1st Edition

Nonverbal Neutrality of Broadcasters Covering Crisis Not Just What You Say But How You Say It

By Danielle Deavours Copyright 2024
    138 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Offering a critical and sensitive reflection on journalists’ nonverbal behaviors during their coverage of school shootings in the U.S., this book shows how individual- and social-level factors predict broadcasters’ nonverbal neutrality.

    Nonverbal behaviors have the ability to transmit bias, influence audiences, and impact perceptions of journalists. Yet journalists report receiving little to no training on nonverbal communication, despite often being placed in emotional, chaotic situations that affect their ability to remain neutral during coverage. This book provides theoretical and methodological contributions, as well as applicable advice, to assist researchers’, instructors’, and journalists’ understandings of ongoing boundary negotiations of this rarely discussed but highly impactful aspect of objectivity. Through the proposal of the Nonverbal Neutrality Theory, it outlines predictive patterns and routines that contribute to the variability of nonverbal neutrality, and equips readers, including industry professionals and journalism educators, with examples of best practice to help better plan for crisis coverage. The work draws on journalists’ reflections on professional norms and conceptualizations of nonverbal neutrality, vicarious traumatization, and social- and organizational-level influences.

    As one of the first to explore nonverbal neutrality, its predictive factors, and patterns across crisis events, this book provides a much-needed insight into the nonverbal behaviors of broadcast journalists at a time when the media relies ever more on visual delivery on television, digital, and social media networks.



    Chapter 1. Introduction

    Chapter 2. Nonverbal theories: BET/BECV

    Chapter 3. Nonverbal neutrality norm

    Chapter 4. Nonverbal neutrality influence factors

    Chapter 5. Measuring nonverbal neutrality

    Chapter 6. Predictive influences on nonverbal neutrality: Findings

    Chapter 7. The Nonverbal Neutrality Theory

    Chapter 8. Understanding nonverbal neutrality variability

    Chapter 9. Applications to research, industry and beyond





    Danielle Deavours is Assistant Professor of Broadcast Journalism at Samford University, USA. She currently serves as the 2023–2024 chair of the AEJMC Broadcast and Mobile Journalism Division. She is also 2023–2024 chair of the BEA Interactive Media and Emerging Technology Division, as well as a co-chair for the IMET student category in the BEA Festival of Media Arts.

    In 2022, Deavours received the Emerging Scholar Award from the Nonverbal Communication Division of the National Communication Association. She is a former Emmy- and Murrow-award winning broadcast journalist with over a decade of experience in local television news.