Author Archive

18
Mar

Media Research Conference

Written by Blog Editor. Posted in Academic Life

media research conference
by Marc_Smith under CC BY

.

Media Research Conference

A Media Research Conference can be beneficial for some of the following reasons.

  • Join your industry peers and learn from them
  • Understand how the media business is facing and understand the change in content consumption
  • Hear how these changes are affecting media and research agencies
  • Learn about new ways to engage modern audiences
  • Optimize content and commercial opportunities in a cross-platform world

Media Research Conference – FIVE Reasons

  1. At a Media Research Conference, learn from the advertisers how their needs are changing in the digital age and why media research is so important
  2. See how mobile consumption is growing in the US and what this means for the future
  3. Learn new methods and research approaches from the top media industry practitioners
  4. Involve yourself in our interactive panel discussion, drawn from advertising, media and research companies
  5. Actively discuss your current methods and learn other types of integration techniques.

Other reasons to attend a Media Research Conference

At Media Research Conference you will sometimes look at the role of research in measuring, commercializing and maximizing content across various media  platforms. At a Media Research Conference you will examine media research from many different angles to create a comprehensive picture of what research has achieved, what it is achieving now and how it must evolve to meet the demands of the digital future. Representatives of media owners, agencies and systems owners will tackle the issues currently affecting all aspects of media research, including TV, radio, press, internet and other media.

18
Mar

In Media Res Conference

Written by Blog Editor. Posted in Academic Life

In Media Res Conference

“In Media Res” is a series of programs and events, including an academic symposium. Attending an In Media Res Conference is a crucial part of academic life. Attending conferences is how one forges connections with other scholars, meets new people when they show up in the audience for one’s presentations, puts off doing “tangible” work like writing and grading in a legitimate manner (you are, after all, “working” — even if the labor involves the maintenance of social ties that are often mediated by food and alcohol), and establishes a professional reputation as a willing interlocutor and/or nice person to hang out with. While an In Media Res Conference is no party, it is a great place to learn more about your peers. [These last two can be critical at the moment of a job search, since getting an academic job is also a matter of joining a community of discourse — and one usually does not want to hire assholes with whom one will then have to out up on a daily basis for years to come.]

In Media Res Conference – An Example

An In Media Res Conference example is when I went to the Midwest Political Science Association conference, which was an incursion into a foreign country for me. MPSA is quantoid heaven, with the overwhelming majority of the panels consisting of papers in which someone presents the results of their having run complex statistical tests on a variety of data-sets. Keep in mind that not all In Media Res Conference events are setup the same. In other words, not the kind of work that I do at all, and not the kind of work that I find particularly interesting or insightful. I was on a panel called “questioning the validity of the natural science model” in which a number of us showed up to critique the whole enterprise that many of the rest of the conference participants were engaged in; they responded by largely not showing up, and we had a small roomful of choir-members to which to preach (together with one gentleman who seemed overly concerned with the employ-ability of students trained in political philosophy and the philosophy of social science — someone with the wrong view of what a college education is all about, I fear). But it was probably important to show the flag, as it were, regardless of its immediate practical effects.

What this In Media Res Conference cost me:

  • airfare, Southwest Airlines, BWI-Chicago and back again: $191.70
  • hotel, one evening at Hotel Allegro (featuring free in-room wireless ‘Net access!), courtesy priceline.com (thanks, Ido): $80
  • train fare to/from Chicago Midway Airport: $3.50
  • breakfast @ hotel: $15.42
  • beers after panel: $16
  • dinner with Elven Archer #37, which I paid for because he’s still a grad student and I at least draw a salary: $53.62
  • hot dog and fries in airport: $7.56
  • parking at BWI, because I was late getting to the airport on Saturday morning and had to park in the Hourly lot: $60 (!)Total financial cost: $427.80
    (I should be able to get most of this covered, although it will use up the rest of my university resources for the year)Other costs include taking time to write a paper during much of the month of April, and thus putting myself in a large grading hole that I now desperately need to claw my way out of. Plus the mental anguish of trying to get some inchoate thoughts about methodology down on paper, a process which has only increased my awareness of how poorly trained people in our field are for dealing with basic philosophical issues. And the lack of sleep associated with the writing process.  Going to an In Media Res Conference is a lot of work and can be very tiring.

