CommLine Online: Jan. 21, 2010



USC Annenberg welcomes readers to spring, 2010 semester

AnnenbergA_180pThe USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism welcomes students, faculty, staff, family, friends and all other CommLine readers to a new semester, calendar year and decade!

"We have accomplished a lot over the past 12 months," Dean Ernest J. Wilson III said. "We recruited and hired a number of exceptional faculty members and great staff. We have continued to rethink what and how we teach in our curriculum to meet students’ needs in today’s converging media environment. We have hosted internationally important events, from a groundbreaking national summit on arts journalism, to a global conference on China communication that attracted leading experts from around the U.S and the world. Our students have received the extraordinary teaching, mentoring and services for which we are well known. In October we celebrated, along with Wallis Annenberg and President Steven B. Sample, our new school name — the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism."

USC Annenberg also recently completed the first phase of its Web site redesign, which includes new faculty pages, a research section, "In the Field" area, and a brushed-up home page. Many more changes are coming soon.


New course prepares students for career in environmental PR industry

EnvironmentUSC Annenberg created an environmental public relations course - the first of its kind at a major research university - in which students learn about the rapidly changing field of environmental PR while gaining valuable skills applicable to careers in the industry.

The class, which started Jan. 12 and is taught by Senior Vice President and Co-Founder of MS&L's Global ECO Network Megan Jordan, gives students a toolkit they can reference in their future jobs while developing their critical thinking skills. The course studies the pivotal role public relations played in thrusting environmental issues into the public agenda. It examines the evolution of the environment becoming a national concern, the factors that led to the breakthrough, and the PR industry it helped produce.

Adjunct PR professor Megan Jordan"This course came out of a need for young environmental PR talent," Jordan (pictured, right) said about JOUR 499: Environmental Public Relations. "The new employees in this industry really needed a lot of training and education before they could focus on client work. This course trains students for a skill set that is in demand. As I'm inviting guest speakers to this class, they're asking for my students' resumes."

The class covers environmental activism, public policy and public affairs, corporate sustainability, agency specialties, influencer marketing, advanced technology and digital PR. Students will leave the class with a basic understanding of complicated environmental issues, including their advanced technology, policy and regulatory concerns.

"This class is an important piece in our overall strategy of providing students with a core knowledge that applies at a macro level across the entire PR field, along with a series of highly specialized courses demonstrating the disciplines of work and areas of expertise," said Jerry Swerling, director of PR Studies and the USC Annenberg Strategic PR Center. "This class is particularly timely and much-needed because of the unique nature of expertise required for people to go into environmental public relations."

Scheduled speakers in the class of nine students include: Joel Makower, co-founder and executive editor of Greener World Media, Inc.; Tom Fulks, California spokesperson for the Diesel Technology Forum; Shad Balch, environment and energy specialist at General Motors; Roy Kim of the California Fuel Cells Partnership; Joe Carberry, former head of corporate communications for Visa; Reiner Musier, chief marketing officer of APX Environmental Commodities Consulting; and Britta Justessen, regional director of the World Wildlife Fund; among others.

"They're the top thought leaders in the industry," Jordan said of the guest speakers. "The class - with fewer than 10 students - gives the students practically one-on-one communication with top-caliber guest speakers. The students have the opportunity to form relationships with our guests and ask direct questions to some of the true decision-makers in the field."

She said employment opportunities in the industry will continue to grow for students and recent graduates.

"Startup companies need marketing sophistication to take them to the next level," she said. "It is clear that many consumers' purchases are influenced by a 'green halo.' Anything that drives sales is looked at closely, and an increasing number of jobs in the green PR space are sprouting."

Jordan has 20 years of experience in developing and managing complex, multi-faceted PR campaigns in her role as senior vice president and co-founder of MS&L's ECO Network.  She has led environmental initiatives on behalf of a range of clients, from Fortune 500 corporations including General Motors to non-profit organizations such as Green Technology and Heal the Bay.  Leveraging her knowledge of consumer and influencer-driven public relations, and her work with environmental NGO's and enthusiast groups, Jordan develops comprehensive integrated marketing programs engineered to propel reputations and cement credibility with key opinion leaders and target audiences.  Jordan received her bachelor's in public relations from the University of Southern California and her master's in mass communications from California State University, Northridge.


