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.

Dancing for A Cause

By Mona Malacane

Warning, I’m about to state the obvious: It is so easy to get swept up by all the short term deadlines in academia. For example, I am currently looking at my list of things to complete this week and it is full of class readings, running experiments, writing papers, homework, errands, and 15 minute blocks of exercise. If you let it, grad school can hijack your life. Sometimes it feels like I’m walking around with blinders on. My blog story this week snapped me out of the deadline-haze and made me reflect on the things outside of my grad school bubble, which have become way too easy to lose sight of.

This week, I sat down with Andrew Weaver and he shared with me his son Owen’s story. Owen was born three months premature at Bloomington Hospital, weighing only 1 pound, 15 ounces. He was airlifted immediately to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis where he stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit for 4 months. When he was finally able to go home with Andrew and Nicole, he was still on oxygen even though he was healthy and his prognosis was very positive.

Owen the builder

Owen and his banner at the 2013 IUDM.

Owen is now five years old, in kindergarten, a big brother to Nicole and Andrew’s younger son Elliott, and can correctly name all of his toy construction equipment. (If I were psychic I would predict that he is a future engineer in the making.) But he would not be thriving today without the amazing doctors and nurses at Riley. “It’s a research hospital affiliated with IU, and the research that they’ve done there on how to deal with premature infants and how to get their lungs healthier and how much oxygen to give them and when to give to them, it’s all research that they’ve done there at the hospital … and that saved his life,” Andrew explained. So when Andrew and Nicole were contacted by someone at the IU Dance Marathon, which raises money and awareness for Riley Hospital, they of course said yes.

IUDM is a year-long fundraiser that culminates in a marathon where alternating groups of participants (mostly students) stay on their feet for 36 hours, a lot of the time, dancing. But IUDM isn’t just about raising money; it’s also a celebration for Riley families and Riley kids like Owen. “At the marathon itself, they have a bounce house and all kinds of stuff for the kids to do and of course thousands of college students who want to play with them. They [Owen and Elliott] have a great time and always look forward to it.” It is a massive production. There are concerts, bands, games, and speakers; Colts players and IU athletes stop by and shake hands; and many Riley families tell their stories. “There’s a lot going on at different times but they do a great job of planning it so there is always something interesting happening.” To give you an idea of how large of a production the IUDM here are some quants –  it is the second largest student-run philanthropy in the country and it raised $2.6 million last year.

Aside from the millions of dollars they raise, Andrew explained that the students behind this fundraiser are what truly make the organization and marathon special. “What really has an impact on us emotionally is just the lengths that these students are going to and the dedication that they have. Because it’s not just this weekend … they start meeting weekly, twice weekly for some of them, early in the Spring to start planning this year’s event. And they have lots of other events throughout the year,” he said. “The time that they are spending is more than a full-time job for a lot of these students who are in charge of IUDM for months and months … and they are doing it on top of being a student and on top of their own lives. So to see the effort and sacrifices that they make in such a selfless way, it’s amazing.”

Owen at a committee meeting

Andrew and Nicole are now faculty advisers for the whole organization. This is a picture of Owen at one of the committee meetings!

If you want to learn more about the organization you can visit their website , their blog, or watch this amazing video  that explains what the organization is about and even has. The Marathon begins this Friday, November 14 at the Tennis Center! So if you want to see some of the activities you can check it out at the visitors center or there will be a live feed of the entire marathon on their website. Start fundraising now if you’d like to participate next year!

Seventh Brown Bag of the Semester – November 2, 2012

The audio from last Friday’s seminar can be found here: Brown Bag 7 (Nicole and Jennifer).

Nicole Martins and Jennifer Bute

Public Discourses about Teenage Pregnancy and the Impact of Teen Pregnancy Programming on Adolescent Viewers

Dr. Jennifer Bute and Dr. Nicole Martins presented the results of two separate studies that have examined the role of the media in reflecting and shaping ideological assumptions and attitudes about teen pregnancy and parenthood in the United States.

Dr. Jennifer Bute presented an examination of public discourses about adolescent childbearing.  As the media, political pundits, and private citizens pondered the meaning of recent events (e.g., the pregnancies of Bristol Palin and Jamie Lynn Spears), they expressed viewpoints, explanations, and possible solutions in mass-mediated outlets. This study examined the discourses communicated in such outlets to understand how public discussion of teenage pregnancy reveals ideological assumptions about reproductive health, ideal family forms, and the expected life course.

