CommLine Online March 9, 2011


Team of LA Times journalists wins 2011 Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting

Selden Ring 

A team of reporters from the Los Angeles Times has been awarded the 2011 Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting.

The $35,000 annual award, which has been presented for the past 22 years by the School of Journalism at USC Annenberg, honors the year’s outstanding work in investigative journalism that led to direct results.

The reporting team, led by Ruben Vives and Jeff Gottlieb, was hailed for “Breach of Faith,” which exposed pervasive municipal corruption in the city of Bell, Calif., and detailed exorbitant compensation packages received by city officials. In the Los Angeles suburb of 36,000, city manager Robert Rizzo had received annual compensation of $1.5 million in salary and benefits, the reports showed, with similar pay packages going to the police chief and other city administrators.

The Times reporters uncovered the malfeasance while investigating a separate story in the neighboring city of Maywood. Vives and Gottlieb described the story behind the coverage in an August event at USC Annenberg. (Watch the video here).

Citing what the judges called “the finest tradition of shoe-leather investigative reporting,” the Selden Ring jury hailed the group for their service to the public. Eight former and current city officials have been arrested in the aftermath of the scandal, and the state controller’s office has ordered municipalities around California to post the salaries of officials on the Internet.

Three other finalists were selected from the pool of entrants, with the judges commending the integration of technology—including searchable databases and interactive reports—in the reporting:

  • “What They Know,” by a team of reporters from The Wall Street Journal, a comprehensive examination of business spying on Americans as they use the Internet.
  • “The Radiation Boom,” by Walt Bogdanich of The New York Times, a sweeping investigation of oversight on the medial use of radiation.
  • “Education, Inc.,” by Daniel Golden, John Hechinger and John Lauerman of Bloomberg News, exposing how for-profit colleges target underprivileged students who qualify for federal financial aid packages.

Serving on the panel of judges were Gilbert Bailon, editorial page editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; David Boardman, executive editor and senior vice president, Seattle Times; Sheila S. Coronel, a professor and director of the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University; Anne Hull, 2008 Selden Ring Award honoree and a national reporter at The Washington Post; Jeff Leen, assistant managing editor of the investigations unit at The Washington Post; Melanie Sill, editor and senior vice president, The Sacramento Bee; and Russ Stanton, editor of the Los Angeles Times.

“Any of the projects cited by our fine judging panel would have been eminently worthy Selden Ring winners,” said USC Annenberg journalism school director Geneva Overholser. “All remind us of the powerful work being done by news organizations in these challenging times.”

“I’m particularly happy, having read the Bell stories from their beginning, to honor this work that so richly exemplifies journalism’s highest traditions—beat reporting with a watchdog sensibility and a commitment that doesn’t end until justice is served,” she added.

The Selden Ring Award winners will come to campus to accept their award in a lunchtime ceremony March 25.

"Breach of Faith"
Selden Ring Award
Previous winners 

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USC Annenberg announces 2011 Cronkite Award winners

Cronkite Award logo

Proving that good political coverage can make great television, the 2011 winners of the USC Annenberg Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism were announced today.

Local Broadcast Station

• KOMO 4 TV, Seattle, Washington, wins Local Broadcast (Large Market) for its coverage of both state and local elections. Judges commended the station for its strong writing and its comprehensive and easy-to-understand analysis. The Fisher-owned ABC affiliate was singled out for its “sophisticated production values and probing deeply into the issues.”

• KION/KCBA Central Coast News, Salinas, California, wins Local Broadcast (Small Market) for its “initiative and its ambitious coverage.” Judges commended the Cowles-owned CBS affiliate, operating with its sister station, a Seal Rock-owned FOX affiliate, for its “dogged style of reporting” in reporting on how furlough days waste taxpayer dollars. Judges were also impressed by the station’s invitation to all 200 local candidates to appear on camera in studio.

Individual Achievement at a Local Station

• Christina Boomer, KNXV-ABC 15, Phoenix, Arizona, wins for her “genuine public service reporting” on the Scripps-owned ABC affiliate. Judges commended Boomer’s creative use of “participatory journalism” connecting viewers to candidates through Twitter and other social media. Judges were impressed that in addition to her on-camera reporting, she also shoots and edits her own footage, creates her own graphics and provides raw footage of candidate interviews online.

Local Cable Station

• Central Florida News 13, owned by Bright House, was praised for its in-depth coverage of issues ignored by many other stations. Its reporting on a local Soil and Water election was singled out: “The station takes a subject that people don’t usually care about and makes you care about it.”

Public Station

• KPBS, San Diego, California, owned by San Diego State University, wins for “taking on a subject that big stations will not touch.” The PBS member station’s profile of the County Board of Supervisors was “an excellent explanation of how government works and doesn’t work.” KPBS was singled out for asking “tough questions” to officials who “aren’t used to answering tough questions.”

Special Commendation for Investigative Reporting

• KSL-TV 5, Salt Lake City, Utah, an NBC affiliate, and reporters John Daley and Lisa Riley Roche, received a special commendation for their investigative report connecting campaign contributions to state contracts. Judges were also impressed by the Bonneville International-owned station’s collaboration with the Deseret News, ”which extends the reach of each of the news organizations.”

Special Commendation for Town Hall Challenge

• WISN TV, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, an ABC affiliate owned by Hearst, was given a special commendation for a series of statewide town hall debates, broadcast live and online, featuring a diverse citizen group questioning candidates in an interactive format. Judges praised a format that allowed a thoughtful exchange between voter and office-seeker. “It provided an excellent forum for candidates, issue-advocates and citizen groups to be heard in their own voice.”

