Texas Tech University

Converging News

December 2012

In this issue of Converging News:

Faculty Spotlight: Melissa Gotlieb

By Sara Krueger, photo by Riannon Rowley

Melissa Gotlieb joined the College of Media & Communication in Fall 2012 and teaches Advertising & Society and Political Advertising. Gotlieb's research focusing on consumer motivation explores how advertisements tap into existing consumer motivations and political consumerism. Her studies relate to the topics people consider when purchasing a product, such as the environment, labor conditions, and the treatment of animals. Gotlieb primarily uses quantitative research to complete her research.

Gotlieb has been involved with academic research for about eight years. Her interest in social cognitive psychology led her to conduct research on the effects of news stories on readers. Gotlieb also has studied the effects of political advertisements on outcomes, such as trust and voter behavior.  Gotlieb hopes to expand on political consumerism in the future by studying whether certain products are purchased in public or private and how that factor affects consumers' purchasing decisions.

Gotlieb was interested in Texas Tech University because of the university's reputation for research. She said she liked the fact that Media & Communication was its own college instead of a department, and she said she saw great research opportunities. Gotlieb was interested in the college's course offerings because the courses matched her teaching interests. Gotlieb said she became interested after her interview because Texas Tech seemed like a great place to meet people and share ideas. Gotlieb also was impressed with the students, and she said she believes getting involved with academic research is beneficial to students. 

“I know that most students are looking to work in applied areas,” Gotlieb said. “But I think it is really important for them to understand the audience perspective. A lot of their classes are focused on how to create ads or how to do consumer research, but I think it's also equally important to understand how those things you put out there in the environment will have an effect.”


Faculty Spotlight: Rebecca Ortiz

By Sara Krueger, photo by Riannon Rowley

Rebecca Ortiz joined the College of Media & Communication in Summer 2012 and teaches Media Literacy and Account Planning. Ortiz taught a special topics course titled Sex, Drugs and Rock n' Roll this past summer. Ortiz's research interest is a combination of health communication and social marketing with a specific focus on sexual health issues with young adults and adolescents. Ortiz described herself as a ‘mixed methods' person, and she said she chooses qualitative or quantitative methods depending on the question she hopes to answer.

Ortiz's involvement with academic research started in her graduate education. She spent time in the advertising industry conducting market research, but her interest in sexuality in the media inspired her to attend graduate school.  Ortiz said she worked with one of the most prominent sex and media researchers in the country. Ortiz has helped to develop campaigns that address the HPV vaccine, teen pregnancy and prevention, STD testing, and the prevention of sexual assaults on college campuses. Ortiz worked with MTV and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy to study how the popular show “16 and Pregnant” made teens think about teen pregnancy.

The collegial atmosphere attracted Ortiz to Texas Tech. One of Ortiz's fellow graduates from the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill took a job at Texas Tech and said wonderful things about the university to Ortiz. The upward progression of the College of Media & Communication and the college's focus on research were other aspects of the university that interested Ortiz. The friendly nature of the faculty members made Ortiz feel welcome, she said.

Ortiz's future research interests include ways to promote positive sexual health among the young adult and adolescent populations. She hopes to connect with local organizations and institutions for future projects. Ortiz said getting involved with academic research prepares students to work in the advertising industry.

 “Academic research and marketing research ask a lot of the same questions, so academic research allows you to prepare to work in both areas,” Ortiz said.


Faculty Spotlight: Melanie Sarge

By Sara Krueger, photo by Riannon Rowley

Melanie Sarge joined the College of Media & Communication in Fall 2012 and teaches Advertising & Society and Advertising Theory. Sarge's research interests are health and the environment.  She uses theoretical concepts from psychology to apply to message design. She studies how the messages motivate people to take the action intended by an advertisement. Sarge also explores how changing message designs affects whether people seek out messages on their own time. Sarge primarily uses quantitative methods for her research.

Sarge became involved in academic research in 2007 upon entering graduate school at the Ohio State University. She immediately began studying media psychology and message design. Sarge's past research relates to ways that self-relevant information in the media triggers autobiographical memories and ways that people use media to create or reinforce identities. Sarge plans to continue working with health message design, she said, and she wants to explore more environmental topics, such as attitudes toward water issues and climate change.

Sarge said the steps Texas Tech is taking toward becoming a top-tier research university appealed to her. She said Texas Tech is in a transition period that encourages research efforts and offers a great deal of support. Sarge said using academic research in the classroom helps students understand clients and audiences later when they enter their careers.

“In anything you do, you have to know about your audience and client,” Sarge said. “In Advertising Theory, we get in the minds of consumers, and that's important for any position you would want, not just in advertising, but also management or marketing.”


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