• Academic,  Kenya,  Publications

    New Chapter: Media Authorship in Kibera

    I’m beyond excited to have a chapter in the new volume A Companion to Media Authorship, edited by Jonathan Gray and Derek Johnson. The chapter, “Telling Whose Stories? Re-examining Author Agency in Self-Representational Media in the Slums of Nairobi,” offers an overview of the work I did for my dissertation. It looks at the creative and constraining forces working at multiple levels of analysis for young journalists and filmmakers in Kibera and Mathare. Yes, the book is pricey at the moment, so tell your library to pick up a copy or wait for the cheaper paperback version to come out. Big thanks to Jonathan and Derek. It’s an honor to see my name listed…

  • Academic,  Kenya,  Publications

    New Article: Entertainment-Education and Online Cocreation

    This is a belated notice, but Melissa Tully and I have a new article published in Television & New Media that looks at the Kenyan television show The Team and its online campaign to engage viewers in a discussion about national unity. Here’s the abstract from “The Team Online: Entertainment-Education, Social Media, and Cocreated Messages“: This article examines an entertainment-education program, The Team, which began airing in Kenya after the 2007–2008 postelection violence. The show promotes cooperation and national unity among Kenyans through the metaphor of Kenya as a football (soccer) team. The focus of this article is twofold: viewers’ identification with and reaction to certain morally ambiguous characters and audience members’ interaction with the program…

  • Academic,  Kenya

    Dissertation? Check.

    A few weeks ago, I successfully defended and deposited my dissertation. I have since moved from Madison to my new home, Iowa City, where I am now an assistant professor in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at The University of Iowa. I am excited and humbled to have this opportunity, to say the least. My dissertation, as now filed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School is titled “Creativity and Constraint in Self-Representational Media: A Production Ethnography of Visual Storytelling in a Nairobi Slum.” Here’s the abstract: This study is a media production ethnography of members of a marginalized community constructing and telling stories using visual media. It…

  • Academic,  Publications

    American Remakes of British Television

    DePaul University Assistant Professor Paul Booth and I just published the chapter “Translating the Hyperreal (Or How The Office Came to America, Made Us Laugh, and Tricked Us into Accepting Hegemonic Bureaucracy)” in the new book American Remakes of British Television: Transformations and Mistranslations edited by Carlen Lavigne and Heather Marcovitch. In the chapter, we use Baudrillard to examine the American remake of The Office. Here’s an abstract: The Office stands as one of the most popular “translations” of a British television show to an American audience. The British Office garnered scores of awards during its two-year run; the American Office is currently one of the most popular sitcoms on…

  • Academic,  Randoms

    Fieldnote Fun

    I’m knee-deep in fieldnotes at the moment, so I thought I’d share a fun excerpt. This comes from the second day of a video training I did with an organization. I’ve made some minor edits for clarity and anonymity. Last time I said they should think about some things they would like to learn in editing and tell me today. Some things from the first day were how to show multiple videos on top of each other at the same time (ex. by lowering the top layer’s opacity), or how do you show multiple videos separate from each other at the same time like they do in 24. Today, Mike…

  • Academic

    Before You Transcribe That Interview…

    Thankfully, I am almost done transcribing all of my dissertation interviews. While the transcription process helps me get intimately familiar with my “data,” it is also a time-consuming, repetitive, and some-what unpleasant task. It makes my neck cramp, my shoulders tighten up, and my vision blurry. Someone recently gave me a gift certificate for a massage. I think I will redeem that soon. Although I did the vast majority of these interviews myself, I did hire a transcriptionist for two longer interviews. When reviewing the first one last night, I realized the transcriptionist and I had been using much different approaches. Let me give an example to help illustrate the…

  • Academic

    “I Completely Agree With Everything You Said”

    Let me first start off by saying this…I have been extremely fortunate throughout my teaching career at University of Wisconsin-Madison. My students have been bright, thoughtful, articulate, and engaged. UW is an outstanding public institution, and it owes much of its greatness to its students. (And the J-School has a big horn to toot as well.) That being said, this semester I’ve started to notice a troubling trend. In the course I teach, students are required to present speeches on assigned readings. After each speech, I would call on other students to give impromptu responses to these speeches. Overall, my students have done a nice job with this assignment. But…

  • Academic,  Kenya

    Overloaded Faculty in East Africa

    The latest Journal of International and Intercultural Communication is out with an interesting article that looks at the factors that contribute to a lack of research and publication activities by scholars working at universities in East Africa. In “Research and Publication by Communication Faculty in East Africa: A Challenge to the Global Community of Communication Scholars” Ann Neville Miller, Mary N. Kizito, and Kyalo wa Ngula use surveys and interviews with faculty, department heads and librarians to try to understand why there is so little research coming from scholars working at schools in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. While there are a number of factors at play, one of the largest…

  • Academic,  Kenya

    Looking for a Research Assistant in Kibera?

    “Maybe, you can promote me?” You’ll hear these words a lot if you spend any time in Kenya. Taxi drivers, hawkers, safari guides, etc. For the most part they just want your business at that moment, not necessarily for you to “promote” them to the world. But now I want to do a real promotion for anyone out there who is looking for a research assistant for doing work in Kibera. As you may know, I’ve been in Kenya doing research in Kibera and Mathare on individuals and groups that are producing media in Nairobi’s slums. I planned to do some interviews with Kibera residents following the screenings of Togetherness…

  • Academic

    I Know Smart People, Part 1

    It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that I know a lot of smart and talented people. While that doesn’t mean that I am either, I’ve decided to start promoting them on my blog so others can know about their smartness and talentedness. (See, I’m not so smart.) My friend (and co-author in a forthcoming book chapter) Paul Booth, assistant professor of new media and technology at Depaul University in Chicago, was just on a panel for Chicago’s PBS station talking about Facebook Privacy. He’s smart. And apparently he likes the Jonas Brothers a lot.