Recent alumni's Tiziano Project awarded grant to teach journalism in Iraq

Tiziano The Tiziano Project, a nonprofit organization staffed and directed by five USC Annenberg alumni or students, was awarded a $25,000 grant from Chase Community Giving that will be used to establish a three-month journalism training program for youth in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.

The Tiziano Project gives training in journalism and multimedia technology to help residents of conflict zones document their experiences and develop skills to help them pursue careers in journalism or at nonprofit organizations. More than 2,000 people supported the project in the first round of Chase Trust’s online contest to help fund grassroots organizations in the United States. The contest recognized the 100 most popular charities out of more than 500,000 nonprofits that registered on Facebook.

Jon Vidar“We were overwhelmed by the amount of people who advocated for our organization among larger, more well-known organizations,” said Jonathan Vidar (M.A. Communication Management '06, pictured on left), interim executive director and director of Near East Operations for The Tiziano Project. “We are humbled that our mission to empower youth in underreported areas around the world spoke to so many.”

Andrew McGregorVidar met Tiziano Project founder and president Andrew McGregor (right) in a spring 2007 photojournalism class at USC Annenberg, where they discussed the vision of teaching journalism and creating jobs in war-torn regions. By that summer they were in Kigali, Rwanda to educate talented and dedicated locals to produce content for Western news agencies.

Other Annenberg current or past students working with the Tiziano Project include director of technology Chris Mendez (Master's Communication Management '11, below left), director of operations for East Africa Thomas Rippe (M.A. Print Journalism '07, below right), and multimedia and videography specialist and mentor David Torstenson (B.A. Broadcast Journalism '03, bottom left). Journalism professors K.C. Cole and Michael Parks are mentors.

McGregor said he started The Tiziano Project because he thought it was immoral to have undocumented mass murder occur in the world at the same time technological advances have produced Web sites such as YouTube that are easy for anybody with a video camera and Internet access to use.

"I thought that if the mainstream press was unable to cover the plight of people in these situations, then perhaps the people suffering could cover it themselves if they were provided with the tools and training necessary to create and distribute their own stories."

Chris MendezVidar said he has been amazed at how receptive the people in other countries have been to being trained as journalists.

"Dave, Chris and I went to Iraq in the summer of 2008 and brainstormed ideas for students to cover stories," Vidar said. "When the first class came around, the students came up with a list three times longer than the one we came up with that was way better than ours. It's their culture. They've lived it all their lives. We're just helping them tell their own story."

Thomas RippeThis summer in Iraq, The Tiziano Project will send four multimedia journalism specialists to train a select group of students in photography, new media and videography and will be regularly producing online news packages about the development and culture of the area. The program will build off of a three-week training workshop completed in Sulaymaniyah in 2008.

About The Tiziano Project

David TortensonThe Tiziano Project strives to develop and encourage first-class collaborative journalism on a global scale. It is dedicated to expanding knowledge and access to information worldwide by empowering communities to tell their stories. It provides community members in conflict, post-conflict and underreported regions with the equipment, training and affiliations necessary to report their stories and improve their lives.

The Tiziano Project is always looking for equipment donations and frequent flier miles to help offset the cost of sending trainers around the world. If you would like to help or for more information, please e-mail:

Tiziano Project 
More about the Tiziano Project staff


Curtin, Glickman and Zacchino appointed senior fellows at Center on Communication Leadership and Policy

A top news executive and two leading global policymakers have been appointed 2010-2011 senior fellows of the Center on Communication Leadership and Policy (CCLP) at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. As part of CCLP, senior fellows contribute to the Communication Leadership blog, participate in public programs and lead projects in specific areas of engagement at the Center.

