Comprehensive Exams Reading Lists

It’s time for my comprehensive exams in my Ph.D. program, meaning I get to spend the next few months reading non-stop. I’ve decided to share my comprehensive exam lists in the interest of helping anyone looking for resources to understand digital media industries and culture. A.J Christian undertook a similar task in 2010 because he had difficulty finding lists in media industry studies, and things haven’t changed much.

The following lists provide a non-comprehensive account of key issues in each of my five comprehensive exam areas (Digital media studies; global media industry studies; labor, participation, and exploitation; neo-Marxist cultural theory; and qualitative methods. Because each section of my comprehensive exams focuses on a unique area, it would take years to read through everything written on the topics.

Continue reading “Comprehensive Exams Reading Lists”

New Classes: Journalistic Reporting and Writing and Multimedia Storytelling

I’m excited to announce I’ll be teaching two courses this fall at the University of Iowa—Journalistic Reporting and Writing as well as Multimedia Storytelling. These co-requisite classes work together to teach journalism undergraduate how to tell stories effectively across a variety of media.

Journalistic Reporting and Writing teaches students the fundamentals of journalistic practice, ranging from the ethics of journalism to interviewing skills to writing different styles of news stories (features, investigative, etc.).

Multimedia Storytelling works with Journalistic Reporting and Writing to help students produce stories that expand beyond their writing. Students are expected to produce audio, audiovisual, and photo stories for the class that pair with their written story for Journalistic Reporting and Writing. You can learn more about this class on its website.

Conference Presentation: Streaming Film and TV Services and Independent Film at FlowTV Roundtables

Earlier this year, I presented a paper about digital television portals and independent media producers at the regional Big 10 Mini Conference. After receiving some useful feedback from the mini-conference, I re-worked some of the paper and will be discussing at the national FlowTV Roundtables in Austin, TX September 27-29. “The Growing Intersection of the Indie Film Business, Streaming Services, and Television” roundtable will feature brief presentations and a discussion between myself, Kimberly Owczarski, Graig Uhlin, and Katherine Marpe. You can read more about the discussion here.

The conference website will soon feature my full position paper abstract, but here is a general abstract on my position for the roundtable:

Due to the complex nature of funding films and television shows, digital film and television portals like Netflix and Amazon have found that funding and licensing independent media productions provides a simple way to bolster their global library with “original” programming. While the acquisition and licensing of content globally expands the potential reach of many types of media content, portals especially aid independent producers in reaching a transnational audience. Independent media producers have long found difficulty in distributing their content nationally, let alone internationally. Through the funding, production, and distribution of independent films and television shows, portals bolster the potential reach of independent producers globally, a form of symbolic capital. Simultaneously, the commodification of independent productions takes some programming rights away from producers, making portals the main entity profiting from the productions. This Marxian movement separates producers from the products of their labor through portals’ profit on their products.

While the majority of my position broadly discusses changes occurring in the relationship between media companies and independent producers, I specifically focus on Netflix continuing (but offering plurality of choices) traditional relationships with indie producers and Prime Video Direct offering a new form of relationship.

Conference Presentation: Travel Influencers and Ethics of Authenticity

Social media personalities, bloggers, and other influencers have been questioned for their ethics because of fears associated with influencers marketing products without telling their audiences. Joe Sinkwitz has an accessible summary of the concerns around influencers’ lack of disclosure. My research group on influencers within the travel industry sought to explore how these workers understood their ethical obligations to their audiences. Our paper, titled “Ethics of Authenticity: Travel Influencers and the Production of Sponsored Content,” was recently accepted to the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication national conference. Mariah Wellman will be presenting the conference in Washington D.C. this August. Continue reading “Conference Presentation: Travel Influencers and Ethics of Authenticity”

Service Update: Vice President of Graduate Student Senate

I was elected as the Vice President of the University of Iowa’s Graduate Student Senate (GSS) for the 2018-2019 academic year. The Vice President of GSS supports the President and is responsible for the planning and execution of the Jakobsen Conference, a poster presentation-based academic conference for University of Iowa graduate students. The conference encourages interdisciplinary as graduate students from across the university share their ideas in conversation with each other. I’m excited to work with incoming President Kaleigh White to represent University of Iowa graduate students and plan the Jakobsen conference in the upcoming academic year.

In addition to my responsibilities as Vice President, I’ll also pull in my web management skills from my professional background as the webmaster for the Graduate Student Senate.

New Award: John F. Murray Outstanding Doctoral Student—Teaching

The University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication awarded me with the John F. Murray Outstanding Doctoral Student—Teaching merit. Dr. Dan Berkowitz announced that it was given to me based on my interactions with students in my Media Uses and Effects class, my work toward a graduate certificate in college teaching (which I’ll finish this fall), and the intersections between my teaching and research. I’m thankful to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication for the award, and I’m excited to continue to develop as a teacher in the coming years.

New Position: Reviews Editor for the Journal of Communication Inquiry

I’m happy to announce that I’ll be taking over the Reviews Editor position for the Journal of Communication Inquiry beginning June 1, 2018. I’ve served on the journal’s advisory board for the past year, and it’ll be great to further my involvement with the journal. I’ll be working closely with the Managing Editor to solicit and include reviews of salient works in the critical/cultural tradition of communication research. If you’d be interested in publishing a review essay in the Journal of Communication Inquiry in the upcoming academic year, please contact me at ryan-stoldt@uiowa.edu.