Third Brown Bag of the Semester – September 19, 2014


Barbara Cherry, Professor, Julian Mailland, Assistant Professor, and Matt Pierce, Lecturer, Department of Telecommunications, Indiana University

IU Telecom goes to Washington: Influencing Federal Policy-making on Network Neutrality

Given the decision of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Verizon v. FCC  in January 2014, the FCC now faces the legal challenge of how to impose sustainable legal obligations for network openness on broadband Internet access service providers to address concerns underlying the vacated no blocking and no unreasonable discrimination rules. The FCC established a proceeding, the Open Internet Access NPRM, in May 2014, to consider whether it should seek to create obligations under section 706 authority in conjunction with Title I jurisdiction or reclassification under Title II.

On Sept. 12, 2014, Barbara Cherry, Julien Mailland, and Matt Pierce of the Department of Telecommunications traveled to Washington, D.C. to present research and discuss Indiana state legislative activities in ex parte meetings with FCC staff members of both Chairman Wheeler and Commissioner Rosenwercel with regard to the Open Internet Access NPRM.  On Sept. 13, Barbara and Julien also presented their research paper, Toward Sustainable Network-Openness Obligations on Broadband in the U.S.: Surviving Providers’ First Amendment Challenges, at the 42nd Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy, held in Arlington, Virginia.  This paper examines anticipated legal challenges to future FCC rules to impose network openness obligations on broadband Internet access services providers pursuant to the Open Internet Access NPRM, comparing the likely outcomes if the FCC’s authority is based on the exercise of authority under Title II or under section 706 in conjunction with Title I.  The analysis provides litigation advice for how the FCC should exercise its authority given evaluation of differential legal uncertainties arising from these two approaches.

For this week’s T600, Barbara, Julien and Matt discuss not only the substance of the research and Indiana legislative activities presented in Washington, D.C., but also the complex web of policy-making processes and politics within which these presentations are being made within the network neutrality debate.  They will reveal the policy battle that is raging largely outside of public view and how the issues being debated are misunderstood by the media reporting on that battle. We draw practical lessons on how to bridge theory and practice.

Fox’s Tavern, Doctor Who Goes Gaming, Brown Bag

Sweet Spots: Fox’s Tavern

Nancy Schwartz Descends the Stairs into Fox's Tavern

Sweet Spots: Fox’s Tavern

In 2000 Professor Julia Fox got a sign. Out house hunting after officially joining the department, Fox found a house with a bar in the basement. Mounted above the bar a wooden sign read “Fox’s Tavern.”


By sheer coincidence, the previous owners shared Fox’s last name, and when it came time to draw up the contract, the new owners of Fox’s Tavern requested that the sign remain in place.

Set up in the basement, Fox’s Tavern runs the length of the house; the simple wooden bar equipped with a sink and a mini-fridge overlooking the room. Little knick-knacks and a large picture of a fox with cubs add to the Fox motif. Two other pictures adorn the walls. One depicting Chicago, where Fox and her husband grew up, and one depicting Ithaca, where they met. To top off, Fox’s Tavern features a walk-out porch equipped with grill for warm weather barbeques.

While Fox’s Tavern has hosted numerous parties over the years, some are more memorable than others. A surprise birthday party for Annie Lang, Nancy Schwartz, and Bob Affe (whose birthday happened to be a month earlier) stands out in particular.  Assisted by party planner extraordinaire Susan Eastman, the tavern was covered in green. Attendants were encouraged to give presents wrapped in green paper to represent Lang’s love of gardening, while dollar bills hung from the walls to celebrate a big grant Lang had landed. Attendants were even given red bandanas, reflecting Lang’s red hair (Based on the pictures, most people just ended up looking like pirates).

For Fox, the party stands out for other reasons. Prior to the party, Fox had learned that she had cancer and had to tell her family. In addition, Lang had learned about the coming surprise. She was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Tell her family she had cancer, or tell Eastman that Lang knew about the surprise party. After telling Eastman both bits of bad news, Eastman, a cancer survivor herself, shrugged it off, “cancer-schamncer, we’ve got a party to plan.”