Station Group

• Hearst Television garnered its sixth consecutive award for its strong commitment to airing political coverage in the 30 days leading up to the mid-term elections. Judges commended Hearst for its “clear, well-edited and comprehensive” reporting. They were particularly impressed by the coverage of topics including bipartisanship, campaign expenditures and the accuracy of campaign ads. Judges said issues were clearly discussed and audience-friendly, adding that “Hearst continues to be a consistent success in this arena.”

National Network Program

• PBS NewsHour wins for its “thorough and balanced” coverage of key races in Nevada, Wisconsin and Florida that were “representative of the changes in the national narrative and electorate mood.” Correspondents Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff were both praised by judges for “focusing on the issues, talking with real voters and letting the candidates explain themselves,” adding that “they avoided the horserace component that is so typical in political coverage.”

"These Cronkite Award winners prove that thoughtful, informative political coverage can also make for gripping television," said Martin Kaplan, director of the USC Annenberg's Norman Lear Center, which has administered the biennial awards honoring distinguished journalist and longtime CBS anchor Walter Cronkite since 2000.

The panel of eight judges was chaired by Geneva Overholser, director of USC Annenberg's School of Journalism. The awards will be presented on the USC campus in Los Angeles on April 26, 2011. 

The mission of The Norman Lear Center ( is to study and shape the impact of media and entertainment on society.  For more information about the Cronkite Awards, visit

Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism
Norman Lear Center 
2009 winners

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Doctoral student Villanueva and professor Ball-Rokeach acquire $380k community planning grant

George Villanueva

By Jackson DeMos

Third-year doctoral student George Villanueva (pictured, left) headed the Metamorphosis Project's acquisition of a $380,000 grant to help plan sustainable communities in northeast Los Angeles.

"I've always wanted to have a real-world impact on local communities and to help guide policy that can better develop neighborhoods," said Villanueva, who will be the grant's research coordinator. "I've done field work in urban areas, so I'm excited to be able to link research and theory to applied community work."

Villanueva will work directly with the grant's principal investigator, Sandra Ball-Rokeach (pictured, right), who is director of the Metamorphosis Project and a communication professor at USC Annenberg. The grant is part of the larger $2.25 million North East Los Angeles Collaborative grant given by the federal grant program Partnership for Sustainable Communities, headed by the U.S. department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The partnership aims to reduce barriers to achieving affordable and sustainable communities.

"It's exciting to work collaboratively not only within the university but also with different organizations and agencies throughout the area," Villanueva said.

Among the city departments working within the NELA Collaborative will be the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles, the Department of City Planning and the Department of Transportation. Metamorphosis will also work with community partners such as the Workforce Investment Board, Urban Environmental Policy Institute, the Hollywood Community Studio and the Worker Education and Resource Center. The goal is to create an implementation strategy and plan for sustainable urban redevelopment that is guided by inter-agency city collaboration, civic engagement, and community-based research driven work.

Together, the goal of the NELA Collaborative is to integrate planning efforts, coordinate strategic investments and implement a comprehensive revitalization strategy for NELA communities that promotes sustainable development and helps these communities thrive.

"This is a complex consortium," Ball-Rokeach said. "It is a great opportunity for Metamorphosis to work with key players in local communities to make a real difference. This is part of a much larger trend of the Metamorphosis Project to take what we’ve learned through theory and research and put it into action.

"Our work is not just in academic journals. It’s in use."

Villanueva said their work will engage nearby community organizations and residents who live in the northeast Los Angeles areas of Elysian Valley, Glassell Park, Atwater Village and Cypress Park.

"A lot of our community and civic engagement research will be approaching these populations to see how they would like to see their community develop to be sustainable in the future," he said. "Being sustainable is more than just making sure redevelopment is linked to physical development like building streets, transportation and buildings. People need access to jobs, social services, food, education, technology and nature, among many other things."

Villanueva, who grew up in east Hollywood, Calif. and went to UC Santa Barbara for undergraduate studies, said the opportunity to work with Ball-Rokeach on the Metamorphosis Project was one of the main reasons he wanted to attend USC Annenberg.

"I’m still amazed at how much as a student I have learned from her," he said. "She amazes me every day with her breadth of knowledge and insight into research and academia and how it should be applied. I respect how she’s been open with her work and able to adjust to changing times in urban areas that, like the rest of the world, are experiencing rapid changes."

About the Metamorphosis Project

Metamorphosis' mission is to understand the transformation of urban community under the forces of globalization, new communication technologies, and population diversity so that their research can inform practitioner and policy maker decisions. The site of study is Los Angeles and its many ethnic communities of both new and settled immigrants.

Metamorphosis has developed a communication infrastructure perspective that privileges a grassroots understanding of how people construct and re-vitalize their residential communities, and how they go about solving everyday problems of family, health, inter-group relations, and ethnic identity. The challenge is to make the communication infrastructure of daily life visible so that it can be employed by residents, practitioners, and policy makers to improve the quality of family and community life.

Metamorphosis Project 
George Villanueva 
Sandra Ball-Rokeach

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M{2e} speaker describes political power of networked communities


By Amelia Brodka
Student Writer

“New technologies are unlocking unprecedented political potential,” said communication professor Christopher Holmes Smith as he introduced Irene S. Wu, Yahoo! fellow in residence, director of research at SAND-MNIA International Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission and a Georgetown University professor.

Wu's March 3 presentation, “From the Telegraph to the Internet: How both governments and protestors exploit new communications technologies” was part of the Media, Economics and Entrepreneurship speaker series. M{2e} is an initiative intended to spark dialogue around the way in which economic principles can unlock insight in our media systems.

Smith described Wu's research as a historical outline of “how the old media infrastructure of the seeming past intersects and energizes the new media environment and the new media platforms that we're already rapidly beginning to take for granted.”