Newly appointed CCLP senior fellows are:

CurtinJeremy Curtin, who served until December 2009 as Coordinator of the Bureau of Information Programs in State Department, where he was the government’s senior public diplomacy officer. During more than 30 years in the Foreign Service, he specialized in international public affairs and strategic communications. He served with U.S. embassies in Europe and East Asia, including as Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs in Seoul, South Korea. He held a number of positions in Washington with the U.S. Information Agency, the National Security Council and the State Department. Working with the U.S. Agency for International Development after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Mr. Curtin directed a program to support independent media and other democratic institutions in newly free Eastern Europe. From 2002 to 2005, he was chief of staff and senior adviser to the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. As a senior fellow, Curtin is developing a program to explore how governmental and non-governmental organizations can incorporate new communication technologies, including social media, to achieve strategic objectives. 

GlickmanDan Glickman, the former White House cabinet secretary and Member of Congress who serves as chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America. While at the MPAA, Glickman has led efforts to safeguard intellectual property, reduce trade barriers and enhance the movie ratings system. He also leads the industry’s advocacy efforts during a time of profound globalization and technological transformation. Prior to joining the MPAA in 2004, Glickman was the director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He was Secretary of Agriculture during the Clinton administration and previously served for 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. During that time, he was an active member of the House Judiciary Committee, where he was a leader on technology issues. As a senior fellow, Glickman will work on programs exploring the role of media in a democracy with a special focus on government and campaign finance regulations.

ZacchinoNarda Zacchino, an author and award-winning journalist who served as a top editor at the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle. During her 31 years at the Los Angeles Times, she was a reporter, government and politics editor, Sacramento bureau chief, editor of the Orange County edition, deputy managing editor and associate editor and vice president. She was deputy editor of the San Francisco Chronicle from 2001 until 2007, when she left to co-write a book on NFL star/Army Ranger Pat Tillman with his mother Mary. Zacchino was an editor at the Center for Investigative Reporting before co-founding Time Capsule Press, whose inaugural book, The LA Lakers: 50 Amazing Years in the City of Angels, was published in October 2009. She is an editorial and business consultant at Truthdig, a daily news Web site and is currently working on a new book about California. As a senior fellow, Zacchino will work on programs exploring the role of media in democracy with a focus on state government financial crises.

In addition to the new appointments, current CCLP senior fellows include Neal Baer, Cinny Kennard, Adam Clayton Powell III, Kit Rachlis, Richard Reeves, Orville Schell, Derek Shearer and David Westphal

“Each of our remarkable senior fellows is finding ways to navigate some of the most challenging issues facing democracy in this era of profound changes in culture and technology,” said Geoffrey Cowan, university professor and director of the Center on Communication Leadership and Policy. “We are thrilled that Jeremy Curtin, Dan Glickman and Narda Zacchino will be joining the Center on Communication Leadership and Policy to help instruct students, engage in public discourse and advance research efforts in these areas.”

About the Center on Communication Leadership and Policy 

Based at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, the Center on Communication Leadership and Policy conducts research and organizes courses, programs, seminars and symposia for scholars, students, policymakers and working professionals to prepare future leaders in journalism, communication and other related fields. CCLP focuses its activities in two areas: 1) The Role of Media in Democracy and 2) Communication Leadership. Current projects include: Public Policy and the Future of News; New Models for News; The Constitution and the Press; Media and Political Discourse; Children’s Media and Ethics; Women and Communication Leadership; and Photographic Empowerment.

Center on Communication Leadership and Policy  


Applications available for KDMC's News Entrepreneur Boot Camp 2010

KDMC logoThe Knight Digital Media Center (in partnership with the USC Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, USC Annenberg's Center for Communication Leadership and Public Policy, and the Online Journalism Review) will hold a special News Entrepreneur Boot Camp from May 16-21, 2010, in Los Angeles. This expenses-paid intense one-week boot camp is designed for 20 competitively selected digital entrepreneurs with great ideas for community news and information initiatives in the public interest (apply here). Topics to be covered include:

* Identifying the best business model for sustained success.
* Developing a feasibility plan.
* Audience development and customer acquisition.
* Developing and implementing revenue and advertising strategies.
* Successful social networking models.
* Understanding and using analytics.

Traditional news organizations are floundering as business models collapse and audiences are increasingly turning to alternative news and information sources. This special boot camp is designed for digital journalists and others who are passionate about new ideas for serving the information and news needs of their communities but who lack the grounding in business and startup skills. Expert faculty from both academia and the private sector will provide intense instruction, coaching and mentoring on developing marketable business plans for providing news and information in the public interest.

