Refereed Journal Articles
- Wellman, M., Stoldt, R., Tully, M., & Ekdale, B. (2020). Ethics of Authenticity: Travel Influencers and the Production of Sponsored Content. Journal of Media Ethics, 35(2), 68-82.
Abstract: Media coverage of influencer marketing abounds with ethical questions about this emerging industry. Much of this coverage assumes influencers operate without an ethical framework and many social media personalities skirt around the edges of legal guidelines. Our study starts from the premise that influencer marketing is not inherently unethical but, rather, the ethical principles guiding production of sponsored content are not well understood. Through a case study of the travel and tourism media industry, our findings demonstrate that influencers use the concept of authenticity as an ethical framework when producing sponsored content. This ethics of authenticity is premised on two central tenets: being true to one’s self and brand and being true to one’s audience. This framework puts the influencers’ brand identity and relationship with their audience at the forefront while simultaneously allowing them to profit from content designed to benefit brands and destinations.
- Stoldt, R., Wellman, M., Ekdale, B., & Tully, M. (2019). Professionalizing and Profiting: The Rise of Intermediaries in the Social Media Influencer Industry. Social Media + Society, 5(1).
Abstract: 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.
- Freeman, J. D., & Stoldt, R. (2019). Grandma or Mommy: Familial Labels as Constructs of Identity in Grandfamilies. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 17(4), 411-429.
Abstract: One challenge that grandfamilies, families in which grandparents act as caregivers to grandchildren, must navigate is assignment of labels – whether to go by traditional grandparent labels such as “grandma” and “grandpa” or to assume parental labels such as “mom” and “dad.” Applying identity theory, this exploratory study investigated how grandfamilies negotiate and apply familial labels as constructs of identity. In-depth interviews (N = 23) were conducted with grandparents who identified as primary caregiver to at least one grandchild. Thematic analysis revealed three emergent themes and six subthemes: Labeling Strategies (Correction, Submission); Labeling Conflicts (Internal, External); and Identity Duality (Grief, Opportunity).
- Stoldt, R. (2018). Book Review of Localising Hollywood by Courtney Brannon Donoghue. Media Industries, 5(2).