Fifth Brown Bag of the Semester – October 4, 2013

Ron Osgood, Professor Emeritus of Telecommunications, Indiana University

Will Emigh, Department of Telecommunications, Indiana University

Development of an Online Interactive Documentary (Part II)


The Vietnam War/American War: Stories from All Sides” was developed by Ron Osgood during his Institute for Digital Arts & Humanities fellowship and funded through a New Frontiers grant. Currently, more than 100 video interviews have been recorded with American, North and South Vietnamese veterans and civilians who were directly involved or affected by the war. The site allows users to search content and create an editable video playlist. Part two of the presentation will briefly review the content covered in part one and will concentrate on the design, programming and usability of the website prototype.


-Professor Emeritus Ron Osgood retired in 2011 after 25 years in the Department of Telecommunications. Besides continuing work on the project he will talk about today, he recently directed and edited a three-part series on climate change for the National Park Service. He also completed pro bono projects for the IU Committee on Multicultural Understanding and the Bloomington Fire Department in 2013. His previous documentary “My Vietnam Your Iraq” was an official selection at ten film festivals in 2009 & 2010. It was broadcast on PBS in 2011 and is available through PBS Home Video. The second edition of his book “Visual Storytelling: Videography & Postproduction in the Digital Age,” co-written with former graduate student Joe Hinshaw, was published in 2013 by Cengage Publishing. An interactive DVD supplement to the first edition won Best of Competition in the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) competition.

-Will Emigh is a Lecturer in the Department of Telecommunications at IU Bloomingotn. He is the co-founder of Studio Cypher, a positive game design company, where he worked on digital games in the Chicago Field Museum, a Facebook game for the Indianapolis Zoo, and a physical card game to be published in 2013, among other things. He currently serves on the board of the Humanetrix Foundation, which supports technologists and public interest technology tools in the Midwest

Fourth Brown Bag of the Semester – September 27, 2013

Ron Osgood, Professor Emeritus of Telecommunications, Indiana University


“The Vietnam War/American War: Stories from All Sides” was developed by Ron Osgood during his Institute for Digital Arts & Humanities fellowship and funded through a New Frontiers grant. Currently, more than 100 video interviews have been recorded with American, North and South Vietnamese veterans and civilians who were directly involved in or affected by the war. The site allows users to search content and create an editable video playlist. This presentation will cover the development, production and website programming used to create the prototype.


Professor Emeritus Ron Osgood retired in 2011 after 25 years in the Department of Telecommunications. Besides continuing work on the project he will talk about today, he recently directed and edited a three-part series on climate change for the National Park
Service. He also completed pro bono projects for the IU Committee on Multicultural Understanding and the Bloomington Fire Department in 2013. His previous documentary “My Vietnam Your Iraq” was an official selection at ten film festivals in 2009 & 2010. It was broadcast on PBS in 2011 and is available through PBS Home Video. The second edition of his book “Visual Storytelling: Videography & Postproduction in the Digital Age,” co-written with former graduate student Joe Hinshaw, was published in 2013 by Cengage Publishing. An interactive DVD supplement to the first edition won Best of Competition in the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) competition.

Paul Wright’s introduction to Ron Osgood . . .

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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)

Potter Avoids Muggles, Tamara’s Research Endeavors, Brown Bag

Potter Avoids Muggles: A Geocacher’s Life for Me

“I love geocaching,” read the stickers plastered to the vehicles shuttling swarms of boy scouts across the IU campus. Oblivious to the term, Professor Rob Potter dismissed it as some “dorky scout thing,” before forgetting about it completely.  In only a few short weeks, he would be on sabbatical in Perth, Australia, away from IU, away from his intensive freshmen seminar, and away from all those invading boy scouts.  His wife was already over there.

Before she left, they had talked about purchasing a GPS in order to navigate the land down under, but they decided to wait and buy one when they arrived. That was before Potter got a message from his wife. “Electronics in Australia are too expensive. Buy a GPS before coming over.” With little knowledge about GPS devices, and little time, Potter took to Twitter to ask for recommendations. Based on those responses, he bought one, and in a moment of realization (considering he believed Twitter to be rather worthless), acknowledged Twitter’s usefulness and thanked those who had provided their recommendations. Then it happened. Mary Beth Oliver from Penn State left him a reply.  “Rob, congratulations on figuring out which GPS to buy. You seem like someone who would really dig Geocaching.  Australia is really into it. Check it out.” Geocaching, the same dorky activity advocated by those pesky boy scouts was now being advocated by a colleague. After a little bit of internet research, Potter was in. “It was just geeky enough for me to try.”

