Message in a Time Capsule

By Mona Malacane

On October 9th, 1964 Reed Nelson’s parents wrote him and his two brothers a letter and sealed it in a time capsule in the city near their farm – Salem, Indiana. The time capsule was scheduled to be opened on the city’s bicentennial, 50 years later.

For the past few years, Reed has been reminding his family of the approaching opening of the time capsule.  Although his brothers didn’t share his enthusiasm about the letter, Reed continued to look forward to the day the time capsule would be unearthed. Well that time finally came, and on September 27th at 4pm on a warm Saturday the capsule was opened and Reed got the letter.

But before I talk about that letter, please indulge me a few sentences to reflect on how cool time capsules are. They are literally pieces of history (of communication!) that are wrapped up and stored like presents to be opened in the future. Yes, museums are also full of historical artifacts that communicate … but they aren’t wrapped up like gifts and  hidden away. The feeling on being reminded that you can open the gift soon, after having forgotten about it, is so exciting! Like finding money in your winter coat that you haven’t worn in a year, but times 100. And now think what if that artifact was specifically for you, put away and preserved for FIFTY years. Is it just me, or is that not one of the coolest things ever?? Ok thank you for your patience, now back to Reed’s story.

The whole day was filled with bicentennial activities, a parade, a 5k, fireworks … but Reed was there for the time capsule. Slowly but surely, the concrete slab that capped the earth over the capsule was jackhammered away and the names of those who had letters were read out loud. Reed’s parents still live near Salem and were also there for the opening of the time capsule, which added an extra special touch to the day. “My mom made the comment in the letter, ‘when you’re reading this you will be older than I am right now,’ and that was amazing.”

The letter addressed to Reed and his brothers, Mark and Paul.

The letter addressed to Reed and his brothers, Mark and Paul.

Reed with time capsuleFor Reed it was an immeasurably special moment when he read the words his mother wrote 50 years ago.  Reed says it brought back memories from when he was 10 years old and it felt like it was yesterday. Unfortunately, one of those memories was that of his Aunt passing away. There was the lighter side too. “The previous night [my mom] had taken us three boys to the elementary school fall festival, which was a big deal. But the … and the …  girls got into a fight that night at the festival … And when they started fighting, they started fighting. [My teacher] came out and grabbed their hairs and separated them, I remember that, and then I took off!” Of course Reed had heard at school earlier that day that the two girls were going to fight at the festival, but his mother wasn’t privy to this information and she was naturally surprised by it. In the letter she wrote, “My, my, those two girls fought.” She also wrote a few complained about Reed’s younger brother, which made him chuckle.

The city of Salem has put another time capsule into the ground to be opened in 2064 and this time Reed put a letter in for his kids and grand kids. “That’s a hard letter to write to your children who are 30ish and who will be 80ish when this capsule is opened, and to my [five] grand kids, so listing everybody on that envelope – my first son and his son and his wife; my second son, his 3 sons, and his wife; and my wife’s daughter and her daughter – it got pretty full,” He explained. “I was writing that last paragraph with tears, I wasn’t crying but they were just tearing in my eyes … it was incredible the finality of the feeling that you have when you’re writing 50 years into the future and you know you won’t be around to read it.” Even so, Reed created a little piece of history for his grandchildren that I’m sure they will appreciate when they receive it.

Here’s something to ponder for the rest of your Monday: if we were to bury a Telecom time capsule before moving to Franklin Hall, what would YOU want to preserve for the future?

The Secret of Tamera’s Mystique: A Combination of Smoke, Mirrors and Magic

By: Niki Fritz

Last semester, I walked into the departmental office and before I could even do one of those faux cubicle knocks, Tamera turned around to greet me, knowingly handing me the “change of committee” form I needed. In awe, I thought to myself, “Tamera is magic.”

I know it is an experience we Telecom grad students share. We have all witnessed Tamera’s magic.