Wu began her analysis of how activists and protestors have developed progressive networks through new communications technologies with the example of The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog. This blog, written by a consistently growing group of volunteers, was the main source of information and communication about the immediate effects of the tsunami, which claimed more than 250,000 lives. People were able to provide information immediately after the disaster, when institutions were not yet able to gather or release information.

She said that the fact that the blog received the highest amount of Web traffic in the world in the days immediately following the tsunami proves that “the richness of the interaction online has arrived at a point where it rivals the face to face interaction that we usually see and associate with communities."

She dove deeper into the history of communication by discussing the use of the telegraph to express public opinion in 20th-century China. By linking the Chinese population throughout China to the Chinese population overseas through a series of telegrams that were reprinted in newspapers, the telegraph helped stir a political movement that led to the release of Emperor Guangxu from house arrest.

She also discussed similar communication-technology fueled movements that occurred in Brazil and Canada.

With each example, she encouraged the audience to think critically. She asked them to respond to questions after each example: “What are these networks composed of? People, machines, or ideas? Who or what gives their information meaning? What is the scale of the community?”

“Information is a kind of capital and ammunition,” Wu said. She discussed the way in which activists throughout history have been readily capable of adopting and adapting new communication technology to build like-minded communities and meet their political goals.

“Whether it's ethnic groups, religious groups or socioeconomic classes, I think it’s possible to think about society as divided up into different network communities,” Wu said. “But if we think of them as a network community tied together by technology, sharing a certain information, then perhaps it is possible to be able to discern a common worldview amongst them and as a coding unit and as an economic unit, we might be able to explain behavior.”

M{2e} speaker series

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USC Annenberg Announces Recipients of Knight Luce Fellowship for Reporting on Global Religion

 Diane Winston

USC Annenberg announced today the recipients of the 2011 Knight Luce Fellowship for Reporting on Global Religion. From a pool of more than 50 outstanding applications, seven American journalists were chosen to receive stipends from between $5,000 to $25,000 to report on religion around the world. 

“The number and quality of the proposals we received demonstrate the variety of important stories that can be told about global religion,” said Diane Winston (pictured), Knight Chair in Media and Religion at USC Annenberg. “We identified projects that illustrate the impact of religion worldwide, from the political to the personal, and can be posted, printed, broadcast and published across media platforms.” Stipends will support the following projects: 

  • Kael Alford will produce a series of character-driven multimedia pieces, short photo essays and written stories about the political and personal place of religion in the lives of Iraqis and the perceived role religion has played in Iraq’s civil conflict since the U.S.–led war began in 2003. Alford, whose photo-documentary work has appeared in books, on television, and in art galleries, will further develop a model for the production of independent, multi-platform feature journalism.
  • Caryle Murphy’s examination of Saudi Arabia’s global export of its particular brand of Islam a decade after 9/11. A Pulitzer Prize winner and freelance journalist based in Riyadh, Murphy will produce a multimedia project for GlobalPost that illuminates an internal division among some of the Sunni faithful. 
  • Tim McGirk, former TIME Magazine Jerusalem Bureau Chief and award-winning war correspondent, will report on “Reincarnation in Exile.” McGirk will cover Tibetan Buddhists who have been identified as reincarnated lamas or “rimpoches” and then renounce their exalted positions to pursue a “normal” life. The story will take McGirk to Dharamsala and Madrid. 
  • Kathryn Joyce will investigate the burgeoning U.S. evangelical adoption movement and “orphan theology,” reporting on international adoption in Rwanda and Liberia. Joyce, who has published in Mother Jones, Salon and Newsweek, is a three-time recipient of reporting support from the Nation Institute Fund for Investigative Journalism. She is also the author of Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement (2009).
  • Radio and print reporter Daniel Estrin will report on efforts to investigate the Jewish heritage of some one million immigrants from the former Soviet Union to Israel. He will travel from Jerusalem to Cyprus and Ukraine to explore complexities that arise when a country constructs its immigration policy according to religious criteria. 
  • Joanna Kakissis will follow the story of Hazara immigrants who left Afghanistan due to Taliban persecution and who are now facing hostility in communities-in-exile in Pakistan and, more recently, Greece. Kakissis’s work has appeared in the New York Times, TIME Magazine, The Financial Times Magazine, National Public Radio, Marketplace and BBC/PRI’s The World
  • Reporting from Argentina, which became the first Latin American nation to legalize same-sex marriage in July 2010, Nicole Greenfield will examine the complex relationship among religion, politics and LGBT rights in the diverse city of Buenos Aires. Greenfield is a freelance journalist based in New York City.

Within the six-month period of their fellowship, fellows will report and develop stories for delivery on multiple platforms. At the completion of their projects, several fellows will spend three days in residence at USC to present their work, hold master classes for journalism students, and give public lectures for the USC community.

The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of TIME Inc., to honor his parents who were missionary educators in China. The Foundation builds upon the vision and values of four generations of the Luce family: broadening knowledge and encouraging the highest standards of service and leadership.  The Henry Luce Foundation seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious and art communities. The Luce Foundation pursues its mission today through a variety of grant-making programs; among these is the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.

The Knight Chair in Media and Religion, established in 2002 by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, participates in a wide range of activities, including the organization of conferences for working journalists and the sponsorship of events for the local community. Dr. Winston addresses a host of issues surrounding religion and media through her writing and public speaking, as well as her development of coursework and symposiums. Through these outreach activities, USC Annenberg has begun to emerge as a hub for re-visioning how the press—and society itself—thinks about and reports on religion.

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USC Annenberg explores future of mobile media during Mobile News Week


 Break out your smartphones and iPads -- from February 28 to March 4, USC Annenberg will be hosting Mobile News Week.