Dr. Martins discussed the results of a recent survey she conducted with 185 United States high school students (M = 16.57 years of age) to examine whether exposure to “teen mom” reality programming was related to teens’ perceptions of teen parenthood.  The results of the survey revealed a significant relationship between exposure to teen mom reality programs and unrealistic expectations of teen parenthood for both males and females. In particular, viewing teen mom reality programming was related to an increased tendency to believe that teen mothers have an enviable quality of life, a high income, and involved fathers.  The results of this study also revealed that across the three outcome variables of interest, perceived reality significantly interacted with this relationship, but only for females and not for males.


Nicole Martins (Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Telecommunications at Indiana University. Her research interests focus on the psychological and emotional impact of the mass media on children and adolescents.

Jennifer Bute (Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Her research interests concern communication about health in interpersonal relationships, and public discourses about women’s health.

Dealing with Stigma

by Teresa Lynch

It started off, as many graduate student research projects do, as a class proposal.  The paper (“Communicating Stigma: The Pro-Ana Paradox”) that would ultimately go on to be published in the journal Health Communication and featured on Time, Jezebel, USA Today, and IU’s online research forum  grew from an idea that Ph.D. student Daphna Yeshua-Katz had during Nicole Martins’ Media and the Body course in Fall 2010.  It was during that course that Daphna became aware of a group called “pro-ana” bloggers.  The spectrum of opinion within this online community for people with eating disorders ranges from those who claim that anorexia is a lifestyle choice and not a disorder to those who seek to provide a non-judgmental environment, including support for those who seek medical treatment.  What was so fascinating to Daphna was that this community, despite its controversial nature, was shrouded largely in mystery.  “This community was creating an outrage in the public sphere, but we really know almost nothing about the motivations of [pro-ana bloggers] to become a part of it.”  Despite the widely shared negative view of pro-ana blogs, there seemed to be some provocative element in their existence.

Nicole Martins (left) and Daphna Yeshua-Katz. Photo courtesy of Nic Matthews

So, Daphna, with support and guidance from Nicole, set out to develop her study.  She conducted a series of in-depth interviews with pro-ana bloggers that contribute not only to the growing literature on how people communicate with others regarding their eating disorders, but also more broadly to the research on stigmatized illnesses.  But, the flurry of press reports on her work came at a potential cost.  As a former journalist, Daphna understands the editorial process well.  She shared with me that during her days as a journalist, her stomach would ache at the worry over how her words would be skewed after she submitted them to the editor.  Outside of the academic realm, writers often see their words changed without any opportunity for final approval, a fact that Daphna knows all too well.  Even so, being misrepresented or misquoted is a difficult thing to swallow, especially since she now finds herself in a discipline where 94% confidence just isn’t good enough and an academic culture where fine points in scholarly research hold much import. That made the interview she had with a writer from Time magazine all the better.  Not only was she well versed in the literature about stigmatization of drug-addicts, but she also knew about Erving Goffman’s work on social stigma.  Needless to say, the interview went very well.

But in today’s Internet age, the most destructive commentary often comes in the way of … well, comments.  We all have seen such comments, especially the readers’ comments at the bottom of the article you just can’t ignore no matter how hard you try.  Now consider a situation where your research is the basis of the article and you are unable to hold your resolve that you will not read readers’ comments.  For Daphna, that dissolution of resolve yielded a happy experience.  What she found there, made her feel good about the attention her research had received in the popular press.  Many of the comments were from pro-ana bloggers or former members of pro-ana online communities reaffirming the positive place pro-ana blogs hold for them.  In fact, after the study was published in the journal, a blogger who had participated in the study contacted Daphna by email to thank her for doing the research.  She went on to say that participating in Daphna’s study had made her consider her condition and she is now moving toward recovery.

Daphna and Nicole’s journey in conceptualizing, performing, and ultimately publishing the collaborative study was in some ways a roller coaster.  Daphna says that she feels more confident now in her research and in her overall desire to study stigmatized health issues and social media.  She says that there is much more work remains to be done with the pro-ana community with the next step possibly being a quantitative study.  But, for a community so sensitive to stigmatization, gaining the necessary access to perform that research will be difficult.  After this experience, Daphna feels deeply connected to the research on the pro-ana community, as she has met some of its members and had glimpses into their struggles to cope with a stigmatized mental disorder.

