Assistant Professor Avery Holton won Top Faculty Paper at the 2015 International Communication Association Conference in Puerto Rico with his paper titled "Identity Lost? The personal impact of brand journalism." His paper, co-authored with Logan Molyneux from UT-Austin, was selected as one of three top papers from a pool of more than 260 studies submitted to the Journalism Studies division.
In his research, he examines the ways researchers have explored the role of organizational and personal branding in journalism, paying particular attention to digital media and social network sites. While these studies have observed a rise in the incorporation of branding practices among journalists, they have largely avoided questions about the implications such shifts in practice may have on the personal identities of journalists. His study addresses that gap, drawing on interviews with more than 40 journalists and editors from U.S. newspapers.
The findings suggest that as journalists incorporate branding into their routines, they may be sacrificing the ability to simultaneously maintain a personal identity online. For their part, editors seem to sympathize with journalists’ loss of personal identity but defer to organizational policies. News organizations appear to be placing more value on journalists as commodities to be sold to the public rather than individuals with autonomy to balance their professional and personal lives.
Congratulations to Dr. Holton!