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Emeritus Prof. Dr. Samsudin A. Rahim
Email: Samsudin.AbdRahim@taylors.edu.my

Dr. Lokasundari Vijaya Sankar


Managing Editors
Ms. Jenny Heng Gek Koon
Ms. Nur Leila Khalid

Associate Editors
Dr. Nicole Yang Lai Fong
Dr. Prasana Rosaline Fernandez
Dr. Nurzihan Hassim
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ali Salman

Web Editor
Ms. Ivy Chen Hoi Yhin


Dr. Latiffah binti Pawanteh
Taylor's University, Malaysia
Email: latiffah.pawanteh@taylors.edu.my

Professor Dato'Sri Dr. Syed Arabi bin Syed Abdullah Idid
International Islamic University, Malaysia
Email: sarabidid@iium.edu.my

Professor Dr. Arvind Singhal
University of Texas at El Paso, USA
Email: asinghal@utep.edu

Professor Dr. Ang Peng Hwa
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Email: TPHANG@ntu.edu.sg

Professor Dr. Norshuhada Shiratuddin
Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia
Email: shuhada@uum.edu.my

Professor Dr. Terry Flew
Queensland University of Technology, Australia
Email: t.flew@qut.edu.au

Professor Dr. Deddy Mulyana
Universitas Padjajaran, Indonesia
Email: deddymulyana96@yahoo.com

Professor Dr. Oliver Hahn
Universiti of Passau, Germany
Email: oliver.hahn@uni-passau.de




SEARCH 11 (1) 2019
Online ISSN: 2672-7080
Print ISSN: 2229-872X
© SEARCH Journal of Media and Communication Research

Social media fandom for health promotion? Insights from East Los High, a transmedia edutainment initiative

* Hua Wang, Weiai Xu, Gregory D. Saxton & Arvind Singhal


As digital media technologies proliferate and social media spaces expand, how does one leverage popularity and cultivate fandom to promote health? Despite the easy entry, broad reach, and interactive features of social media such as Facebook and Twitter, health promoters are unsure how to meaningfully engage users and build lasting online communities. In this article, we examined the Facebook Insights and Twitter hashtag network over a nine-month period for Season 1 of the exemplary transmedia edutainment show East Los High. Premiered on Hulu, the popular entertainment streaming site, East Los High was purposefully designed to serve Latino youths in the United States, spurring conversations and promoting healthy relationships and safe sex practices across different digital platforms. We used Facebook analytics to gauge the audience reach, engagement, and dissemination; developed a 10-indicator index to identify the most successful among the 352 Facebook posts; analysed the position of East Los High in the Facebook co-commenting network; and assessed the top word pairs from those Facebook comments in accordance with the show’s social objectives. We also studied the underlying structure of the Twitter hashtag network representing the interactions between @EastLosHighShow and its 2,136 followers with tweets that included #ELH, #ELHaddict(s), and/or #EastLosHigh. While challenges exist in initiating and maintaining user engagement on these social media platforms, our findings revealed effective and actionable strategies for health promotion by cultivating fandom and building communities on social media.

Keywords: health promotion, fandom, transmedia, edutainment, social media, Facebook, Twitter, East Los High

Pages: 1-16 | First Published: 1 Mar 2019

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Determining media use competencies in media literacy curriculum design for the digital society:
A modified 2-Wave Delphi method

* Sabariah Mohamed Salleh, Rosya Izyanie Shamshudeen, Wan Anita Wan Abas & Ezhar Tamam


Media literacy is vital for the proper functioning and well-being of individuals in a democratic society. However, an equally important consideration which has not been adequately addressed is ensuring that the media literacy course syllabus in schools and universities are relevant to the needs and challenges of the contemporary society. A modified two-wave Delphi study was carried out to gauge the opinions of stakeholders pertaining to the important aspects of media-related knowledge that young people in a digital society should be well-versed in. A total of 75 and 44 respondents participated in the 1st wave and 2nd wave respectively, representing different relevant stakeholders in the media industry and education sector. The study employed one-on-one and face-to-face interviews, using structured questionnaires. Findings of the study suggest that, from a Malaysian sociocultural perspective, media competence comprises not only understanding about media behavior (media communication function, biasness, representation, influence, and credibility) but also encompasses moral and legal obligations in media use. In addition, understanding the normative dimension of responsible and accountable media culture is the path towards empowering and emancipating young people in using and experiencing the media for a positive self and societal development.

