Brain Break for Finals Week!

By: Niki Fritz

For finals week, the blog team thought everyone could use a bit of a fun brain break in the form of a facial/head hair matching game. This week we bring you: Match That Hair! Check out the sketches below and try to guess which faculty member or grad student’s hair is represented. Click on the image to find out which person that hair belongs to or go below to the gallery and scroll over the image for the owner to be revealed. As a sidenote, all sketches were done in paint by a blog team member who clearly has limited artistic ability so be kind in any critiques! Now let the game begin!





krahnke garrett




Productive Procrastination

By Mona Malacane

We all do it. I don’t believe you for a second if you say that you don’t. We know we shouldn’t and we hate ourselves every time we do … but we do it anyways. Sometimes it isn’t even intentional! But let’s be honest, most of the time it is. Procrastination. It can be deadly when used incorrectly, but fear not everyone! I have come up with a list of ways to productively procrastinate (oxymoron much?). So if you must dawdle, try one of these tasks instead of Pinterest, Facebook, or some other addictive internet site.


My number one go-to procrastination break is cleaning. Like everything.


Follow that lit-review rabbit hole in Google Scholar. You know you’ve clicked next page even though the articles on page 6 have nothing to do with your original search … But maybe the next page will!

just one more

When was the last time you updated your CV? Or your LinkedIn? Better add that lecture you gave in Spring 2013 before you forget …


Organize … everything. Which, if you’re wondering, is very different from cleaning.

Yes, it can be extremely addicting.

Yes, it can be extremely addicting.

Bake! But something easy, quick, and to share so you don’t feel like it’s a complete waste of time because others will be indulging as well.

Bonus points if you can get a friend to join you.

Bonus points if you can get a friend to join you.

One word: sporcle.

It's addictive.

It’s addictive.

Online shopping. Because that Christmas list isn’t going to buy itself and who wants to “waste time” going to the mall?

Still counts because you're working out your fingers.

Still counts because you’re working out your fingers.

Keep searching for other classes to take next semester. Because the perfect amount of workload is out there … If you search hard enough.


Bryant Goes to Sundance

By Mona Malacane

“Hot Girls Wanted” sounds like just another video that was analyzed in Bryant Paul et al’s project on content analysis of pornographic videos. Normally this would be a safe assumption, but in this case, it is a documentary on the experiences of 18-and-19 year old girls entering the amateur porn industry.

Bryant got involved with the film through Dr. Debra Herbenick of the Kinsey Institute, who was contacted by the film’s directors, Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus. In the initial stages, Bryant gave consultations mostly on the pornography industry. Over time these conversations evolved into research on pornography and the effects of viewing. “It started out as inside industry stuff and then they were asking about usage statistics for how popular certain sites are … and some [research] on effects. And they wanted to know numbers on how many people join the industry per year, so I used some contacts that I’ve made over the years to try and find some of this stuff out.”

While Bryant helped fill in some information holes with research and data, Jill and Ronna continued to edit the film. When the first rough cut of the film was ready, Bryant offered to do a test screening in his undergraduate class and give feedback over Skype. Jill and Ronna found the feedback very useful.  They started implementing the recommendations and offered Bryant a co-producer credit on the film. (Fun fact: Actress Rashida Jones is also a producer on the film!)

Rashida Jones on the very popular show, The Office. More recently she has starred in the show Parks & Recreation (also hilarious and popular).

Rashida Jones on the very popular show, The Office. More recently she has starred in the show Parks & Recreation (also hilarious and popular).

Having seen a short clip of the film myself, I have to say that in true independent docu-film style it both tugs at your heart and makes you think deeper. It adds another layer to the cultural conversation of pornography by showing both pros and cons. Bryant in fact commended Jill and Ronna for their unbiased stance. “They really are objective. They are not anti-porn but they are not pro-porn either, they were just reporting on this topic … It’s actually amazing to me how objective they have remained through all of this.”  According to Bryant, the film not only shows the dark side of the porn industry but also shows that not all of it is bad – some people even make a career in it.