A few months prior to the birthday bash, Fox had hosted her husband’s 50th birthday party. The night of the party, Fox received a letter in the mail from the doctor’s office.  During her routine mammogram the doctors discovered an abnormality that could be cancer. It was Friday night and the doctor’s office wouldn’t be open again until Monday. Sick to her stomach, a houseful of people on their way, some from out of town, Fox decided that there was absolutely nothing she could do about it until Monday. She diverted her attention to the party.

While those stand in particular, Fox’s tavern has played host to numerous lab parties, graduation parties, birthday parties, New Year’s Eve parties, going away parties, and end of semester parties for spring grad classes (hint hint students still looking for spring classes).

When the bar isn’t filled with partyers, it’s filled with the sound of her husband and son’s music. Her husband plays the bass guitar while her son plays the electric guitar. Although both play well, it may be time to fill Fox’s Tavern once again with the sound of a lively party.

Russell and Ken’s Board Game Journey

It may have seemed that Telecom grad students Russell McGee and Ken Rosenberg have just been playing around over the past several months.  But, it’s not all fun and games.  Along with Theatre and Drama grad students Carle Gaier and Eric “C” Heaps, they are deep in the developmental process of a Dr. Who-inspired board game, the final project for Professor Ted Castronova’s Storytelling and Video Games course.  While the connection between Telecom students and game design is clear, what attracted grad students from Theatre and Drama to the Ted’s class?  Carle explains, “Games tell a story in a live and interactive way, similar to a theatre performance. The audience is involved and composes a crucial element of the experience, unlike other formats such as film.”  On the other hand, Eric was drawn to the course because he is a self-confessed game junkie – the fact that a course was offered on the topic simply justified his addiction.

Over the course of the semester, students formed groups in order to create and develop a game design.  Russell first came up with the game idea, which was supported by the rest of the group members, as a modification of a storyline of British science fiction TV program Doctor Who called War Games.  In the War  Games story, soldiers from the past are removed by an alien race from their respective time periods and pitted against each other with the goal of  the ultimate Army.  Doctor Who is out to stop it.  The corresponding board game design is a hex-based war-strategy game.  Eric explains that while many ideas were floated around, all members of the group wanted a card driven game, where the cards would add spontaneity to a rule based system.

Fresh off a trip to the annual Doctor Who Convention in Chicago to playtest the game, spirits of the game design team are high.  The group even got their names on the official program and held a play test for three hours.  Ken was thrilled with the experience.  “We had access to the right type of fan and demographic.  Everyone from 8 year olds to 60 year olds were able to play our game.”  Russell reflected on the convention as well.  “We really got a chance to talk to the audiences we are going after with this game.  It was a really great experience.”

Looking ahead, the best case scenario for the game would be to sell the design to BBC or receive a percentage of the licensing.  This is where some of the group members have different perspectives on where they would like to see the game goo.  Carle is not looking to make money off the project.  “Creative control is important to me and I’d be afraid to sell the design otherwise.”  Ken, on the other hand, would like to see it go as far as it can.  So far, the group has been in contact with BBC’s licensing department but has not yet heard back.

Reflecting back on their experiences over the course of the semester, they all agree that the group dynamic was extremely important.  Carle states, “Having a concrete deadline reinforced the idea that this is a doable task – a group can design a game from scratch within a reasonable time frame.”  Indeed, Ken knows that he could have never done this alone.  To see something take shape as a group while learning to let go of certain things as an individual is part of the give and take that occurs in collaborative projects – an important learning experience. Russell seconds that the frustrations you go through at the beginning become rewards at the end and to experience this as a team is really special.

So, what’s the end goal?  For Carle, seeing it on the shelf at a board game store would be the ultimate achievement. Ken is excited about the potential fan community that could grow around it, while Eric explains that this project has a much longer shelf life for him than participating in a play.  “Once a play is over, it’s done.  This is different.  I can get this thing out and play it again and again.”  And as for Russell?  “I think Ted should give us an A.”