The weeklong series of guest lectures, hands-on workshops and lunchtime discussions is designed to inspire journalism students to consider the possibilities of this burgeoning form of journalism. Three mobile news experts will lead the week's events: Jason DaPonte, who spent three years as managing editor of BBC Mobile; Amy Gahran, an content strategist and longtime online journalist; and Will Sullivan, a fellow at the University of Missouri Reynolds Institute. 

Dana Chinn "The goal of Mobile News Week is to help students explore how mobile devices are changing the ways they'll be gathering and disseminating information in their careers," says journalism professor Dana Chinn (pictured, right), who coordinated the week of events. "Not everyone has access to the Internet through a computer, but almost everyone has a mobile phone. This means journalists and public relations professionals have new and innovative ways to reach audiences and serve them more effectively."

Among the week's activities are tip sessions on mobile news gathering techniques for reporting classes; research presentations detailing the latest trends in mobile news production and distribution; and immersive workshops with reporters for Annenberg Radio News and the Intersections website to help expand their mobile offerings. A detailed list of activities is available here

Mobile News Week is sponsored by the Hearst Foundation and the Knight Digital Media Center, with support from the Annenberg Innovation Lab and the Media, Economics & Entrepreneurship initiative.


K.C. Cole wins one of USC Remarkable Women Awards

KC Cole

Journalism professor K.C. Cole recently won one of the USC Remarkable Women Awards for 2011 at a reception on March 2.

“In appreciation of her many outstanding accomplishments and endless dedication, the University of Southern California proudly distinguishes K.C. Cole as a truly remarkable woman,” read a statement from USC.

The USC Remarkable Women Awards are hosted by the Office of Campus Activities and the Women’s Student Assembly. 2011 marked the 9th annual Remarkable Women Awards, which celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of women at USC.

Additionally, Cole gave the keynote address at the Associated Collegiate Press National College Journalism Convention in Los Angeles on March 5.



Scheer wins 2010 Izzy Award


Communication professor Robert Scheer has recently been chosen as a winner of the 2010 Izzy Award for outstanding achievement in independent media.

He will visit Ithaca College in New York to accept the award in early April. The award is given to a journalist, producer, or independent outlet for contributions to culture and politics.

 The Izzy Award is named after maverick journalist Izzy Stone.

Previous winners have been Jeremy Scahill, Glenn Greewald, and Amy Goodman.



Neon Tommy 6th-most trafficked university publication in U.S.

Neon Tommy logo

On Neon Tommy’s second birthday, the online student news publication found out that it is the 6th-most trafficked university publication in the United States, according to

Although the publication is new, Neon Tommy has outgrown many other university media outlets from across the country.

“None of this would have been possible without the resolute support of the Annenberg School, its risk-taking leadership, the faculty, the technical staff and -- most importantly-- a buoyant student body comprised of a new generation of journalists,” wrote Marc Cooper, director of Annenberg Digital News.

Neon Tommy is on pace to receive 2 million unique viewers per year and more than 3 million page views.

“We have taken the emerging world of new media dead seriously and engage our community of users with a rich mix of original, aggregated and curated content that ranges from local investigations to coverage of state, national and international news, entertainment, sports and culture,” Cooper said.

Also, the digital news site has received respect as a credible news source by other professionals. L.A. Times, L.A. Weekly, Poynter and many more sites regularly link to Neon Tommy and point to the student organization for their news and storytelling.




Impact program selected as finalist for College Television Awards competition

An episode of Impact, Annenberg’s television news magazine, has made it to the finals for the College Television Awards competition through the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The Impact Team will attend an event on April 9 and will find out if they have placed first, second, or third. This is the seventh win for Impact over the past nine years.

In Episode 50, a story about people entering and practicing within a Hare Krishna commune in Los Angeles was featured, as well as a story that links the art of canning back to black history in America. Also in the episode was a story about a young woman’s struggle to become a nun.

The episode was produced under last year’s team with Supervising Producer, Kim Daniels. Sam Osborn, Sharis Delgadillo, Jennifer Aidoo, and Adrianna Weingold served as senior producers. For episode 50, segment producers were Meghan McCarty, Trishna Patel, and Jennifer Aidoo—who also hosted. Additionally, Lee Warner worked on putting the polish on the show for distribution through Impact’s channels.  Professor Dan Birman leads in Impact team as its advisor.

The College Television Awards is a prestigious award given to students in television.



Ph.D. Student News Roundup

Nikki Usher accepted a position as Assistant Professor at George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs. She also successfully defended her dissertation.

Joe Phua accepted a position as a Assistant Professor at University of Georgia.

Sasha Costanza-Chock accepted the position of Assistant Professor of Civic Media in MIT's Comparative Media Studies program.

Lauren Movius and Deborah Hanan successfully defended their dissertations.

Lori Lopez published an article called "Eating a Meal with the Other: The Ethical Challenges of Travel Food Shows" in Popular Culture Review.

Evan Brody has an upcoming publication in Spectator called "Categorizing Coming Out: The Modern Televisual Mediation of Queer Youth Identification."

Kevin Driscoll organized the annual Students for Free Culture conference at NYU and moderated a panel about remix culture.  He was also quoted in a Wired blog.

Laurel Felt and her co-authors Sheila Murphy, Heather Hether, and Sandra de Castro Buffington have an upcoming publication in the American Journal of Media Psychology.  Their article is titled, "Public Diplomacy in Prime Time: Exploring the Potential of Entertainment Education in International Public Diplomacy."

George Villanueva received a graduate scholar award from Common Ground Publishing to attend and present at the inaugural Spaces and Flows: An International Conference on Urban and ExtraUrban Studies at UCLA. His presentation was on "Engaging the Space of Community Redevelopment in Los Angeles" and was presented in collaboration with the Hollywood Community Studio.

