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5/2013 - Erin Meyers, Ph.D., assistant professor of Communication, published her book, "Dishing Dirt in the Digital Age: Celebrity Gossip Blogs and Participatory Media Culture," on Tuesday, April 30. Drawn from her dissertation, this expansive work explores how celebrity gossip blogs exploded in the media market beginning in the mid-2000s. The phenomenon challenged the traditional dominance of print tabloids as the primary space of celebrity dish and reconfigured the audience's role in celebrity culture. The book is a critical and historical examination of the impact of the technological and textual shifts engendered by new media on the use of celebrity gossip as a form of everyday cultural production. Examining six popular American gossip blogs such as Perez Hilton and Jezebel at a peak moment of influence in the mid-2000s, Dr. Meyers explores how the technological affordances of new media enable the merging of the social practice of gossip with the practice of reading, which created an evolving participatory and community-based media culture that continues to transform celebrity culture in the digital age. 

10/2012 - Erin Meyers, assistant professor of Communication, authored the article, "Blogs Give Regular People the Chance to Talk Back: Rethinking 'Professional' Media Hierarchies in New Media," which appears in the international, peer-reviewed journal, New Media & Society 14.6 (2012): 1022-1038. 

A version of this paper was presented at the International Communication Association Annual Conference in May 2011 in Boston. This article examines how new media technologies have supported the rise of a new class of "audience/producer," which challenges the traditional top-down model of media production and consumption. More specifically, this article explores the rise of celebrity gossip bloggers as examples of this new audience/producer position. Beginning as audience members and becoming producers through the use of new media technologies, these bloggers exist outside the traditional professional media producer class, yet increasingly threaten these professionals' commercial position and, more crucially, the celebrity media industry's ability to control the production and circulation of celebrity images in popular culture.