Brown Bag

This week’s Brown Bag Presentation featured visiting speaker Thomas Malaby, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  His research focuses on games, practice, and interderminacy.  You can listen to the full audio of the presentation here: Thomas Malaby

Title: Digital Anthropology, Games, and the Cultural Logics of Modernity

Abstract: Anthropology is currently turning toward a new engagement with what may have been Weber’s central question: How do people come to understand the distribution of fortune in the world? Such a question troubles productively our discipline?s recent and fruitful examination of the uses of the past to ask how stances toward the future, in all its indeterminacy, are both the product of cultural logics and the target of institutional and market interests. In this paper I compare the instrumentally nonchalant stance toward the future found in Greek society with a markedly different disposition, one of individual gaming mastery that is architected into the digital domains of human experience, though quite pointedly in the virtual world Second Life. Through them we can glimpse how and why institutions today have become so interested in contriving games and game-like experiences, and in what ways cultural subjectivities are implicated in them and also transformed by them. I close by considering why the cultural form we call game has come to be the primary site for such contests, and how its importance may come to be comparable to that of ritual for digital anthropology.

Signing Off

I hope you enjoyed the feature on Ken this week; you’ll be hearing a lot more from him as he takes over my writing position with the blog.  To have the opportunity to chat with so many different students, staff members, and faculty of the Department – individuals I may not have otherwise – was really wonderful.  Thanks for reading.  And, for those of you that I kindly stalked for blog content over the past year and a half, I’m sure I’ll be getting what’s coming to me.  Ken has already sent out a warning: “Now that you’re off the blog, you’ll be on the blog!”



Nicky Lewis:  Ken and Russell’s Board Game Journey and Brown Bag

Mike Lang:  Fox’s Tavern

B-Town Hot Spots, Judge Julie, IC: Econ, Emmy Noms, Rene Weber’s Brown Bag

Bloomington Hot Spots: Summer Edition

The school year has almost run its course, and the grad blog crew has been on the hunt. We’ve come up with a list of the town’s hot spots, not-to-be-missed locations for faculty and grad students, new and old. Some are reliable favorites, and others are a bit off the beaten path. We’re breaking down each spot for you, highlighting the crowd it attracts and why you should go.

Hotspot: Upland Brew Pub, 350 W 11th Street

Who’s There: Young, old, birthday partiers, microbrew enthusiasts, long-lost friends, first dates . . . when it’s packed for the hours-long window of dinnertime, you can find almost anyone at Upland. It’s popular with the local crowd and college students alike, though the college crowd tends to be mostly graduate students.

Why You Should Go: What attracts people to Upland are its beers brewed right on site, but it would be a mistake not to order something off their list of creative burgers, gourmet pizzas, and memorable entrees. Their newly expanded patio further enhances the experience of sipping local beers while enjoying the summer breeze. Pitcher specials on Tuesdays and Sundays are a definite plus.

Hotspot: Eagle Pointe Golf Resort, 2250 East Pointe Road

Who’s There: Older folks come for the food specials, like the All You Can Eat Taco Bar on Mondays.  There is a younger crowd in the evening for live entertainment and karaoke.  It’s not frequented by many university types.

Why You Should Go: Eagle Pointe features a championship golf course and driving range.  There is live music every Friday night on the open air terrace, with no cover charge.  It also features a cabana bar.  Food and drink specials run all day Saturday and Sunday.

Hotspot: The Atlas Bar, 209 S College Avenue

Who’s There: Grad students, law students, hipsters, and even a handful of locals go to Atlas to escape the crowded bar scene in the downtown area. It’s a haven for those seeking an extensive beer and liquor list, and they’ve got quite a few brews you won’t find anywhere else in town. Atlas opened its doors just a few months ago, and it’s slightly hidden with no flashy signs proclaiming its existence, but it’s a place people like to come back to after they find it.

Why You Should Go: One word – Skeeball. They’ve got a pair of Skeeball machines reminiscent of the arcades and roller skating  rinks of your past. Atlas also boasts table shuffleboard for a fun deviation from the typical games of pool or darts elsewhere, and they’re proud to emphasize that they don’t have a TV anywhere in the building. Their beer and whiskey specials vary, but the place is consistently relaxed and friendly.

