One Mother Runner: A content analysis of running magazines using feminist standpoint theory and digital project, creating


One Mother Runner: A content analysis of running magazines using feminist standpoint theory and digital project, creating


Stacy Cacciatore



An inquiry project in the Master of Arts in Communication Program submitted to the faculty of the James L. Knight School of Communication in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts at Queens University of Charlotte


Capstone Advisor: Dr. John McArthur


August 21, 2015



Previously, many researchers focused on analyzing content in women’s magazines and the role they play influencing a woman’s body image. However, instead of focusing on the role media plays on body image alone, this research aims to specifically analyze the content in running magazines, using feminist standpoint theory, for relevancy to mothers who are runners. By uncovering themes in current coverage in running magazines for mother runners the findings highlight gaps in content within running publications for mother runners. The website,, was developed to fill the gaps and reinforce positive messaging for mother runners. Finally, this thesis includes a reflection on the process of creating this website, focused on the niche audience of mother runners.

Keywords: running, women’s running, mother runners, feminist standpoint theory


One Mother Runner: A content analysis of running magazines using feminist standpoint theory and digital project, creating


Women’s running has continued to grow dramatically in the U.S. Since 1987, female race finishers rose five-fold (Competitor Group, 2014). Last year more than 7.6 million women ran a road race (Logan, 2013) and the total number of women runners in the U.S. increased to more than 20 million (Competitor Group, 2014, p. 11). Women now represent more than 50 percent of participants in marathons. Ryan Lamppa, research statistician at Running USA predicts that women could make up to 60 percent of race finishers in the near future (Logan, 2013). The increase in women entering the sport demonstrates the importance of research aimed at understanding how running is communicated to women.

Women’s running and feminism are intertwined. In the 1950’s women were held back from running due to messaging that claimed running would hurt their reproductive health. Over the years it was found that this was only a myth and research did not back up these claims (Bunce, 2014). Bunce (2014) says, “As more and more women participate and succeed in sports, more women are also put into power in the sports world” (p. 1). This demonstrates the importance that women’s running has on the lives of women.

In 1960, after 32 years of women being banned, the women’s 800-meter race was reintroduced in the Summer Olympics (The History of Women’s Running, n.d.). However, even with this groundbreaking moment for women in the sport, all was not overcome. In 1967, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. But it almost did not happen. At mile four, race director, Jock Semple, tried to knock her off the course. Semple yelled at Switzer, “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers!” (Switzer, 2007, p. 168). Semple charged at Switzer and repeatedly tried to knock her off the course while her two male companions fought him off. Semple was outraged at the audacity of a woman running in “his” race (Switzer, 2007, p. 169). It was not until 1972 that the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) allowed women to register for marathons, but they were required to start at separate time. Since then women have entered running in increasingly large numbers (The History of Women’s Running, n.d.).

The research on this topic is limited despite the quantity of women running. Ample research exists on the effect of content and photos in magazines on female body image (Kean, Prividera, Howard & Gates, 2014). Studies exist related to how fitness magazines contribute to the well-being and body perception for pregnant women, such as the discourse analysis of Oxygen fitness magazine by Jette (2006). Jette evaluated the content and images in Oxygen magazine to understand the impact it had on the body image of pregnant women. Scholars have conducted research on how running and athletics can improve body image, self-esteem and physical, social and mental well being among girls (Sifers & Shea, 2013). However, limited research specifically evaluates how communications to mother runners differs from communication to male runners

The purpose of this study is to highlight how running is communicated differently to women than to men through the headlines, images and advertisements in running magazines. This study also seeks to understand how running magazines contribute to the devaluing and marginalization of females in the sport, resulting in a negative impact on their self-esteem and body image and subordinating women in the sport of running. This research is critical to describe, summarize, evaluate and clarify the literature related to the topic of mother runners. Culture, context and historical time are considered in the analysis of running magazines. This study uncover gaps in the current coverage of women’s running and then creates a digital platform for mother runners, Mother runners will benefit from this research, as will promote content that depicts women as a worthy athlete in the sport and creates unique content that fulfills the current gaps in messaging to mother runners.

                                                           Literature Review

Methods of critical analysis are applied to understand how running is communicated to mother runners. This literature review explores the research related to this field of study, including feminist standpoint theory, body image, portrayal of pregnancy and post-pregnancy bodies in media, representation of motherhood in magazines and running communities of practice.

Feminist Standpoint Theory

As an epistemological theory, feminist standpoint theory focuses on how one’s gender shapes her knowledge. “A feminist standpoint grows out of (that is, it is shaped by, rather than essentially given) the social location of women’s lives. Feminist standpoint can, but does not necessarily arise from being female” (Wood, 2012, p. 62). The feminist standpoint theory identifies the cultural values and power dynamics that continue to subordinate women. The theory also highlights the conditions and experiences that are common to women, which are experienced through typical female activities, such as domestic work and caregiving (Wood, 2012).

Feminism is divided into segments, including, but not limited to: liberal feminism against gender inequality, radical feminism against women’s oppression by men, socialist feminism against the exploitation of women’s and men’s labor, postmodernist feminism against the mystification of gender narratives, and postcolonial feminism, which is against the colonization of the third-world woman (Rakow and Nastasia, 2009, p. 254). Liberal feminism is the predominant feminist viewpoint of the Western world. Both women and men can derive value from understanding feminist standpoint theory and patriarchal hierarchies. The feminist standpoint theory aims to promote understanding that a “woman” is not just a body, but also is an unheard voice in a “man’s world” (p. 267). The overall problem is that historically, scholars have focused on how women can speak in “fathertounge” rather than finding a way to ensure there is value in “mothertounge” (p. 268). This is referred to as the bifurcated consciousness. This discourse has created a patriarchal point of view, from which women unknowingly speak. The bottom line is that this theory believes it’s a man’s world, in which men’s language is preferred (Rakow and Nastasia, 2009).

The feminist standpoint theory takes a cue from Marxist ideas. Marxist theory evaluates how capitalism naturalizes class divisions. Similarly, feminist standpoint theory analyzes how women are subordinate to men, and how the patriarchy between men and women makes this division seem natural and unremarkable (Wood, 2009).

O’Brien (1999) asserts feminist standpoint theory is socially located and is structured by power relations. O’Brien provides a real-life example of the application of the feminist standpoint theory with Vicki Iovine’s book, The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy: Or Everything Your Doctor Won’t Tell You (1995). O’Brien asserts Iovine occupies the “outsider within position”, which is a component of feminist standpoint theory (p. 37). The “outsider within position” draws upon real experiences to tell the “truth” about an issue from the insider’s perspective.

The feminist standpoint theory is rooted in feminism political movements. The women’s rights movement occurred between the 1960s and the 1980s. The feminist narrative is tied with feminist movement. Feminism is not only political, but also helps us understand power, gender, injustice, and change (Rakow and Nastasia, 2009). The feminist theory of public relations views things from a shift from “women’s assimilation into patriarchal systems” to a “genuine commitment to social restructuring” (p. 262). This means society should change their viewpoint from women having to adapt into the male social structure to a social restructuring to accommodate women and men. Chris Weedon (1987) believes feminism is a politics. According to Weedon (1987), the patriarchal structure of society is the starting point. Weedon defines patriarchy as, “power relations in which women’s interests are subordinated to the interests of men” (p.2). Weedon believes that girls and boys are taught how to behave like a women and men respectively from a young age.

The feminist theory of public relations from Hon’s (1995) perspective defines a shift from “women’s assimilation into patriarchal systems” to a “genuine commitment to social restructuring” (p. 262). Basically this means that we should change our viewpoint from women having to adapt into the male social structure to a social restructuring which accommodates women and men.

A marginalized group is more likely to acknowledge inequalities than the privileged group (Schneider & Remillard, 2013). One reason this occurs is because privileged groups have a vested interest in not seeing inequality. Additionally, less powerful groups are more inclined to see the social advantage of the privileged rather than the inverse. Schneider and Remillard discuss social inequality and the relation to stigma. They state stigma is not an expression of one individual’s point of view, but rather the dividing practice that shapes social order. As it relates to women’s running, gender shapes society’s viewpoint of women in the sport of running.

While the research pertaining to feminist standpoint theory has not specifically targeted women’s running, researchers have successfully applied to the theory to evaluating how body image is influenced by content in magazines, motherhood and running communities. The overarching theme to the feminist standpoint research is that women are only valued by their ability to provide sexual satisfaction. This research can be extended to women’s running to evaluate if the images and content for women runners are geared towards weight loss, improvement of body and sexuality rather than general fitness.

Body image through images in magazines

A plethora of research exists on how body image is constructed through images in magazines. Lorber and Moore (2011), authors of Gendered Bodies, explore the social construction of our bodies and assert that the differences between women and men’s bodies are not natural, but socially produced, creating a gendered social order. According to Lorber and Moore, racial, social, economic and class intersect to make the human body a social body. Through their research, they found that the “white” ideal of beauty affects all races to feel pressured to adhere to this beauty standard. They found that as early as childhood, boys and girls are taught to believe that men are more the powerful and the dominant sex. They provide examples of how this is evident in many forms, including the image of a male sperm winning the race to create life. Their belief is that this messaging and social construction allows for boys and men to achieve a wider range of physical and mental activities. Lorber and Moore argue that women’s bodies are sexually exploited to bring economic dependency.

Women are constantly subjected to unrealistic body images and expectations of how they should diet and exercise more than men. Bordo (1993) analyzes a range of issues relating to how the female body is interpreted in Western society. Using feminist theory, Bordo says women are only valued by their body and ability to provide sexual pleasure to men. This contributes to keeping women in a subordinate position. Bordo also explores how the female body is viewed as alien, threatening, passive and false. She analyzed the content in movies, advertisements and other mainstream media to demonstrate how the female body is portrayed and interpreted. Bordo demonstrates how advertisers continue to perpetuate this disordered view of the female body through advertisements that show men eating hearty meals, while women nibble on bite sized chocolates (p. 481).

Armitage’s (2012) research also found that boys and girls are taught about how to feel about their body from a young age. Armitage conducted research on body image among boys and girls and found that boys do not have the same issues with self-esteem as girls. Girls who were self-affirmed had greater self-esteem and body satisfaction than girls whose self-esteem was based solely on body image. Armitage defines self-affirmation as self-esteem based on factors other than body weight and shape. Self-affirmation did not affect boys because their self-esteem was based on factors other than their body.

Lynn, Hardin and Walsdorf (2004) evaluate the images of women portrayed in four different women’s sports and fitness magazines to evaluate the sexual and advertising differences. The researchers stated that since 1972 women’s participation in sports has surged, which in turn has increased revenue for women’s sports apparel industry. Lynn, Hardin and Walsdorf noted that magazines have largely ignored women or framed them in terms of their sexual differences. The researchers also asserted that the magazines they studied framed women as sex objects, less competitive, passive and emotional. They found that the act of framing women differently strips them of power in both the sport and society. Lynn, Hardin and Walsdorf (2004) say, “Advertising serves a primary role in the maintenance of hegemonic order; gender roles and consumerism are reinforced” (p. 336). The researchers used Goldman’s (1991) theory of commodity feminism. Goldman, Heath and Smith (1991) explore the reframing of feminist discourse and state, “commodity feminism is market motivated” (p. 333). The bottom line of this research is that advertisements are vehicles for self-identity that is influenced by commodity. Advertising serves to create an idealistic image for women to influence them to purchase products.