Beth Boser presented a paper titled "The Conservative Social Imaginary and Smart Girl Politics" at the Western States Communication Association Conference (WSCA) in Monterey, CA.

Garrett Broad also presented at WSCA.  His paper was called "Visualization of Slow Developing Hazards: Influencing Perceptions and Behaviors to Facilitate Adaptation Planning" and was an outgrowth of a institute he attended this past summer in Panama.

Laurel Felt and Meryl Alper will be presenting a paper called "New Media Literacy Strategies for Empowering Digital Citizenship: From Toddlers to Teens" at the National Association for Media Literacy Education Conference in Philadelphia.

Jove Hou's study "Networked Play as Online Community Participation - Interviews with Social Gamers " was accepted at the CHI 2011 Workshop at Vancouver, Canada in May. 

Zhan Li successfully passed his qualifying exams.


J.Lo, Scrubs and Ugly Betty; Isabel Molina discusses Latininidad representations in the media

By Amelia Brodka
Student Writer

The March 7 Annenberg Research Seminar, “From J.Lo to Sotomayor: Critical Reflections on the Commodification of US Latinidad,” challenged the authenticity of minority representations in the media.

Dr. Isabel Molina, associate professor of the Latina/Latino studies program at the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, discussed the effects of and responses to the normalizing practices of the media on gender and ethno-racial identity.

By using media examples ranging from news to entertainment, Molina exemplified the way in which media production and content commodify gender and ethno-racial identity. The application of this racial capital “functions as part of a normalizing society that depends on establishing a discipline over particular bodies while regulating populations and privileging the normative” said Dr. Molina.

She applied case studies such as the depiction of the mother in the 1999 Elian Gonzales story, the 2002 documentary on Frida Kahlo, Scrubs' character Carla and gender in Ugly Betty to show that disciplining discourses can be simultaneously manipulated to produce moments of cultural resistance.

These moments of resistance are credited to the combination of “symbolic colonization” and “symbolic ruptures," she said.

She said symbolic colonization “examines the disciplinary technology of global mainstream media discourse to survey and normalize the ethno-racial gendered body at the same time that that discourse is used to speak to latinidad by groups within that category to give meaning and cultual significance to latina bodies to increase the commodity exchange of racial capital.”

Symbolic ruptures, such as Carla's assertion to return to work despite the stereotype that Latinas are strictly family-oriented, are media narratives that destabilize dominant definitions and demand specificity despite the pull toward homogenization.

“The way that stories introduce discursive ruptures during times of civil rights accomplishments are increasingly under question,” she said, especially “when we see anti immigration legislation and sentiment spreading through the country.”

Times like these create an opportunity to “re-imagine Latinindad within the global mediascape," she said.



Mobile Week: Jason DaPonte and Amy Gahran Journalism Director’s Forum

By Sammi Wong
Student Writer

Jason DaPonte and Amy Gahran combined their new media expertise at the March 1 Journalism Director’s Forum in hopes of shedding light on the future of mobile news.

With an increasing amount of the world population relying on mobile devices for access to news and information, DaPonte explained why mobile journalism is unique in comparison to other Web avenues.

“Mobile is different because it's personal, sociable, portable, immediate, and location-aware,” DaPonte said, adding that it will shape the future of news and alter it from the traditional style of printed newspapers.

Using the example of Michael Jackson’s death, DaPonte was able to clearly demonstrate that traditional news sources have become a place of verification rather than a place of new information. The spread of the breaking news can’t be attributed to major news outlet such as BBC or CNN, but rather to Twitter and Facebook.

With more than 2 billion people expected to be connected to the Web in the next two years, it is important to stay relevant in mobile Web applications because “most people outside of western countries will be accessing the Web through their phones and not on fancy computers," DaPonte said.

They predicted that multi-screens will go mainstream, utility and play will be everywhere, and subphones (such as Kindles) will connect everything.

DaPonte said unconscious computing will be the norm, where people are unaware of use of technology and information will be constant instead of searched.

Gahran focused on a future in which low-income communities will be filled with users of featured phones instead of smart phones.

While many companies frame their mobile websites toward smart phone users, Gahran believes that in order to succeed in the market where the majority of people are still using feature phones, there must be accommodations and adjustments made to fit the needs of all users. Gahran cited statistics that demonstrate a lack of focus on low-income communities.

While text messaging is similar on smart and feature phones, Gahran said browsing the Web on a feature phone is difficult. Despite the difficulties, “83 percent of feature phone users, use their Web browser daily or most days. And half of them use social media and e-mail daily or on most days.”

She strongly encouraged those who are looking toward the future of mobile to “take the blinders off and think more creatively. You can’t just play with the shiny toys. You need to know how regular people use their phones.”

Both speakers said that to stay relevant, mobile media must constantly adapt and generate products that will help people manipulate the ever-growing level of information in the world.



Trope’s COMM 465 class and screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna discuss gender in the film industry

By Amelia Brodka
Student Writer

“Last year, only 10 percent of movies were written by women, 7 percent were directed by women and 3 percent were photographed by women, said Aline Brosh McKenna, writer of The Devil Wears Prada, 27 Dresses and Morning Glory.

On March 1, McKenna joined communication professor Alison Trope’s COMM 465: Gender in Media Industries and Products class to share her experiences of working in a male-dominated field.

Despite the bleak percentages, McKenna sees the opportunity for a shift.

“Only 43 percent of undergraduate students are men,” McKenna said. Therefore, men “are going to have to get comfortable in a world where women are successful and earning.”

As a response to student questions regarding gender stereotypes reinforced by the big screen, McKenna said that she sees a shift taking place. There is an increasing amount of movies with female protagonists in which the plot is “more about balancing a relationship and a career than ‘getting a man,’” she said.