Geocaching, in essence, is a high-tech treasure hunt. Armed with a gps unit geocachers plug in coordinates where a cache is hidden and then go find it. The cache, a container varying in size and very often cleverly hidden, normally contains a few items, and a log of all those who have found it. When a cache is found the person that finds it signs the log, takes one item out of the cache, and replaces it with an item of his own. In some cases the items are trackable. By entering a tracking code found somewhere on the item online, the geocacher can find out where an item has been and how long it has been in circulation.

Due to the public nature of geocaching, certain rules must be followed. Caches can only be hidden in public places and in private places with the landowners’ consent, they cannot be buried, and they cannot deface, or cause the searcher to deface the landscape. However, geocaching is very much an underground/alternate reality activity. Geocachers often refer to those not geocaching as muggles, and geocachers must complete their activity without tipping off the muggles as to what they are doing.  While the designation adds a stealthy element to the game, the reasons for it are more pragmatic. People who find a cache and don’t know what it is may take it, steal it, throw it away, or move it, making the activity impossible for future geocachers.

While much of the work of geocaching is performed outdoors, the communal aspect of geocaching is performed online at the geocaching hub, On this site, geocachers can create a digital log of the caches they have found, participate in forums, track items found in caches,  find the coordinates of new caches, and submit new caches for geocachers to find. Premium members of the site gain access to even more features such as statistics, favorite ratings, and real time updates on new caches.

Geocaching is more than just a creative way to kill time. In the case of Rob Potter, geocaching provided a kind of crowd-sourced tourist guide to Australia. “The draw for me initially was very much based on Australia. I’m going to a place that I don’t know, where outdoor recreation is big, and I don’t know where to take my family. So it was a way of saying ‘ok Australians, tell me where is cool.’” The nature of geocaching requires geocachers to get down and dirty with, well, nature. Because caches are not meant to be found by those not looking for them, the geocachers must explore the landscape, often painstakingly so, in order to find the cache. As such, geocaching’s experiential yield is much higher than that of a guided walking tour. The subtleties of the landscape, from floral arrangements, to architectural refinements, to native flora all potentially contribute to finding a cache, but those whose view stretches wider than that of the prize are often rewarded with exposure to the wonders, both nuanced and grand, of local environments.

Now that Potter is back in Bloomington, geocaching has taken a backseat to the complexities of life. “I don’t have time to do it very much, now that my wife and kids have stuff to do on the weekends, and our weekends aren’t empty anymore, very rarely will I force myself to do a geocache. Now it’s a must schedule.” However, geocaching opens up new possibilities at conferences. Recently Potter attended a conference in Boston and took some time to log a cache. On the south side of Boston Potter found a nano-sized cache with a tiny, tightly rolled up log inside attached to the backside of a handrail ornament. Not a bad way to explore the city.

Caches are hidden everywhere (there are a number of them hidden all over campus, and the surrounding Bloomington area) and finding them is often fun and challenging. For those like Potter though, geocaching is more than fun and games, it open up new possibilities for discovering local environments.

For more on Rob Potters geocaching experiences in Australia, check out his post on geocaching on his blog here.

Tamara Kharroub Studies Effects of Arab Television

PhD student Tamara Kharroub has embarked on an interesting research path.  Her interests involve the effects of the transnational Arab television industry.  The industry has a market of 300 million viewers across two dozen countries that share a common language, but vary in their cultural, religious, and ethnic identities as well as their social, political, economic, and historical contexts.  The content of programs is shaped by a complex interplay of two factors.  On the one hand, Saudi viewers are considered commercially the most desirable, and consequently, content is produced with their conservative tastes in mind.  On the other hand, there is a growing trend towards the creation of a new regional television identity that appeals to viewers across various Arab countries, such as historic genres.