Using this theory, Lynn, Hardin and Walsdorf (2004) believe that the reinforcement of the sexual difference of women serves to keep women “inside the box” (p. 338). Lynn, Hardin & Walsdorf suggest, “The idea that sport/fitness could serve any other purpose other than that of feminizing the female body (to make it sexually desirable to men) is outside hegemonic bounds, and thus, has been framed in U.S. culture as deviant” (p. 345). This statement was made in specific reference to Shape, a popular women’s fitness magazine, as this magazine overtly portrays women in sexual, rather than sporty, context.

Conlin and Bissell (2014) conducted a study that examined a total of 789 separate artifacts that appeared in women’s fitness and beauty/fashion magazines. Through their research they found that health and fitness magazines reinforce the values of thinness and celebrity. The researchers noted that both women’s beauty and fashion magazines and women’s fitness and health magazines placed more of an emphasis on appearance than general health and wellness. Conlin and Bissell also suggested that both fashion and health magazines place a high value on thinness, even though the model may not represent a healthy body weight. Interestingly, the fitness magazines and fashion magazines use the same models, however fitness magazines frame the models in a way that “reinforce the norms of a health industry that values stereotypically thin ideals” (p. 12). The researchers also found that women are consistently exposed to fitness being framed as thinness, which may not be the reflection of women who actually participate in sports to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Overall they found that mass media reflects attitudes and values towards female beauty.

A semiotic study of athletic advertisements featuring runners studied advertisements featuring runners from two years’ worth of Runner’s World magazines. Martinez (2007) found that the advertisements fell into two main categories, including “codes of excellence” and “codes of cosmic significance” (p. 35). The “codes of excellence” include messages of self-mastery, such as sweating away the worries of the world through running, triumph, dedication and envy. This is communicated through images of runner’s smiling, despite experiencing pain and exhaustion. Advertisements also communicate the message that running, contrary to other sports, such as tennis or basketball, offers an intrinsic reward. Runners are also portrayed as a co-culture that is the “envy” of “others” (p. 36). Another theme uncovered was cosmic significance. Signs of history and nature were present in many ads. Runners are shown drenched in rain or running through the desert, signifying “rugged individualism” (p. 38). The overarching theme to this research is that the symbolism of what it means to be a runner is communicated through advertisements in running magazines. These themes separate runners from “others” and demonstrate a unique culture.

Spurgin (2003) analyzes the impact of advertisers creating computer-generated images to generate unrealistic human body ideals. He argues that the creation of these “computer-generated images of perfection” is unethical, as advertisers are ethically obligated to avoid aesthetic results that are produced artificially (p.266). The definition of “computer-generated image of perfection” is an image modified by computer technology to remove unwanted traits from models to portray an ideal human body (p.260). Advertisers have an obligation to provide relevant information about a product to provide consumers with adequate information to make a rational decision about the purchase of a product. Advertisements that include computer-generated images of perfection place consumers in a virtual reality in which they must make a choice. The real problem, Spurgin conveys, is that consumers are unaware of the virtual reality in which they are subjected.

Prividera, Howard and Gates (2014) conducted a study using the framing analysis to examine the content in two popular African-American magazines, Essence and Ebony, to evaluate body image, excessive weight, health, fitness and exercise. Prividera, Howard and Gates found four themes in the content analysis, including race and identity, wellness, faith and connection (p. 1). The researchers found that race was used as a key factor in communications about health-related issues, particularly in framing how weight loss is a critical issue for the African-American community. Typically weight loss was framed differently for Caucasian audiences than African-American audiences.

Wang (2010) focuses on body image the potential positive effects from the exposure to a variety of media outlets. While most research on body image focuses on the negative effects of the mass media’s use of thin and muscular models, this research looks at the positive effects. Wang states that while the media can contribute to an individual’s body dissatisfaction, it does not advocate unhealthy dieting or steroid use. Results from Wang’s study revealed that both female and male participants demonstrated a positive correlation between their intention to engage in physical activity and their self-efficacy and attitude. It also found that media exposure could have a positive impact on one’s intention to participate in physical activity and their attitudes toward attractive body image.

Mothers’ body image in magazines

Researchers conducted studies that demonstrate how mainstream magazines use images to degrade mothers. During the 1990s the pregnancy fitness industry expanded and began to market directly to pregnant women. Jette (2006) evaluated the content and images in Oxygen magazine to understand the impact it had on the body image of pregnant women. Jette specifically analyzed the “Fit for Two” column and advertisements marketed to pregnant women in Oxygen magazine (p. 331). Jette found that the “Fit for Two” column in Oxygen depicts the “Fit Mama” image, which is Caucasian, young, attractive and middle class (p. 342). Jette also found that the advertisements, such as the one for a stretch mark remover cream, messaging that urges women to “get your body back” and the “yummy mummy” column, reinforces the message that women should fear weight gain during pregnancy and must fight to lose pregnancy weight (p. 346). The images of the pregnant women in the “Fit for Two” column depict women who are toned and thin, with only their belly bump as evidence of their pregnancy (p. 347). Jette states that by the magazine reinforcing the fear women have to gain weight during pregnancy, they are capitalizing on this fear by selling them fitness products. Jette argues that Oxygen magazine imposes fear of weight gain associated with pregnancy to women and reinforces the belief that women are not exempt from the expectations of the “fit” body norm during pregnancy (p. 346). Jette also argues that Oxygen has conflicting messaging, as on one hand they promote that a pregnant woman should “be fit for two”, however this communication is at odds with the messaging that a pregnant woman should be fit for her own outward appearance “mastery of self” (p. 346). Jette believes that by communicating these two conflicting messages, Oxygen is playing on the vulnerabilities of new mothers and is not only promoting an unhealthy body image, but is doing so for the purpose of monetary gain for the repurchase of their magazine and products advertised.

One study by Bedor and Tajima (2012), evaluated how People magazine uses famous mothers’ bodies, particularly their postpartum weight loss, as a method to communicate their competency as a mother. The researchers study how the emerging fitness narrative places tremendous pressure on new mothers to lose weight after their pregnancy. They used critical media studies and the feminist perspective to study this topic. Bedor and Tajima suggested that the content in People perpetuates an ideology that affirms the importance of losing weight post pregnancy. People promotes post-baby weight as excess “fat”, rather than the natural state of a woman’s body after giving birth. The content in People sent mixed messages to readers, as celebrities who were deemed “too thin” were ostracized and deemed imbalanced. People consistently published narratives that reinforced the view that fat is synonymous with “lazy” and thin is synonymous with “self-discipline and hard work” (p. 1).

A poignant piece on the topic of mother’s body image, “A tale of 10 tummies” by Edelman (2015) is about body acceptance for mothers. Edelman posted 10 different pictures of bellies of mothers, along with their stories. Some bellies were scared from a C-section, some bellies were marked with stretch marks, others were overweight, others were underweight, some were tattooed and others were adorned with belly rings. The stories behind the bellies demonstrated that a mother’s story is not understood solely through the appearance of her body. Edelman demonstrated this by providing a story under the picture of each belly, some of the stories were contrary to societal expectations. For example, the belly of one overweight mother provided a story that the mother had healthy pregnancies and carried her twins to full term, forty-weeks. Another belly, which was flat and reflected the societal ideal for a woman, as Edelman stated, “Her body is the epitome of “perfection” by western standards”, however, she had been raped suffered from an STD and had to endure countless exams, interviews and anti-retrovirals to recover (p.1). While her belly does not show the scars, her soul does.

Representation of motherhood in magazines

Johnston and Swanson (2003) conducted a study that explores the conflict between mothers, particularly stay-at-home mothers and working mothers. They conducted a content analysis that studies the messages that bombard mothers, including mothers are selfish/selfless, women should encourage independence/dependence in their children, mothers who either succeed or fail in the domestic front, succeed/fail in the public sector and mothers are instinctive and/or need help (p. 243). Using feminist theory to evaluate women’s desire to be women and feminists, they found maternal double binds that undermine women’s confidence and create feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Johnston and Swanson use the research of Kuiken and Hill (1985) to identify double binds according to four criteria, including; the receiver is motivated to enact the behavior identified in the message, messaging with two mutually exclusive self-presentations, implicit content in the message that makes it difficult for the receiver to see the contradiction, and a receiver is unwilling to avoid the double bind. It was discovered that mothers often have a double bind between their professional lives versus being a good mother. Messaging to women reinforces the double bind that tells women that they cannot be successful in their profession and as mothers. Research demonstrated that Good Housekeeping and Parents’ magazines were most likely to present women as being competent in both domestic and pubic spheres.

The book, The Mommy Myth, also explores the topic of mothers in society and they discuss over thirty years of media images about mothers. In it, Douglas and Michaels (2005) provide a point of view of how in the United States, motherhood is marketed to make mothers feel guilty and as if they should “do it all”. Douglas and Michaels state, “The recent spate of magazines for parents (i.e., mothers) bombard the anxiety-induced mothers of America with reassurances that they can (after a $100,000 raise and a personality transplant) produce bright, motivated, focused, fun-loving, sensitive, cooperative, confident, contented kids just like the clean, obedient ones on the cover” (p. 8). These unrealistic images make mothers feel as if they are never good enough. The media makes mothers feel as if they should happily work outside the home, as well as maintain household duties, however, the realities of working motherhood are not communicated. Douglas and Michaels assert that magazines, such as Working Mother, Family Life and Child are supported by advertisements and editorial that false construct the image of the “good mother” (p. 6). The largest challenge with the marketing of the “good mother” is the contradiction that positions both working mothers and stay-at-home mothers as failures (p. 12). Douglas and Michaels believe, “the you can have it all ethos of these pieces made the rest of us feel like failures while dramatizing that we could do it all if we just had the right attitude” (p. 119). The media has manufactured the mommy wars and created the ethos of intensive mothering with a lower status, but a higher moral ground by positioning working mothers as neglectful.

Online running community

The running community has undergone tremendous transformation in recent years, not only with the increase of women in the sport, but also with the advent of computer mediated communication channels. Chalmers, Price and Jensen (2013) evaluate how heterogeneous communities interact, specifically looking at the distance running community and the transformation the running community has experienced over the past 30 years. Chalmers, Price and Jensen remark, “heterogeneity has emerged in terms of the actors present within the community with mass participation” (p. 1010). One long-time distance runner comments that he longs for the old days and feels that the sport is too popularized now. However, this mindset is one of the challenges that women face as they enter the sport of running. Some runners are elitists and feel that if a runner is not in a race to win it or if they just enjoy the free t-shirt, goodie bag or concert after the run, they are not a true runner. Chalmers, Price and Jensen found “heterogeneity’s role in the running community demonstrates that a heterogeneous, mainstream consumption community preserves continuity” (p. 1017). They studied various members’ motivation for running and found a variety, ranging from general fitness to strategy development. The researchers also found “the most fundamental and emotionally charged strain stems from how members determine what constitutes the practice of running” (p. 1019). Mother runners are often viewed as not as serious from male competitive runners just because they have different goals with running. The researchers found that the running community has several sources of tension, many from a concern of belonging arise from heterogeneity.