"The KDMC Boot Camp is different from other industry gatherings, as well, in the one-on-one work it provides with accomplished entrepreneurs," Online Journalism Review's Robert Niles wrote in a recent blog entry. "This isn't about bringing together a bunch of newspaper-industry executives to speculate about online entrepreneurship during one-way lectures. Like the medium you'll be publishing, in this is an interactive experience."

WHO SHOULD APPLY: Successful applicants will provide a concise and clear proposal for a digital initiative that services specific community news and information needs and will meet the following expertise criteria:

* Digital fluency. Must be able to independently create and manage digital content in an online environment. Most important, must understand technology as tool and online as a community.

* Business/math aptitude. Must be comfortable and competent in math and business environment.

* Topic Expertise. Must demonstrate experience/expertise in targeted topic/service area.

* Collaborative. Must demonstrate previous experience in working productively with others on projects requiring innovation.

* Value-driven. Must be committed to values of accuracy, balance, fairness, credibility, inclusion, transparency and public service.

* Committed to Community Leadership. Must be able to identify and understand the dynamics of community information needs and be committed to servicing those needs.

WHEN AND WHERE: May 16-21, 2010
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA

COST: Fellowships include lodging and meals during the boot camp and cost of instruction. A partial travel subsidy will be provided.

HOW TO APPLY: Applications must be submitted online here.

DEADLINE: Friday, Feb. 19, 2010

QUESTIONS: Please contact, Vikki Porter, Director, Knight Digital Media Center at or 213-821-0071.

More from OJR's Robert Niles
Knight Digital Media Center


USC Annenberg faculty lend tech skills to "CrisisCamp" to help efforts in Haiti

USC Annenberg journalism professors Andrew Lih and Robert Hernandez led a group of about 45 volunteers at Los Angeles' version of CrisisCamp Haiti, hosted at Annenberg, on Jan. 16.

“The idea was just to get people together and see what we can do,” Lih told USC's Daily Trojan. “It’s tough to figure out the impact of what is going on here in Haiti, but at least we can use the technology to help.”

Volunteers used their technological skills to perform tasks such as designing improved digital maps of neighborhoods and producing better family-locater services for quake victims. They coordinated efforts with other CrisisCamps in Washington, D.C., the Silicon Valley, Colorado and London.

Lih told the Daily Trojan he is trying to organize another event but emphasized that volunteers should also undertake crisis-relief projects on their own.

“Events like this are really time sensitive, and some people say that even waiting a week to meet is too late,” Lih said.

The Los Angeles Times ran a story on CrisisCamp, saying that Layne Kaplan (B.A. Broadcast Journalism '13) compiled a running report on Twitter to communicate with other CrisisCamp Haiti volunteers at other locations. She received a text message from her mother during the day.

"My mom said at least I'm doing something productive," Kaplan told the Times. "She said she's looking for something to do for Haitians too."

Daily Trojan article 
LA Times article
LA Times photo of Robert Hernandez helping with CrisisCamp


Entrepreneurship in the New Media class teaches students the business side of journalism

By Heather Hope
Student Writer


USC Annenberg’s Geoff Cowan (pictured left) and David Westphal (pictured right) met the challenge of the vast changes in the news industry by creating the Entrepreneurship in the New Media class, or Communication 579, whose goal was to teach aspiring journalists and business leaders the basics of turning a media idea into an enterprise.

This graduate course was offered for the first time in fall 2009, and Westphal said it reflects the goal of Dean Ernest J. Wilson III for journalists to be grounded in ELE (Economics, Literacy and Entrepreneurship).

“Operating a business is imperative for those interested in the digital media world, and many in the class learned that starting one can be very exciting but demanding,” Westphal said.

Communication 579 examines the ways new media have changed what people know as a society and helps prepare reporters to be entrepreneurs in a world where a sole-proprietorship is emerging as the dominant business structure instead of a Fortune 500 company.

“Students have to really do their research, know about their competitors and how they are going to attract customers,” Westphal said.  “Some came into the class thinking they had a solid idea until they found out it had already been done.”

