Interviewing Best Practices

To recap from our course readings, Dr.’s Ryan Bisel (University of Oklahoma) and Kevin Barge (Texas A&M University)offer us insight into the ideal protocol for interview and question-writing techniques. Specifically, they advise us to 1) find a particular pool of interest in which we’ve classified the broad areas of public relations. These scholars also call us to 2) get curious (and stay curious) throughout the process of interviewing and interview preparation. Getting and staying curious certainly speaks to the research adage of locating materials you are passionate about. Barge and Bisel also recommend interviewers 4) think carefully about (research) questions. Careful thought can make the difference between rich and valuable answers and partial answers that offer no real insight into the interviewee. For this reason, word choice and word economy are vital elements to formulating successful questions and generating quality responses.

Cult Comm Exercise: Craft a series of ten pilot questions that may be selected for the first interview to be held formally in class on Feb. 11. In following the recommendations of Barge and Bisel, the first five questions should incorporate the following opening phrases (below). The final five questions can then borrow from these techniques or innovate in more specific directions that reflect your interests. We will assess, revise, and refine questions collectively in class on Feb. 9. Future interviewing workshops will be assigned accordingly.

Question Starters:

“Tell me about a time when…”

“Could you describe…”

“In an ideal world…”


“In what ways, do you…”

Creating Social Media Presence & Cultural Movements, Spring 2016

Welcome to the class blog for Creating Social Media Presence & Cultural Movements. We are excited to explore numerous dynamic facets that go into contemporary mediated culture. In this course, we will explore a number of organizations and businesses, both public and private, faith-based and secular, in an effort to assess the role(s) social media plays in day-to-day communication. These modes of communication help to create brand awareness and perhaps even hold the persuasive potential for sparking cultural movements. We will strengthen our understanding through a diverse array of course readings. Sometimes these readings take the form of traditional books or published readings. Other times, we will be reading alternative texts through screenings of media content or in-person interviews. This combined approach will move us beyond one-dimensional modes of observation and into the practice of critical analysis as well as direct engagement. These qualitative methods help cultivate our understanding of the fluid way social media presence flows in and out of everyday life (and not just our private lives and leisure moments). Indeed, our combined efforts hold the knowledge potential to equip you for future social media presence, brand strategies, and may even lead you to spark your own cultural movements.

Reflecting on Media Culture

Media & Society

Throughout this semester, we’ve endured a gauntlet, nay a labyrinth of new ideas, theories, methods, media texts, mediums, and genre studies. At times these concepts can be difficult to absorb, partly because there are so many, but more so because they are frequently interrelated and overlapping. From Berger to Barker, scholarly writers consistently challenge us to think about, and indeed see the world with new lens, gaining additional perspectives than those we already have and hold. That’s not only part of the challenge of a course like this, it’s the point. For this reason, taking opportunities for self reflection can present a calming counteroffensive that reminds us of where we’ve been while also showing us where we’d like to go.

Directions: In a paragraph or so, answer these three questions with as much or as little detail as you feel adequate.

  1. What was the most rewarding aspect of this course and why? Would you like to see this element presented in similar course offerings? 
  2. Has this course shifted your perspective on media culture and social influence? If so, elaborate on how this is the case. 
  3. What element of the course was least helpful or perhaps did not feel as synced up to the overarching themes and content covered? Would you have a replacement suggestion and if so what would that be? 
  4. If you took this course again, what might you have changed in your own behaviors, routines, choices, and actions? Remember that your own learning lessons can be a benefit to future students as well. 

The Media Culture/Social Influence James Bond Final

SPECTRE teaser poster courtesy of and MGM/Sony Pictures.

SPECTRE teaser poster courtesy of and MGM/Sony Pictures.

Arthur Asa Berger, as with noted theorists like semiotician Umberto Eco, draw upon major popular culture texts in an effort to relate (if not translate) the theoretical language their essays and books map out. As I’ve noted in class on several occasions, it was an excitably fortuitous event that two of our course textbooks have drawn upon James Bond as a textual artifact worth analyzing. This initial coincidence has benefitted in several robust ways. First, the canon of Bond has allowed us to map and explore progressions within the spy genre. Genre theory can offer a helpful way to introduce and absorb both the core concepts within communication studies (think about Berger’s Focal Points Model) while they also expand our knowledge of cultural studies as an area of discourse and socio-political critique (think of Castleberry’s chapter “Understanding Stuart Hall’s “Encoding/Decoding” through TV’s Breaking Bad“). In addition, this semester coincided with the onslaught marketing campaign for MGM/Sony’s latest Bond film, SPECTRE. While we’ve explore the history and canon of Bond and the spy genre to help us make sense of the terms, theories, and methods presented in our books, the marketing campaign for SPECTRE unfolds in such a way as to give us weekly talking points on the positive and negative reactions going into and coming out of the film industry. Thus, by studying SPECTRE‘s marketing efforts closely, we’ve expanded our own scholarly discourse into areas of industry studies and audience studies, which special attention to the role fandom plays in audience and reception studies.