The film is now in the final stages of editing.  Last Monday (December 1) Bryant organized another screening and Skype meeting with graduate students and a few professors. Shortly after the screening, the directors and everyone else working on the film got a huge surprise – they heard that their film had been accepted for the Sundance Film Festival! Of the 12,166 submissions to the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, only 118 were selected and “Hot Girls Wanted” was among them. (In case you’re wondering, that is about 1% acceptance rate.)

hot girls wanted

If you’re interested in learning more about “Hot Girls Wanted,” here is their website. Fear not, this link/website is SFW (safe for work). I can’t say the same for the Google searches though … (That was a naïve mistake on my part.) They currently don’t have a video trailer for the film on the website yet, but now that they have been accepted to Sundance it should be forthcoming.

Grad School Playlist: Why We Need Music To Survive Grad School

By: Niki Fritz

When I asked Josh Sites about the role of music in his life, he gave me one of those furrow-browed, overly pensive looks he dons when he is about to unload some heavy thoughts or take serious snapchats with his cats. Here it was the former.

“It is hard to describe the role of a limb because that is what [music] feels like,” Josh explains. “Music is constant in my life. Based on what other people describe as the effects of meditation, that is how music functions for me.”

For Josh, who is an active listener, creator and researcher of music, beats, melodies and lyrics have a persistent presence in his daily life. He has playlists he has curated for almost every activity in his life, from writing and reading papers to driving or cooking dinner. For Josh, music sets the beat for his life, it blots out the unnecessary noise and allows him to focus.

Josh explains that there may be some evolutionary reasons why music is present in almost every civilization and is invariably an important part of culture. The reproductive-value perspective on music suggests that ability to produce pleasing music demonstrates fitness to a mate, as it shows good coordination, memory and ability to evoke positive emotions in others. Josh explains that the proof is in the Mick Jagger-filled pudding.

Interestingly enough only animals who are verbal learners, who communicate through learned vocal expression, can appreciate music and beats. In other words,

“We need more cowbell.”

while dolphins, elephants, song birds and humans appreciate rhythm, our primate ancestors, who didn’t use learned vocal signals, couldn’t beat a cowbell to save the band (or please Christopher Walken).  There is something about verbal communication that allows the brain to appreciate beats. To some this is proof that music is just “evolutionary cheesecake,” a happy accidental by-product of the more important adaptation of communication.

Whether music is a helpful soundtrack to mating or just some evolutionary bonus, humans have incorporated music into their lives to make funerals more mournful, holidays more nostalgic, parties more dance-a-rific and, often for grad students, to make studying and writing more tolerable and even productive.

Josh explains that music may actually help increase focus. “[Music] helps me focus by blocking internal thoughts and other visual and audio stimuli,” Josh says. “It is like giving a little kid a toy and saying ‘Here semi-subconscious, do this instead!’”

So while your conscious brain focuses on the demanding academic task at hand, your semi-subconscious is attending to music. That enables your brain to ignore distractions like Facebook, your adorable pooch, or the box of wine calling your name.

Of course, we all know different academic tasks call for different types of music. For Josh, he can’t listen to music with lyrics while he is writing. His brain tries to process both the lyrics and the words he is writing, jumbling them all up in the process. After soliciting the Telecom grad students for “music to write to” it seems, many of Josh’s fellow students agree. Check out the IU Telecom Academic Writing Playlist for 11 all instrumental jams that are the perfect background to your APA-style writing.

However, when it comes to grading, some grad students are a bit more tolerant of lyrics especially if they are the kind of worn-in words that the brain knows so well that it just glides over them. Many of the songs submitted for the IU Telecom Grading playlist have lyrics and a bit more upbeat tempo, suggesting perhaps grad students need a little pick me up when wading through 90 final papers about media life. If you are in need of some grading assistance, check out some of your colleagues’ favorite jams.

What all of this comes down to, as Josh explains it, is flow.

“Flow is what most refer to as ‘being in the zone.’ It’s similar to mindfulness. You forget about everything except what is happening in the moment,” Josh says. “Music invites you to enter a moment. It has a discrete beginning and end; you can just be there in the moment.”

With studying or grading, music can help decrease the inhibitors to flow, be they physical or mental. Once in flow, thanks to the aide of Tycho or John Bulter, you can be present and productive, happy to stay engaged with what is in front of you. While Josh is quick to note flow can’t be directly measured (not yet at least), it is often self-reported and a common experience especially among musicians.

Beyond flow and productivity, music is also a beloved form of mood management for many.

“Music can be a detox, a way to get the crummy mood out of you. I emote through the song and when the song ends, I’ve processed and I can move forward” Josh explains.