Workman and Coleman (2014) conducted a study to evaluate how the content sharing site, Reddit, is used among women to share experiences and information with other like-minded women. The research found that these online communities fulfill a specific need for members. This online community is a user-generated content site; therefore the members create the content. Workman and Coleman discovered the motivations for using the Internet are different for women and more females are online than males. “Knowledge sharing” is the primary motivation for women online (p. 5). The researchers also found that women use the online content sharing site to find a sense of community, particularly with other women who are experiencing similar issues. Workman and Coleman also state that they found that Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) could form closer bonds than face-to-face.

Girls on the Run/Track (GOTR/T) is a program that aims to educate young girls about the sport of running. This program is also designed to prevent girls from engaging in at-risk activities, including eating disorders, substance abuse and sexual activity. Researchers found that girls who participate in physical activity are less likely to engage in dangerous activity and they report higher levels of satisfaction with their life and their body. These girls also report higher body satisfaction. The Girls on the Run/Track (GOTR/T) program trains girls for a 5K while improving their self-esteem and associated positive social, emotional, physical and mental development (Sifers & Shea, 2013). The researchers sought to fill a gap in current research towards girls, physical activity and positive body image/self-esteem. The researchers filled this gap with the Girls on the Run/Track (GOTR/T) program. The research showed that the (GOTR/T) program did not actually improve their perception of ability for physical activity even though the program focused on improving athletic ability through training for runs (Sifers & Shea, 2013).

As related to an online running community, it is helpful to understand how similar bonded online communities function. Ginossar (2008) studied the differences in online communities for health communication between men and women. This study evaluated two online cancer communities to explore the communication need differences between men and women. This study used the Uses and Gratifications model to evaluate the usage of these health related Internet sites. The Uses and Gratifications theory is rooted in the fact that audiences are active in media consumption. This study found that more women than men participate in online cancer communities. This study also used theories that examine how genders communicate and how men and women communicate support.

Sanford (2010) explores how individuals who are obese use blogging as a form of computer mediated social support in four ways, including enabling empathy, accountability to others, venting and advice seeking, and validation of the weight loss experience. Sanford uses the media richness theory to explore how media-rich environments, such as blogs and social networks enable this social support system. Sanford says, “blogging adds to the richness of computer-mediated social support” (p.569). Sanford focuses on the morbidly obese, which Hurd (2007) defines as those who are more than 100 pounds overweight or has a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more. Sanford evaluated 50 obese bloggers. Through Sanford’s research he found that those who receive social support are more likely to lose weight and maintain their weight loss. Many of the bloggers did not feel as if they had emotional support and they felt alone in their weight loss journey prior to starting their blog. However, the bloggers felt that they had empathy and support from the readers of their blog. Many of the bloggers felt that they had more support among their online friends than their face-to-face friends. The bloggers also felt accountability to their readers. They did not want to let their readers down and therefore felt more pressure to meet their weight loss goals. The bloggers also received validation on their weight loss through comments on their posts about weight loss, creating an environment of reward and recognition.

Athlete elitism exists within the running community. A post from a triathlete, TriAu (2010) on the Trifuel online community is a rant because he is offended at seeing “13.1” half marathon stickers on cars. TriAu (2010) says, “Seriously? It’s 13.1 miles, it is not really that big a deal. People have become so fat and lazy it is suddenly an epic feat just to finish a 13.1 mile distance, no matter how long it might take you” (p.1). TriAu berates athletes who compete at the half marathon distance because he does not deem the distance as worthy as “true” athletes who complete an Ironman distance.

Eichkorn (2008) evaluates 490 postings to analyze the social support on discussion forums, including the type of social support provided, strategies used to solicit support, and the top five Yahoo! eating disorder discussion boards. Eichkorn categorized the messages from the eating disorder groups into the following categories: informational, emotional, network, instrumental, and esteem. The results find that information support is the most frequent, with 29.7 percent of the responses. While this research is related to eating disorder, it can help me better understand computer-mediated communications.

McCabe analyzes 12 pro-ana (pro-eating disorder) message boards to examine how members of the pro-ana groups conduct their social reality. McCabe found that the rhetoric and discourse among the members fell into one of two categories, which she defines as “positive” and “negative”. The positive interactions reinforced the eating disorder lifestyle and the negative interactions extended the negative public expression of disdaining those with the disorder. The positive interactions were used to provide humor to the eating disordered behavior, which was interpreted as humanizing and normalizing the behavior. The “positive” rhetoric also personifies anorexia and bulimia with the characters “Ana” and “Mia”, as real people; anorexia and bulimia respectively. The negative interactions are those in which the members discuss their challenges with the disease and the guilt they feel. McCabe uses Symbolic Convergence Theory (SCT) as the framework to evaluate the pro-ana websites, as this theory evaluates how individuals share a common conscious by communicating their fantasies, dreams and meanings. The bottom line of McCabe’s research is that the pro-ana sites create an environment that enables acceptance and a social reality for a group of individuals with an eating disorder that reinforces the behavior.

Overall, the research on feminist standpoint theory, body image, representation of motherhood in magazines and the running community, have similar themes that tie these topics together. On the whole, scholars agree that boys and girls are taught from childhood how to feel about their bodies. From a young age girls derive their self-esteem from their body weight and shape, while boys pull from a variety of attributes. That is why programs, such as Girls on the Run, are so important. Girls on the Run not only teaches girls about running, but it builds their self-esteem by teaching them characteristics to love about themselves outside of their body and physical attributes. These beliefs of body image and shape create a socially constructed ideal of beauty from a young age. This socially constructed ideal of beauty is portrayed in unrealistic images of women’s bodies in mainstream magazines. This, in turn, perpetuates the belief that women are only valued by their body and sexual satisfaction they can provide men. The research studied in this literature review also found that advertising in women’s fitness portrays women in a sexual manner, which strips women of power and reinforces commodity feminism. The advertising serves to create an unrealistic and idealistic image of women, for the sole purpose of influencing them to purchase products, which is referred to as commodity feminism. This unrealistic body image portrayed in magazines carries over into images and content depicting pregnancy and motherhood as well. Fitness magazines tell mothers they need to get their body back after pregnancy and they depict images of fit pregnant women with only a small belly bump as evidence of their pregnancy. This transcends into running, as many mothers begin running after pregnancy, however, women are often devalued in the sport and only communicated to in the sense of how running can affect their body and beauty. Scholars have found that the running community has several sources of tension, many originating from a concern surrounding a sense of belonging in this male dominated sport. This transcends into the development of an online running community, as many individuals join an online community to solicit support. This literature review serves to tie these related topics of body image, motherhood, running and online communities together and apply these common themes to this research.


The method for this study focuses on two different types of analyses that guide the creation of the digital outlet for mother runners. It includes a content analysis of running magazines and a gap analysis of coverage in running magazines.

Content Analysis

I conducted research on women’s running by engaging in an extensive content analysis of both Runner’s World and Women’s Running magazines. I chose Runner’s World and Women’s Running because these two magazines are the top two running magazines. Runner’s World, the most successful running magazine, has a total audience of 2,594,000. More than half of their reader base is men (52 percent) and 48 percent of reader’s are women. Women’s Running, has a circulation of 72,000 and their magazine is 100 percent dedicated to women. Women’s Running magazine is a publication of Competitor Group, Inc. (CGI), which is a leading active lifestyle media and event entertainment company. The core business of CGI is their 50+ races, which include the popular Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series and Women’s Running Series. CGI publishes Competitor, Triathlete, Velo and Women’s Running magazines and manages their digital platforms. CGI states they created the running magazine address the growing community of women runners. CGI (2015) says, “Women’s Running leads the charge in empowering these women to run more and lead healthy and active lifestyles” (p. 18). They also stated they their publication is able to capture the attention of female consumers in a way that mainstream women’s fitness magazines cannot.

I examined headlines, images and advertisements in both magazines and compared and contrasted the findings. I evaluated the 2015 editorial calendar for both magazines. The following methods are used to analyze each category:

  • Editorial calendar: I documented the headlines for Runner’s World and Women’s Running from January 2015 to December 2015. I compared and contrasted the headlines and divide them into categories, including: Beauty products and clothing, inspirational story, performance, body image, nutrition, tips, beginner, gear and social. I will then analyze the editorial calendar headlines and themes to understand if and how running is communicated differently between the two magazines.
  • Headlines: I documented the headlines for Runner’s World and Women’s Running from July 2014 to July 2015. I then compared and contrasted the headlines and divided them into categories, including: Beauty products and clothing, inspirational story, performance, body image, nutrition, tips, beginner, gear and social. I analyzed the quantity and frequency of the categories.
  • Advertising: I counted the quantity of advertisements in both Runner’s World and Women’s Running from July 2014 to July 2015. I then compared and contrasted the headlines and divide them into categories, including direct advertising, product placement, races (by type), gear, shoes, watches, sunglasses, clothing, books, cars, insurance, food and other. I then analyzed the quantity and frequency of the categories.
  • Running websites: I evaluated the Women’s Running website to analyze the content provided to women runners and engagement of the women’s running community.
  • Images: I counted the quantity of images depicting male/female in both Runner’s World and Women’s Running from July 2014 to July 2015. I analyzed the quantity of male vs. female runners, body composition of the male/female image and then divided them into categories: underweight, fit, average or overweight. I evaluated if the runner’s body is digitally altered.
  • Participants: I engaged mother runners via the online community Women’s Running Community (WRC). I interviewed mother runners to ask them what content they would like to see featured in running magazines and communities. I interviewed mother runners to understand their story and why they run. I asked the mother runners two questions relating to the research for this project:
    • Content: I asked mother runners for what content they wish running magazines provided, that they currently do not cover.
    • Images: I asked mother runners for images depicting them running in a race, as well as their personal story/experience as a runner. I used this content on the website.

Gap analysis

I conducted a gap analysis of the content reviewed in Runner’s World and Women’s Running magazines to understand what content is not covered. I compared and contrasted the content in both Runner’s World and Women’s Running to determine if any of the content is similar or different, and what those commonalities and differences mean.

                                                        Challenges and Limitations

The challenges for this research include the ability to deep dive in the content analysis, researcher bias, and conflicting evidence between what participants say that want and what is needed. The research covers one year’s worth of running magazine content, but this is a limitation because this offers a content analysis of only a snapshot in time. Additionally, this research analyzed headlines, advertisements and images, but provides a limited viewpoint of the possibilities to explore in the content of running magazines. For example, there are studies that focus on the details within one particular advertisement and the meaning behind the facial expression of the model, body parts emphasized in the advertisement, scenery in the advertisement and word choice. Given the amount of advertisements this research explores, there will not be a deep dive conducted on each advertisement. This study derives themes based on a broad analysis, but does not conduct a deep dive on one particular component. The risk of author bias arises from evaluating the content and deriving meaning from the headlines, images and advertisements. Another challenge to this research is the analysis of personal interviews. Discrepancies exist between what individuals say they want to see in running magazines and what is already covered. For example, in the interviews I conducted with women runners, they say that they want to see product reviews. However, in conducting a content analysis of the running magazines for women, a plethora of advertisements and product reviews exist for women runners.


