Fall 2021: COM and JSC Capstone Presentations

December 17, 2021 from 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Online via Webex:

Jennifer Berrou 11:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., COM 499 Supervisor Dr. Gretchen King

Title: The Mediation of Lebanese Youth Identity During Crisis & Immigration

Abstract: This capstone project examined the communicated experiences of Lebanese youth to understand how process of emigration impacts their cultural identity negotiation. Since the event of the Beirut Explosion on August 4, 2020, young Lebanese people with the means to travel have sought opportunities abroad with more stable and promising life expectations. As more Lebanese youth consider leaving the homeland and join the Lebanese diaspora, they grapple with their cultural identities while adapting to transnationalism, globalization, and a new environment. This project focused on the lived experiences of Lebanese youth and their communication on their departure from Lebanon. Methods to analyze the mediation of the Lebanese youth identity during a time of crisis and immigration included quantitative-qualitative media analysis of Twitter posts showcasing feelings and expressions of leaving Lebanon. In addition, this study conducted 8 qualitative interviews to consider the lived experiences of Lebanese youth as they navigate their identities, culture, and nationalities. The study aimed to answer the questions:

  1. How do Lebanese youth express and communicate their identity during times of crisis and immigration?
  2. What themes and patterns arise in the communication between Lebanese youth when they talk about leaving Lebanon?

Tariq Shami 11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m., JSC 499 Supervisor Dr. Denijal Jegić

Title: A Textual Analysis of U.S Media Coverage of the Beirut Blast – The Case of an Imaginary Beirut

Abstract: The Beirut port explosion that took place in August 2020 had a devastating impact because of both the size of the blast - which was one the largest non-nuclear explosions in history destroying significant parts of Beirut - and the fact that the explosion occurred during an economic crisis that added to the deteriorating situation and human suffering. The coverage, especially from U.S networks, focused on geopolitical importance of the event, the “exotic” nature of Beirut, and the idea that Lebanon needed a foreign leader to save them from themselves. These narratives took precedent over the human aspect and cost of the blast. The aim of this study is to investigate the orientalist framing present during the coverage of the Beirut blast by the top five viewed mainstream news channels in the United States.

By studying five articles from each news station, data was collected and then analyzed using three indicators derived from Edward Said’s Orientalism and Tarek Cherkaoui’s Orientalism, Pan-Arabism, and Military-Media Warfare. Additionally, a podcast that attempts to give a counter narrative to the blast was created in tandem with the study. The study concluded that there was a significant amount of orientalist framing in news reports by mainstream U.S media about the Beirut blast. The results will help with the ongoing discussion regarding media framing in the United States, and the narratives and frames used by such media institutions when reporting about Lebanon.

Yara Azar Noon - 12:30 p.m., COM 499 Supervisor Dr. Gretchen King

Title: Effects of Social Media on Body Image and Mental Health

Abstract: This project revolves around a prominent topic in today’s community which the effects of social media on the individual’s body image and consequently on his or her mental health. Their correlation is quite note-worthy but not surprising seeing the wide-spread exposure of people to social media nowadays. This research study aims to reveal the extent of the effect Instagram has on shaping young men and women’s body image and how it effects their mental health. Moreover, the effects of negative body image on self-worth are studied where ethical and technical practices are explored to discover ways to mitigate or stop the negative effects. The targeted population sample is LAU students between the ages 18-24. The adopted methodology included several areas and activities among which are a content analysis and interviews with two influencers of the same age and gender as the target groups, conducting focus groups of 3-4 undergraduate men and women from LAU. Also, online tactics were adopted such as spreading awareness on an Instagram platform and offline tactics such as handing out flyers and interactive games to promote a healthy body-positive image. The results of this project showed the severity of social media’s effect on mental health where negative body-image promotion contributed to lowering self-esteem and increasing self-depreciation, anxiety, overthinking, eating disorders, and depression. Several methods can be adopted such as altering Instagram’s algorithms to help give more exposure to accounts that promote body-positivity and mental health.