TUTV Archives - Kendall College of Arts and Sciences


Students explore the culture and politics of anti-fandom

woman seated in front of a screen with the words Welcome to Anti-Fan Popcon
Emily Contois

Politics, culture and the rest of it feels more divisive than ever, but what can we learn from the way we love to hate certain shows, celebrities and public figures? University of Tulsa students found out this semester in the course Media and Popular Culture.

Teaching through the fourth semester of a pandemic may have slowed or dimmed the teaching energies of many faculty and students around the country, but not so for Chapman Assistant Professor of Media Studies Emily Contois. “After all we’ve been through, this was the right moment to try creative approaches, especially as we returned to the classroom together after a year online,” she said. “It’s one thing to read, learn and discuss a theoretical concept. It’s another to experience and embody it, to see yourself in it.”

Learning from what we love to hate

cartoon-style book cover featuring a woman in a green top and the title Anti-FandomBuoyed by leading scholarship on anti-fandom and cultural analysis, students addressed a number of complicated questions:

  • How and why does hating on a show, celebrity or public figure produce pleasure and drive cultural exchange?
  • How does it define and reinforce community boundaries and drive other insights into our media environment in often contradictory ways?
  • When is the work of being an anti-fan healthy and when is it corrosive?

“I had written briefly on Guy Fieri anti-fandom in my book Diners, Dudes, and Diets: How Gender and Power Collide in Food Media and Culture and was excited to explore this field of scholarship with my students,” Contois remarked. “Most of them immediately recognized the behaviors of hate-watching and bitter tweeting that blend pleasure and pain, love and hate, in our media practices. Now, they have the tools to critically evaluate them.”

Putting theory into practice

Then came the creative part.

For their final project, student groups recorded energetic and conversational podcasts on the targets of their anti-fandom: TV shows, such as Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Riverdale; polarizing celebrities, such as Elon Musk and Tom Brady; and even the British royal family.

Some of the groups recorded podcasts on their laptops and smartphones, while others used TUTV Media Lab’s Studio 151, a new student-led podcast studio, under the leadership of Assistant Professor of Media Studies and Film Studies Justin Rawlins.

five students seated in front of a screen
Students left to right: Rory Seidel, Sara Nasreldin, Mary Allison Norris, Julianne Tran, Caiton Beesley

“Our anti-fan podcasts were a fun and challenging way to put our anti-fandom knowledge to practice,” said Julianne Tran, a political science major who is minoring in media studies and Spanish. “As a podcast-lover myself, I especially enjoyed being on the other end and putting together a podcast with my group. This entertaining and worthwhile assignment was definitely a highlight of my semester!”

As a playful conclusion to the semester, Contois hosted Anti-Fan Pop-Con in the style of Comic-Con. “Even from behind COVID-19 face masks, you could feel students’ enthusiasm for their podcasts and their personal anti-fandom, which is something we always strive for as professors: To truly engage our students in concepts that will be meaningful not just in the classroom, but in how they view the world in their everyday lives,” she said.

Anti-Fan Pop-Con caught the eye of Associate Professor of Anthropology Danielle Macdonald, the director of the Henneke Center for Academic Fulfillment. “Courses like Professor Contois’ highlight the creativity of TU faculty in the classroom. Her use of novel assignments like podcasts, and using popular (or unpopular) culture, engages students in critical analysis of the world around them and is a wonderful example of teaching excellence at TU,” Macdonald said.

Emily Contois’ podcast grading rubric is available here. You can also follow the TUTV Media Lab online at @TUTVnews.



Election Night 2020 with the TUTV Media Lab team

By: Ryan Bennett

Nov. 3, 2020, was a big day for people across the United States and many other parts of the world. For several University of Tulsa students who are members of the TUTV Media Lab, however, Election Day seemed more like a weeklong event.

The TUTV Media Lab is a student-run media collaborative that’s home to podcasts, production facilities for students to create their own multimedia projects and my personal favorite, a weekly newscast. Each Tuesday, TUTV members work together to produce a studio show covering news from the campus level to the global. “This program has been produced weekly since at least the early 1980s,” said Assistant Professor of Media Studies and Film Studies Justin Rawlins, TUTV’s faculty advisor and executive producer. “It’s a TU institution.”