The purpose of this study is to highlight how running is communicated differently to women than to men through the headlines, images and advertisements in running magazines. This study also sought to understand how running magazines contribute to the devaluing, marginalization and sexualization of females in the sport.

The first step for creating One Mother Runner was to define my niche and target audience. When I first explored topics for my thesis, I had many ideas and directions to possibly explore. However, when I was on a run one morning, the idea of studying how running publications communicate to mother runners struck. I have a passion for running and helping other runners achieve their dreams. I have been a runner since 1999, when I lost 80 pounds by hitting the pavement. I have run four marathons, more than 30 half marathons and a multitude of 10Ks, 5Ks and triathlons. Running has not only improved my health and fitness, but it has improved my mental, physical, intellectual and social well-being. I have a passion for running because it has done so much more for me than just weight loss. It has helped me be a more patient parent, loving wife, introspective employee and caring friend. When I had my awakening moment that I should focus my thesis on communications for mother runners, I realized that this was my true passion and I was elated to bring this passion and knowledge to others.

Content Analysis

I completed a comprehensive content analysis of 24 Women’s Running and Runner’s World magazines published from July 2014 to July 2015. I evaluated the headlines in Women’s Running and Runner’s World magazines and created a coding spreadsheet, in which I documented every headline in each of the 24 magazine editions. I then coded those headlines in one of the following categories: Beauty Products & Clothing (BP), Inspirational Story (IS), Performance (P), Body Image (BI), Nutrition (N), Tips (T), Beginner (B), Gear (G), Social (S), Race Review (RR), Cross Training (CT), Mind (M) and Health (H). After I categorized all of the content, I then analyzed each instance of the category being used and analyzed by frequency in each of the running magazines. I analyzed the quantity of images depicting male/female runners on the cover. In Women’s Running magazine, 100 percent of the cover model images were female and only one runner was a person of color (POC). In Runner’s World magazine 50 percent of the cover models were female and 17 percent were POC.


The results of the analysis were consistent with my hypothesis, which was women’s magazines primarily market running as a means to lose weight, while running is marketed to men as a competitive sport. The majority of the content in Women’s Running magazine focused on running for weight loss and fell into the “Body Image” category (21 percent of all content). Such headlines included, “Run off the pounds” and “The best workouts to slim down” (Women’s Running, January 2015). Runner’s World, on the other hand, primarily communicated the ways performance can be enhanced in the sport of running (32 percent of all content). Those headlines included, “PR Proven Marathon Plan” and “The Right Warm-up for Every Race” (Runner’s World, July 2015). Both magazines had editorial themes that served as the framework for each month’s headlines. While Runner’s World includes a weight loss issue annually (April 2015), Women’s Running consistently had more articles related to weight loss. The second highest category of content coverage in Women’s Running was performance (20 percent). This is a positive correlation, as women I’ve interviewed regarding running indicate that they want to hear how they can enhance their performance in the sport. I thought that content geared towards women would contain more social information than content geared towards men, but I was wrong. There was the same quantity of articles on the social component of running for women and men. Runner’s World also provided more information on nutrition (second highest content theme, at 15 percent) than Women’s Running (third highest content theme at 11 percent). When Runner’s World had nutrition headlines, they focused on the health benefits of the food, such as “15 Surprising Power Foods: Fuel Tips from an Ultra Chef” (Runner’s World, April 2015). However, when Women’s Running had nutrition headlines, they focused on the weight loss benefits of the food, such as “Nutrition tips from “The Biggest Loser” trainer” (Women’s Running, January 2015).


One unexpected revelation was the lack of communication in both magazines on the topic of health. Neither Women’s Running nor Runner’s World magazines had headline stories related to the health aspects of running. There was only one health related headline in Women’s Running magazine and Runner’s World respectively (one percent of total content) in the past year. One of the most astonishing discoveries was that Runner’s World had more content related to the psychological/mind-body benefits of running (six percent) than Women’s’ Running (two percent). My analysis leads me to believe the reason for this is that Women’s Running content is skewed to only focus on the weight loss/body benefits of running and they gloss over the psychological, health and social benefits of running. Another gap I discovered was that all of the race reviews, gear reviews and race event calendars were advertisements. There were no honest gear or race reviews in the magazines, as those opportunities were used as produce placements.


Speaking of advertisements, I was taken aback by the quantity of advertisements in both publications. I counted every ad in each magazine over a 12-month period, from July 2014 to July 2015. I then coded each ad into the following categories: Races (Other), Rock n Roll Marathon, runDisney, Shoes, Watches/Fitness Tracker, Sunglasses, Clothing, Gear (Other), Diet Books, Running Books, Car, Insurance, Food, Other, Injury Prevention, Capital One, Vitamins, Dicks, Health and Beauty Products. I counted each instance of the advertisement, categorized the advertisement, counted the total number of ads, and calculated the percentage of ads in the magazine vs. content and vs. the total number of pages in the magazine.

The results uncovered Women’s Running had 1,004 total advertisements in a 12-month period. I counted the quantity of advertisements and the quantity of actual content and discovered 84 percent of Women’s Running magazine is composed of advertisements and only 26 percent is editorial content. Runner’s World was even worse, as over a 12-month period there were 1,287 ads, which equated to 90 percent of their total magazine. There were certain months in Runner’s World in which there were more advertisements than content (131 percent advertisements in the month of December 2014).

The research also uncovered clear differences in how running is marketed to women vs. men. In Women’s Running there was an immense quantity of advertisements for clothing. Over a 12-month period, in Women’s Running there were 271 (27 percent) ads for clothing (the highest number of ads in any category). Contrast that number with Runner’s World, who only had 149 (12 percent) total ads for clothing. This demonstrates the vast difference in the way running is marketed to women vs. men. Additionally, the way the clothing is marketed in Women’s Running affected body image, as it portrayed female models with thin, digitally altered bodies. On the contrast, the majority of ads in Runner’s World magazine were for shoes. This advertising correlates with the content analysis, as running shoes are critical to ones performance in running. Given that the content in Runner’s World primarily focused on performance, it makes sense that the advertisements would fall into the same vain.

The second highest advertisement category for Runner’s World was races. However, I noticed another clear gap in advertisements as it relates to races. Women’s Running magazine is a publication of Competitor Group, Inc. (CGI), which is a leading active lifestyle media and event entertainment company. The core business of CGI is their 50+ races, which include the popular Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. Therefore, not surprisingly, the majority (64 percent of all race advertisements) in Women’s Running were for Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathons. There were very few (two percent) runDisney advertisements. The audience for runDisney races is women. In fact, in the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon, 91.5 percent of the participants were female. A gap in communicating runDisney events, races and information to women runners exits. Women’s Running magazine is not advertising a key race that their readers would value from, because of their conflicting interest with their parent company.

Runner’s World advertised a significant quantity of running related gear (12 percent of total advertisements). Women’s Running magazine also included beauty product advertisements, and in the month of December 2014, 15 percent of their ads related to beauty products. However, Runner’s World did not have any beauty product advertisements. This reinforces my research hypothesis, which is that running is communicated and advertised to women to enhance their looks, while it’s advertised to men as a sport. Both magazines had “Shoe Review” editions, however, Runner’s World had the most shoe advertisements by far. Month after month Runner’s World had more shoe ads than Women’s Running. Over a 12-month period Runner’s World had 264 (27 percent) shoe ads. By contrast, Women’s Running only had 108 (11 percent) advertisements for shoes over a 12-month period. You may review the Women’s Running, Runner’s World and charts in the appendix for more information.


The creation of the One Mother Runner was similar to birthing a child. There was a lot of advanced preparation, research and careful planning that went into the launch. And just like birthing a child, while there was a lot of toil prior to the big day, the real work starts after the birth. Since launching the site on June 30, I’ve written 109 posts, created 20 pages, taken and uploaded 336 pictures, recorded 21 videos, created one podcast, created and designed three downloadable printable workout plans, created three graphic designs and been the creative force behind five unique illustrations designed for the site. The development of the site is clearly defined into five phases: content analysis, website development, content development, social engagement and measuring success. Each of these broad phases included many components and tactics. I reflect upon the best practices, lessons learned and lessons learned throughout this process.

Building a website takes a strategic vision, technical expertise, an eye for design, strong writing skills, excellent project management, seamless coordination, social media expertise, knowledge of analytic tools and a lot of patience. As the single owner of the website, I was involved in every component of building the site; from designing the layout, to integrating the HTML code for the forms, widgets and plugins to writing all of the content. I researched many other running websites, as well as other successful blogs to learn best practices for creating a website. The first step I took was to buy the domain name, select a host and choose a web design platform. I conducted research and Amy Lynn Andrews (2015), owner of Blogging with Amy, recommended that I use three separate services for domain name purchasing, hosting and designing; therefore I bought the domain name from GoDaddy, chose Web Hosting Pad for hosting services and used WordPress to build the site. After the launch of One Mother Runner and once I built enough content to have a full month’s worth of content in advance, I began to optimize the site. I completed research on how other bloggers reduced their bounce rate, and many of them used a plugin “Contextual Related Posts” to allow related posts to show up on every post. I redesigned the layout and the menus on the site on three occasions to improve the navigation and layout for readers. I integrated plugins for sharing the content via social media, including a social media share icons bar that pops up on the sidebar of every post and a Pinterest “Pin It” hover image. I also implemented tools for an automatic publication of my posts on Twitter and Facebook. I created a “Grab my blog” button, along with the easy copy and paste HTML code, so fellow users could implement my graphic on their site. I used categories to organize the posts and allow for auto population of the tabs across my site.

I redesigned the site after the initial launch phase of two weeks to maximize the effectiveness of the site. I condensed the menus and categories to ensure a seamless navigation experience for the user. I originally had a carousel with rotating images in the header, however, I eliminated this feature after consultation with Dr. McArthur, as we realized that the user had to scroll too far to see content. I also originally had a feature on the site called “featured image” which automatically posted the featured image in the header of the post. I disabled this feature because it interfered with the users’ ability to see the content on the site. I added a special runDisney component to my site due to gap I uncovered in communication to women runners on runDisney events. I also discovered a niche of mother runners who run Disney races and desire content on runDisney races, runDisney bling, tips for running at Disney, information on the best resorts at Disney and more. The desire for the content was high, so I dedicated a portion of my website to this purpose. I also collapsed “nutrition” under the tips area and added a new section for “Meet Mother Runners” that includes their profile article, as well as a graphic that I design for each and every mother runner. The mothers I profile can add the button to their website and social media profile to further cross-promote One Mother Runner.

Editorial Calendar

I created the editorial calendar for One Mother Runner based on the content that covers the current gaps in coverage for women runners and content that reinforced the positive themes. The editorial calendar includes a calendar from the launch date to June 2016, content categories, weekly themes, and stages of development. The stages of development include: base building, analysis, content development, newsletter launch, content building, social media engagement, multimedia development, contest, SEO optimization and refinement.

