My name is Annemarie Navar-Gill, and I'm a grad student in the department of Communication Studies. In my own research, I look at the intersections between new technologies and traditional media industries, specifically focusing on the ways that algorithms/big data and social media have changed labor practices in the television industry. I came to this as a research topic because of my own work in the television industry from 2007-2012, when a lot of the new technology practices around TV we see as fairly everyday things now were in the early stages of being adopted. Watching people in the industry try to figure out what to do with Twitter and other social technologies became a bit of an obsession for me, and eventually landed me in grad school.

This Summer term, Annemarie will be teaching her course COMM 408.201: Convergence Culture: Media Industries in the Digital Era, a 2-hour (3 credit) seminar meeting on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursday from 12 pm – 2 pm. This course is also approved for the Digital Studies minor in American Culture.

Can you give us an introduction to your course?

My course focuses on the impact of digital technology on media culture, particularly as it exists within media industries. Some of the key topics we'll cover include the rise of new “social” media industries that rely on user-generated content, the ways in which legacy media industries have adapted their strategies in the face of rapid change, the shifting relationships between content producers and their audiences, and whether new media technologies can democratize the means of production. Along the way we will interrogate key concepts and buzzwords such as “going viral” and “participation.”

What would you say to students who are considering taking your course? Why should they take it?

I think one great thing about taking this course will be the opportunity to really think about the relationship between media industry work and technology, which is something they will have to do every day in internships and real life.

Is there a particular lesson plan or topic you will explore in the course that you are excited to delve into with your students?

One thing I'm really excited to get into this summer is social media and how new media industries that rely on user-generated content are different from traditional media industries in terms of the labor practices and economic realities that underpin them. This isn't something we cover in our 200-level industry class, but I think it's really relevant to students who are interested in pursuing media careers today.

Any plans for the summer, outside of teaching a course of your own design?

Traveling to Japan and Germany for academic conferences and finally having time to play more than 30 minutes of Fallout 4.