She is taking part in this shift as she is currently working on a new live-action version of Cinderella for Disney. In her version, “Cinderella doesn’t just wait for a shoe,” she said. "She is not driven by a man. She is a true heroine.”

“I’d like to think that the world is open for me to do whatever I’m interested in,” said McKenna as she shared her aspirations of shifting to a director’s position. However, as a mother, she addressed the challenges that face women with families. As a writer the work day is flexible, but directing demands long hours. Therefore, she is going to wait until her children are older before pursuing a director’s position.

McKenna gave the class general screenwriting tips. She emphasized the development of a compelling character as the vehicle for a narrative. McKenna warned the class that the process of screenwriting does not end once your screenplay has been selected. Screenwriting is a process of “constant rewriting and readapting,” she said.


Sacramento Bee editor reveals strategies for successful journalism in the digital age

By Amelia Brodka
Student Writer

“Information is power,” said Melanie Sill, editor and senior vice president of The Sacramento Bee.

However, today's journalists are faced with the fact that “information has become a commodity.” Infinite, on-demand sources of information and entertainment have intensified the competition to win a moment of a consumer's time.

“What is the role of a journalist in the digital age?” Sill asked at the Feb. 24 Journalism Director's Forum, "Reinventing the role of the journalist -- an editor’s view."

Sill said that despite the changes in the industry, journalism maintains the same basic principles: to inform people, to engage people in public life, and to empower people to make decisions.

“Despite the fact that there is a ton of information out there, people still value knowledge and the agents that transfer knowledge to them,” said Sill, adding that The Sacramento Bee has maintained its high regard for 154 years.

She said the trick to The Bee's maintenance was acting “as a startup in order to prove its relevance in the new age.”

The Bee has done this by adopting new platforms to deliver more personalized news perspectives by embracing social media such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter. These interactive platforms “invite people into reporting” by allowing for reader involvement through comments and conversation. Oftentimes, Sill said, readers contribute to the shaping of articles by directly replying to the reporters via e-mail. Feedback allows for further news that is adapted to their audience.

Bloggers have been a valuable addition because they “don't care about what the editor wants,” she said, but “connect The Bee to the community.”

This connection has helped build and maintain a network of dedicated readers.

As Sill opened up the discussion to students and faculty, many expressed their concerns about sustainable business practices in modern journalism.

“The business side hasn’t embraced technology,” School of Journalism director Geneva Overholser said as she emphasized the need for journalists to think more creatively about revenue generation.

Sill explained The Bee’s successful use of interactive advertising in the form of widgets. These toolbars are located on the main site as well as on all of the featured blogs and “bring in a more than respectable revenue.”

Although the financial challenges of the industry are “real and tremendous,” Sill said this is the most exciting - and exhausting - time for journalism. So many things are happening now that will shape the world, and journalism has the opportunity to make a better world, she said.



Published and Presented


Nonny de la Peña introduces immersive journalism with paper in MIT journal

 Nonny de la Pena

By Gretchen Parker

USC Annenberg senior research fellow Nonny de la Peña has been gaining more attention recently for her work developing immersive journalism, including the publishing of an introductory paper in Presence, an MIT journal.

The paper, “Immersive Journalism: Immersive Virtual Reality for the First-Person Experience of News,” explores current approaches to the field that de la Peña is pioneering and the potential for building a fundamentally different way of experiencing the news. Immersive journalism, she concludes, offers a way to understand the news “in a way that is otherwise impossible, without really being there.”

Immersive journalism is the use of virtual reality and 3-D environments, built in a gaming platform, to convey the sights, sounds and feelings of news. De la Peña’s most prominent project is “Gone Gitmo,” set inside a virtual Guantanamo Bay prison and built in Second Life. The virtually recreated experience is a unique way for a reader or viewer to get “first-person” experiences of the events described in news stories. The project was built with former USC visiting professor Peggy Weil.

Another Second Life prototype, Cap & Trade, is a news report on the carbon market that sends participants on a journey to follow the money so they can better understand the complexities and human consequences of trading carbon credits.

Participants can enter the stories as themselves, as visitors gaining first-hand access to a virtual version of the location of the story – or as a character depicted in the story. In this way, they can have a different level of understanding from reading a print story or watching audiovisual material, de la Peña says. “Whether visiting the space as oneself or as a subject in the narrative, the participant is afforded unprecedented access to the sights and sounds, and possibly, the feelings and emotions that accompany the news,” she wrote.

Besides prototyping immersive stories, de la Peña’s goal is to discover and create best practices for a largely unexplored field.

“There is an issue here when you have virtual bodies – is it too subjective? How do you retain objectivity?” she said. “Another issue is: we have a good idea of how to edit a good journalistic text piece or TV news piece. But how do you edit an immersive journalism story? You have to take pieces out and leave pieces in. There are always editorial decisions. What are the best practices for doing it in a virtual world?”

It’s crucial for journalism to delve into immersive storytelling, de la Peña said, because of its potential to reach a huge, untapped audience.

“How many kids are gaming? All of them. This is not a unique batch of individuals. It’s a growing audience. This has become a critical place where we can still tell news stories. We’d be really remiss not to consider these gaming platforms when they’re nascent and think about the best ways to work in these spaces,” she said, comparing its development to the emergence of radio and television.

“We’re looking at a new medium that’s here to stay, and we need to be thinking about how to use it,” she said.

De la Peña was lead author on the paper, which was co-written by Weil, Joan Llobera, Elias Giannopoulos, Ausiàs Pomés, Bernhard Spanlang, Doron Friedman, Maria V. Sanchez-Vives and Mel Slater.

What do you think? Join the conversation on our Facebook page.