The content categories include: tips, inspirational, health-related nutrition/recipes, gear, cross training, race reviews and humor. The reason I chose these categories because there is a clear gap in communicating the health-related components of running to mother runners. The majority of the content and advertisements for mother runners are related to body image, weight loss and beauty. The content geared towards men discusses the performance-related aspects of running, however, this aspect is missed in communicating running to women. Therefore, I wanted to ensure the site conveyed the relevancy of women in the sport of running, as an athlete, not as women using running as a weight loss tool. I developed the editorial calendar to ensure there was a new post every day on a different topic, rotating through the topic categories. Each day of the week has a central topic; Monday is “tips”, Tuesday is “inspirational”, Wednesday is “health/nutrition/recipes”, Thursday is “gear”, Friday is “cross training”, Saturday is “race reviews” and Sunday is “Humor”.

Newsletter development

I created a theme for every week within the editorial calendar, that is reiterated in the weekly enewsletter. September 7, 2015 is Labor Day and many children go back to school that week. Therefore, the week of September 7 is my “Back to School” week and each post that week ties back to that theme. I created a weekly newsletter that recaps the weekly articles. I created the newsletter in Mail Chimp. Each week I create the newsletter in Mail Chimp and schedule it to be delivered at 8:00 a.m. on Monday morning. I decided to create a newsletter because direct email is still the most effective channel to enhance viewership of blog posts (Chittenden, 2013).

Once I launched the newsletter I had to find ways to enhance the quantity of subscribers. Bell Cooper (2013) states that adding email sign up forms to a website, the more the better, is a great way to increase subscribers. Increasing subscribers is critical for bloggers, as it helps ensure you have a steady user base. Therefore, I obtained the HTML code for my Mail chimp sign-up form and I added it to my sidebar. I also downloaded a plug-in for my site, “PopupAlly”, which allows me to add the Mail Chimp enewsletter sign-up form custom HTML into the pop-up section of my site. Now, when a user logs into my site, a pop-up will appear asking them to sign-up for my newsletter.

Market research also shows that offering a free download or members only content helps increase the quantity of subscribers (Ramsay, 2015). Therefore, I created a One Mother Runner Monthly Fitness Calendar that was available to download if the user entered a password that was sent via enewsletter. I will maintain this strategy each month by creating the calendar and offering the password in the enewsletter. I studied the popular fitness site, Blogilates, to leverage this approach. Cassey Ho with Blogilates offers a free monthly downloadable fitness calendar for subscribers (2015). The concept is great, however the technical aspects of creating this approach were complicated. I had to use the “Downloads” plug-in to ensure that the content of my blog post was readable (essential for SEO optimization), but to ensure the download was password protected. The “Downloads” plug-in also allows for me to see how many instances of the calendar were downloaded.

I conducted research on how to enhance subscriptions to the site and found that it is more effective to tell readers exactly what they need to do and the benefit to them, rather than to ask them to sign up for the newsletter. Therefore, I changed my sign-up text to read “Enter your email to receive your FREE fitness calendar today!” All subscribers will be added to the weekly newsletter.

Content Development

One must create compelling content that truly adds value to the reader to ensure their blog is successful. My extensive content analysis and study of the core audience for One Mother Runner allowed me to complete a deep dive into the type of content that mother runner’s want. I identified my audience and pinpointed them into the exact niche market in which I was writing. I knew from the beginning that my core audience is women with children who run for recreation (not elite female athletes). This woman is between the ages of 35-44 and is mass affluent, which means they earn at least 50 percent more than the median per capita GDP of the surrounding area (annual household income exceeding $75,000) (Samurai, n.d.). By pinpointing my audience, and understanding their values, I was able to write content that appealed to their needs. I decided from the beginning that all of my content needed to solve a problem or fulfill a need.

I chose topics that were not covered in the communications to women runners. For example, Disney is not communicated or covered in women’s running publications due to the competitiveness between runDisney and Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon. Therefore, my post included “Five ways to get fit during your Disney vacation”. In my nutrition posts, instead of focusing on how women can lose weight through their nutrition plan, I focused on how one can become healthier and a better runner through strong nutrition. My post on blueberries focused on the health aspects of blueberries and how they prevent disease, not how they can help women lose weight. I also have posts that communicate how mother runners can make time for themselves even if they are overcoming adversity, such as parenting a child with special needs. Another theme I noticed in the running publications geared towards women is that they push products, through advertisements and product placements. There was a lack of honest, real reviews of products and instead there was a constant push for “selling” products to women. Therefore, I focused on real, honest reviews of products, such as the Apple Watch, Jaxx and Luluemon headband. I do not monetize my blog, therefore, I do not receive financial benefit from promoting or discrediting these products. I simply buy the products, use them, and provide honest advice to the readers. I also found through my research that mother runners desire honest race reviews. They want to hear the good, the bad and the ugly on races.

After I selected topics and I made a comprehensive calendar of all of my posts, I began writing content. I have written 109 posts for One Mother Runner since launching in late June. The heart of One Mother Runner is to provide open, honest information on running for women. Therefore, I ensured to keep this voice in all of my posts. I wrote race reviews for many of the races in which I’ve participated and I was honest about what course were great, which races were disorganized and which races had the best swag. I reached out to many other mother runners and asked what questions were on their mind, and I ensure to hit those questions head on. For example, in my post, “Is the Apple Watch worth the money?” I asked what many mother runners wanted to know. I addressed the good and bad aspects of the Apple Watch to help other mother runners understand if they should spend their money on this running gadget. I also wrote about some of the latest fitness trends, such as virtual races and aerial yoga, and I addressed the questions, “who is this for?” and “who should not try it?” I wanted to make sure the readers know that they can trust me to tell them the truth about fitness and that I will not waste their time or money.

I wrote product reviews, tips, well-researched health and nutrition articles and race reviews. I scheduled these posts to publish according to the dates determined on the editorial calendar. I wrote about content that mother runners desired to hear about and content that addressed gaps in the current communications for mother runners. I ensured to not write any articles about weight loss, body image or beauty. The purpose of One Mother Runner is to empower women through the sport of running. Therefore I focused the content on how women can enhance their performance, advice for mother runners, race reviews and open and honest gear reviews. However, I did not discuss weight loss, beauty products or running as a mechanism to enhance their looks.


After writing several articles, I moved into the multimedia development phase. I created 21 videos, one podcast, and three unique illustrations, uploaded 318 pictures and created three printable workout plans. I wanted to ensure that my readers were able to enjoy a variety of content in a multitude of channels. My videos ranged from product reviews to workout videos to providing tips and advice. I recorded a race review podcast. I also had my son design unique illustrations for One Mother Runner. These multimedia channels also allowed me to cross-post content in a variety of social media channels, including YouTube, Sound Cloud, Tumblr and Pinterest.


I greatly enjoyed filming the videos for One Mother Runner. In the spirit of the site, which is for mother runners and connecting the love for running with the love for our children, I included my children in many of my videos and dynamic website content. For example, my first video, the Wall Ball Challenge, my kids are counting my reps as I perform the exercise. This was not a tactic for the video, but rather this is my every Monday morning workout. Every Monday I perform the Wall Ball workout, which includes 300 wall balls in my living room. My daughter counts my reps as my son hangs out while I workout. I wanted to show this to my viewers because this is what One Mother Runner is about. It’s about depicting realistic images, content and advice for mother runners. Another video I shot included a fruit challenge, which was a take on the Oreo Challenge that is all the rage on YouTube. I bought a variety of fruits and my children blind tasted them to see if they could identify them. This was a fun way to spend time with my kids and encourage a healthy lifestyle.


The most challenging content I created was the printable workout plans. These plans involved fitness plan creation, graphic design, photography integration and creating a downloadable tool with password integration. I was researching methods to enhance subscriptions and visitors to a website and a successful blogger recommended to create a “members only” section of my website with downloadable content only available to those who subscribe to my newsletter. I created three downloadable workout plans. I first created a One Mother Runner August Fitness calendar, complete with workouts for every day of the week. I incorporated graphic elements on the calendar and also incorporated social media sharing features. I then made this feature available to my subscribers to download for free. I also created custom printables, including a destination race packing list and the “300 workout” plan.

Another component that came out of my research is that runners want to have access to a race calendar with race distances of all types so they can plan their upcoming races. Therefore, I created a race calendar on One Mother Runner, using an Event Calendar plug-in. This allowed me to create both a calendar view of the running events and have the events populate on the sidebar of my site.

Graphic Design

I had four separate logos for my site designed to determine the best look and feel for my site. The first graphic depicted a woman running, but I decided against it because the purpose of my site is to veer away from images to portray the stereotypical running body. The second image I had my son design. This image offers greater meaning than just a logo or graphic design. He illustrated the logo with a mother, son and daughter to depict my brand. This image depicted the brand because of the running and exercising with children, but also because the image is real and raw, which is my tagline. My tagline for the site is “Real. Raw. One Mother Runner”. The image is both real and raw.

However, given additional reflection, I decided that I needed to have professional design my logo to ensure the website was taken seriously. I engaged the graphic designer through, which is an online service that offers engagement with professional graphic designers. While the prices start at only $5.00 per service, upgrades are available. Therefore, I upgraded to have a unique illustration designed for my site. This process was a bit painful, as the first design the graphic designer sent me was completely off-base. The illustration did not portray my brand at all. I then gave him more specific instructions and received something in the right direction, but it still was not on point. The designer provided a total of four designs, and I approved the final illustration, which depicts the brand, look and feel of One Mother Runner. The banner of my site now looks professional and I’m pleased with the end result.

Inspirational Profiles

The most eye-opening component of the research for One Mother Runner was engaging with the inspirational women behind the “Meet the Mother Runners” section of One Mother Runner. When I conducted the research of how running is communicated to women runners, I was not surprised to find that running was marketed to women as a weight loss tool. As a runner, I realized that running meant so much more than fitting into a pair of skinny jeans. However, it was not until I began interviewing fellow mother runners that I realized the breadth and depth of the women runners experience and just how important this project is for mother runners. I interviewed mother runners who lost 150 pounds in the past year and starting running after her weight loss. She began running for her cousin, who was diagnosed with breast cancer. She ran her first 5K and raised money for breast cancer research. Another mother runner began running at the age of 41, and now she’s a running coach for Girls on the Run and she and her adopted daughter run together as a way to bond. Paige, my first running coach, revealed that running helps her feel closer to God and makes her a more patient mother, caring wife and devoted friend. I interviewed Demi Clark, who crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 just as the bombs exploded from the terrorist attack. She had just crossed to the other side of the road to give her two young daughters a high five and she narrowly missed losing her life. While each of the mother runners had a different reason for running and they are at all different levels, the all share a common thread…. they run because it makes them a better person and helps them connect on new levels. While running may have started for them as a way to get in shape, it certainly is not what motivates them to lace up their sneakers every day. Not one person I interviewed said that the reason they run is to lose weight. Yet, that is how running is marketed to women. I rarely see content geared towards mother runners that focused on the mind-body benefits of running. While mother runners are running to connect spiritually, enhance their self-esteem and improve their ability to be their best, running magazines marginalize women in the sport and reduce their participation as a means to become sexually attractive to men. This is the crux of the issue.