Tamara first got interested in this line of research as a result of her work experience and passion about issues related to social justice.  She is particularly interested in media portrayals of women and minority groups and their effects on viewers.  Arab television is one of the most ubiquitous forms of media in the region, with 538 transnational Arab television channels available free via satellite.  However, the effects of this industry have not been studied quantitatively or transnationally.

Tamara has used coursework in the department to develop a cohesive literature review of theories relevant for this research. Over the summer Tamara completed a quantitative content analysis of serial drama shows, containing a sample of programs from various countries and subgenres.  Currently, she is developing a study that examines viewers’ social identification with diverse television characters.  This is to be followed with studies exploring the formation of identities and beliefs.  Tamara will eventually look into other genres of content and mediating factors.  By all accounts, this looks to be a truly promising line of research.

Brown Bag

This week’s brown bag provided quite a history lesson about how the relationship between Journalism and Telecommunications at Indiana University-Bloomington evolved over the years.  It featured a panel of current and former faculty to discuss history, research programs, and directions for the future.  From Journalism, former Dean Trevor Brown and Professor Owen Johnson provided an overview of their past experiences.  From Telecommunications, Professors Ron Osgood and Herb Terry shared their stories from over the years.  Professors David Weaver of Journalism and Walt Gantz of Telecommunications  served as moderators of the forum.

One interesting story to come out of the session involved the identity of Telecommunications, which was earlier called Department of Radio and Television, and Journalism, which was earlier a department in the College of Arts and Sciences. When both departments were in the College, before Journalism became its own school, courses from Journalism, Radio and Television, Home Economics, and Social Work were not counted towards general education distribution requirements.  They were deemed to be skills courses.  Since then, we have seen the Department of Telecommunications and the School of Journalism become two driving academic forces on the Bloomington campus.

This storytelling session uncovered some of the mysterious aspects of the relationship between Journalism and Telecommunications.  Over the years Telecommunications and Journalism have both collaborated and competed at times.  Once Journalism left the College and became a school of its own, the patterns of interaction between Journalism and Telecommunications changed.  Now looking to the future, all on the panel were in agreement that for the relationship between the programs to strengthened, a new, shared building must be constructed, providing facilities and opportunities for open discussion and collaboration among faculty and students.  As media production and research continue to constitute a major part of IUB’s identity, these issues and concerns are ever present and open for debate.


Mike Lang:  Potter Avoids Muggles

Nicky Lewis:  Tamara Kharroub Studies Effects of Arab Television, Brown Bag

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

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 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

Ronapalooza, APLS Conference, and Studio Cypher

Objects in Faculty Offices, Segment 5: Ron Osgood’s Production Artifacts

Many of you know Professor Ron Osgood specializes in documentary storytelling and production.  What you may not know is that he has been collecting production artifacts for as long as he has been using them.  His office contains many items and each of them has a story.  He took some time to pull out his collection of video recording heads, most dating back over 30 years.  He acquired the oldest piece during his time in the navy, a recording head used back in the 1950’s.  He used it to record video while stationed on an aircraft carrier.

He also has several production books dating back to the emergence of guerilla television, the first time individuals or small groups could create television programming on their own.  This production modality was popular among community access organizations, documentary producers and art filmmakers.  Ron explained that one of the authors of the guerilla television books, Michael Shamberg, was the head of Top Value TV.  This organization produced the 1972 documentary “Four More Years,” which covered the Republican National Convention in Florida.  Four More Years was the first program aired by PBS that was not produced using standard broadcast-quality equipment.  Ron describes it as a real breakthrough in the world of video production.  It was shot on the Sony half-inch reel to reel camera, the same camera that Ron has in his collection.

You can check out some of the highlights from Ron’s office collection here:

Ron in Film Festivals

Announced in an IU press release, Ron Osgood’s “My Vietnam, Your Iraq: Eight Families, Two Generations” was selected for screening at the Heartland Film Festival. The film was also selected for viewing at the GI Film Festival, the Columbia Gorge International Film Festival, the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival, the Red Rock Film Festival, and the DMZ International Film Festival in South Korea.

Find out more information in the IU Press Release.