Cowan and Westphal brought in several guest speakers who successfully work in the new media industry, such as Russ Stanton, editor of the Los Angeles Times, Scott Lewis, CEO for the Voice of San Diego, Jarl Mohn, director of the Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. and Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do?

Elizabeth Aguilera, a 2nd-year graduate student in specialized journalism who took the class, said the array of speakers benefited her the most because it showed that journalists can still do well despite the economic downturn.

Some of the Entrepreneurship class assignments included, “Then and Now,” where students got to speculate what journalism greats, such as William Randolph Hearst or Katherine Graham would do if they were around in the news business today, and students also had to create a feasibility plan for a new media business that they might actually implement after graduation. They were also required to blog about their project developments as a media entrepreneur.

Aguilera created a hyper-local site for her hometown in Colorado and said working on the business part presented the biggest challenge for her.

“As a mid-career journalist, it helped me to be in such a diverse class with students from all types of backgrounds to provide me with the marketing skills I lacked,” she said.

Students enrolled in the course had a range of majors, such as business, fashion, advertising, communication and journalism. Other top projects included a Web site that served as a national education wire, a fashion startup that allowed people to purchase the exact same outfits they saw celebrities wear and another site, which assisted people in moving across county.

Westphal said close to half of the class plans to implement their feasibility projects.

Pekka Pekkala, a  2nd-year graduate student in specialized journalism, wants to launch his “Micro-size Me” Web site based on the popular documentary film “Super Size Me,” in February. For a whole month, Pekkala plans to lose weight by solely eating fast food and will document his experiences while providing nutritional facts and ways to eat out healthily. 

“I think any food consumed in moderation enables you to lose weight and feel it will be more beneficial to give people advice about what to eat at McDonald’s instead of making them feel like losers if they have a burger,” he said.

Pekkala said his classmates looked amused when he first presented the “Micro-size Me” idea, but he thinks the project will work for busy or low-income people. Although he is a writer for Sanoma, the largest media corporation in Scandinavia, Pekkala said he needed to be able to sell his ideas properly in a business setting, and gained the necessary skills from the Entrepreneurship class. He feels the course should be required for all journalism and communication majors.

“Professors Westphal and Cowan are very up to speed on what goes on in the industry, and if journalists are ignorant about the business side, businessmen will continue to control the media,” he said.

Anant Goenka, a graduate student in print journalism, said he also plans to launch his class project. He hopes to launch a news aggregation site in India, and said he is going to take the Entrepreneurship class again.

“The class was terrific, extremely beneficial with tons of real-world examples and is one of those courses that you can never get enough of,” Goenka said.


Birman's "Hero of the Hudson" documentary premieres on TLC

Dan Birman

Journalism professor Dan Birman's documentary film Brace for Impact, which chronicles the remarkable landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River, premiered Jan. 10 on TLC. Birman is the executive producer. Actor and TLCpilot Harrison Ford narrates.

Joining Birman (pictured) are three USC Annenberg alumni. David Eisenberg (M.A. Broadcast Journalism ’06) was the show's associate producer — and he edited the first rough cut; Adriana Padilla (M.A. Broadcast Journalism '08) was one of the production coordinators and also helped locate the plane when that information was not publicly available; and Megan Chao (M.A. Broadcast Journalism '08) assisted with research, including helping to build a database on all 150 passengers.

“It's pretty cool that we can bring Annenberg graduates to a high-profile project like this — it says a lot about our program,” Birman said.

The documentary features interviews with Captain Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger, III, passengers, air traffic controllers and some of the boat captains who assisted in bringing the passengers to safety. Stunning graphics, combined with compelling first- person accounts, create a 360-degree perspective of that fateful event, which gripped global attention the afternoon of January 15, 2009.

Birman, who directed and wrote the show said, "TLC's audience is in for a fantastic ride. We got some great footage flying the route that puts viewers right in the pilot's seat with Sully, capturing his story in gripping detail. The unprecedented access and participation of agencies and individuals — including in-the-moment accounts from air traffic controllers, passengers, and boat captains — makes an extraordinary hour of television."