    Benefits of the In Media Res Conference:

  • dinner with Elven Archer #37
  • good discussion with panelists and two members of audience after panel over beer
  • forcing myself to get some inchoate thoughts about methodology down on paper, and maybe making them less inchoate
  • enhanced realization that I am really not an “interpretivist” or entirely on board with “science studies” as a research practice (more on that in a future entry, I think)Was it worth it? Beats me.Typing this with my computer at an angle while crammed into a Southwest Airlines seat is not fun, so I’ll stop there for now.
18
Mar

Grad Students

Written by Blog Editor. Posted in Academic Life

Grad Students
by DeepCwind under CC BY-ND

.

Grad Students

I had a PhD grad student successfully defend her dissertation proposal today. This was the third student whose chair I defended this year; one of my colleagues remarked that was “cornering the market on PhD students,” which seemed to betray a little resentment. It’s not my fault that many of the PhD grad students seem to be interested in the kind of work that I do, is it? And I’ll have a few more committees in the next couple of years, as we are now getting students who are specifically coming here to work with me. This is both kind of flattering and kind of daunting: flattering because I tend to think of grad students as better barometers of interesting work than most senior faculty members [there’s that old joke about how knowledge accumulates: incoming grad students bring some with them and those who depart take none with them, so knowledge builds up…grad students haven’t been “socialized” enough to reshape their sense of what’s interesting yet, so in my experience they are more willing to listen to wacky ideas and more marginal/subversive/radical approaches], but daunting because suddenly I find myself in a position of authority that is somewhat uncomfortable for me.

Teaching Grad Students

Why is this position uncomfortable? If my idea of teaching was to produce lots of Mini-Mes [typographical note — “Mini-Mes” is the plural of “Mini-Me”; “Mini-Me’s” would be a possessive, not a plural. yes, I’m anal about apostrophes] I’d just take the flattery and run with it. But it makes me a little anxious to have PhD grad students who want to learn from me, since I’m not entirely sure that I have much to teach them that they couldn’t figure out on their own anyway. And I’m rather mortified that someone will take what I say and simply accept it, instead of wrestling with it. I have sometimes refused to give classes — even classes of PhD students — the typologies and classifications of theories with which I am working, for fear that they would take it as gospel. At the same time, though, I do want to assist students who are interested in the same kind of approach that I am, and to help them get their projects underway. The hard thing is to try to promote this while not creating disciples. And it has to be me who takes steps to prevent this; I think that the default state of a student-faculty relationship is that the student ends up taking on what the faculty-member transmits. So I take pains to puncture my own authority from time to time.

Grad Students Theory

One thing that I have learned through the process of having grad students defend proposals is the importance of a deliberate and strategic use of language. I often get the feeling that people evaluate proposals by simply looking for a few of their preferred terms or authors, and if those are there and if they are being used in the expected way than the proposal is okay. Problems arise when things are being used in an unfamiliar way — such as when grad students use a term like “the nation” to refer not to an already-formed and stabilized entity, but to a category of practice that is instantiated not in broad “official” discourses but is rather inscribed in everyday activities. Several times during the defense today it was apparent that people were largely speaking past one another and using the very same words to do so. So here’s the dilemma: should one make a strong statement to try to prevent misunderstanding, or should one simply accept the ambiguity and get the certification that allows one to proceed? A reference to theorist X might make some people happy, but if my understanding of theorist X is radically different than yours, is the inclusion of the reference worth it?

Knowledge politics is so bizarre.