Erik Bucy Organizes, James Ball Presents

Associate professor Erik Bucy helped organize the 29th annual meeting of the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences held on campus October 14-16 and co-sponsored the meeting through his Colloquium on Political Communication Research.  The conference brings together a diverse group of interdisciplinary scholars interested in issues at the intersection of politics, public policy, and ethics, all with some connection to life sciences research. Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom, Arthur F. Bentley professor of Political Science, delivered the keynote address to the conference on her polycentric approach to climate change research.

On Friday, Bucy co-presented a biobehavioral research study with Telecommunications master’s student James Ball, summarizing a detailed visual analysis of the 1960 presidential debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. The study, which forms the basis of James’ thesis, performs a detailed, shot-by-shot analysis of all four encounters between Kennedy and Nixon. As James reports in the below interview, the study’s preliminary findings include a significantly higher blinking rate for Nixon than Kennedy, more angry/threatening facial displays exhibited by Nixon than Kennedy (but greater use of an angry/threatening tone by Kennedy than Nixon), and more improper camera adjustments when Nixon was shown than when Kennedy appeared on television.

Overall, the results of James’ visual analysis so far confirms that Nixon really did look worse than Kennedy, lending credence to the popular understanding that, while Nixon won favor among radio listeners, Kennedy seemed to outright “win” the televised debate encounters by dint of appearing and sounding more reassuring and confident.

Studio Cypher Founders Visit Campus

Will Emigh of Studio Cypher presenting at the TV/Radio Building on Monday.

Last Monday, three IU Telecom grad program alums returned to campus to provide insight and inspiration to those interested in the independent video game industry. Will Emigh, main presenter, founded Studio Cypher six years ago along with fellow MIME program alumni Ian Pottmeyer and Nathan Mishler. “Five years ago, we didn’t know we could do this,” said Emigh in his presentation. “It’s entirely possible to get here in five years or less.”

Studio Cypher, based here in Bloomington, develops video games and interactive projects for a variety of clients, ranging from games for academic conference attendees to the Ancient Americas exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago. The importance of games, according to Emigh, lies in what they can offer the person playing them. “All games teach something,” Emigh says.

Ian Pottmeyer, Will Emigh, and Nathan Mishler of Studio Cypher posing for a photo after their presentation. Photo Credit: Jenna Hoffstein

Despite the fun they’re having getting to do what they truly love, the founders of Studio Cypher caution that the independent game industry isn’t an easy one to enter into, but the rewards are worth it. “This talk isn’t about making you rich. This talk is about making you successful,” Emigh says.

The rest of their advice to the room full of aspiring independent video game developers? “Keep it fun. If the simplest version of your game is boring, your game is boring. Talk to everyone,” offers Emigh. And of critical importance, Emigh concludes, “Start making a game today.”

To find out more about Studio Cypher and the work they do, follow the link to their website here.

Ron Osgood’s Brown Bag Presentation

In addition to featuring Ron in our Objects in Faculty Offices Series, he was also the headliner for this week’s brown bag presentation:

The Development of a Video Online Interactive Documentary

“He was just like me. Complaining about the same things I complained about. The weather, the food. He was just trying to get home.”

These were the words infantryman Arthur Barham spoke to me in July 2007 during his interview for the documentary My Vietnam Your Iraq ( Barham was referring to a letter he found that had been written by a North Vietnamese soldier who had died during a battle and had not been sent to his wife. This was the spark that motivated me to initiate The Vietnam War: Stories from All Sides.

The project will consist of several elements, including an interactive website, a video documentary and a museum installation. The content will be based on ethnographic style interviews with American and Vietnamese veterans that introduce both historic content and reflection, including stories of the physical and psychological consequences of their experience. Compiling these oral histories in an accessible form is my goal.

The  website will use an innovative technique that I have labeled VOID – Video Online Interactive Documentary. This technology will be used to document the Vietnam War/American War from the point of view of soldiers who fought on both sides of the conflict. What makes this project unique will be the user’s ability to customize stories.

Random Thought:

“I hated it when the blog was posted late last week.  Blog and lunch go together.”

–  Annie Lang, delightful comment on October 11th, published with permission.


Nicky Lewis:  Objects in Faculty Offices and Brown Bag Presentation

Katie Birge:  Studio Cypher and Ron in Film Festivals

Special Thanks:

Erik Bucy:  Post on APLS conference