Props, Docs, Homecomings, and the 1st Brown Bag

This week we bring you a potpourri of items from around the department. Check out what Professor Mike McGregor’s been collecting in his office drawer for all these years, find out when you can view documentaries produced and edited by some of our grad students, learn what Chase Martin’s been doing for the past year and a half, and feast your eyes on some highlights of the first T600 Brown Bag talk of the semester featuring Professor Rob Potter.

Objects in Offices, Segment 2: Mike’s Prop Drawer

Professor Mike McGregor isn’t one to always keep a straight face.  His sense of humor is known and appreciated throughout the department.  This week we stopped by his office to take a look inside his prop drawer.  Mike has been collecting various mementos, figurines and knick knacks since high school.  Many of the memories are from his time spent in law school and working for the FCC.  He does use some of the props when teaching media law classes, like his draft card and pocket edition of the U.S. Constitution.  However, while most are just for laughs and reminiscing about the past, many of the items have interesting stories behind them.

Mike originally acquired a pirate firearm while in law school.  Mike and his friends used to put on Gilbert and Sullivan shows, like Pirates of Penzance, to distract themselves from studying law.  In that particular production, Mike played the Pirate King and got to keep the gun out of it.

The Oscar Meyer Weenie Mobile is actually a souvenir from a former student.  While working for Oscar Mayer’s marketing and promotions department, she would drive the real Weenie Mobile around campus.

The wide variety of contents in the drawer create quite a conversation piece.  Take a look at some of the treasures we found while visiting his office:

Documentaries Airing on WTIU

Three graduate students who collaborated with undergraduates in a year-long documentary class will get to see their docs on local PBS station WTIU this month. The course, taught by Ron Osgood, allowed students to pitch possible documentary ideas in the first semester. Of the three docs selected for production in the second semester, two of them were pitched by grad students. MS student Mary LaVenture (who produced “A Four-Wheeled Fascination”) and recent MS graduate Satina Stewart (who produced “Love 2.0”) each headed up their projects, and MS student Erin Gupte contributed to the production of a documentary about the controversies surrounding the construction of Interstate 69.

Mary, who is currently in the process of submitting “A Four-Wheeled Fascination” to various film festivals, is happy with the way the documentary turned out and is looking forward to seeing it air on WTIU. She adds that creating the documentary was an eye-opening experience and a great opportunity to learn more about roller derby. “People seem really excited about the documentary, and the derby girls love it,” Mary says of the final product.

The year-long course culminated in May with a public screening of the three documentaries, but anyone who missed the spring viewing can catch the documentaries on WTIU throughout September. “This is something WTIU has been doing for the class for at least the last couple of years,” says producer Mary LaVenture. The documentaries are airing a week apart every Friday at 10:30pm this month. Here’s the schedule:

“Love 2.0”- 9/10 @ 10:30pm: This documentary produced by Satina Stewart explores the changing meaning of love in a world increasingly turning to online dating. Featuring interviews with people all turning to online dating for different reasons, “Love 2.0” examines the successes and perils of finding love in a digital world.

“Interstate 69: Under Construction”- 9/17 @ 10:30pm: This documentary produced by undergraduate student Ryan McDonald investigates competing forces in the controversy surrounding the construction of I-69 in southern Indiana. Interviewing proponents and opponents of I-69 construction, the documentary captures all the different viewpoints.

“A Four-Wheeled Fascination” – 9/24 @ 10:30pm: This documentary produced by grad student Mary LaVenture chronicles the history of women’s roller derby from its inception to present day. “Four-Wheeled” also interviews women from two roller derby teams in Indiana and explains the many ways in which roller derby teams are involved in their communities. You can view the documentary’s IMDB page here.

Chase Martin

If you’ve been hanging around the TV/Radio building for a few years, you may have noticed the return of a familiar face this fall—Chase Martin. Currently back from a hiatus in the industry, he’s finishing up his master’s degree while serving as Instructor of Record for T205, the undergraduate course on media and society. Chase has been assistant instructor for T101 before and even taught an extra section as Instructor of Record in the past, but this semester he admits he’s taking on a bigger challenge in his new role.

Though Chase is stepping a bit out of his comfort zone for T205, a class of 122 undergraduates, he’s ready to put a new and personalized spin on the class. “For me,” Chase says, “it’s about looking at new media and social media, and this gives me the opportunity to add my own input to the course.” For Chase, this personalization includes getting each student set up with a blog as well as a Mark Deuze-inspired Twitter feed during class, reminiscent of the professor’s T101 courses in previous semesters.

Chase, who spent his time away from the department working for a company that made learning software for the Department of Defense, is ready to be back in the academic swing of things and is currently collaborating with Professor Mark Deuze on research related to independent game developers in the video game industry.

“It’s nice to have the opportunity to indulge in the ideas available here,” Chase adds. “It’s great to come back and get to work through my thoughts.” Chase plans to continue his research on organizational models of video game companies.

Brown Bag

Professor Rob Potter had the honor of presenting at the first brown bag seminar of the semester this past Friday:

Is the Third Time a Charm?:  The spotty past, booming present, and hazy future of psychophysiology in the media psychology laboratory


This talk begins by examining two distinct—and brief—moments in the history of communication scholarship when researchers employed measurements of physiological reaction during message processing as dependent variables in experimental research.  I then discuss how psychology’s move toward behaviorism curtailed the use of such measures in both these eras, even though they were separated by more than four decades.

This brings me to a look at the modern era, where measures of bodily reaction are much more accepted in communication research.  The reason?  These measures are now collected, analyzed, and presented under the assumptions of psychophysiology.  I’ll discuss these assumptions using some recent data collected in the ICR to illustrate.

Finally, I attempt to briefly predict what the future may hold for physiological measures of media processing . . . a prognostication that may not be as rosy as you may expect.

Watch some of the highlights from Rob’s presentation here:

It was great to hear all that Rob has been working on since his sabbatical to Australia.  He has recently finished a book on psychophysiological measures, which he mentions in the video clip.   You can find additional information on Rob’s book here:

Rob Potter’s New Book

Special Thanks

Rob Potter:  For telling us about the treasures in Mike McGregor’s drawer


Nicky Lewis:  Mike’s Prop Drawer and Brown Bag

Katie Birge:  Documentaries Airing on WTIU and Chase Martin