Although I don’t want to crush everyone’s secret fantasy that Tamera actually is some sort of kindhearted sorcerer or benevolent witch, it is my grad-blog responsibility to reveal the secret behind Tamera’s knowing ways. There is actually a mirror in the upper left corner of the office that shows Tamera who is entering the office. (To be fair, the mirror is no secret. It is actually a fairly large, obvious mirror that I have just always been too distracted or self-absorbed to notice.)

The story behind the mirror though illuminates just how Tamera’s apparent sorcery works. Yes it is a story about smoke and mirrors, but mostly it is a story about team work and how the right people fitting together can make magic happen.

The front office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every school day. This is important to Department Chair Walt Gantz who notes that students are just starting to wake up by the time front office secretary, new Telecom staff addition Taylor Conrad, is ready to take lunch around noon. Some departments close the office for lunch but to make Telecom more accessible, the front office stays open while Taylor takes her break. This means it falls to Tamera or Reed to greet any lost students or guests.

A lot of people come through the office door, and while most know where they are going, it often fell to Tamera to turn and look behind her, whenever the office door opened. This led to some frustration and a sore neck.

Then about a year and a half ago, the team started to joke about getting a mirror. Walt decided that a mirror was actually a great idea. “I said yes, let’s get a mirror. I don’t care what it costs. Buy it.”

The infamous mirror

The special mirror.

Tamera jokes that Walt actually notices that each turn to check the door was knocking 1.3 seconds of productivity off of Tamera’s work. But Walt insists it was just for the health and benefit of the team; something relatively simple that would ease the strain on Tamera’s neck and making Tamera appear magical was just a welcomed side effect.

Still I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something mysterious about Tamera’s powers. After all she always seems to know what forms grad students need and she can get a room reserved in Woodburn with lightning fast speed. I was pondering this as Walt and I walked over to Tamera’s desk. Before we rounded the corner, Tamera turned to greet us without the powers of the mirrors.

Tamera says knowing these things just comes with the territory. She’s gotten good at sensing where people are and what they need.

Walt notes though that it isn’t just the mirror. There is still some mysticism working in the office, magic that can be seen through the dynamic of having the right team members in the right position.

“Tamera is magic anyhow. And Reed is magic. They both are. The mirror just discloses one of their sources of power,” Walt explains. “There are many others we have pledged not to divulge.”


— Teresa Lynch and Ken Rosenberg

It’s that time of year again when we welcome the incoming crew of new students.  It’s an exciting time that sets the tone for the academic year for the incoming class and those of us who are returning.   Despite not being able to sleep in everyday or taking off for lake adventures on whim, the beginning of a new semester is, in a word, invigorating, as we get to know the new folks, reunite with peers and mentors, and engage in conversations that only grad school affords.

Telecom faculty, staff, and grad students met at Studio 5 for breakfast and intros.

This year the returning graduate students participated only in Monday morning’s meet-and-greet session and the closing reception on Friday night, as the redesigned micro-teaching sessions called for small groups of new grad students and limited participation by more experienced returning grad students.  Incoming students had building and lab tours, training sessions, and informational meetings over the week.

Reed Nelson. Master of finance and humor.

Incoming students attend micro teaching sessions led by Rob Potter

Team Telecom Runs, Awards and Fellowships Workshop, Younei Soe’s Dissertation Award, Ron Osgood’s Presentation, Brown Bag

Team Telecom Runs, by Mike Lang

A few years ago I remember sitting in the movie theater and an advertisement for one of the branches of the armed services came on. A bunch of athletic guys in black shirts and camo pants ran through an obstacle course, and occasional close ups showed their various exertion induced grimaces. At the very end, brushed chrome letters appeared reading, “pain is weakness leaving the body.” Every time I see a runner chugging through campus with that similar grimaces, I’m reminded of those brushed chrome letters as I recount the agony of my few running experiences. Running is pain, yet a number of those within our department fight through it in their quest for camaraderie, a healthy lifestyle, new challenges, and charity.