Hotspot: Lennie’s Bar and Grille, 1795 E 10th Street

Who’s There: It’s a popular evening hangout for professors, students with parents in town, local beer enthusiasts, and anyone who likes to design their own calzones. Lennie’s is home to Bloomington Brewing Company (BBC), and you can try and take home whatever they’ve got on tap.

Why You Should Go: The food is delicious, and the ambiance is even better. With dim lighting and walls adorned with local art, it’s a place that begs you to stay for hours. They have pizza and soup specials daily, and their Saturday brunch is a weekend comfort. It’s an ideal place to take almost anyone, and it doesn’t typically get as crowded as some of the downtown restaurants. It’s also within walking distance of IU Telecom, which is a major plus.

Hotspot: Scenic View, 4600 South State Road 446

Who’s There: It’s a favorite of Telecom faculty and you can often scope a John Mellencamp sighting.

Why You Should Go: It’s a hidden gem overlooking Lake Monroe with great outdoor seating.  Local beers on tap and full bar.  The menu is eclectic, the food is local, and the desserts change daily.  Menu items include crab mac and cheese, corn fritters, fish tacos, and angus beef burgers.  It boasts a great Saturday and Sunday brunch, featuring crab cake benedict and a salmon scramble.

Hotspot: Player’s Pub, 424 S Walnut Street

Who’s There: This place is almost entirely comprised of fun-loving, good natured Bloomington residents and the occasional crowd of grad students looking for a good music scene. It’s not the first place that comes to mind when listing off options for entertainment, but it’s a great deviation from the normal routine. Some graduate students in the School of Music have been known to show off their talents there on some nights, too.

Why You Should Go: Player’s Pub offers a great glimpse into the local music scene of Bloomington and Brown County. They’ve got live music every night of the week and boast small or no cover fees to enjoy it. The beers are pretty cheap, and it’s a good place to go when you don’t want to run into people you know. The venue sets itself up for a lively dance space on occasion as well. Their menu lists a wide variety of food genres, so you’ll never get bored.

Judge Julie’s Coutroom

In the final weeks of this semester, a class of undergraduate students routinely rises as a judge enters the room, the bailiff calls the session to order, and one by one members of the audience are called to the stand. Nobody committed a crime – instead, the students call on each other as expert

Judge Julie listens to the cross-examination of a witness in her T314 class.

witnesses to debate media related issues. Judge Julie presides over each session in robes, and doctoral student Soyoung Bae swears in each witness using the course’s revered textbook.

Putting the “issues” on trial is Julie’s unique approach to teaching T314: Telecom Processes and Effects. While working on a grant to develop more collaborative work for a course, it occurred to Julie that trials could be a useful teaching tool. “Everyone has to participate, and everyone has a part,” she explains. “There’s no reason that media processes and effects can’t be fun, and in this format, everyone gets something out of it.”

Students first pick topics and then gather “evidence” through research over the semester. The exercise culminates with the trials in the last two weeks of the semester, wherein each student is expected to participate as a jury member, witness, or lawyers, defense and prosecuting.

With incoming Professor Paul Wright taking over T314 for the forseeable future, Julie may have pounded her last gavel, at least for a while.

PhD Candidate Soyoung Bae swears in a witness before he takes the stand.

“I’m feeling a bit nostalgic about it,” she says. “It’s a fun, creative activity, and I’m going to miss it.” The grand finale was particularly sweet as Julie’s current semester has seen the best group of student presentations to date.  In Julie’s words, “This was the strongest set so far.”

For Julie, the court cases have been a creative way to give everyone in the class an opportunity to present while still keeping the 60-person class manageable. Since the students work in teams and feedback is oriented towards fostering collaboration, the entire group has pressure to succeed. More importantly, the courtroom model is versatile. “It’s a good format, and these topic come up all the time, so conceivably the trials could be done in a variety of courses,” she explains. She may pass the gavel on to other faculty, but more than likely, we’ll see Judge Julie bringing “issues” to trial in one of her other classes.