With just two weeks left of the semester and plenty of stress and emotion to go around, music may just be the best tool to release some of those anxious feelings. Check out the IU Telecom’s “Pumped Up” playlist for some solid beats including the ever-popular T. Swift and the legendary Bowie. Just consider it an early holiday present from the IU Telecom blog.

Random Email of the Week

Monday, December 01, 2014 9:20 AM


I have both brown and white mice.

Please stop by my desk today if you’d like one.

Quantities are limited – please, one mouse per person – while supplies last.

At 2PM, all unclaimed mice will be set free in the mailroom.





Eleventh Brown Bag of the Semester – December 5, 2014


Ashley Kraus, PhD student, Department of Telecommunications, Media School

On the Street: A Content Analysis of Body Imagery in Streetstyle Fashion Blogs

Research on ideal body imagery in the mass media indicates that a curvaceously thin ideal is the norm for females and a lean, muscular ideal is the norm for males. Perhaps this finding has remained consistent due to the focus of body ideals in traditional media as opposed to new media. To date, relatively few studies have examined body types online. Streetstyle fashion blogs provide an opportunity to understand whether this media genre offers a healthy alternative to the lean, idealized images featured in traditional media because ordinary people (referred to as “pedestrian models”) are typically featured in lieu of traditional models. I will discuss the ways in which pedestrian models are portrayed in streetstyle blogs, especially in regards to: body size, body positioning, and facial prominence. I will also discuss the ways in which these portrayals are reinforced via reader commentary.


Nicole Martins, Assistant Professor, Department of Telecommunications, Media School

A Content Analysis of Teen Parenthood in ‘Teen Mom’ Reality Programming

Research suggests that sexual health messages embedded in entertainment programming may reduce sexual risk-taking. Entertainment media can promote positive health-related decisions because they overcome the resistance that viewers may have to overtly educational messages. In this talk, I will focus on the potential impact of two “edutainment” programs in particular: MTV’s 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom.  MTV and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unwanted Pregnancy assert that these programs are a great “teaching tool” for teens about the consequences of unprotected sex and may be responsible for a decline in the teen birth rate. Yet existing research has found mixed support for this claim. I will discuss the ways in which teen pregnancy is portrayed in these programs, and the research that has examined whether exposure to these messages is related to adolescents’ pregnancy-related beliefs, attitudes and sexual behavior.

Chief Economist, David Waterman

By Mona Malacane

Retired life has been pretty exciting for David Waterman. On November 13 Federal Communications Commission’s Chairman Wheeler announced David’s appointment as FCC’s Chief Economist.

David has published for years in the area of economics of telecommunications and media ( here is an earlier blog post), and has consulted for the FCC in the past (as well as the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice); so being considered for the appointment wasn’t a complete surprise for him. He knew for some time that he was the shortlist for the appointment and had spent a day interviewing at the FCC earlier this year. Although David had gotten to know quite a few people who work at FCC through annual conferences, David thinks that the opportunity was mostly about being in the right place at the right time, given the media-related issues coming up at the commission next year.


Humble in his usual ways, David explained, “It’s not as important as it sounds. Even though they call me the Chief Economist, I don’t actually have any real power. There is a large staff of economists at the FCC and I’m sort of, theoretically, at the head of that staff. And part of my job is to promote economics in the commission and encourage publishable research by the staff … but I’m actually not in charge of administering anyone. It is like academia in that I can choose what I work on and although I report directly to Tom Wheeler [the chairman of the commission] and that’s a great opportunity, he chooses whether or not to listen to me.” Considering this is his life’s work, David is, as you might expect, looking forward to his new role at the FCC. After interviewing him a few times for the blog, I have to say this is the most I have ever seen David smile!

The appointment term is for one year beginning January David will be living in Washington and was still searching for somewhere to live when I interviewed him before the Thanksgiving break. He won’t be far from family though because his daughter, Chloe, works in DC for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – another perk that David is looking forward to. “She is going to help keep me anchored and from going crazy so that really makes a big difference.” I was very concerned that his beautiful garden would suffer without his attention and care, but don’t worry! David plans to leave detailed instructions for his son Matthew, who will be staying in Bloomington, to care for his peppers while he is away.



Before our interview ended, David wanted to recognize Ryland Sherman and the work they have done together. “It’s been the flair coming from his understanding of technology and the law that I think attracted the attention of the Commission, so that’s been a very valuable thing.”



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