Established at the Jill Behrman 5k last year, Team Telecom brings together the runners in our department. While most races fall into the 5k category, there are also 7ks, 10ks, mini marathons, and marathons. Although the races are timed, the only competition Team Telecom advocates is competition with yourself. As Matt Falk says, one of the mottos of the group is “start together, finish together.” Although everyone runs at a different pace, those who finish at the head of the pack stay around to cheer on those further behind. In some cases, they even turn back to run with them to the finish line. Nicky Lewis, who started running in races last fall at Betsi Grabe’s insistence, was apprehensive at first about running in public with a bunch of more experienced runners. However, after crossing the finish line for the first time, and seeing the amount of support from her teammates, she caught the bug. Falk characterizes Team Telecom as a successful anarchy. There are no rules or leaders, but things get done.

Reed Nelson is currently training for a marathon.

In the wintertime, organized racing comes to a halt but not Team Telecom. On a few occasions, the group collaborated and set up informal races of their own. As Lindsay Ems tells me, the group established a 3.5 mile route that they would all run. Walt Gantz served as the official timer, driving from mile marker to mile marker and providing encouragement along the way. They made sure to end the route in front of Bloomington Bagel Company so they could enjoy breakfast with each other afterwards.

Although all run the same race, everybody’s running style and reason for running differs substantially. Nicky Lewis, for instance, hates running but loves listening to music, and running gives her that opportunity while engaged in a health enhancing activity. Practically married to her iPod, Nicky sets up playlists that correspond to both the total time she wants to run, and her projected mile time. Relying on a website that uses a song’s tempo to determine how fast runners would run a mile if they ran to the beat of the music, Nicky has been able to cut her mile time down by a full minute. Likewise, Matt Falk uses music in ways that correspond to his body’s needs while running. Using GPS and a heart rate monitor, Falk is able to accurately track changes he feels his body undergoing, and he creates his playlist to match those changes. For instance, he might start off with some fun peppy music to get him started. When he hits the brick wall around 10 minutes, he can program Slayer’s “Angel of Death” to pump him up enough to get over the hump where he enters the cruise phase of his run and programs some chill electronica. For Lindsay, running is a challenge. Although she doesn’t particularly like the running part, she likes overcoming the pain. Likewise, Rob Potter runs to stay fit. While the styles and reasons may differ, all enjoy the camaraderie that the team provides.

While running provides Team Telecom with an opportunity to hang out, exercise, and have fun, they also run for a purpose.  Each race has an entrance fee which is donated to support various causes. Team Telecomm has aided breast cancer research, raised awareness about violence and assault, and supported organizations like Habitat for Humanity.

During the spring and fall races occur almost every weekend. For those interested in running you can visit the Team Telecom’s Facebook page, or contact one of members.

Team Telecom members: Matt Falk, Nicky Lewis, Lindsay Ems, Betsi Grabe, Mark Deuze, Mark Bell, Sean Connolly, Reed Nelson, Teresa Lynch, Rob Potter, Tamera Theodore, Shannon Schenck, Susan Kelly

Telecom PhD Workshop:  Seeking Dissertation Fellowships and Other Funding as a Graduate Studentby Ken Rosenberg

Professors Rob Potter, Andrew Weaver, and Harmeet Sawhney shared insights into dissertation fellowships and other funding opportunities in the “sausage making” mode.  The evening was broken into following three sessions (1) Dissertation Year Research Fellowships and Future Faculty Teaching Fellowships, (2) Travel Grants and Doctoral Workshops, and (3) Teaching Awards and Fellowships.  The students were given copies of three winning proposals. The faculty and students worked through one of the winning proposals in the sausage-making mode starting with the first draft, going through the comments and revisions cycle, and ending with the final proposal.  The workshop participants also saw the video component of Mark’s teaching portfolio that got him to be IU’s nominee for Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools’ (MAGS) 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award.

Younei Soe’s Dissertation Award, by Ken Rosenberg

Younei Soe, who defended her dissertation last year, recently received the Herbert S. Dordick Dissertation Award from the International Communication Association. In his nomination letter, Erik Bucy, Younei’s advisor, characterized her dissertation as “an absolutely first-rate piece of original research” that “sheds considerable new light on the civic consequences of new media use.” It all began with a moment that is familiar to scholars, the time when your current professor of interest asks you that innocent-yet-hopelessly-complex question: what interests you?

