Reading Beyond Class Requirements During Your Ph.D.

Reading takes up the majority of your time as a Ph.D. student. There is a seemingly endless amount to read for class, for research projects, and for building the general knowledge needed to succeed in the field. Throughout the first year of my Ph.D. program, I felt overwhelmed by the idea that I should be doing more reading (at least academic material) and writing outside of my courses. As I’ve adjusted to the strains of the program, I’ve found a reading schedule that works well for me.

Continue reading “Reading Beyond Class Requirements During Your Ph.D.”

2017 Media Diet

I decided to track a Steven Soderbergh-esque media diet that focused on the books, televisions, movies, video games, and podcasts that I consumed over the past year. I chose these media because they contained a full story or an important section of a story. This lists only contains media I finished consuming and doesn’t have any media I quit partway through. The “S” at the end of each television show stands for a complete season consumed. The podcasts on this list are self-contained stories. This doesn’t include the many podcasts I listen to weekly. Overall, I watched 41 films, 51 seasons/arcs of television series, and read 62 books. Continue reading “2017 Media Diet”

Conference Presentation: Identity and Labels in Grandfamilies

Dr. Jessica Freeman and I were awarded top paper in the Aging and Communication division of the National Communication Association. We will be presenting our paper, “Grandma or Mommy: Familial Labeling as Constructs of Identity in Grandfamilies,” in November at the NCA National Convention in Dallas, TX. I will post a link to the full paper after it is published. Here is the abstract:

Grandfamilies, or families in which the grandparent(s) act as a primary caregiver to their grandchildren, face unique challenges related to identity and family structure. One area of identity that grandfamilies must navigate is the assignment of labels-specifically whether to go by traditional grandparent labels such as “grandma” and “grandpa,” or to assume parental labels such as “mom” and “dad.” Though a small body of literature has examined labeling in the context of foster and adoptive families, no known research has addressed the issue of labeling in grandfamilies and the meaning surrounding those labels. Through application of identity theory, the current exploratory qualitative study aimed to understand how grandfamilies apply familial labels as a construct of identity and how these labels are negotiated between the grandchild, the grandparent, and in some cases, the birth parents. Twenty in-depth interviews were conducted with grandparents who identified as the primary caregiver to at least one grandchild, with questions focusing on the labels grandparent caregivers assumed and how the labels were determined. Data were analyzed applying grounded theory and Boyatzis’ techniques of inductive thematic analysis. Results indicated that grandparent caregivers applied varying familial labels, depending on the unique context of their family structure. Factors in that decision included the grandchild’s age upon placement in the grandparent’s home, as well as the biological parents’ frequency of participation in the grandchild’s life. Further, data analysis revealed three emergent themes and six subthemes: Identity Duality (Grief, Opportunity); Labeling Strategies (Correction, Submission); and Labeling Conflicts (Internal, External).

Conference Presentation: Transmedia Storytelling and Niche Markets

As part of my ongoing research on Netflix, I wrote a paper looking at the relationship between Netflix’s transmedia shows and marketing to niche audiences. My paper, “Appealing to Niche Markets: A Typology of Transmedia Storytelling for Digital Television” was accepted to the 2017 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference in Chicago August 9-12. After developing the paper a little more after the conference, I will be submitting the paper for publication. I’ll have a summary of the major points of the article posted to my site after publication. For now, here’s the abstract:

Traditional television networks have a limited amount of time available to broadcast content, so programming decisions are based on maximizing potential market reach instead of in appealing to small markets. Digital television’s broadcast time is solely limited by server space and regulation of broadband data transference, so their technological infrastructure affords more opportunities to appeal to smaller markets. These affordances can be seen through the types of programming digital television services produce. This paper proposes a typology of transmedia stories used by digital television services like Netflix and Hulu to appeal to niche markets to grow their business. Five types of transmedia stories were theorized to appeal to varying levels of niche markets: serialized continuations, augmented continuations, world building universes, cross-platform personalities, and adaptations. This typology provides a better understanding of the production practices of digital television networks, an area of research that has received little attention to date.


Top 10 albums of 2016

10. Lambchop – FLOTUS (Merge)

9. Camp Cope – Camp Cope (Poison City)

8. Carseat Headrest – Teens of Denial (Matador)

7. Cymbals Eat Guitars – Pretty Years (Sinderlyn)

6. Hurry – Guided Meditation (Lame-O)

5. Mitski – Puberty 2 (Dead Oceans)

4. TW Walsh – Fruitless Research (Graveface)

3. John K. Samson – Winter Wheat (Anti-)

2. Pinegrove – Cardinal (Run For Cover)

1. American Football – American Football (LP 2) (Polyvinyl)

Honorable Mentions
PUP – The Dream Is Over (Royal Mountains)
LVL UP – Return To Love (Sub Pop)
Big Thief – Masterpiece (Saddle Creek)

“No One Wants To Live Here Now” by Twin Cities

“I can’t wait to get out of Wichita” is a refrain I’ve heard a lot throughout my life. A lot of people I know blame Wichita for their problems. They thought life would finally start going perfectly for them if they could only live in a different place.

“No One Wants To Live Here Now” was a song I wrote in response to this thought. It’s one of the three completed songs (with more to come) slated for the next Twin Cities’ release.

Everybody’s skippin’ town
heading someplace better
this place has always held them down
so they’re leaving forever
to build a home out on the coast
New York or California
to get away from all they’ve known
this place they’ve grown so bored of

cause everything
is always happening
someplace else

do you really think
packing up your things
will change anything

No one wants to live here now
and who can really blame ’em?
They’ve done nothing with their life somehow
Must be the city that they came from
Its old-fashioned way of doing things
is stopping them from living
the perfect life they always dreamed
they someday would be given

cause everything
is always happening
someplace else
and when they leave
they’ll become so
so interesting

do you really think
packing up your things
will change anything

Top 10 Albums of 2015

10. So Many Dynamos – Self-Titled (Self Released)

9. Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment – Surf (Self Released)

8. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit (Marathon Artists)

7. Happyness – Weird Little Birthday (Bar None)

6. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly (Top Dawg Entertainment)

5. Andy Shauf – The Bearer of Bad News (Arts & Crafts)

4. Options – Driftwood Metaphor (Self Released)

3. Cloakroom – Further Out (Run for Cover)

2. Hop Along – Painted Shut (Saddle Creek)

1. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie and Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty)

New Music: Twin Cities – Missing Out On Nothing


Twin Cities is releasing our first full length LP Missing Out On Nothing. The songs were written over the course of five years and recorded in two marathon 12 hour sessions by myself, Will Erickson, and Caleb Drummond.

The album explores the themes of loss and aging existentially, ultimately expressing the concern that “I’m afraid I’m missing out on everything. I’m afraid I’m missing out on nothing.” This dichotomy (most clearly apparent in “Graduation,” the album’s title track) appears repeatedly through the lens of loves lost, unrequited, and impossible because of time.