Keywords: media literacy, media competency, Delphi study, curriculum design, digital society

Pages: 17-36 | First Published: 23 Feb 2019

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Framing the bilateral relations between Malaysia and China: The news coverage of flight MH370

* Yang Lai Fong & Ramachandran Ponnan


The mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in March 2014 was a test of the bilateral relations between Malaysia and China. Two thirds of passengers on the flight were Chinese citizens. Immediately after the tragedy, many in China accused Malaysia of being incompetent, dubious and even deceitful due to its authorities’ missteps and contradictory press statements. Meanwhile, some Malaysians saw China’s reactions as unfriendly and hypocritical. Through the professional selection and presentation of news items, the media communicates a host of salience cues that the public can use to organise and determine the importance of these issues, and this subsequently forms the initial stage of public opinion. In light of the events surrounding the missing flight MH370, the critical importance of studying media representations across Malaysia and China has become all the more essential to understand the role of media in bilateral relations. Based on a comparative content analysis, this paper investigated the framing of the MH370 incident as well as Malaysia–China bilateral relations by mainstream Malay-, English- and Chinese-language newspapers in Malaysia as well as by mainstream Chinese-language newspapers in China. The findings indicate that the newspapers carried an unequal weighting on the MH370 incident as well as the Malaysia-China bilateral relations. By employing different news sources, the newspapers also allowed different parties to act as opinion leaders to define or interpret the MH370 incident as well as the Malaysia-China bilateral relations. The two salient frames found in this study were “search and rescue operation” as well as “friendship, ties and understanding”. The coverage of the newspapers was also dominated by positive valence towards the Malaysia-China bilateral relations. Implications of the findings to the understanding of the framing and bilateral relations were also discussed.

Keywords: MH370, bilateral relations, diplomacy, Malaysia-China, framing

Pages: 37-56 | First Published: 24 Feb 2019

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Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest ‘hunk’ of them all?
Negotiating a masculine notion of skin whitening for Malaysian men

* Huey Fen Cheong & Surinderpal Kaur


The increase in the number of men who have become more meticulous about their grooming and appearance, also known as metrosexuals, indicates that the beauty industry no longer focuses on females alone. While metrosexuality is making its presence felt in society, the increased sales of male fairness creams particularly in the East reveals another trend, male skin whitening. This trend challenges two gender norms: beauty practice and fair skin as a beauty ideal, which are traditionally associated with females. The semiotic analysis of product packaging investigates how L’Oréal Men Expert's (LME) whitening series, White Activ (sold in Malaysia) negotiates skin whitening among Malaysian men. Looking at L’Oréal Paris' (LP) whitening series, White Perfect, as a comparison, the study analysed how male skin whitening is represented differently from female skin whitening. The findings show that LME presents a different set of notions that form a male version of skin whitening and fair skin. It replaces key notions behind skin whitening, e.g. replacing skin whitening and skin lightening with skin brightening and non-whitening; passivity of the skin-whitening practice with activeness; as well as replaces the skin whitening rationales for fair skin as the physical marker of social status and wealth with fair skin as a physical indicator of strength and health; and for beautification with problem-solving. Also, LME projects another version of “fair skin” by redefining skin tone, complexion, and whiteness, in which related notions of fair skin, i.e. skin tone and purity, are replaced with skin brightness and cleanliness. The male version of skin whitening and fair skin separates men from femininity as well as draws a masculine space in the female domain of skin whitening. Such antifemininity forms a new gender binary, differentiating male and female skin whitening.

Keywords: gender, metrosexual; masculinity; male grooming; semiotics

Pages: 57-76 | First Published: 24 Feb 2019

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Exploring viewer experiences with sageuk K-dramas from a parasocial relations perspective

* Nurzihan Hassim, Sheila Yvonne Jayasainan & Nur Leila Khalid


The formulaic content of Korean dramas or K-dramas, particularly from the resurging sageuk genre that integrates elements of history with modern twists of romance, has become more salient with viewers who find agency and opportunities for shared voices. This paper explores the significance of characters presented in sageuk K-dramas in shaping societal roles that resonate with viewer expectations and examines the emergence of parasocial relations from their viewing experiences. Additionally, the role of peer engagement among viewers that influence the extent of their parasocial relations is also analysed. Data was collected from viewer discussions on KissAsian, an online streaming website and centred on two formidable sageuk K-drama series; the first being Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, and second, Goblin: The Great and Lonely God to ascertain viewer reactions and perceptions that correlate with the performances of fictional characters presented to them. Findings reveal that viewers sought gratification from inclusive and familiar settings whilst the prominence of actors in the selected sageuk series as well as communication with other like-minded viewers online was observed to have heightened the extent of viewer engagement and affinity for K-dramas.