I made connections with many other fellow runners, key influencers and bloggers in the running community. I reached out to Women’s Running magazine editors, Kristan Dietz and We Run Disney editors, Pam and Christine, Kristen Van Horn with The Concrete Runner, Merenda Steel with Fairytales and Fitness, Sonya with RunningLuv, Hungry Girl Runs, social media maven, Kelly Yale, and Disney Parks Moms Panelist for runDisney, Faith Dority. The connections I made with these fellow runners, bloggers and social media influencers were authentic and allowed me to connect with others in the industry. I asked for link sharing, as well as advice on reaching my core audience. This strategy allowed me to authentically engage with others in the industry and learn from their best practices. I successfully secured several guest posters to provide content on One Mother Runner, as well as connections with other bloggers to share links.

SEO Optimization

I conducted research on SEO optimization to better understand how my site could show up in search engines. Male (2010) suggested that bloggers link back to themselves, include search engine friendly URLs on posts, link to others, use titles in image descriptions and use the SEO plug-in Yoast. I completed all of these steps to ensure I maximized my SEO optimization. Male (2010) also said that longer posts are better for SEO optimization because they allow for more keyword combinations. That is why my later posts are much longer than my earlier posts.

Social Media

I developed a social media strategy to ensure that my content was sharable and that I engaged in the broader mother running community. I created a Tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook Page, Twitter and Google+ account for One Mother Runner. I shared the content daily in each of those social media channels. Additionally, I studied social media best practices and discovered that the most important component of a social media strategy is to engage in an authentic conversation and not to push links or try to sell to the readers. Therefore, before I officially launched One Mother Runner, but after I had determined the topic, I began to participate in social media forums for runners. I joined Women’s Running Club, which is an international group for mother runners on Facebook. I participated in the conversation with other mother runners and learned to understand what topics are important to them. I began to make connections with other women runners and became vested in their success. I created the Twitter handle @OneMotherunner and began following other mother runners and participated in the social dialogue on running. I created a Tumblr account, in which I shared links to my site daily and engaged with other mother runners. I learned a critical component through the exertion of m social media strategy, which is that the key to success in social media engagement is not to think of it as “success” or selling a product. One must desire to authentically engage with the core audience and be willing to participate in the conversation and dialogue without a typical ROI of selling a product. If one approaches social media as a way to authentically engage with potential customers, hear what is on their mind and become a part of the community, than that is what success will look like. Success in social media does not necessarily mean, “selling” a product. If one approaches social media in the typical business terms, then they will most likely not see success. Social media users are savvy and they can sniff out an inauthentic attempt to sell a product. Engaging in social media can help one keep their finger on the pulse of what is new and upcoming in the industry and what readers want to hear about. One can position themselves as an expert in their field by tweeting writing tips, advice for writers and news related to the publishing industry. This will thereby help a business owner build their brand. The most important advice for a business owner looking to use social media is to only tweet good and relevant content. Whether the author chooses to provide humor, writing advice or links to helpful information, they should stick with content that is valuable, and not tweet about their breakfast or trip to the store. As Alexis Grant (2010), journalist and social media coach, said, “Whatever you do, make sure your Twitter feed is full of tweets we want to read—and not about how you’re late for your dentist appointment” (2010). Dana Sitar with The Write Life advises that writers should follow the 80/20 rule with Twitter – meaning that authors should spend 80 percent of their time talking about others and 20 percent talking about themselves (2013).

As part of the social media strategy, I also wanted to ensure I had content that resonated in each of those channels. For example, I created images and graphics to post on Pinterest and link to my site. I created the hashtag #onemotherrunner for Twitter to track the dialogue regarding One Mother Runner. I created a One Mother Runner Facebook page and posted content daily on that site. I participated daily in two social running communities, Women’s Running Community and #teamrundisney. My participation consisted of 80 percent encouraging others and commenting on others posts and 20 percent of my participation involved my sharing links to my site.

Throughout the process of engaging in social media for One Mother Runner, I learned quite a bit about community and connectivity. I used a variety of communication tactics to engage and connect with these audiences. I experimented with a variety of communication tactics, ranging from sharing content that would benefit other runners, tweeting original content, participating in existing communities that were trending on Twitter and asking questions to start a conversation. While the strategies and tactics varied, one common thread was discovered: authenticity is key. One must have a genuine interest in the community and furthering the knowledge, expertise and connections among the members to be successful. One must hang up the old notion that “success” comes in the form of sales and adopt a new definition for success, which is connecting with your audience. One should build relationships with other runners, running communities and key influencers without asking for anything in return. It is important to connect with this community and build relationships.. If one is using social media only to sell his/her products, obtain loads of followers or ask visits to the site, he/she will not be successful. One should first ask what he/she could do to add value of the community and then share in the collective experience rather than approach using social media as a way to get others to help him/her. The great benefit to social media is that valuable, mutually beneficial relationships can be formed. The great benefit to social media is that valuable, mutually beneficial relationships can be formed. There are numerous runners who are seeking running advice and connections with the running community. Through using a social media channel, these groups can find each other and help each other achieve their goals. If one conducts research to find the right individuals to connect with, the relevant conversations to follow and useful hashtags to curate content, in conjunction with discovering how they can add value to the community, that is the formula to obtaining collective success among the running community.

I subscribed to the paid version of Hootsuite to syndicate my Twitter feeds, schedule Twitter and Facebook posts and maximize my social media presence. Using Hootsuite, I was able to toggle between my @OneMotherunner, @StacyCacciatore and @RunDisneyMom handles, and maximize my sharing potential. I was also able to send tweets to my Facebook page and share content on social media easier. Hootsuite also has the ability to shrink links within the tool, so I could easily share content with the 140-character limit. I could also see at a glance my mentions, retweets and direct messages.

Measuring Success

I signed up for Google Analytics to measure the success of the One Mother Runner site. Since launching the site on June 30, 2015, I’ve had 769 sessions on the site with 612 users. There have been 1,308 page views with a bounce rate of 32.9 percent. The majority of my visitors are female (75 percent) and are between the ages of 35-44 (40 percent). The majority (80 percent) of visitors are new to my site. The majority of visitors come from a direct link (35 percent) and social. The overwhelming majority of the social media visitors come from Facebook (91 percent). LinkedIn (five percent), Twitter (two percent), Tumblr (two percent) and Pinterest (1 percent) fall behind. The search terms that lead visitors to my site are “2016 Disney princess 5K medal”, “health recipes”, “runners world forum” and “workouts for moms with toddlers.” I also signed up for Google Ad Words to further promote One Mother Runner and drive traffic to the site. Analyzing Google Analytics was eye opening for me, as I did not predict the ways in which traffic would be driven to my site. I was not surprised that Facebook was the most effective social media channel to drive traffic to my site. I spend more time on Facebook than the other social media channels, so it makes sense that the majority of my traffic would come from that channel. However, I was surprised that the Twitter traffic was so low. I spent a great deal of effort in beefing up my Twitter presence, however the metrics make me rethink the overall return on my investment of time in that channel. I was also surprised by the lack of visits to the site from Google searches. I chalk this up to the fact that my site has only been in existence for a month and therefore is not showing up in the Google searches yet.


In conclusion, through the development of One Mother Runner, I learned that the keys to success in developing a blog are passion, relationships and authenticity. The most important lesson I learned throughout the analysis of running communications and building One Mother Runner is that running is communicated differently to woman than men. Evaluating the content in running magazines through the lens of feminist standpoint theory was revealing. I began to understand the content in new light and I was able to see how running publications market running as a weight loss tool and as a means to enhance a woman’s appearance. The underlying, and at times overt, message to women is that their primary purpose is to provide sexual satisfaction to men and running will help them be more sexually desirable. From the images that depicted young, thin models to the beauty products pushed to the headlines that shouted, “Look hot, stay cool” and “The best workouts to slim down”, the messages conveyed that women should run to enhance their looks. However, these magazines are getting it all wrong. If they think that women are running only to lose weight and be sexually desirable, they do not understand their core audience. I spoke with hundreds of mother runners throughout this process and they provided me with a plethora of reasons why they run, from raising money for cancer research to setting a healthy example for their children to fighting a lifetime battle with depression, the reasons are varied and deep. The thought that women run to only to reduce the size of their thighs is preposterous and shallow. Those who communicate to women runners need to understand their values, challenges, successes and needs. If publications override their need to publish content only for monetary purposes and instead create innovative content that truly addresses the needs of mother runners, than the landscape of communications for mother runners could vastly improve. Until then, the environment needs bloggers, such as myself, who hold the true wants and needs of mother runners at the highest value, and provide real, raw content to mother runners.

The most vital lessons learned from the creation of One Mother Runner fall into two main categories: content and design. The lessons learned in terms of content include the fact that women’s running magazines primarily market running as a means to lose weight, while running is marketed to men as a competitive sport. This is demonstrated through their headlines, which ties various topics, including nutrition and motivation, back to weight loss and body image. Additionally, the content in women’s running magazines promote beauty, in both the content and editorial, whereas running magazines for men do not. The running magazines for men communicate the importance of performance, achieving goals and nutrition for enhanced performance rather than superficial beauty. Both communications to women and men in running publications fail to communicate the health-related aspects of running.

The imperative learnings in regards to designing a website include the importance of creating quality content, developing content in a variety of channels, including video, sound and graphic, and the importance of using metrics to constantly improve. I conducted a lot of research, learning from the best bloggers in the industry, and what I was thrilled to learn that quality content is still the most important factor in obtaining and retaining readers. While there is a lot of discussion on SEO optimization and writing for SEO, Google has created a sophisticated algorithm that rewards quality content with complex keywords, high word count and quality links. I learned that having content with a variety of mediums, including video, sound, graphics and photos, is important for SEO and reaching readers. Finally, I highly recommend that bloggers use Google Analytics to analyze their website traffic and reader behaviors. The metrics will help bloggers constantly improve their content and keep their finger on the pulse of what readers want. In the end, the lessons learned throughout this process were invaluable and I’m delighted to share them with others to help them improve the quality of their digital medium.