The story centers on Captain Sullenberger, whose heroic actions during the incident enabled him and his crew to save the lives of the 155 people on board that flight. The documentary reunited Sully with the actual plane, and flew Sully in a helicopter along the path of Flight 1549 from New York's LaGuardia Airport  to the Hudson River. During the flight, Sully explains what happened and takes the audience through the choices he made within seconds after striking a flock of Canada Geese while navigating a crippled aircraft over Manhattan.

"I'm honored and gratified by the attention I've received as a result of this event. On January 15, we had a remarkably good day, and I'm proud that my crew and I were up to the task," Captain Sullenberger said. "I am sure that this documentary will convey the ongoing power of this story and its ability to touch and inspire people around the world."

"Brace for Impact not only celebrates Sully, but honors everyone involved in making this event, and its positive outcome, so unforgettable," said Eileen O'Neill, president and general manager of  TLC. "With the aid of personal stories and amazing CGI, viewers will be taken through the entire, incredible journey."

The one-hour documentary airs in high definition and is produced for TLC by Daniel H. Birman Productions Inc. and executive produced by Birman.

Brace for Impact  
Preview (Video)  
NY Times article



Women outplay men in virtual world

By Carl Marziali

Dmitri WilliamsThey may not admit it, but female players of a large online game are more hardcore than men or teenagers, according to research by communication professor Dmitri Williams.EverquestII

Williams found several surprises during his study of 7,000 anonymous players of “EverQuest II.” While 80 percent of players were male, female players spent more time in-world: 29 hours a week, versus 25 for males.

“The women play more intensely than the guys do,” Williams said. “They’re less likely to quit, and they’re happier playing.”

As the first game researcher granted access to a virtual world’s servers, Williams was able to measure playing time directly. That turned up another surprise: Women underestimated their playing time more than men.

“The women really under-report,” Williams said. “They play more than they admit.”

Williams was not able to explain the difference. He suggested that women may be conditioned to view gaming as a male pastime and therefore may distort out of a sense of shame or stereotype pressure.

Other findings from the study, published in the December issue of the Journal of Communication, included:

  • The top 10 percent of female players averaged nearly 57 hours per week, eight more than male players. “A subset of the women are very hardcore players,” Williams said.
  • Female players - especially the older ones - weighed less and exercised more than males or females in the general population. Male players reported fitness levels similar to non-players.
  • Men and women feel very differently about playing together. More than 60 percent of women reported playing with a romantic partner, compared to only 25 percent of men. And each preferred it that way. “Men are happier when playing without their partner. Women are happier when they play with them,” Williams said.
  • Female players were five times more likely to report a bisexual orientation: 15 percent, compared to about 3 percent of women in the general population.

The survey took place over three days. Players were recruited with the offer of a “Greatstaff of the Sun Serpent,” a keepsake created specifically for the survey, in exchange for participation. Everyone who logged in during the recruitment period was offered the same prize.

Contrary to another stereotype - that of the teenage game player - the average age of the 7,000 players surveyed was 31.

“We found that older players were more typical,” Williams said. There were more players in their 30s than in their 20s, and playing time tended to increase with age.

In a first for online game research, Sony Online Entertainment agreed to let the researchers access anonymous game data.

The resulting discrepancy between actual playing time and players’ own estimates potentially calls into question 30 years of game research based on self-reported data, Williams said.

Williams’ co-authors were Nick Yee of the Palo Alto Research Center and Scott Caplan of the University of Delaware.


In an effort to better understand the playing habits and patterns of its customers, Sony Online Entertainment participated in a research study with Dmitri Williams, assistant professor of communications at USC Annenberg. Sony provided Williams and his colleagues with data from its massively multiplayer online game video game “EverQuest II.”

The information Sony provided for the research project was scrubbed of all personally identifiable information prior to being provided to the researchers. None of this information was connected to, or linked with, the real names or other personally identifiable information of any players.

Full article
LA Times coverage 
Thandian coverage
CNET coverage
UPI coverage


Jerrold Green visits Afghanistan as part of delegation from Pacific Council

Communication professor Jerrold Green went to Afghanistan on Dec. 14 as a part of a delegation from the Pacific Council. The Pacific Council was invited by the United States Department of Defense last month.

Green, who is the Pacific Council president, was joined by council directors Sharon Baradaran and Edward Pope and council members Randall Bone and Scott Olivet. 