Go Pack Go, CV Workshop, Justin’s Cycling Trials and Barb Cherry’s Brown Bag

Annie’s Green Bay Packers Win Super Bowl

It’s no secret that Professor Annie Lang loves the Green Bay Packers. In fact, she is more than a fan. She is an actual shareholder of the Green Bay Packers organization. The Packers are the only non-profit, community owned franchise in American professional sports. Since 1998, Annie has owned one share of stock, making her a part owner of the team. While she has seen the Packers win four Super Bowls in her lifetime and the Ice Bowl at the age of 6, this year was the first time the Packers have won since Annie became a shareholder.

Annie watched the game at home with a few friends and family. There was one requirement for those in attendance: a dress code.  “If you didn’t wear Green Bay Packers gear, you had to borrow some.” While she usually knits during football games, she was too nervous this time around. Annie did carry on many text conversations with friends and family who were thinking of her during the game. With a final score of Packers, 31 and Steelers, 25, she was concerned about a Steelers comeback the whole game. “No one was as nervous as me.” After it was all over, Annie received congratulatory texts and phone calls from friends, many of whom were fans of other teams. She was in contact with her daughter during the entire game. And for good reason. “My daughter will get my share of stock in the organization. It has to go to a first degree relative or it goes back to the company.  She’s the bigger fan.”

Cheers, Annie!

Professor Nicole Martins Holds CV Workshop for PhD Students

On Tuesday the department’s PhD students had the opportunity to get advice and feedback from Professor Nicole Martins on how to put together a CV and make the best impression on job search committees. “It occurred to me that many of our students simply may not know what makes a CV ‘good’ or ‘bad,'” Nicole explained. On suggestion from PhD student Lindsay Ems, who served as the grad student rep on the search committee, Nicole decided to put together the workshop. About ten students attended the session, where they were given the opportunity to look at sample CVs from recent PhD students and discuss the strong points and areas for improvement in each case.

Nicole focused on what content to include and in what manner. In constructing the best CV, she advised the workshop participants to have an idea of what type of job would suit them best. “A teaching CV is going to look different than a research CV,” Nicole explained, “so figuring out what kind of job you want first is key.” Nicole also suggested that students keep their CVs up-to-date. “Students struggle when they wait until the last minute to write them up. The last minute approach results in your forgetting a lot of stuff that should be included,” she added.

Nicole’s biggest piece of advice to graduate students was to take more pride in little accomplishments. “Stop being modest. If you don’t put down an award because it was only a departmental thing, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. Search committees are not expecting a graduate student to have a million dollar grant from the NIH, but a couple hundred bucks to fund a study or dissertation shows promise,” she said.

The workshop concluded with questions for Nicole about each student’s current CV, and that feedback was provided to those who stuck around. Due to the success of this workshop (students stayed around well after the expected end time), Nicole plans to hold additional ones in the near future. If you missed the workshop this week or if you still have questions, you can email Nicole at nicomart@indiana.edu at any point in the semester.

Cycling Trials with Justin

As a master’s student at Texas Tech, Justin Keene lived 4 miles away from campus, and he picked up cycling as a sensible way to commute. Now, as a doctoral student in Bloomington, Justin cycles with the teams of IU’s collegiate cyclers. Currently cycling with the Cs (teams are grouped by letter and compete based on distances and race sizes), he practices with the team on Sundays. “Moving here was like moving to a cycling Mecca,” Justin explains.

Justin’s bike set up for indoor training.

Along with training as part of the collegiate team, Justin has also spent the past 4 weeks participating in a series of cycling trials for a study at the School of Healh, Physical Education, and Recreation. “One of my strengths is time trials, so I thought it’d be easy, but I didn’t know it would be three sets of trials in a row,” he explains. The trials consisted of an initial test to measure oxygen levels and proceeded to 3 sets of 4k time trials, where the researchers drew blood in between sets. Justin didn’t mind the finger pricks, but he says the trials were difficult because the machines didn’t show distance, so the pacing was entirely based on feel. “Eventually, you learn to pace yourself without visual aids,” he says. The trials were also a way to contribute to the research of other scholars. “It was fun because I could apply some science to the cycling, but I didn’t always have to,” Justin says. As an added twist to the trials, Justin was told he needed to cycle as hard as he could, but he was allowed to pick how much resistance the pedals bore. “It was kind of like a choose your own adventure,” he explains. He also adds that the trials were tamer than others he’d heard of: in some cases, balloons are put down athlete’s throats to examine the lungs during rigorous exercise, and Justin (thankfully) didn’t have to do that in the name of science.