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Appendix A

One Mother Runner Website Project Plan

One Mother Runner Website Project Plan
Task Date Status Notes
Buy Domain 6/3/15 Complete  
Find Host 6/3/15 Complete  
Redirect Name Server 6/3/15 Complete  
Determine Web Design Program 6/3/15 Complete Contacted Little Ones Graphic Designer for Quote
Design my website banner 6/10/15 Complete  
Design my Facebook banner 6/10/15 Complete  
Design my blog graphic 6/10/15 Complete  
Get Graphic Designed 6/25/15 Complete  
Reach out to runners to ask if they will participate in Runner Body series 6/9/15 Complete  
Reach out to mother runners to ask them if they will participate in horrible racing photos 6/9/15 Complete  
Ask runners what is missing from women’s running mags 6/10/15 In Progress  
Sign up for Anti-Spam Service 6/11/15 Complete  
Create Grab my Blog Button 6/25/15 Complete  
Social Media 6/3/15 Complete  
Create Facebook Site 6/3/15 Complete
Create Twitter Site 6/3/15 Complete onemotherunner
Pinterest 6/11/15 Complete  
Create Event Calendar 6/11/15 Complete  
Add Star Wars Marathon 6/11/15 Complete  
Add Princess Marathon 6/11/15 Complete  
Add Disney Marathon 6/11/15 Complete  
Add Wine and Dine Marathon 6/11/15 Complete  
Add Disneyland Marathon 6/11/15 Complete  
Creating Coding Spreadsheet 6/27/15 Complete  
Define codes 6/27/15 Complete  
Conduct Content Analysis 7/13/15 Complete  
Runner’s World July 2014 7/2/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 7/2/15 Complete  
Images 7/2/15 Complete  
Advertisements 7/2/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 7/2/15 Complete  
Content 7/2/15 Complete  
Runner’s World Aug 2014 7/3/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 7/2/15 Complete  
Images 7/3/15 Complete  
Advertisements 7/2/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 7/3/15 Complete  
Content 7/2/15 Complete  
Runner’s World Sept 2014 7/3/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 7/2/15 Complete  
Images 7/3/15 Complete  
Advertisements 7/2/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 7/3/15 Complete  
Content 7/2/15 Complete  
Runner’s World Oct 2014 7/3/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 7/2/15 Complete  
Images 7/3/15 Complete  
Advertisements 7/2/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 7/3/15 Complete  
Content 7/2/15 Complete  
Runner’s World Nov 2014 7/3/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 7/2/15 Complete  
Images 7/3/15 Complete  
Advertisements 7/3/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 7/2/15 Complete  
Content 7/3/15 Complete  
Runner’s World Dec 2014 7/3/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 7/2/15 Complete  
Images 7/3/15 Complete  
Advertisements 7/3/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 7/2/15 Complete  
Content 7/3/15 Complete  
Runner’s World Jan/Feb 2015 7/3/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 7/2/15 Complete  
Images 7/3/15 Complete  
Advertisements 7/3/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 7/2/15 Complete  
Content 7/3/15 Complete  
Runner’s World March 2015 7/3/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 7/2/15 Complete  
Images 7/3/15 Complete  
Advertisements 7/3/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 7/2/15 Complete  
Content 7/3/15 Complete  
Runner’s World April 2015 7/3/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 7/3/15 Complete  
Images 7/2/15 Complete  
Advertisements 7/3/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 7/3/15 Complete  
Content 7/2/15 Complete  
Runner’s World May 2015 7/3/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 7/3/15 Complete  
Images 7/2/15 Complete  
Advertisements 7/3/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 7/3/15 Complete  
Content 7/3/15 Complete  
Runner’s World June 2015 6/10/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 6/10/15 Complete  
Images 6/10/15 Complete  
Advertisements 6/10/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 6/10/15 Complete  
Content 6/10/15 Complete  
Running World July 2015 6/10/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 6/10/15 Complete  
Images 6/10/15 Complete  
Advertisements 6/10/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 6/10/15 Complete  
Content 6/10/15 Complete  
Runner’s World Dec 2014 6/25/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 6/25/15 Complete  
Images 6/25/15 Complete  
Advertisements 6/25/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 6/25/15 Complete  
Content 6/25/15 Complete  
Women’s Running July 2014 6/25/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 6/25/15 Complete  
Images 6/25/15 Complete  
Advertisements 6/25/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 6/25/15 Complete  
Content 6/25/15 Complete  
Women’s Running Aug 2014 6/30/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 6/30/15 Complete  
Images 6/30/15 Complete  
Advertisements 6/30/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 6/30/15 Complete  
Content 6/30/15 Complete  
Women’s Running Sept 2014 7/1/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 7/1/15 Complete  
Images 7/1/15 Complete  
Advertisements 7/1/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 7/1/15 Complete  
Content 7/1/15 Complete  
Women’s Running Oct 2014 7/1/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 7/1/15 Complete  
Images 7/1/15 Complete  
Advertisements 7/1/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 7/1/15 Complete  
Content 7/1/15 Complete  
Women’s Running Nov 2014 7/1/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 7/1/15 Complete  
Images 7/1/15 Complete  
Advertisements 7/1/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 7/1/15 Complete  
Content 7/1/15 Complete  
Women’s Running Dec 2014 7/2/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 7/2/15 Complete  
Images 7/2/15 Complete  
Advertisements 7/2/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 7/2/15 Complete  
Content 7/2/15 Complete  
Women’s Running Jan 2015 6/11/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 6/11/15 Complete  
Images 6/11/15 Complete  
Advertisements 6/11/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 6/11/15 Complete  
Content 6/11/15 Complete  
Women’s Running Feb 2015 6/12/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 6/12/15 Complete  
Images 6/12/15 Complete  
Advertisements 6/12/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 6/12/15 Complete  
Content 6/12/15 Complete  
Women’s Running March 2015 6/4/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 6/4/15 Complete  
Images 6/4/15 Complete  
Advertisements 6/4/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 6/4/15 Complete  
Content 6/4/15 Complete  
Women’s Running April 2015 6/12/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 6/6/15 Complete  
Images 6/6/15 Complete  
Advertisements 6/6/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 6/6/15 Complete  
Content 6/6/15 Complete  
Women’s Running May 2015 6/11/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 6/11/15 Complete  
Images 6/11/15 Complete  
Advertisements 6/11/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 6/11/15 Complete  
Content 6/11/15 Complete  
Women’s Running June 2015 6/11/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 6/11/15 Complete  
Images 6/11/15 Complete  
Advertisements 6/11/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 6/11/15 Complete  
Content 6/11/15 Complete  
Women’s Running July 2015 6/10/15 Complete  
Cover Story Headlines 6/10/15 Complete  
Images 6/10/15 Complete  
Advertisements 6/10/15 Complete  
Runner Profile 6/10/15 Complete  
Content 6/10/15 Complete  
Determine Themes 7/13/15 Complete  
Determine Gaps 7/13/15 Complete  
Write Introduction DRAFT 5/28/15 DRAFT  
Write Literature Review DRAFT 6/4/15 DRAFT  
Write Methodology DRAFT 6/12/15 DRAFT  
Write References DRAFT 5/28/15 Ongoing  
Write Analysis      
Determine Content to Include 6/25/15 Complete  
Race Calendar 6/25/15 Complete  
Inspirational 6/25/15 Complete  
Gear 6/25/15 Complete  
Nutrition/Recipes 6/25/15 Complete  
Race Reviews 6/25/15 Complete  
Trends 6/25/15 Complete  
Humor 6/25/15 Complete  
RunDisney 7/3/15 Complete  
Tips 7/3/15 Complete  
Network with companies willing to offer products to readers      
Research conducting 5K 5/28/15 Complete  
Research companies offering 5K Services 5/28/15 Complete  
Create Editorial Calendar 7/15/15 Complete  
Create Site Map 6/25/15 Complete  
Search Feature 6/27/15 Complete  
Sign up for Insider Track 6/4/15 Complete  
Set up social media feature on site 6/4/15 Complete  
Write article recapping Asheville race 6/9/15 Complete  
Air Fit Overview Article 6/27/15 Complete  
Scan my blog for running content 7/12/15 Complete  
Find products that relate to mother runners 7/12/15 Complete  
Interview Melissa Boyd 5/29/15 Complete  
Write Inspirational Stories Ongoing In Process  
Interview Kim Dillen 6/12/15 Complete  
Interview Amy McGrade 6/12/15 Complete  
Write Destination Race Packing List 7/3/15 Complete  
Enewsletter? 7/14/15 Complete  
Write Disney race recap 7/14/15 Complete  
Test Insider Track 7/14/15 Complete  
Write Blood work overview article 7/14/15 Complete  
Plan Fun Run 7/14/15 Complete  
Reach out to MilePosts 7/14/15 Complete  
Reach out to Hungry Girl Runner 7/14/15 Complete  
Reach out to Fairytales and Fitnes 7/14/15 Complete  
Create hashtag #onemotherrunner 7/14/15 Complete  
Install related posts 7/14/15 Complete  
Hand Towel – Run 7/14/15 Complete  


One Mother Runner Site Map Date Status Notes
About One Mother Runner 6/10/15 Complete  
Write -up: Real, Raw, One Bad Mother Runner. 6/11/15 Complete  
Photo 6/12/15 Complete  
Race Reviews      
Race Review Asheville 6/10/15 Complete  
Race Review Biltmore 6/9/15 Complete  
Race Review Goofy 6/10/15 Complete  
Race Review Princess    Complete  
Race Review Dopey    Complete  
Gear for Mother Runners      
Jogging Strollers    Complete  
Glossy Box    Complete  
Write-up on Apple Watch    Complete  
Write-up on Garmin    Complete  
Pop Sugar Box    Complete  
Kale    Complete  
Pumpkin    Complete  
Recipes for Runners  6/20/15 Complete  
Inspirational Stories      
Leanne Tomola    Complete  
Tracy Wanatowitz    Complete  
Amy McGrade    Complete  
Kim Dillen  6/13/15 Complete  
Tips for Mother Runners      
Top Five Tips for Running While Traveling    Complete  
The Best Disney World Jogging Trails  6/20/15 Complete  
Disney Marathon Weekend Schedule    Complete  
Cross Training      
Air Fit    Complete  
Event Calendar 6/11/15    
Disneyland Half 6/11/15  Complete  
Disney Wine and Dine 6/11/15  Complete  
Avengers Half 6/11/15  Complete  
WDW Marathon 6/11/15  Complete  
Star Wars Half 6/11/15  Complete  
Princess Half 6/11/15  Complete  
Social Media Presence      
Facebook 6/9/15 Complete  
Twitter 6/9/15 Complete  
Pinterest    Complete  
Tumblr 6/9/15 Complete  
PodCast    Complete  
RRCA Certification Overview    Complete  
Awful Stock Photos  Complete  




Appendix B

Coding Spreadsheet – Example



Women’s Running Runner’s World
Cheers to running: 5 healthy cocktails N Beginner’s Special B
Get fit, stay fit BI Expert Answers to 12 key questions T
Start or restart with our run/walk plan B Late-Night Snacks That Won’t Make You Fat (Crazy Tasty Power Meals) BI
Stronger core in 3 moves P Run Smooth P
New recipes for runners N Hot Data! Best New Fitness Trackers G
Sole mate awards: 12 hot new shoes G 8 Quick Core Exercises: Stronger Hips, Abs and Glutes in Just 5 Minutes P
Coconut, maple, artichoke? The dirt on fancy waters N The secrets of perfect form P
Do compression socks really work? G Get faster go longer avoid injury P
Aloha! Runcation in Kauai S and Run Happier Too P
Happy Mother’s Day, All You Running Moms! S    
Female   Male  



