Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2018

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Committee Chair

Dr. Christopher P. Campbell

Committee Chair Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Committee Member 2

Dr. Fei Xue

Committee Member 2 Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Committee Member 3

Dr. Vanessa Murphree

Committee Member 3 Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Abstract

Named one of the top ten influencers of parenting by Forbes, Naomi Davis of the family-lifestyle Blog, Love Taza has transformed her family chronicles into a successful Internet business with an extensive following ("Top Influencers of 2017: Parenting"). This thesis examines the content of Love Taza to understand what messages Naomi communicates to her readers and how her readers may be receiving those messages. Using a sample of 600 posts from 2012-2017, a quantitative analysis was conducted to determine the type of content being presented. According to the findings, the majority of the posts included sponsored content and the most common theme was marriage and family. Posts were positive in tone, and most included images of the Davis children. Comparative data was examined between sponsorship and theme, engagement, and inclusion of children’s images. Statistically significant relationships were found between sponsorship and all variables, indicating sponsorships play an integral role in content selection.

Expanding on the quantitative data, Stuart Hall’s (1980) method of textual analysis was used to further analyze content. The preferred reading indicates the Davis Family is an ideal reflection of the dominant ideology. The negotiated reading agrees, but considers the influence of capitalism, manifest in the large number of sponsored posts. An oppositional reading acknowledged how corporate sponsorships perpetuate hegemony and surmises that the family portrayed on the blog is not a reflection of reality, but a curated version of the elite’s ideas of perfection. This analysis demonstrates the potential influence of the blogging medium in American society.

ORCID ID

orcid.org/0000-0002-4088-9559

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