Keywords: K-drama, parasocial relations, audience studies, new media, sageuk

Pages: 77-94 | First Published: 1 Mar 2019

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Expressions of hatred and the formation of spiral of anxiety on social media in Indonesia

* Iswandi Syahputra


In Indonesia, expressions of hatred on Twitter are initially understood as a manifestation of freedom of speech in the current democratic era. Subsequently, such expressions have been exploited as a means of conducting a smear campaign during Indonesia’s 2012 Regional Election, 2014 Presidential Election, and 2017 Jakarta Gubernatorial Election. This study found that various hate speeches regarding politics and religious beliefs on Twitter may have instigated twitwars due to three factors: first, an issue or phenomenon bearing controversial content(s); second, an opinion provoking or containing expressions of hatred; third, two individuals or groups with dissenting interests, positions, and political choices in real life. Furthermore, the main finding of this study indicates that expressions of hatred, twitwars on Twitter, and excessive activities on other social media platforms may form a spiral of anxiety among netizens. Such anxiety may affect netizens actively engrossed in social media or even those who passively use them. A spiral of anxiety begins when anxiety is experienced by an individual due to the overwhelming surge of hate expressions on Twitter and other social media. This personal anxiety gradually expands into group anxiety, intergroup anxiety, and ultimately, communal anxiety. The study’s findings may, consequently, have implications on the shifting of the social construct as a result of social media activities. There may also be implications on regulations relating to freedom of expression in democratic countries. Thus, subsequent studies can further explore how social construct is formed based on social media activities or how freedom of speech on social media may threaten democracy. Research data were acquired through in-depth interviews with four netizens actively engaged as opinion leaders on Twitter (minimum criteria: posted at least 20 statuses daily, have a minimum of 5,000 followers, and have been involved in a twitwar containing expressions of hatred), and reviews of literature relevant to the study.

Keywords: expression of hatred, Twitter, spiral of anxiety, social media, twitwar

Pages: 95-112 | First Published: 23 Feb 2019

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A content analysis of appeals in food advertisements for children on online tv streaming

* Belinda Fong Chong Lynn & Izzal Asnira Zolkepli


The increasing number of obese children has doubled over the past two decades and represents a major public health problem everywhere in the world. This problem is escalated with easy Internet access, where online TV programming with unrestrained food advertisements are easily available to children. Recognising the increasing purchasing power of children, food marketers are now focusing on this cohort as a profitable target group. While previous studies have examined food advertisements that target children and how these affect their food choices, this study goes one step further by identifying major forms of persuasive appeals utilised by the food marketers in such advertisements. Using content analysis to study advertisements targeting children on Internet TV streaming via children’ channels, this study identified 21 emotional appeals and 15 rational appeals employed by food marketers in their advertisements. The findings of this study show that children are more susceptible to the emotional contents of the advertisements, (where it appeals to the children’s emotional desires) rather than the rational quality of the advertisements (where the logic of health and nutrition claims are not salient concerns).

Keywords: emotional appeals, rational appeals, food advertisements, children obesity, Internet TV programmes

Pages: 113-136 | First Published: 24 Feb 2019

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Mindfulness: Exploring visitor and communication factors at Penang heritage sites

* Tan Poh Ling, Shuhaida Md. Noor, Hasrina Mustafa & Shaian Kiumarsi


The mindfulness framework has been suggested as useful in explaining tourist learning, understanding and satisfaction. Mindfulness refers to the state of being aware and attentive of one’s environment and self while at the same time being able to suspend preconceived ideas and judgements to process new information. This study revisits the two categories of factors contributing to mindfulness, namely, visitor factors and communication factors, in the quest to understand their influences at heritage sites. While communication factors have received much scrutiny in previous research, it is not so for visitor factors; their interrelationship with communication factors and the ways in which they contribute to mindfulness have not been expounded on. In this study, qualitative data collected through in-depth interviews with local and international tourists at the Penang Heritage Sites, is used to provide preliminary insights on that relationship. The study has revealed that the connection of heritage sites to self (self-connectedness) underscores tourists’ mindfulness at heritage sites. Self-connectedness while at these heritage sites is identified in three themes: ‘cultural heritage and self’, in which tourists are mindful of their own cultural heritage; ‘culture of others’, in which tourists are mindful of the cultural heritage of ‘others’; and ‘social self’, in which tourists are mindful of the opportunity for ‘self’ to socialise with ‘others’. Importantly, then, this study highlights the potential of using communication strategies to emphasise self-connectedness at heritage sites.

Keywords: mindfulness, communication factors, visitor factors and heritage sites

Pages: 137-152 | First Published: 23 Feb 2019

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SEARCH 10 (2) 2018
136 pages, September 2018


SEARCH 10 (1) 2018
108 pages, March 2018


SEARCH 9 (2) 2017
104 pages, September 2017


SEARCH 9 (1) 2017
116 pages, March 2017