Celis, Chapman, & Frank present their findings from the iPad education reporting class to a national conference

Journalism professor Bill Celis, Wendy Chapman, and Matt Frank gave a Feb. 28 presentation on the findings from Celis’ iPad education reporting class at a national mobile learning conference at Abilene Christian University, a pioneer in mobile learning.

The conference features mobile technology and learning innovations from 60 universities and dozens of K-12 systems, with the keynote delivered by Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple.  The Annenberg team was invited to present.



Castañeda and Celis selected for Scripps Howard Academic Leadership Academy


Assistant Director of the School of Journalism Laura Castañeda and journalism professor Bill Celis have been selected for the Scripps Howard Academic Leadership Academy at Louisiana State University's Manship School of Mass Communication.

The academy brings together mass communication professors, scholars and administrators to share administrative strategies and insights. Castañeda and Celis were recently named Associate Directors of the Journalism School, effective in August.




Gross pens "Larry's List" (Truthdig)

Director of the School of Communication Larry Gross penned a Feb. 27 "Larry's List" titled "Ending Prostitution?" for Truthdig.

He featured a roundup of recent news items and linked to them in his post. He featured news about Harry Reid,  the Defense of Marriage Act, Sarah Palin, WikiLeaks, and more. Read his article here.

He also wrote a March 4 "Larry's List" for Truthdig titled "Anonymous Returns." Read it here.




Adjunct Johnson presents at IxDA conference in Boulder

Adjunct journalism professor Steven Johnson gave a Feb. 11 presentation at the international Interaction Design Association conference (IxDA '11) in Boulder.
He gave a 20 minute talk about "Introducing IA, IxD and UX in New Media Pedagogy" for 620 people from all over the world.
Attendees included designers and engineers from the likes of Microsoft and Adobe, as well as important consulting firms in the online space; media outlets such as CNN, Comcast and PBS, plus academics and students from top design, engineering, business and information sciences programs like Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, SCAD, and more.



Kaplan: “Al Jazeera English vs. The Charlie Sheen Channel”

Director of the Norman Lear Center Martin Kaplan  penned a March 7 article titled “Al Jazeera English vs. The Charlie Sheen Channel” for the Huffington Post.

“Comcast has limited bandwidth. With room for only so many new channels, every one of them has to maximize viewership. Al Jazeera English, which is running a "Demand Al Jazeera in the USA" campaign on its Web site, told Comcast that in the first couple of days of Egypt's uprising, nearly half of their 10 million minutes of live-streamed coverage was being watched in the U.S. But Comcast isn't yet convinced; they're worried that the audience for an Al Jazeera English cable channel would just be ‘news junkies and people who happen to be particularly interested in the Middle East for the moment and will tune out as soon as news out of the region slows down,’” he wrote.

“So for Comcast, which just completed its purchase of NBC Universal, it comes down to whether carrying Al Jazeera English is a better business bet than carrying The Vampire Network or Showtime Abs 'n' Buns,” he wrote.



Jenkins co-hosts symposium on Transmedia

Henry Jenkins

Provost’s professor in journalism and communication Henry Jenkins will co-host an April 8 symposium at UCLA titled “Transmedia, Hollywood 2: Visual Culture and Design.”

The one-day symposium, co-hosted by USC Annenberg, USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television, and the UCLA Producer’s Program, will explore the role of transmedia franchises in today’s entertainment industries. The event brings together creators, producers and executives from the entertainment industry.

Jenkins is co-hosting the event with UCLA’s Denise Mann. Speakers will include production designer Alex McDowell, the University of Melbourne's Angela Ndalianis, Smallville Executive Producer Kelly Saunders, DC Entertainment CCO Geoff Johns, UC-Berkeley's Abigail De Kosnik, NBC Universal's Justin Wyatt, and Big Brother and The Surreal Life Co-Executive Producer John Platt, as well as a variety of other academic and industry speakers.




Monge, Fulk, and Ph.D.  graduates and students write article for Management Communication Quarterly


Communication professors Peter Monge and Janet Fulk co-wrote an article titled “Evolutionary and Ecological Models” for the current issue of Management Communication Quarterly (pp. 26-34).

The paper describes the emerging role that evolutionary and ecological theories are playing in organizational communication research.

The paper was a joint effort with many doctoral graduates and current students serving as co-writers. Doctoral graduates Seungyoon Lee (Now an assistant professor at Purdue), Matt Weber (Now a post doc at Duke University and to become an assistant professor at Rutgers University in the fall), and Cindy Shen (Now as assistant professor at the University of Texas, Dallas) co-wrote the article. Annenberg Doctoral Students Lauren Frank (starting as an assistant professor at Portland State University in the fall), Drew Margolin, and Courtney Shultz also co-wrote the article.


Reeves: “GOP Tactic: Intramural Class Warfare” (Truthdig)

Journalism professor Richard Reeves penned a March 1 article titled “GOP Tactic: Intramural Class Warfare” for Truthdig.

“One day, at lunch, while my friends grouched about the usual, the word union slipped from my lips. A regular Norma Rae. Some people never spoke to me again. I ended up working at the Newark Evening News, the best newspaper in New Jersey, but virulently anti-union. I was paid $60 a week plus $25 in expenses (we had to provide our own cars to cover hundreds of square miles of northern New Jersey). I got lucky with a couple of stories and was hired by the New York Herald Tribune. The Trib was a guild paper and my pay went to $163.60, a fortune to me. I was even able to buy a house,” he wrote in the article.

“It was a time, by the way, when there was a clear line between private and public work. Generally, public workers were paid less but got better benefits and more job security. It was a conscious choice to work for the military, for bureaucracies, in schools. The system was formal enough that teachers were trained in separate colleges, state teachers colleges,” Reeves wrote.




