Snow Globes with Annie, Londontown, FC Telecom vs Travis, and Prof. Boczkowski’s Brown Bag

Objects in Offices, Segment 4: Annie Lang and Snow Globes

As a grad student in the department, you will more than likely spend some time in the Institute for Communication Research, or ICR. Along with various research labs, offices and equipment, you will notice an interesting collection in one of the rooms. It is a snow globe collection and it is about 15 years in the making.  Professor Annie Lang explains that it acts as a reminder of where ICR researchers have traveled in the past.

Now that the collection is maxing out, new rules are in place for those wanting to add to it.  Annie says that they used to bring snow globes back when they went anywhere, whether it was a conference or vacation.  Over time, they collected so many snow globes that the rules had to be adjusted.  Now, you can only bring a snow globe back if it is work related, as in when you went to conference, presented a paper or gave a talk.  In addition, a rule of triples was enstated.  Once two or three snow globes have been collected from a particular city, you are not allowed to add anymore.  This is mostly because conferences tend to happen in the same cities and this rule keeps the collection unique and eclectic.

See Annie explain more about these snow globes, what other objects have been brought back from various locations and what object has officially been banished from the collection.

Jenna Hoffstein and the Londontown Project

This fall grad student Jenna Hoffstein became the executive producer of the Londontown project. Londontown is a concept for an MMORPG set in an idealized version of Victorian England. The team is currently working on creating a vertical slice of the game, or a much down-sized prototype of a small portion of the game.

Since its inception as a concept by former IU Telecom faculty Lee Sheldon, Londontown has been student-driven, and the project gives students the opportunity for hands-on experience in game design. As an incoming grad student, Jenna was encouraged by Lee to sign up for the project over the summer and in her first semester landed the role of Londontown’s lead writer.

Currently, the Londontown team consists of around 25 grad and undergrad students from Telecom, Informatics, English, and other departments working in various task groups—production, audio, design, programming, and writing. “There are really a lot of different ways people can get involved in the development,” Jenna says. The teams meet individually about once a week, and the group comes together every three weeks to discuss their progress. The end goal in creating a vertical slice of the virtual world is ultimately to pitch Londontown to video game publishers. “In an ideal world, we’d love to get it in front of publishers and move the project off campus and really turn it into a game.”

Jenna, who spent last summer developing an iPhone game about jellyfish called “Castaway Jelly,” hopes to complete her grad studies next semester. From there, she aims to move to the east coast to work for game developers, hopefully getting to use her experience to develop virtual worlds. “Really big, thorny problems that develop in creating virtual worlds are a lot of fun,” Jenna says.

FC Telecom Falls to Travis and Man Down

Last Thursday FC Telecom faced off against “friendly” rivals, Man Down (with the department’s Travis Ross as a longtime team member), in a fierce battle of athleticism and sportsmanship. In spite of a fearless and unrelenting effort by Telecom grad students Lindsay Ems, Matt Falk, and Peter Blank, Professor Mark Deuze, and other teammates, FC Telecom was defeated under the stadium lights at Karst Farm Park.  But the team is still optimistic about the future.

Both sides acknowledge a noble victory, though FC Telecom suggests that under slightly different circumstances, the outcome may have favored them instead.  “Games against Travis’ team are always fun and important,” says Mark. “Unfortunately, FC Telecom had to miss our fearless leader—Steve Krahnke—and tireless defender—Norbert Herber. This put us at a severe disadvantage,” he says.

Grad student Peter Blank notes that, despite the rough first half, the team rallied quite a bit to finish strong. “If you ‘zero’ the score from the first half, the second half must have turned out 3-4, which means we made big progression during the game,” Peter says. Of Mark Deuze’s presence on the field, Peter adds, “It’s hard to believe that he never played professional league.”

Despite the loss, FC Telecom’s spirit remains high, as Travis didn’t get away with 4 goals against them this time, as he had done in a previous encounter. Summarizing the game, Mark says, “With heroic efforts by Lindsay, Peter, and Edgar, we managed at times to keep the pressure on Travis and company, and put away several passes and goals. Ultimately, their team’s youth and coherence as a team prevailed. It was a deserved win on a glorious evening at Karst Farm Park.”

To get a better idea of what went down on Thursday, check out this slide show of photos from the matchup:

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Pablo Javier Boczkowski (Northwestern University) Brown Bag Presentation

This week, we were excited to have Professor Pablo Javier Boczkowski from Northwestern University to present at the T600 Brown Bag.

When Supply and Demand Do Not Meet: The Divergent Online News Preferences of Journalists and Readers and What They Mean for the Future of Media and Democracy

Abstract: In this talk I will report on a series of studies that bridge my recently published book, News at Work: Imitation in an Age of Information Abundance (University of Chicago Press, 2010) and a new book that I am writing during the current academic year.  These studies focus on the existence and magnitude of a thematic gap between the news that journalists who work at elite online news sites consider the most newsworthy ones and the stories that attract most attention among audience of these sites; the factors that shape this gap; and, what this gap means for the economic viability of these news organizations and the quality of democratic life.

See the highlights of his discussion here:


Nicky Lewis: Snow Globes and Brown Bag

Katie Birge: Londontown and FC Telecom vs Travis

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