Intellectual Circuits, Part 5: Economics

Doctoral student Sung Wook Ji’s journey into the field of economics started completely by chance.  While pursing his MA at the Michigan State University, he read Dr. James Rosse’s paper, “The Evolution of One-Newspaper Cities.”  That’s all it took to prompt Sung Wook to study economics.  Rosse’s paper detailed how media economics dealt with some of the practical aspects of the media industry.  Sung Wook explains, “I always wanted to study something that was practical and applicable to the real world.  This is what brought me to the Department of Telecommunications.”

Sung Wook’s first course, “The Theory of Price and Markets,” presented a major challenge because many of the other students trained in economics were familiar with the basic concepts and techniques, whereas Sung Wook was not.  It took a lot of hard work to catch up.  Thereafter he began to read papers in the field of mass communication differently.  “I began wondering what would happen if communication scholars were to consider some of the concepts and variables commonly used in economics.” For example, selective exposure theory states that individuals prefer to expose themselves to specific media messages.  However, if an individual has already paid to consume media, will he expose himself to something he doesn’t necessarily prefer?  The payment requirement might strengthen an individual’s selective exposure to media messages.  “Adding economic variables, like price, to existing theories in mass communication leads to more fruitful insights into media phenomena.”

Sung Wook explains that the connection between the Department of Telecommunications and economics will continue to grow because research about the media industry from an economic perspective has increased.  The Department of Telecommunications offers courses on media economics.  The students also take courses in the Department of Economics in the College of Arts & Sciences (COAS) and the Department of Business Economics and Public Policy in the Kelley School of Business.

Professor David Waterman has been exploring this relationship ever since his doctoral work in economics at Stanford University, where his dissertation focused on the economics of the movie industry. David explains that economics provides well-developed models that explain why some media are competitive and others are practically monopolized; and for understanding whether regulations and other government policies are likely to work or not.  “The study of economics fits well within the interdisciplinary mix of the Telecom Department.  Several different disciplinary perspectives are important to understand media and its effects on society.”

Many of David’s students have minored in economics or received MA degrees in economics in addition to their PhD in Telecommunications. This interaction has paid multiple dividends.  The majority of the articles he has published in the last 17 years have been co-authored with those students.  Nearly all of them have gone on to productive academic or research careers.  Furthermore, these interactions have benefitted the university as a whole by broadening perspectives and inspiring further research collaborations.

Telecom Faculty Receive Emmy Nominations

Congratulations are in order for Telecom faculty members Steve Krahnke and Ron Osgood, who both received regional Emmy nominations this week.  Steve was nominated in the Arts and Entertainment category for his work as the executive producer of the documentary, “Harp Dreams.”  Ron was nominated in the Documentary category for “My Vietnam Your Iraq,” which premiered on WTIU last fall.

The Great Lakes Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Emmy Awards Ceremony will take place Saturday, June 18th in Cleveland, Ohio.  Cheers to Steve and Ron!

Brown Bag

René Weber, Department of Communication, University of California, Santa Barbara

Mass Communication Research and Cognitive Neuroscience: A Promising Combination?

Abstract:  Numerous histories of communication science argue that our discipline evolved from earlier investigations in psychology and sociology in the early to mid 20th century and was always characterized by transdisciplinary perspectives. Today, scholars in still related fields such as cognitive psychology have long begun to study human behavior with state-of-the-art neuroscientific approaches. In the field of communication, however, it seems that this opportunity remains unexplored with few exceptions.  This colloquium debates potential benefits and pitfalls of incorporating neuroscientific approaches – mainly functional brain imaging – into communication research. René Weber will present a selection of his brain imaging studies in the areas of media violence, media entertainment, and health communication/persuasion as examples for how examining media processes with a modern neuroscientific perspective might have the potential to enhance mass communication research. A new analytical paradigm for brain imaging experiments using typical low-controlled stimuli in mass communication research will be presented. The colloquium will also demonstrate that the communication discipline has a lot to offer for cognitive neuroscientists.