The cycling season officially begins in three weeks and runs until Little 500 weekend at IU. Graduate students cannot compete in the famous race, so Justin instead advises, mentors, and trains with two teams on campus he helps coach. “Cycling is a stress relief. It provides a lot of balance for me. Grad school is quick to take too much of your time, and it’s nice to get a distraction in the form of a 2 hour ride,” Justin says. “It takes discipline to plan your schedule to fit both.”

Brown Bag Presentation

Professor Barbara Cherry was the featured speaker at the brown bag.

How Elevation of Corporate Free Speech Rights Affects Legality of Network Neutrality

Abstract:  This presentation is based on a research paper written for the 18th Biennial International Telecommunications Conference held in 2010. This paper discusses how consideration of free speech rights form a legal basis in addition to economic rights for establishing baseline obligations on broadband Internet access providers. Importantly, establishing baseline obligations may give rise to conflicting constitutional claims, pitting the economic and free speech rights of individuals against those of corporate interests.  Resolving such conflicts further complicates the FCC’s task in both designing and implementing legally sustainable network neutrality rules to govern practices of broadband Internet access service providers.

In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), the U.S. Supreme Court overruled a century of precedent to hold that corporations must be treated identically to natural persons with regard to political speech.  This presentation discusses how Citizens United, by elevating the constitutional free speech rights of corporations, diminishes the federal government’s ability to protect consumer interests with regard to network neutrality

Random Photos of the Week

Professor Ron Osgood is not entering a beauty pageant.  However, one of his former students, Derek Quinn, is currently an intern for the Miss Universe Organization in New York City.  Derek was aware of Ron’s documentary work of the Vietnam War and passed along the sash that Miss Vietnam wore in this year’s pageant.  Enjoy!


Nicky Lewis: Go Pack Go and Ron’s Vietnam photos

Katie Birge: Justin’s Cycling Trials, CV Workshop, Brown Bag

Nicole Martins’ Toys, Ryan Newman’s Music Videos, Siya’s Knowledge Ball, and Andrew Weaver is the New Fresh Prince

Objects in Faculty Offices, Segment 6: Nicole Martins’ Educational Toys

Professor Nicole Martins doesn’t just use the toys in her office for fun and games.  For a researcher who studies issues related to children and media, her educational toys serve a greater purpose in both research and class discussions. Earlier this week, she took some time to talk about several of the ones she keeps in her office.  On the one hand, Nicole cautioned about the emergence of toys that encourage parents to register their information online, which can have many repercussions.  Among other things, they can facilitate advertising and marketing campaigns aimed directly at their children.  On the other, she highlighted the effectiveness of programs like Sesame Street, which utilize feedback from parents, children, and researchers to improve the learning and cognition capabilities of children who watch.

Nicole’s research was most recently cited in a New York Times article titled, The Playground Gets Even Tougher, on Sunday, October 10th.  The article describes the issues surrounding mean-girl bullying, which is receiving national media attention due in part to the recent occurrence of suicides among children at the grade school level.  Go to the full article here: The Playground Gets Even Tougher

See Nicole discuss the deeper purposes behind two toys in her office: the seemingly harmless Scout and the lovable favorite, Elmo:

Ryan Newman’s Music Videos

This fall former IU undergraduate Ryan Newman returned to the Telecom Department to pursue an MS degree. In his time away from the Radio-TV building, Ryan wasn’t working on an entry-level job somewhere or sitting in an office wearing a suit – he was in Nashville, Tennessee, directing and producing music videos. “When I was a wee sophomore, I started my own video production company as a side project outside of classes,” Ryan says, “and they signed me based on those videos.”

Ryan spent his first months in Nashville as a production assistant until he convinced the company he was working for to let him take on bigger jobs. For his first video, Ryan had to build a miniature set of a theater stage from scratch, learning as he went along. Eventually, towards the end of his time in Nashville, Ryan landed a job as the director for a Patty Loveless Video.