I joined TUTV for the spring 2020 season, beginning as a sports anchor — despite the fact that I knew little about sports. This is not uncommon at TUTV, where mentorship from experienced peers enables everyone, regardless of their background, to learn skills they are interested in. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic cut my time in the studio short. Following safety protocols, we TUTV members returned to the studio for our fall 2020 season, where I have been working as an entertainment anchor and the news producer writing scripts for the weekly show’s news segment.

Livestream fall 2020: Election Day (and Night) in America

A woman sitting at an audio control board looking through a window at a TV studio
Senior Audio Producer Aubrey Allen monitors the Studio A floor during the livestream

The weekly show is fairly easy for us to produce, as we spend roughly three days writing scripts, holding meetings and then taping and editing the show before releasing it. In addition to these shows and all the other content TUTV produces, we also organize a multi-hour livestream each semester. These livestream events are another matter entirely. Running three hours long, these large-scale productions involve a diverse range of live and pre-taped material. While past livestreams have been documented events such as the 2018 midterm elections and 2019 Super Tuesday primaries, this season’s event covered the 2020 U.S. election.

This semester’s livestream was the culmination of six months of strenuous work. Ever since July, TUTV producers have been meeting regularly to discuss ideas for live and recorded segments, as well as the overall logistics of the production. TUTV Senior Field Producer Lily Hargett, a history and education double major, oversaw the livestream’s pre-taped material and acknowledged the complex organization needed to make the show happen. “This livestream is the first one that we have spent over six months planning for,” Hargett remarked. “We wanted to make sure to create diverse content that spoke to all audiences. Not only that, but we wanted to interview individuals from Tulsa’s local government to show that with voting in the general election we are [also] voting to improve our local government.”

View of Studio A and TUTV members from behind the anchors’ desk
View of Studio A and TUTV members from behind the anchors’ desk

During this year’s election livestream, I worked as a producer, anchor and member of the breaking news team. I originally planned only to stay for the first two hours of the show, but I ultimately stayed for much longer to assist the breaking news team.

Working as a producer and anchor was mostly business as usual, although my scripts were more politically-oriented than usual and I spent much more time than usual on screen. This was just fine by me; anchoring is my favorite thing to do at TUTV.

The evening’s most intense job involved breaking news. A team of two to three people worked together to compile bits of rapidly unfolding information into stories to be read on the air, sometimes less than a minute later. Something that is important with this job is the ability to “cold read” on air with little to no advance time to practice your script.

Ryan Bennett at a desk in front of Studio B’s green screen, reading breaking news from my laptop
Me in front of Studio B’s green screen, reading breaking news from my laptop

During one segment, for example, I read a script as it was actively being edited by the other breaking news team members. Sam Modde, a junior film studies and media studies double major and the director of the TUTV Media Lab, has been involved with TUTV for the past three years. He observed that our Election 2020 livestream presented unique challenges for him and the Media Lab: “Running a livestream in real time is a tricky juggling act. Each level of graphics, images, cameras, teleprompters and talent operates under the management of 18 different members and requires meticulous coordination between them in real time.”

Since everyone was so busy the entire night, the time flew by. Before I knew it, I had been in the studio for four hours. I was exhausted. When I finally got into bed later that night, I was awake for hours, switching between thinking about the everchanging election results and telling my friends about all that I had done earlier that evening.

TUTV: A tight-knit, hard-working team

TUTV is the most involved and tight-knit organization I’ve been involved with in my college career, and I’m extremely proud of the work that we put out week after week. We always try to keep our content fresh and relevant, and I think that’s reflected in the quality of our productions.

The sense of community that comes with working with a group like the Media Lab is great, and these relationships endure both personally and professionally. For media studies major and TUTV Assistant Director Wes Addington, the teamwork involved in putting the weekly show and livestream together has been amazing to see: “This livestream was the biggest project I’ve ever been a part of. Over 20 students giving their time to contribute to discussions, video segments and even breaking news, all with a whole team working behind the scenes to keep the stream up and running, was an incredible thing to be a part of.”

Interested in learning more about the TUTV Media Lab? Contact them at tutv74104@gmail.com or email Professor Rawlins at justin-rawlins@utulsa.edu.

About the author

Ryan Bennett wearing a blue shirtRyan Bennett is majoring in media studies with a minor in sociology. His interests are focused on news writing and producing, photography, and editing.