Bio: René Weber is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He holds bachelor/masters degrees in Communication and Quantitative Economics, a Ph.D. (Dr.rer.nat.; University of Technology Berlin, Germany) in Psychology, and an M.D. (Dr.rer.medic.; RWTH University of Aachen, Germany) in Psychiatry & Cognitive Neuroscience. In his recent research he focuses on cognitive and emotional effects of television and new technology media, including new generation video games. He develops and applies both traditional social scientific and neuroscientific methodology (fMRI) to test media related theories. His research has been published in major communication and neuroscience journals. He is the author of two books and numerous book chapters.

Listen to René’s talk here: Weber Brown Bag

Random Photo of the Week:

Professor Mark Deuze creates a sea of blue students by asking them to dress like Nav'i from the film "Avatar" in his T101 class.


Nicky Lewis: Bloomington Hot Spots, Intellectual Circuits: Economics, Emmy Nominations

Katie Birge: Bloomington Hot Spots, Judge Julie, Brown Bag

Julia Fox in the News, Norbert’s Bulletin Board, Zombies and Birds, Halloween Photos, and Jeffrey Hart’s Brown Bag

Julia Fox in the News

In light of Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity, held in Washington, D.C. over the weekend, news outlets have been calling on IU Telecom’s Professor Julia Fox.

One of the key findings of her research on Stewart’s The Daily Show is that his program is equally substantive in terms of content as regular television news coverage. “That made a big splash when it was published,” says Julia.

This past week major media outlets revisited that study and a follow-up study, which revealed that viewers of clips from The Daily Show could better recognize and recall sound bytes than those who watched regular television news coverage.

Check out the following articles that draw on interviews with Julia or discuss her work:


The Washington Post

Objects in Faculty Offices, Segment 7: Norbert Herber’s Bulletin Board

Professor Norbert Herber doesn’t have much spare time these days.  He is in the process of completing his PhD in the Planetary Collegium through the University of Plymouth, UK.  For him, the experience has created an interesting dynamic.  He takes on the role of faculty member and student, teaching courses while working on his PhD thesis.  He is able to apply the guidance he receives from his advisors and introduce those ideas to his own students, a process he describes as truly fantastic.  Furthermore, his research is quite different from other research in the department.  Norbert explains that he does not conduct experiments, but creates interactive emergent music projects and measures the effect they have on those who experience them.  This type of research leads to further development of practice and vice versa.  Most importantly, the process is about making work and then reflecting on it; conducting the research in order to further creative work.

Norbert reminisced about the papers and objects pinned on the bulletin board in his office, many of which are from performances and exhibitions in Europe, Asia, South America and the U.S.  See Norbert talking about these objects here:

To learn more about Norbert’s PhD experience and his work, go here:

Steve Burns’ Zombies and Birds

Since coming to Bloomington in 2008, MS student Steve Burns’ work has focused on two types of creatures: zombies and birds. An unusual duo? Sure. Steve explains the history behind both, starting with zombies. “I’ve always loved creepy stuff,” he says. “I had a friend whose dad rented us horror movies when we were really young so I probably saw Night of the Living Dead when I was in second or third grade.” Steve started making zombie films for his undergrad production projects, which he notes means that he was well ahead of the current zombie craze.

For his biggest zombie production thus far, Steve, along with fellow grad students Austin Lord and James Ball wrote a script for a zombie thriller called Dead Christmas. The film went into production last summer, and was shot in 3D at sites around Bloomington. “The production was a blast,” Steve recalls. “We had a great crew and a fun cast who let us soak them in sticky syrup blood day after day in 90 degree weather while they pretended it was December.” The film has been submitted to several festivals, and Steve and his crew are waiting to hear back from the organizers.

Steve’s interest in birds comes from his wife, who studies the Junco bird as part of her PhD research. Steve has traveled with his wife numerous times to capture images of the Junco, hitting up locations in South Dakota, Guatemala, and Mexico. In the process Steve helped at an aviary and assisted at a fieldwork site out West.  He started to consider filming a documentary about the Junco at the suggestion of another biologist. “A student from her lab brought up the idea of making a documentary, so I told him I was interested, went out and shot some stuff, and we’ve been working at it since then,” he says.

