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.
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.