Shortly after that, Ryan signed on with AOL’s Studio Now, where he began working on commercials for publishers and other media companies. “Right now I’m working on a series of what will be 24 Sprint commercials,” Ryan adds. He has hired a producer to help with the production of these commercials. In addition to this work, Ryan flies out to film a major SEC football game every other weekend for their conference’s Tailgate Show. “I fly out to shoot content, then I edit it overnight for the morning,” Ryan says. “It’s great fun.”

The whole goal of this, says Ryan, is to work towards raising the funds necessary to produce a stop motion film. “It is about a little boy striking up a conversation with a giant turtle and how it all goes wrong,” Ryan says. He also plans on recording a 5 song EP that will become the soundtrack for the film. “I’m using my connections from my Nashville days,” Ryan says, hoping to work the songs into further promotion for the finished film.

For now, Ryan is focusing on getting his stop motion film off the ground. “I guess I came back to do this,” Ryan says. “I like the flexibility this program offers. I feel like I can accomplish a lot an not be bogged down by too many prerequisites.”

To view more of Ryan’s work, check out his Vimeo page here.

Siya’s Knowledge Ball

Since arriving at IU in the fall of 2009, MS student and Ford Foundation Fellow Siyabonga Africa’s had journalism on his mind. Hailing from South Africa, Siya previously worked as a journalist and freelancer in Johannesburg and the Western Cape before coming to Bloomington.  His prior work in the industry brought him to the Indiana Daily Student this semester.

Part of Siya’s interest in journalism lies in the contrast between newspapers at his colleges in South Africa and what he’s observed in the newsroom at IDS. “Here, I’ve noticed there’s more emphasis on community news, and they publish more frequently than the newsrooms at the universities in South Africa,” he says.

Specifically, Siya wants to keep thinking about where journalism is headed and how new media will play a role in reshaping the industry. “It’s a mind-bending school of thought,” he says. “For example, Twitter is going to change journalism – but how?” From his perspective, the answer may lie in the way Twitter can call on everyone to create the news pulse. “It’s a kind of knowledge ball,” he says. “We can share ideas, and from these ideas comes a tangible project.”

At present, Siya is wondering what the changing journalism landscape will mean for his future. “Chances are, when I go back to South Africa, I’m not going to be a ‘journalist,'” he says. “It’s not so much the position of journalism. We should be teaching the identity of the journalist,” he points out, crediting Mark Deuze for first planting that idea in his head.

Siya, who hopes to one day move back to the Western Cape, is currently working on a web content analysis of news aggregation. Before he returns home, Siya wants to find internships in the States, and he’s spent some time traveling to New York and other east coast locales as well as Chicago. “It’s all about immersing yourself in the culture while you’re here,” he says.

For more of Siya’s thoughts on journalism and new media, check out his website here. You can also catch up on Siya’s daily happenings via Twitter: siyafrica

Andrew Weaver’s Brown Bag Presentation

This week Professor Andrew Weaver’s brown bag presentation on the racial makeup of film casts inspired a lot of feedback from the audience.  Having completed three studies on this topic, he is in the process of designing the fourth and welcomed input from those in attendance.

The Fresh Prince Conundrum: How and why the racial makeup of a cast influences selective exposure to movies

Abstract: Several movie producers have recently spoken of a perceived “tipping point” in the racial casting of movies.  The fear is that if the number of minority actors in a film goes over a certain mark, then the White audience will be driven away.  Thus, producers often consciously avoid casting minorities in supposedly race-neutral roles in order to maximize their prospective audience.  In this talk I will present a program of research designed to examine how and why the racial makeup of a cast could influence White audiences’ selective exposure to movies.  Using social identity theory as a framework, these studies demonstrate the actors’ race does influence selective exposure in certain contexts, primarily by affecting viewers’ perceived identification with the characters and perceived relevance of the film.  I will discuss what these findings mean both for current casting practices in Hollywood and for our understanding of the psychology of race and person perception.  We will also consider other questions that future studies in this line of research could address.

See the highlights here:


Katie Birge:  Ryan Newman’s Music Videos and Siya’s Knowledge Ball

Nicky Lewis:  Nicole Martins’ Educational Toys and Brown Bag