Appendix C

One Mother Runner Coding Spreadsheet – Results

Category Women’s Running Runner’s World Total
Beauty Products & Clothing (BP) 4 6.35% 3 4.05% 7 5.11%
Inspirational Story (IS) 4 6.35% 4 5.41% 8 5.84%
Performance (P) 18 28.57% 22 29.73% 40 29.20%
Body Image (BI) 7 11.11% 13 17.57% 20 14.60%
Nutrition (N) 9 14.29% 9 12.16% 18 13.14%
Tips (T) 4 6.35% 5 6.76% 9 6.57%
Beginner (B) 7 11.11% 7 9.46% 14 10.22%
Gear (G) 7 11.11% 8 10.81% 15 10.95%
Social (S) 3 4.76% 3 4.05% 6 4.38%
Total 63 100.00% 74 100.00% 137 100.00%



Appendix D

Advertising Analysis (Example for two months)


  Jul-15       Jun-15      
  Women’s Running   Runner’s World   Women’s Running   Runner’s World  
# Pages 80   112   88   113  
29   140.1607143   32   129.3716814  
Product Placements 69   37   53      
Percentage-Ads 109%   91%   88%   113%  
Percentage-Editorial 29%   25%   26%   24%  
Races (Other) 0 0% 13 13% 0 0% 13 10%
Rock n Roll Marathon 7 8% 0 0% 7 9%   0%
runDisney 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 2 2%
Shoes 11 13% 31 30% 6 8% 25 20%
Watches/Fitness Tracker 2 2% 3 3% 1 1% 1 1%
Sunglasses 7 8% 7 7% 0 0% 0 0%
Clothing 30 34% 5 5% 23 30% 5 4%
Books 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
Diet Books 4 5% 0 0% 4 5% 0 0%
Running Books 4 5% 2 2% 1 1% 5 4%
Car 1 1% 1 1% 2 3% 2 2%
Insurance 1 1% 1 1% 0 0% 1 1%
Food 8 9% 9 9% 21 27% 13 10%
Other 2 2% 8 8% 3 4% 6 5%
Injury Prevention 0 0% 5 5% 4 5% 3 2%
Capital One 0 0% 1 1% 0 0% 21 16%
Vitamins 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 2 2%
Dicks 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
Health/Tampax/Razors 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
Beauty Products 0 0% 0 #DIV/0! 0 0% 0 0%



Appendix E

One Mother Runner Website Site Screenshot

Appendix F

Women’s Running and Runner’s World Headline Content







Appendix G

Women’s Running and Runner’s World Advertising Analysis








Networked Society and Race Baiter Recap


Alexander Heffner interviews Eric Deggans, TV Critic for National Public Radio (NPR) and author of Race Baiter. From Hurricane Katrina to Travyon Martin to the racist comments made by Donald Sterling, Deggans covers the intersection of race and media in the hot topics of today. Deggans tackles race in the media in his book, Race Baiter. Race baiting, is defined as “once the practice of unfairly targeted racism against minorities has become recast impute those those who unfairly raise discussions of racism in the public square” (Deggans, 2014, 1:30). Deggans also discusses how the media continues to unfairly perpetuate stereotypes seen in “Birth of a Nation”.

The first question that Heffner asks Deggans is why the media perpetuates stereotypes and why the audiences have permitted racism. Deggans (2014) starts by discussing Fox News. Deggans states that Fox News doesn’t explicitly say “we are a white channel”, but if you explore how they address race based discussions, you will see that the primarily reflect the ideas of the white, middle American Republican. Deggans says that when one observes how Fox News reported on the Donald Sterling issue or Trayvon Martin case, one will see that Fox News not only reflects certain ideals, but they also pass along damaging stereotypes One example of this is how Glenn Beck stated on his show that Barack Obama is racist.

Heffner asks Deggans if this example represents Fox News as displaying racism, bigoted perspective, prejudice or bias. Deggans (2014) states that there is an inaccurate idea that institutional racism no longer exists. He cites several different incidences on Fox News of racism. The two that Deggans specifically mentioned include, on Glenn Beck’s Fox and Friends show, he said that Barack Obama is racist. Secondly, Eric Bowling, co-host of Fox News Channel’s early evening talk show The Five, criticized a black female legislator by calling her Whitney Houston with a crack pipe. Deggans states that these are both examples of racism, as they are race-based prejudices. Deggans also says that racism is the practice of putting the one race over another and pretending you aren’t doing it

Deggans (2014) also states that the working class and middle class white people are being trained to turn a blind eye to issues that affect them too. For example, white people are told the untrue story that affirmative action only affects African Americans. When evaluating who is benefitting from these Affirmative Action programs, one will see that Military Veterans of all races, women/mothers and people of color all benefit, in that order. The view that affirmative action only affects minority races is pretentious and distracts them from institutional racism.

Roger Ailes is the president of Fox News Channel, and chairman of the Fox Television Stations Group. To evaluate why Fox News has the bias that they have, one should look at the history of the man Roger Ailes. Ailes consulted with Nixon in the 1960s and worked with Bush. Roger Ailes learned to talk about things that politicians talked about in television. Nixon used a “southern strategy”, which is the strategy that Nixon used with southerners. Southerners were upset with civil rights act and laws, so Nixon went on television and said that he was in support of their viewpoint. Roger Ailes learned from that lesson and talked about race and prejudice in a way that made white people feel good. Ailes built this into the marrow of Fox News. The ultimate goal of Fox News is to reflect goals of their viewer. Deegans evaluated the Fox News audience and found that the average age for their viewer is in their late 60s and half their viewers are over 70. Their viewers are politically conservative, male and white. When it comes to race, Fox News wants to reinforce the tory that people want something for nothing, and they want to tell their viewers “you are having a hard time too and you are just as likely to be discriminated against….this is proof of how this is true.” (2014, 7:45).

Deggans (2014) studied both unscripted and scripted television. Look at the conflict between MSNBC and Fox News. This is an example of two news outlets pitted against each other and ask and you have to ask which one can you trust. You can to evaluate how race works in each of their contexts. But the most important thing to keep in mind is 90 percent of what happens in media is about how someone makes money or loses money (2014, 9:44). Deggans says that we must understand our media and understand ourselves. When Glenn Beck says Obama is racist, we must understand the economic imperative.

Heffner (2014) states that Fox News states that they are experiencing reverse racism. Deggans (2014) states that this is a common tactic, as Fox News, and Rush Limbaugh all say that they have a movement against them.

Deggans (2014) says that to put an end to contemporary race baiting, it will require us to have media literacy. Deggans says that social media takes the power from gatekeeper and gives power to the front line. If you see something on television you don’t like, you can go on Twitter, make a hashtag and it can become so big that the television industry can’t ignore it.

Deggans (2014) speaks about an instance in which this occurred with him, when he was watching Nelson Mandela’s funeral. Deggans tweeted a question, “I love CBS This Morning , but couldn’t you end a segment on Mandela’s funeral with real African music instead of Toto’s Africa.” (Twitter, Dec, 10, 2013). By the end of the day, both Huffington Post and Slate wrote about it. Toto then released a statement saying they wish they chose a different song. Deggans states that it’s all about putting an idea out there that’s an offhanded comment, then next thing you know the world gets a hold of it and CBS can’t ignore it.

Another example of how race is changing in the media is in the scripted television arena. Both ABC and Fox cast their shows with black women for this fall’s season. There are three shows created, run and scripted by black woman. Two of them star a black woman as the lead. Shonda Rhymes is an African-American screenwriter who wrote. Scandel. Before Scandel, there was not a show that starred a black woman in 30 years. Scripted television has helped television producers realize that they can make more money if they put shows on that reflect America.

Media literacy is important so the audience uses their power to demand that these changes happen. People should use new media to ensure race relations are fair.

When Heffner asks about the concept of citizen journalist, Deggans (2014) an responds that race and prejudice aren’t topics for a citizen journalist, as one has to know how to navigate these topics. A citizen journalist not the best to pursue these issues, as they can’t sift through this stuff to make a difference.

Deggans (2014) also feels that the news should talk about race every day. Just as they mention the DOW everyday, whether it’s good or bad, they always talk about it. They should talk about race and poverty when there isn’t an issue. They should do this without a calamity. For example, with the Travyon Martin case, there is too much charge to discuss this situation fairly. Many feel that black kids aren’t safe when minding their own business walking in public. Deggans says that when we’re thinking about that, too hard not to be biased. We can’t have a dialogue when we’re worried about issues, like Trayvon Martin, as it’s too polarizing.

Deggans (2014) also says that we shouldn’t reinforce these tropes about black criminality or the spicy Latina. It’s easy to put up something that people automatically recognize when its shorthand, but when you do that, you encourage these stereotypes. It’s also discouraging when you look at cable news, such as Fox News, as you don’t see anchors of color. If more people of color, women and LGBT individuals were represented when story comes up, the audience may experience it in a different way. We need a diversity of people representing these issues.

Deggans (2014) says that we need to develop a wide spectrum of trusted sources. We need to understand how everyone is covering them. Deggans is a self-defined NPR geek, as he says they try hard to get diversity right. He also feels that BBC does a good job. Deggans uses Twitter as clearing house for news sources. He also feels that Huffington Post, Black Voices do a good job exploring those issues, but no one get it right on first blush, even a respected reporter.

One example that Deggans (2014) gives is of Jill Abramsom, executive editor of Times. When she was fired, many speculated it was perhaps because she spoke up about a pay disparity. This brought up the question, can women express themselves in the workplace? However, after many sources reported, it became clear that pay disparity was just a side issue. One should consult a wide variety of sources to make full picture.

To get a full picture ask what other people saying about the topic. What are others reporting? Is New York Times reporting on the issue? What are facts? Richard Prince, a journalist who works out of D.C., writes for a platform called Journal-isms, does a lot of work on journalism, race and social issues in America media. This is one of Deggans trusted sources. Over time you develop a list of trusted sources.

Deggans states that having only one source is an old school thought. He also uses the Spiderman phrase, “with great power comes great responsibility, “Media outlets track what they are watching and the chatter. We have a lot of power, now we need to exercise responsibility.

When evaluating why the media reports on issues, we must harken back to the bottom line. Companies look at the bottom line. They ask where is future going. They also ask if what is being reported will affect finances of the company. It’s always been about how one can affect money making of the entity. If one can make the outlet hurt financially, then they can see results..

An example of this is when Glenn Beck called Obama racist. This statement caused viewers to go after his advertisers. It was successful enough to hurt the show. In conjunction with the loss of sponsors, Fox News had conflict over how Beck fit into their overall strategy and brand and how much autonomy he was allowed to have as a brand. Viewers were successful in taking this show off the air because they were able to affect his sponsors AND cause question over how Beck fit into their brand. Glenn Beck went off to find his own studio.

I am also posting a video to recap the three key points of this video. The three most important thoughts include:
1. 90 percent of what happens in media is about how someone makes money or loses money (2014, 9:44).
2. To put an end to contemporary race baiting, it will require us to have media literacy.
3. Develop a wide spectrum of trusted sources, as having only one source is an old school thought.

Look for your discussion questions in a separate post.

Eric Deggans [Interviewee] & Heffner, A. [Interviewer]. (2014, July 26). Race & The Fourth Estate. [PBS Video] The Open Mind. Retrieved from

Deggans, E. [Eric Deggans at NPR]. (2013, Dec. 10) [Tweet] Retrieved from