020. I further analyze how tweets from the president, his supporters, and FOX News in particular contribute to the election results. I find that the Donald Trump and the media used white fear, white masculinity, classism and religious values in electoral politics to his advantage in hopes of running a successful reelection campaign


Student: Maurice Johnson
Major: Communication
Title: Black Reparation: We Demand to be Appreciated
Class: COM 447 Communication Data Analytics
Faculty Mentor: Ann Liao

Throughout history there had been many debates on whether or not African Americans should receive reparations for slavery. Calls for Black reparations have become more insistent during these trying times. In a recent book, From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century, William A. Darity Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen wrote: “Racism and discrimination have perpetually crippled black economic opportunities.” The offenses cited include slavery, legal segregation under Jim Crow, and more contentiously, “ongoing discrimination and stigmatization.” Many people look at African American reparations as hurting the white community, but reparations are not about punishing white Americans, nor are white Americans the ones who would pay for them. It does not matter if your ancestors engaged in slavery or if you just immigrated here two weeks ago. Reparations are a societal obligation in a nation where our Constitution sanctioned slavery, Congress passed laws protecting it and our federal government initiated, condoned, and practiced legal racial segregation and discrimination against Black Americans until half a century ago. And so, it is the federal government that should pay, since other ethnic groups were redeemed reparation after going through some form of mass hate crime (genocide, slavery, etc.).


Student: Sakib Khan
Major: Data Science
Title: Happiness Is Above All
Class: COM 587 Communication Data Analytics
Faculty Mentor: Ann Liao

This study examined factors that are important for a country’s happiness. The World Happiness Report is an annual publication of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network. It contains articles and rankings of national happiness based on respondents’ ratings of their own lives, which the report also correlates with various life factors. Data were collected on the 2017 World Happiness Report. Tests were conducted using IBM SPSS. Results show that Norway was the happiest country in 2017, the richest regions in the world were North America and ANZ (Australia and New Zealand), and correlations on how factors like GDP and satisfaction with life affect happiness. Furthermore, key aspects of a country’s happiness, such as social support, healthy expectancy at birth, generosity, perception of corruption, positive affect, and negative affect, were analyzed. Theoretical and practical implications were discussed.


Student: Lauren Krug
Major: Communication
Title: Cuties and How the Public Views It
Class: COM 447 Communication Data Analytics
Faculty Mentor: Ann Liao

This case study explored the response the public had towards the Netflix film Cuties on YouTube and Twitter. The Cuties movie had great controversy following the release of it, and it became a trending topic on social media. This study used 250 comments on the Cuties movie trailer on YouTube and 250 tweets on Twitter using the keyword “Cuties Movie.” Data was collected by scraping the tweets and YouTube comments using Python code, and the data was analyzed by their sentiment and themes. Unsurprisingly, 65% of the YouTube comments were negative and 39% of the tweets were negative. However, 6% of the YouTube comments were positive and 27% of the tweets were positive. This was very surprising as most of the feedback appeared to be negative at first glance. The remaining tweets (34%) and comments (29%) were labeled as neutral. The YouTube comments were divided up into 6 different categories/themes: legality, sexualization, likes/comments, cancel Netflix/Cuties, emotional reaction, and other. The tweets were categorized as legality, sexualization, cancel Netflix/Cuties, emotional reaction, opinion, controversy, and other. The highest percentage of tweets were categorized as emotional reaction at 26%. The highest percentage of comments on YouTube were categorized as other at 33%. Based upon the feedback that the public provided, it appears that it would be in Netflix’s best interest to remove the film.


Student: Jacob MacKinnon
Major: Data Science
Title: The User Influence: Predicting Elections
Class: COM 587 Communication Data Analytics
Faculty mentor: Ann Liao

The second Presidential debate just concluded, and with so much bias in the news it is hard to determine who had the better outcome. Thankfully, with easy access to social media outlets like YouTube and Twitter, we can extract user comments to help get a better understanding. Ideally, the presidential candidate with the best social media feedback would have had the best debate results and end up winning the presidential election.

Two media outlets were used to conduct the research, Twitter and YouTube. The research started by looking at overall YouTube comments from the last debate, then concluded by analyzing Twitter comments under the hashtag ‘Debate2020.’ The two YouTube videos came from CNN and Fox, two opposite political news stations. The hypothesis is that each video would have conflicting results (favoring each political party), allowing Twitter to be the un-biased outlet.

A total of 850 comments were analyzed, 250 from each YouTube video, and 350 from Twitter. Of the comments, 529 comments were about Biden with 341 being positive. A 64.4% positivity rate. Of the comments, 321 comments were about Trump with 206 being positive. A 64.1% positivity rate.

After analyzing 850 comments, Joe Biden appears to be the slight favorite over Donald Trump. Since presidential debates have such a big impact on the outcome of the election, I am predicting that Joe Biden will win the presidential election in a close race over Donald Trump.

 


Student: Sky Stage
Major: Data Science
Title: Analyzing YouTube Comments for Campaign Resonance and Reverse-Engineering Glossier’s Marketing Persona through General Social Survey Data
Class: COM 587 Communication Data Analytics
Faculty Mentor: Ann Liao

Glossier is a skincare brand, and its marketing approach is to mine the social media comments of its followers for new product ideas. A case study was conducted to perform the same but for advertising campaign effectiveness instead of product ideas.