‘I’m interested in democracy,” said Younei, years ago. Back then, she had no idea how to make an original theoretical contribution on that front. From there, she began to establish herself in the academic community, doing research to forward the cause of democratic citizen education. Now, she has offered her own contribution, which Busy believes “will be embraced by researchers in the area of information technology and civic learning when they are introduced to the literature.” Future students may very well find her work to be required reading.

Like many politically-minded media scholars before her, she wanted to know how young adults use new media to understand political information and public affairs. If news and other politically-focused media are key for maintaining a healthy democracy, then it is necessary to analyze how people use media and how it impacts their knowledge and efficacy.

There are many studies that measure media usage, but her goal was to find a link between usage and proficiency and, for that, it was necessary to do more than survey people. For two years, she collected data from students of media and political science—individuals already encouraged and equipped to discuss these sorts of issues—in the form of surveys, focus groups, and in-depth interviews. For another two semesters, she did nothing but interview people. She showed clips of politicians; she tested people’s knowledge of politics and media institutions. With over 200 participants and more than 30 focus group sessions, the task of transcribing was onerous. To handle the epic workload, she did what most academics prefer: she hired undergrads to transcribe. Even with a team, it still took several months to complete the transcriptions. It was always important to make sure the data was processed properly but, since Younei intends to make everything publicly available in a collected dataset, consistency and formatting became even more important.

Most important, though, is Younei’s ability to express her findings with precision and clarity. She borrowed some terms and created others. Participants were ranked either high or low in “public affairs sophistication,” a multivariate concept encompassing political interest, media use, media knowledge, and political knowledge. “Media knowledge” is in particular an interesting concept as it does not concern the information that people get from the news but, rather, the awareness people have about news-reporting organizations. An example question: “How is The New York Times different from other newspapers?” The concept of political knowledge is a bit more straightforward—in theory, anyway—as it involved simple questions of fact, like “Who is the leader of Russia?” However, answers to questions of this nature were just as variable as any other. “It was amazing to see how people responded,” Younei said. Another important concept Younei developed is “public affairs efficacy,” a combination of political self-efficacy (“My vote matters in the election.”) and political information efficacy, the latter of which is a measure of one’s confidence in knowledge about politics. Humorously, males scored high in efficacy, but women scored higher in actual knowledge.

To receive the award, Younei will fly to Arizona and attend ICA’s Communication and Technology Division business meeting. This will be her first time back in ten years to Arizona, where she completed her first program of master’s studies. “I’ll be very happy to see my dorms,” she said.

As for the future, Younei wants to pass on what she has learned in her area of interest—and she will get her chance sooner rather than later. Starting in June (in the Summer II session), she will be teaching S542: International Information Issues in the School of Library and Information Science as an adjunct faculty member. The course is structured around three main themes: everyday civic life, systems of access and use, and culture and institution. Younei would like to thank the professors who helped her in crafting the syllabus. She would also like to remind everyone that her class has no pre-requisites and is currently open for registration. So, if you would like to know more about the relationships between individuals, media, and society in terms of politics and civic life, go ahead and sign up!

Ron Osgood’s Presentation, by Harmeet Sawhney

Last Friday Ron Osgood presented “The Vietnam War/American War: Stories from All Sides” in the Institute for Digital Arts & Humanities (IDAH) seminar series.  This was Ron’s third and final presentation for the two year IDAH fellowship he had received to work on an interactive documentary on the Vietnam War.

Ron has collected a treasure trove of materials (photos, slides, film, maps, documents, and interview transcripts, among others) through his interviews with 40 American, 35 North Vietnamese, and 2 South Vietnamese veterans.  His project has also benefited from unexpected gifts from people inspired by his previous work on the Vietnam War.  For instance, after seeing Ron’s Vietnam War documentary on WTIU, one of viewers established contact with Ron via WTIU because he wished to gift his personal collection of 2500+ slides and over 8 hours of film he had created while serving in Vietnam as a doctor.  Ron was amazed to learn that all this material has never been publicly shown before.

