Faculty Research Profile: Newly Paul, Ph.D. | Mayborn School of Journalism

Faculty Research Profile: Newly Paul, Ph.D.

The Evolution of Political Rhetoric
Chapter: "How Gender Affects the Tone and Substance of White House Press Briefings"

The White House press briefing is an important tradition in American politics since the time it first started in 1929. The briefing allows reporters to question the president and other public officials on their policies and actions. In the absence of the president, the press secretary acts as a representative of the president and conducts briefings for the press. Existing research on the White House press briefing has focused mainly on the president (Meeks, 2018; Clayman & Heritage, 2002; Clayman et al., 2006; Clayman et al., 2007) and a much smaller body of work has focused on briefings involving the press secretary. Research on press secretaries has examined the nature and responsibilities of their role (Kumar, 2001) and the rhetorical maneuvers they employ to answer reporters' questions (Schubert, 2014), but questions still remain about the gendered aspects of this role (Meeks, 2018).

We know that gender plays an important role in the newsroom and in the ways in which news is sourced and framed (Craft & Wanta, 2004; North, 2009; Steiner, 2009). Two studies so far have examined the impact of gender on White House press conferences -- both from the perspective of reporters. In the first, Clayman et al. (2012) examined questions asked by men and women reporters between 1953 and 2000 and found that women are more likely than men to ask questions that are assertive and adversarial. The second study by Meeks (2018) examined the issue topics of reporters' questions and their variance by gender and found that men and women reporters emphasize different issues.

Article in Southwestern Mass Communication Journal:
"'Thoughtful, well-written and vital' or 'Outdated, sensational, and biased?' A Longitudinal Case Study of Changing Readership Patterns at the North Texas Daily'"

Co-authored by Newly Paul and Gwen Nisbett

Using a mixed-method approach, this project examines whether readers' tastes and attitudes toward the North Texas Daily, a campus newspaper at the University of North Texas have changed between 2013 and 2019 when the newspaper implemented digital-first strategies. Survey results indicate that perceptions of relevance of the content have remained the most significant factor for readership. Moreover, an in-depth textual analysis revealed themes of community engagement and alienation, which also affected readership. Normative and industry implications of the findings are discussed.

Article in Popular Culture Studies Journal:
"From Cybermen to the TARDIS: How the Robots of Doctor Who Portray a Nuanced View of Humans and Technology"

Co-authored by Newly Paul and Gwen Nisbett

Critics and fans have praised the 2000s reboot of the science fiction classic Doctor Who for its increasing use of social commentary and politically relevant narratives. The show features the adventures of the Doctor and his companions, who have historically been humans, other aliens, and occasionally robots. They travel through time and space on a spaceship called the TARDIS (which is shaped like a 1960s British police box). The show is meant for younger audiences, but the episodes involve political and social commentary on a range of issues, such as racism, sexism, war, degradation of the environment, and colonialism. The Doctor is an alien from Gallifrey and can (and does) regenerate into new versions of the Doctor. Scholars have commented extensively about the show in the context of gender and race, political messaging, transmedia storytelling, and fandom. In this project, we examine the portrayal of robots and labor, a topic that is underexplored in relation to this show.

Doctor Who makes for an interesting pop culture case study because, though the show has a huge global fan base, its heart remains in children's programming. The series originated in 1963 on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) as a show for children that incorporates lessons related to courage, ingenuity, kindness, and other such qualities, which it continues to do to this day.