The result was that the democratic approach was valued both ways. Not only it was effective to poll customers for product ideas, but customers also enjoyed seeing this inclusivity in the advertising for said crowd-sourced offerings. The mined YouTube comments showed that customers value the “representation of diversity and real people” and the “use of affordable products.” Glossier’s campaign on YouTube creates a sense of community and acceptance, which generates a desire for customers to create social media content around their Glossier experience, effectively making a micro-influencer out of every buyer.

General Social Survey data were analyzed to find correlations between the number of social media apps used, total time spent on the internet in a week, subjective class identification, income level, occupation, age, gender, and values to reverse-engineer the target audience and marketing persona set by Glossier. The company's advertising and product development is heavily focused on social media consumption and is mainly done through digital marketing, so the correlations between the aforementioned variables will help determine who their target audience is. The data will be limited to survey respondents from the year 2016.


Student: Erika Swiatowy
Class: Data Science
Title: Kamala Harris’s Political Policies and Her Social Media Presence
Course: COM 587 Communication Data Analytics
Faculty Mentor: Ann Liao

Senator Kamala Harris has been elected as the 46th Vice President of the United States. She is the first woman, the first African American, and the first South Asian-American to become Vice President in the history of the United States. She is an active member of social media with accounts on platforms such as YouTube and Twitter. Through these, she shares current events and her political views. Before and after the election concluded, her content was scraped in order to analyze how her policies affect her social media presence. The analysis also included the general public’s reaction to her and her victory. For this case study, 1,249 comments were scraped from YouTube and Twitter using Python code and collected in Microsoft Excel for analysis. Python code was used to conduct word counts on the data; it was also used to perform a Twitter sentiment analysis of the keywords “Kamala Harris” to gather the Twitter community’s reaction to Harris and the election result. Microsoft Excel was used to perform sentiment analysis of comments collected from two of Harris’s YouTube videos. Overall, reaction to her was generally positive. Although she faced criticism for her past as an attorney general and for her race and sex, a majority of the comments appeared grateful for her historic success.


Student: Robert Taltos
Major: Communication
Title: The Social Media Reaction to Joe Biden’s Presidential Win
Class: COM 587 Communication Data Analytics
Faculty mentor: Ann Liao

My proposal for a final project is the scanning of different social media channels to see their reactions regarding the presidential win of President Elect Joe Biden. This project is a continuation of my case study report that was submitted over the midterm. The idea is to find out how truly divided the country is on social media and what role social media platforms have played in helping to create that divide. I do believe YouTube will be an important platform to scan because it is one of the most popular social media platforms in use today. I feel that it is important to understand the role that modern technology plays in our society. We often think of social media as a harmless means of communication, but I believe that it can be quite the opposite. I believe that the divisive rhetoric can only lead to further division of the United States, the fuel for a raging fire if you will. I feel that this is an important area to research with data tools.


Student: Chasity VanEvery
Major: Communication
Title: Doggface208 Viral TikTok Video
Class: COM 587 Communication Data Analytics
Faculty Mentor: Ann Liao

Who knew riding a skateboard, drinking Ocean Spray cranberry juice and singing Fleetwood Mac would make a world in a state of panic, relax and remember the simple pleasures in life? 2020 has not been the greatest for most, especially on our mental health, all thanks to Ms. Rona (coronavirus). When Doggface’s (Nathan Apodaca) car broke down and forced him to jump onto his skateboard, drink some cranberry juice, and jam some Fleetwood Mac, and act like he had no care in the world, it sent him into worldwide fame overnight (thanks to TikTok) and shot FleetwoodMac back into the top 10 albums after four decades of initial album release. How could something so simple gain so much attention? Simple, the world misses simplicity. Through my research, I analyzed 700 social media comments using Python from two different social media sites and coded the comments based on positive, negative or neutral and what people spoke about most regarding the video; “simply needing” the positivity in their life, made reference to the cranberry juice or made reference to the song playing. Overall, 44% of comments referenced how much “they needed” the positivity in their life and 43% of comments not being applicable to the research questions formulated for my study. In conclusion, I think studies like what I have completed here will help companies better understand what will work in these unpredictable times and how simple and uncomplicated things need to be to get a clear and positive message into the world.


Student: Austin Wangler
Major: Data Science
Title: A Modern-Day Election: Social Media’s Response to Mail-In Ballots
Class: COM 587 Communication Data Analytics
Faculty Mentor: Ann Liao

In 2020, it seemed that America was at a constant state of unrest as the nation faced a multitude of momentous issues including becoming an epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is with these issues why Americans were so motivated to vote in the 2020 US Presidential Election, making voter turnout the highest it has ever been in any other US Election before. Leading up to the election, Donald Trump and many prominent Republican figures claimed mail-in ballots to be fraudulent and illegal. As polls began to close and mail-in ballots were shown to be in favor of Biden, Trump held a press conference further solidifying these conspiracy theories.

In the paper I analyze social media posts and comments circulating the topic. The first source used for analysis were comments posted under a YouTube video of the President’s press conference. The second source used was a sample of tweets obtained when searching for “mail-in ballots.” In either sample, there were people who agreed with Trump on the topic at hand (15.5% of YouTube comments and 37.8% of tweets). This group often echoed the same speculative points that the President used in his press conference, offering no evidence but only possible motivation behind voter fraud. Of the data collected, a larger proportion denied the accusations and offered reasonable explanations behind mail-in ballots swaying towards Biden (54% of YouTube comments and 38.4% of tweets).

In the paper, I also look into the sentiment of both the comments and tweets as well as their overall contents using word counts. The findings show the dangers of spreading misinformation and the power that a president’s words have on the American people.