Ron’s challenge is to present this material in such a way that is accessible to a wide range of people.  In particular Ron took great care in his choice of terms.  They had to resonate with the sensibilities of the veterans and at the same time be understood by undergraduates.  He is now working on modalities and sensibilities that would be inviting for veterans to share their stories and materials on the website.

You can access the site in the current testing state at

Once the interface is functional and data has been fully entered Ron plans to modify the project as an iPad app.  He will be proposing a T575: Directed Group New Media Design Project for fall for graduate students interested in this type of development work.  The project will provide opportunities for gaining experience with researching content, design, and programming.  Please contact Ron ( if you would like to take this T575 with him.

Random Distnguished Comment of the Week

I (Rob Potter) was walking down the atrium hallway the other morning. Classes were in session and so the hall was empty except for two students looking at the faculty images in the display case. One of them was standing on tip-toe to look up very closely at one of the pictures.

The other said, “Distinguished Professor … wonder what that means?”

“Apparently,” says the one on tip-toe, “it means you don’t want your picture taken …”

Brown Bag

Media Accountability and Transparency in Europe: First Results from a Comparative Study

Huub Evers (Presenter), David Boeyink (Discussant)

Professor Evers spoke about MediaACT: a comparative study in 14 countries featuring analyses of the status quo of media self-regulation and media accountability in Europe (in comparison with exemplary Arab states), analysis of innovative media accountability instruments online, and a representative survey of journalists’ attitudes towards media accountability.


Huub Evers is full Professor of Media Ethics and Intercultural Journalism at Fontys University’s School of Journalism in Tilburg, the Netherlands, and a freelance media ethics researcher and consultant. He gained his PhD in Communication Sciences from the University of Amsterdam. His thesis “Journalism and ethics” dealt with the verdicts of the Dutch Press Council. He is the author of several books and articles on media and communication ethics, intercultural journalism and intercultural competences for journalists and broadcasters.

David Boeyink is Associate Professor Emeritus of IU’s School of Journalism, and a recipient of numerous awards for his teaching and research, including the Frederic Herman Lieber Distinguished Teaching Award, the Gretchen Kemp award, and the Brown Derby Teaching Award. Professor Boeyink’s research focuses mainly on ethics and ethical decision making in journalism. Boeyink is currently finishing a research project that will explore ways journalism students think about objectivity and the effect journalism classes have on their conception of objectivity.

The audio file from last Friday’s seminar can be found here: Brown Bag (April 13, 2012 – Evers and Boeyink)

Reed’s Athletic Adventures, Nic and Teresa’s Game Cave, Happy Halloween

Reed Nelson Rides, Runs, and More

Department of Telecommunications Financial Officer Reed Nelson is well-known for his playful personality and a great sense of humor around the main office.  What many may not know is that he participates in a wide-range of athletic activities, some for which he has gained notoriety.  He considers himself a wannabe athlete – participating in whatever sports are in season.  He has participated in three-on-three basketball tournaments, tennis competitions, and enters the city golf tournament every year.  When asked how well he performs in the the golf tournament, Reed replied, “I am one and done, no doubt, but I enjoy the challenge.”  One activity that has stuck over the years is his regular participation in mini-marathons.  Reed has competed in seven minis, mostly in Indianapolis, in the past six years.

Two weeks ago, he participated in the 44th Annual Hilly Hundred – an annual bike event that involves cycling through 100 miles of south-central Indiana terrain.  The Hilly Hundred has been showered with awards by Bicycling Magazine, including: Best Overall Event, Longest Running Event, Largest Event, Best Map, and Best Entertainment.  It takes place over two days, on a weekend in mid-October.  The first day involves riding through Monroe, Green, and Owen counties.  The second treks through Monroe, Owen, and Morgan counties.  People come from all over the country to participate, often on bike or in RVs and campers.  With over 5,000 participating this year, Edgewood High School in Ellettsville served as the event’s headquarters.  The school offers showers, meals, and a selection of craft vendors selling their wares.  Other activities include a costume contest and live musical entertainment at every rest stop.