While he takes a break from work on the Junco documentary, Steve still has zombies on his mind. His thesis project, a feature length horror script, will also feature the undead, albeit not necessarily in the stereotypical portrayal of most zombies. “It has zombies but they are not coming out of the ground like in “Thriller” or the product of a disease like 28 Days Later,” he explains. “My zombies are lab experiments so it’s kind of like if Dr. Frankenstein was mass producing.”

To see some of Steve’s work with zombies and birds, check out these links:

Professor Paul Summers and the Killer Zombie – One of Steve’s undergrad projects

Junco Preview – A preview clip from the Junco Media Project

Telecom Halloween 2010

PhD student Travis Ross hosted fellow grad students for an evening of music, candy, and eerie lighting. Check out a slideshow of the costumes from the Halloween night:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Jeffrey Hart’s Brown Bag Presentation

This week’s brown bag presentation featured Jeffrey Hart, professor of political science at Indiana University.  His research focuses on the politics of international economic competitiveness and high technology, especially software, hardware, and telecommunications.

The Net Neutrality Debate in the United States

Abstract: In 2006, a major telecommunications bill failed because it did not include guarantees for something called “net neutrality.”  Republicans strongly opposed including these guarantees, while Democrats strongly favored them.  The debate over net neutrality continued during the long campaign leading up to the 2008 presidential election.  When the Obama Administration took office in 2009, the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Julius Genachowski revived the idea of codifying net neutrality rules.  In April 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia Circuit ruled against the FCC’s attempt to prevent Comcast from restricting certain types of file sharing applications on its network.  The FCC adopted a new strategy because of the Court’s action.  It opted not to undertake a major revision of the Telecommunication Act of 1996, but instead to attempt to regulate Internet service provision under modified “common carriage” rules just as a basic telephone services had been previously.  An attempt will be made here to explain these choices.

See the highlights here:


Nicky Lewis: Norbert’s Bulletin Board, Brown Bag

Katie Birge: Julia in the News, Zombies and Birds, Halloween 2010

Special Thanks

Nic Matthews: Halloween photos

Carrie Birge: Halloween photos

Roger Cooper Returns, Lelia’s Transnational Study Routine, and SPR Conference in Portland

Roger Cooper Returns to IU

It’s been 17 years since Roger Cooper has walked on IU’s campus.  After receiving his PhD from the Department of Telecommunications in 1992, Roger Cooper has gone on to become an associate professor and director of the School of Media Arts and Studies at Ohio University.  Last Friday,  he returned to Bloomington to present at the week’s brown bag.  Beforehand, he shared some memories from his time at IU and what it means to come back after all these years.  “It’s kind of odd that I haven’t come back, being that OU is only 300 miles away, but I think it’s because coming back is an emotional experience for me.  It was an important time in my life.”

Roger explained that making the decision to come to Bloomington to pursue his PhD was a big one.  “I was married, with two small children and we both had steady jobs.  On the surface, it didn’t seem like the best decision.”  His parents were particularly unsure about Roger’s decision to pack up his family and go back to grad school.  For him, the decision to come to IU was one of the easiest he ever made.  “I had a gut feeling that this was what I was supposed to do.  If you think too practically about these kind of things, you might not make the best choice.  The heart should lead the head.”  Now, Roger’s father often reminisces that he had it wrong and stands corrected.

While on the faculty of Texas Christian University, he spent a year in Japan as a Fulbright Scholar at Osaka University.  He described it as a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience another culture with his wife and young children.  Now at Ohio University, Roger was reflective about the similarities between Athens and Bloomington.  Both communities have a small town feel, where the university has a large impact on the town’s identity.  Looking back at his time at IU, he knows he made the right choice.  “I was encouraged to explore different methodologies and approaches by the faculty.  The faculty were truly supportive.  It’s the people here that made a difference.”

Roger Cooper’s Brown Bag Presentation

Active within Structures: Conceptualizing Post-Convergent Media Uses

Abstract: Post-convergence implies that media and communication scholars will increasingly need to develop theories and measures that consider uses, effects, gratifications, and structures across media platforms rather than to isolate concepts to a single media.  Today’s media offer video, audio, and text for users to access when, where, and how they want it.  Individuals use media simultaneously, share experiences and content (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, YouTube), and can access the same (or similar) content through a variety of delivery systems.  However, although abundant choices and broad access to content transfer considerable power to the use, individuals continue to function within structures that have important influences on us.

