I’m honored to announce that I was selected as one of four 2019-2020 Graduate Teaching Fellows at the Center for Teaching at the University of Iowa. Graduate Teaching Fellows engage in a year of research and praxis on teaching. I’ll be developing an online workshop about universal design for learning in online contexts for faculty and graduate students. Learn more about the program here.
As a master’s student, Dr. Jessica Freeman asked me to help her transcribe interviews on research she was working on around grandparents raising grandchildren, or grandfamilies. Transcribing was an entirely new experience since I was new to research, so it gave me a great opportunity to dive into the world of interview methodology. After transcribing hours of interviews, I began talking with Jessica about some themes I saw in the research. From there, we started talking about writing a paper together on the topic.
A few years later, our paper “Grandma or Mommy: Familial Labels as Constructs of Identity in Grandfamilies” was published in the Journal of Intergenerational Relationships. While this paper doesn’t fit into my larger researcher interests about media production, it was a great introduction to the field of qualitative research for me, and I’m really proud of how the article turned out. A previous version of the article received the top paper award at the 2017 NCA national conference.
As usual, I’ve given myself a pretty strict reading schedule for this summer. I’ll be working through these, a chapter a day, while working on my dissertation proposal, working on journal articles, and managing the Journal of Communication Inquiry. Here’s what I’m planning to get through this summer:
- Millennial Monsters by Anne Allison
- Modernity at Large by Arjun Appadurai
- Playing to the Crowd by Nancy Baym
- Artificial Unintelligence by Meredith Broussard
- The Rise of Network Society by Manuel Castells
- Spotify Teardown by Maria Erickson
- Automating Inequality by Virginia Eubanks
- Weaving the Dark Web by Rob Gehl
- The Constitution of Society by Anthony Giddens
- The Conditions of Postmodernity by David Harvey
- The Qualified Self by Lee Humphreys
- How We Became Post-Human by N. Katherine Hayles
- Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future by John MacCormick
- Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neal
- The Procrastination Economy by Ethan Tussey
- Violence by Slavoj Zizek
For fun, I’ve been working my way through His Dark Materials (can’t wait for the HBO adaptation now), Tinkerings by Paul Harding, The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer, The Rap Yearbook by Shea Serrano, and City On Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg.
After a successful year of working as the reviews editor for the Journal of Communication Inquiry, the journal’s advisory board selected me to be the journal’s incoming managing editor for the upcoming 2019-2020 academic year. Continue reading “New Position: Managing Editor for the Journal of Communication Inquiry”
My article “Professionalizing and Profiting: The Rise of Intermediaries in the Social Media Influencer Industry” was published last month in Social Media and Society. This study examines the relationship between travel influencers (e.g., bloggers and social media personalities) and destination marketers within the changing travel and tourism industry. Through in-depth interviews, observations, and document analysis, we explore the tensions between travel influencers and destination marketers that shape the way travel is promoted, labor is compensated, and professional structures are negotiated. We examine a new breed of travel and tourism worker—intermediaries who seek to professionalize and formalize the relationship between influencers and destination marketers while simultaneously solidifying their own role within the industry. Intermediaries promote and facilitate relationships based on structured flexibility—formalized agreements designed to satisfy a brand’s campaign goals yet open enough for influencers to pursue their unique needs. By examining the relationships between digital content creators, destination marketers, and third-party intermediaries, this article provides insight into how digital media industries negotiate the tension between participation and control.
Book reviews have become a good friend during my PhD program. They help decide what books are worth spending the time to read fully, contextualize what conversations the book joins, and usefully summarize some of the key arguments of the books (and often where to find them within the book). The Media Industries Journal recently published my review of Courtney Brannon Donoghue’s Localising Hollywood, a book exploring the practices and strategies of Hollywood’s distribution of films globally. Read the review here.
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.
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.
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.