Reed has been riding for six years, and serves as a volunteer and rider.  He helps direct traffic in return for a ticket to ride in the event.  “My favorite thing about the ride is that I’m on my own time.  I can stop to enjoy the views of the fall landscape and the musical entertainment.”  One more bonus?  “Since I live near the high school, the bathtub is less than a half mile from the finish line.”  As far as training is concerned, he begins biking at various mileages about three weeks out from the event in order to get prepared.

Reed’s athletic endeavors have not gone unnoticed.  Last summer, the campus division of recreational sports contacted Reed to appear in their annual calendar.  A representative asked Reed to come to the Student Recreational Sports Center (SRSC) dressed and ready to work out.  They took about 80 pictures in order to choose one for his March feature.  “I tried to smile, but my mouth started to hurt after awhile.  It felt like I was posing for wedding pictures.”  After the shoot, Reed didn’t tell anyone about the calendar except for Department of Telecommunications Professor and Chair Walter Gantz.  After the calendar came out?  He received about 40 emails from friends and co-workers all over campus commenting on his big photographic debut.  “I got a lot of emails at the end of February as everyone turned their calendars to the March page.  I even received 4 campus mail requests for my autograph.  I haven’t seen any of them on Ebay, though.”

For more information about the Hilly Hundred, go to

Sweet Spots: Nic and Teresa’s Game Cave

People have an attachment to space. They organize it and customize it. It reflects their values and interests. It is imbued with personality and as a result governs the activities which occur within it. Sweet Spots feature spaces that are important to individuals within our department.  

For graduate students Nic Matthews and Teresa Lynch, video games are an important part of life. They guide their research interests, fill up those rare moments of free time, and provide opportunities for marital bonding. For these two committed gamers, it only makes sense that a space in their home is dedicated to their hobby.

The game cave is an homage to the video game, possessing everything necessary for a day long gaming marathon, or a half hour study break. Impressive in its current form, the game cave is a culmination of years of collecting. The game cave features an array of consoles and an extensive game library to match. Hooked up are all of the next-gen consoles, the PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii. Stored in the closet and brought out on occasion are the PS2, Xbox, GameCube, and Dreamcast. The most interesting of the consoles is the 3DO, Panasonic’s 1993 foray into the video game console market.  A random find at a used game store, Nic forked over $100 and walked away with a collector’s item.  The surround sound system came when Nic was in high school.  The crown jewel of the game cave is a 50” 1080p Panasonic plasma television, purchased with the money from the glorious first tax return after marriage.  In video games, black levels are paramount, and plasma screens offer the best black levels.  The leather loveseat serves as the room’s command center. Originally purchased by Nic’s Grandfather, the combination of Georgia heat and leather was too much, driving him to give it away. Nic was the lucky beneficiary.

For Nic and Teresa, the game cave is a shared space. While many games only allow for only one player, the few two player games on the market offer an opportunity to game together. Nic and Teresa prefer competitive games, which allow for a bit of friendly trash talk.  The proliferation of single player games does pose its fair share of problems. Most commonly, who gets the first crack at a new game? For those issues, the one most excited normally gets first dibs. For instance, The new Deus Ex release is Nic’s thing, therefore Nic gets first crack.  For gamers, if you aren’t armed with a  controller, watching is always an option. While Teresa doesn’t usually like to watch Nicksolo game, Nic is just fine watching. It’s relaxing, a way to chill out. In addition, it lets him experience horror games, a genre he wouldn’t ever play himself.

Although school limits the amount of time spent gaming, “things get crazy” on Weekends and Holidays. Neither Nic nor Teresa are strangers to all-day gaming marathons that normally coincide with the big releases like Call of Duty. Although rare, the game cave is well equipped to handle the activity, and whatever else Nic and Teresa put it through.

Random Photo of the Week

Guess who?  Happy Halloween!


Nicky Lewis:  Reed’s Athletic Adentures, Random Picture of the Week

Mike Lang:  Nic and Teresa’s Game Cave