Convergence provides an opportunity for scholars to integrate divergent individual-level active-audience theories with (traditionally) macro-level structural theories.  For example, individuals “actively” structure their preferences (e.g., bookmarks, DVR settings) to self-organize their media and communication experiences in content-abundant environments.  This implies that structure can be, at times, an “active” process.  These choices may,in turn, impose or encourage external structures that further influence access and/or choices.  This presentation proposes an “active within structures” conceptualization of media use in converged media and communication environments, and will discuss measurement opportunities and challenges.  Results will be presented from studies that seek to provide explanations of uses in a convergent media world.

Lelia Samson’s Transnational Study Routine

Everyone has a “best place” for studying. For PhD candidate Lelia Samson, her special study place for her comprehensive exams wasn’t just one location—it was over 30 spots on multiple continents. Lelia, who spent part of the summer abroad after the ICA conference in Singapore, found herself studying for the exams while visiting Malaysia, Germany, London, and her home country of Romania, until finally returning to Bloomington for the final weeks of preparation, where she continued to jump from library to library across IU’s campus.

Lelia’s approach to studying was somewhat unconventional. She studied each topic or subject area in only one place, so she would associate each place with what she learned. And did it all sink in? “Sometimes when I think of Paisley, I think of my friend in Nuremberg when I was babysitting for his daughter. I have associations with most of the readings,” she says.

Successfully preparing for the exams, as other PhD candidates could attest, is bound to be no easy task, but Lelia points out that one comforting aspect is the subject matter. “It’s the stuff that you like. Most of the readings are related to what you’re interested in,” she says. In fact, according to Lelia, even the exams themselves were enjoyable. “The exciting part is when you get there. You’ve been stressing out and reading and all of that, and then you get in the room and the questions are awesome because they’re exactly what your interested in,” she says. “In those hours you realize that you actually know and you’ve actually become a scholar. And that’s why I had fun.”

SPR Conference in Portland, Oregon

Last week, Professors Julia Fox, Annie Lang, and Robert Potter and graduate students Rachel Bailey and Bridget Rubenking attended the Society for Psychophysiological Research’s (SPR) annual conference in Portland, OR.  SPR celebrated it’s 50th Anniversary in the City of Roses.

The conference kicked off with an opening reception at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and the science party never stopped. Days were scheduled with themed panel discussions that linked physiological and psychological aspects of behavior. Evenings offered large poster sessions where researchers, including the IU attendees, presented new data in an interactive format. Here’s a list of posters from the department:
“The devil you know: The effects of screen size, pacing, experience and familiarity on attention and arousal responses to camera changes in television messages” -Di Chen and Julia R. Fox
“The effects of trait motivational activation and personal experiences on processing negative, motivationally relevant television content” -Rachel L. Bailey, Annie Lang, Gayle Marks, Sungkyoung Lee, Bernice Pescosolido, and Jack Martin
“The effects of trait appetitive system reactivity and personal experiences on processing TV messages about mental illness” – Rachel L. Bailey, Bridget Rubenking, Annie Lang, Gayle Marks, Sungkyoung Lee, Bernice Pescosolido, and Jack Martin
“Using HRV to measure variations in PNS and SNS activation during television viewing” -K. Jacob Koruth and Annie Lang
Also see pictures below from the week’s events:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Random Thought:

“I see how it is.  You give Matt 2 minutes and 40 seconds and I only get a minute 30.  Is there not a time limit on these things?”

– Mike McGregor, in reference to the objects in faculty offices series.  Reproduced with permission.


Nicky Lewis: Roger Cooper’s Return and Brown Bag Presentation

Katie Birge: Lelia’s Study Routine and SPR Conference

Special Thanks:

Bridget Rubenking: guest contributor for SPR Conference

Rob Potter: Photos of SPR Conference