To recap our midterm, each of you was assigned a double feature textual analysis that compared/contrasted two films from the Bond canon, one a contemporary Bresnan-Craig eras (90s-present) and one from the vintage Connery-Lassenby-Moore-Dalton eras (60s-80s). In closing the circle of media texts and their circulation, as well as the uniqueness surrounding diverse viewing perspectives (your laptop in your bedroom, the living room TV, the monitor in our classroom, the screens in your pocket that haunt your every step), our class final encompasses a field trip to the local cine-mecca of film spectacle indulgence, the IMAX screen at Warren Theaters. The IMAX, by design, presents a unique viewing experience; one that purports to immerse its audience within the film experience, breaking the fourth wall of voyeurism toward something more invasive. Given the right kind of film playing, the unique screening process lives up to the hype. For this reason, the class final involves screening SPECTRE as a class for most, with a 6-day window of opportunity for those that cannot get out of work schedules. Part I of the Final encompasses the viewing portion (a labored process in its own right). Part II involves the post-screening discussion session we will hold collectively, where your participation and reaction is essential to your grade in this hybrid mode of Media Studies analysis. Finally, Part III involves your development of a 250-500 word film review of SPECTRE since our normal classroom meeting time offers so little opportunity for everyone’s voice to be heard equally. You will post your film review in the comments section below on THIS blog post. You will also submit a Word doc. form of the review to our D2L Dropbox so as to ensure that you did not merely copy/paste a review from somewhere else online. Rather, I encourage you to make our reviews unique by incorporating some distinct terminology from the course readings into your film review (but by all means, let’s leave Berger’s focal points behind for this one, as we have completely exhausted that method to the point of mass saturation). I might normally allow a longer window to submit reviews, but because writing about viewing experiences is such a timely activity, where recall is paramount to turnaround, and because to be fair I am sure there was very little note-taking in the theater, let’s work to submit film reviews by Tuesday, November 17.

Understanding Berger’s Focal Points Through James Bond

(Berger, 2015). Message: An Introduction to Communication. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.

(Berger, 2015). Message: An Introduction to Communication. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.

In his Communication Theory book Messages, Berger (2012) draws upon the fictional spy James Bond (agent 007 for the well to-do), and Dr. No specifically, in several of his ongoing references. Berger is not selecting this text (or artifact) by chance or at random. Bond represents a complex symbol system that means (and thus communicates) a great many things to a great many people. As we discussed, Bond represents a literary canon for some, a spy genre film series for most, and even a video game franchise for younger individuals more familiar to that medium. For this reason, we could say that James Bond has rich symbolic value for casual audiences or devoted fans of film, gaming, and lit. In addition, Bond’s cultural wealth has spread not unlike a healthy dollop of Royal Beluga caviar across a gourmet cracker. Each of you has been tasked with locating and sharing a diverse text/artifact relating to James Bond. This could take the form of a film review, movie poster, scholarly journal, and so on. Use the comments section below to drop a link and title/description of the artifact of your choice. We will discuss the varying communicative value these texts produce during our Week 2 discussion.

Media Culture & Social Influence, Fall 2015

Don't get lost in dialogic bliss! (Pic courtesy of

Don’t get lost in dialogic bliss! (Pic courtesy of

Welcome to the Cultural COMMune blog that will co-host online response discussion questions in conjunction with the Media Culture and Social Influence course for Fall 2015. This blog represents an independent academic-focused site for scholarly reflections and ongoing discourse. To clarify, the blog is not sponsored or affiliated with MACU either officially or unofficially. Rather, this site allows for an open online account for continued course content use and experimentation. The blog also allows stronger input of relevant materials and content that D2L does not offer, at least not on the same aesthetic level. Primarily, we will utilize this site for response questions and potential video content. The more useful we allow it to be, the more useful it will become. Thanks and welcome to the COMMune!

Week 5, Discussion Questions 9 & 10

Integrated Marketing Communication (Blakeman, 2015)

Integrated Marketing Communication (Blakeman, 2015)

Online Response Discussion Question 9 – In Chapter 11 of Integrated Marketing Communication, Blakeman (2014) previews roles IMC’s can play when employed as radio advertising campaigns. Just as the nature of radio as a closed medium has changed, this chapter works closely with our final ICARE analysis emphasizing an organization’s podcast. Podcasts were developed as unique from radio, playing special attention instead to smaller niche audiences. However, as one can observe with the onset of services like satellite radio, the nichification of radio outlets is transitioning into a consumer norm. Examine the list of “What to consider when designing for radio” (Blakeman, 167) and think about some of the ways this applies to podcasts. I recommend taking this opportunity to begin sampling podcast content if you have not already. Do these designs crossover? How might they be modified? Be sure to incorporate at least one working example from a sample podcast.


Spreadable MediaOnline Response Discussion Question 10 – Jenkins, Ford, and Green (2013) close out Spreadable Media by asking readers to not only consider changes in American media but also the transnational implications that every decision ought now include. Since we have had limited discussion with some mediums, think about the nature of television and how it is changing. Does TV count as a “spreadable media”? How so? What methods or formats (*hint*hint*) allow TV’s spreadability? Are there certain aspects that remain sticky? When responding, you might consider both a larger or broader corporate example, like a company or producer, as well as content such as individual channels or programs. Provide examples of each if applicable.