Seib: “Secretary Clinton and the Information War” (Huffington Post)


Director of the Center on Public Diplomacy Philip Seib penned a March 6 article titled “Secretary Clinton and the Information War” for the Huffington Post.

“In testimony to Congress last week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acknowledged the existence of an ongoing ‘information war’ that the United States is losing. In addition to saying that ‘Al Jazeera is winning,’ Clinton pointed to the major investments in international broadcasting being made by China and Russia,” he wrote.

“Congress should heed Secretary Clinton's warning and not relegate U.S. public diplomacy to a nickel-and-dime sideshow. In budgeters' worldview, public diplomacy might not be as sexy as weapons systems, but it is absolutely essential if the information war and the larger battle for influence are to be won,” he wrote.




Sigal: “Wisconsin’s fight for the middle class” (The Guardian UK)

Clancy Sigal

Professor emeritus Clancy Sigal wrote a Feb. 27 article titled “Wisconsin’s fight for the middle class” for The Guardian UK.

“My heroes have not always been cowboys but union organisers. Mom and Dad were labour organisers, as were my cousins, Bernie (printing trades), Charlie (shipbuilders) and Joe (auto workers). If we had a religion, it was One Big Union with loud, rambunctious mass meetings as its eucharist – such as we are seeing in huge numbers of drum-pounding, slogan-shouting local government workers in Wisconsin's state capital Madison. We're talking about teachers, custodians, clerks and garbage collectors, not to mention sympathetic cops and firefighters,” he wrote.

“Some kids are raised to respect God and country; I was bred to respect a picket line. My very first parade, probably at age eight or nine, was down Ashland Avenue – Chicago labour's main drag – honouring a union official murdered by company goons,” he wrote.

He also wrote a March 7 article for CounterPunch on Charlie Sheen titled “The Untouchable.”

“It’s possible that Carlos Irwin Estevez, the actor known as ‘Charlie Sheen’, is ranting the simple truth when he claims to be invulnerable and indestructible because he’s fleetingly super-famous and has ‘tiger’s blood’ running in his pharmaceutically-enhanced veins.  With ‘serious’ journalists and TV bookers tripping over themselves to get him to vomit up something, anything, to feed us on his Roman Circus, shrewdly timed, allegedly suicidal spiral caused by a diseased ego and an apothecary’s shopfull of mind-blasting substances, he probably IS more famous than the President.  After all, he just broke the Guinness record for gathering one million Twitter followers in the shortest time,” he wrote.



Christopher Holmes Smith gives research presentations


Communication professor Christopher Holmes Smith gave a research presentation on Feb. 25 titled “The Almighty Dollar: Money's Place in Hip-Hop Culture and Politics" as part of the 2011 EMP Pop Conference, "Music & Money," that  took place at UCLA Feb. 25-27.

Also, in May, he will be presenting a different version of "The Almighty Dollar" as a keynote speaker for the "The Currency of Cultural Studies: An International Conference," at the Beit Maiersdorf Faculty Club and Conference Center on the The Hebrew University campus in Jerusalem, Israel. 




News 21 fellows publish articles on KCET

The 10 journalism graduate students of News 21 have articles published on KCET under the SoCal Connected section “Under the Influence.” The News 21 fellows have a partnership with the site and have dozens of articles published over the course of the semester so far.

Recently, their stories have been appearing on the front page of KCET. Read their stories here.




Undergraduate student Williams selected to present research at Yale

Undergraduate student Ashley Michelle Williams (Broadcast and Digital Journalism) was selected to present her media research at the Yale Bouchet Conference on Diversity in Graduate Education Planning Committee. She will give presentation proposal titled "Connecting Network News to the College Aspirations of Minority High School Students” on March 25th - 26th.
She is currently conducting the research under the guidance of journalism professor Felix Gutierrez in a directed research class associated with People of Color in News Media. She first started the project in the McNair Scholars Program during her sophomore year.




Blakley on fashion’s intellectual property protection, on women ruling social media (Reason, Sydney Morning Herald)

Burgess on the need for digital media skills (Variety)

Celis' class mentioned as using iPads for reporting (Poynter)

Cooper on media funding and objectivity (Seattle Times)

Cowan on The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands (Palm Springs Life)

Gilbert and CDF study featured (NBCLA)

Ph.D student Hilbert on computer Watson (USA Today)

Kaplan on Charlie Sheen, essay “Monsters are due on Main Street” mentioned, on the MPAA (AP, Keith Olbermann blog, Marketplace)

Kun mentioned as hosting event "Ozomatli and the State Department: Cool Cultural Diplomacy" (SXSW)

Jenkins on digital works, his book "Convergence Culture" noted as very important in the field, on "The Social Network" film(El Pais--Spanish, Mercury News)

Lih on the Chinese government's plans to track people by cell phones (CNET)

Murphy on Oscar hosts (LA Times)

Reeves on Jerry Brown, Reeves 'Truthdig' article featured (NY Times, Journal Gazette)

Saltzman on inspirational high school journalism teacher Ted Tajima (Rafu Shimpo, LA Times)

Christopher Holmes Smith on pop artists who have performed for Libya's ruling Gaddafi family (Seoul Broadcasting System-Korean)

CCLP study on putting notices on the web cited (Star Tribune)

Norman Lear Center’s Hollywood, Health and Society mentioned (LA Times)

NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater highlighted (LA Weekly)

California HealthCare Foundation Center for Health Reporting mentioned, Annenberg's Center for Health Reporting mentioned (Modesto Bee, LA Times)

Annenberg Strategic Communication and Public Relations Center study mentioned (Advertising Age)

Neon Tommy story on the lack of a major league tenant at AEG’s Sprint Center cited (KCET)