The group met with senior leaders from within the armed forces, civilian experts in development, diplomats at the US embassy and military and civilian Afghan leaders. The five-member delegation also met with American non-commissioned officers for an open discussion on their experiences in Afghanistan.



Kun named to the editorial board of UC Press journal

Associate professor Josh Kun was named to the editorial board of "Boom: A Journal of California," which is a UC Press journal.

"Boom: A Journal of California" is a new quarterly, peer-reviewed journal discussing social, political, and cultural issues in California. The first issue will be published in February 2011.




Journalism Director's Forum: Reeves explores “daring” Berlin Airlift

By Jonathan Arkin
Student Writer

The first USC Annenberg Director’s Forum of the New Year featured journalism professor and senior lecturer Richard Reeves in a Jan. 19 discussion on 1948 Berlin and what he called a “gigantic event” in “How Americans saw themselves after the War" (watch entire video).

For several decades, Reeves has been studying the behaviors of various U.S. presidents and their administrations, and School of Journalism director Geneva Overholser, who moderated the talk, paid particular tribute to his longevity.

“Richard has an encyclopedic knowledge of public affairs,” Overholser said. “He’s just a phenomenally gifted man…remarkably accomplished, but I think what I value most about him is his relentlessly positive spirit.”

Reeves noted in his talk that perceptions of Americans in post-WWII Germany rapidly changed for the better due to the airlift, originally a British idea that was carried out by American military planes delivering 4500 tons of food – in 10 to 18-pound “care packages” – to the starving citizens of war-torn Berlin.

“In talking to some of my students, many of them didn’t even know there was a Berlin,” Reeves said, before shifting the conversation to the airlift’s somber preamble and more glorious results, all of which he said defined the honor of that generation. “I feel that this was the America I grew up in and this is the America I wanted to be a part of.”

One of the recipients of an airlift care package, Reeves said, was the future chancellor of Germany, Helmut Kohl, who he said years later remembered every item that was delivered to him as a boy.

“In the end the daring young men delivered 2.5 million tons of food to Berlin,” Reeves said of the effort that took 277,000 flights in planes that were described as “a loose bunch of parts flying in close formation” and which defied the Soviet blockade. “And when it was over, the daring young men came home to America and tried to remember where they had parked their cars.”

Even as Reeves made a point to distance his focus from his area of expertise – U.S. presidents – his anecdotes featured major executive players from the Berlin crisis, including John F. Kennedy and Harry S. Truman; and Reeves said it was Truman who acted quickly to begin airlifting food to Berlin, blockaded just a day earlier by Stalin’s Soviet Union.

“Germany was a country of starving people, and that wasn’t all by accident,” Reeves said, adding that despite the heroism of those pilots called quickly into duty to execute the airlift, Truman’s decision had far-reaching consequences vis-à-vis his close presidential race with Republican hopeful Thomas Dewey. “There is no doubt in my mind that the airlift caused Truman to win the election. This (airlift) is what Americans did…while the Republicans were attacking the airlift because they said it couldn’t work, and of course because it cost too much…It’s unlikely that NATO would have been created had Stalin not made the mistake of the blockade.”

Following the talk, Reeves signed copies of his new book “Daring Young Men,” and he explained the significance of the title.

“These were people who had fought the (Second World) War and now were home with new lives, new wives, college maybe, new babies, and they were told to report back in 48 hours and to go to Berlin,” Reeves said of the airlift soldiers, some of whom he showed in a selection of newsreel clips from June 1948 featuring Truman and two of the generals who shaped American military politics in that period – Omar Bradley and Lucius D. Clay, the U.S. military governor in postwar Berlin. “And it’s a shame that there aren’t more students here. This (newsreel) is an example of how news was once transmitted.”

Reeves said that the opportunity to speak with former players in both the Third Reich and Soviet Bloc, or “interviewing old Commies and Nazis” as he described the adventure, drew him to the project – and that he rediscovered the joys of investigative journalism in the process.

“I can’t believe why everyone doesn’t want to be a reporter,” Reeves said. “You walk in, and everyone wants to open their lives to you… It was such a pleasure to do.”



Published and Presented


Undergrad Ferreira publishes her first book

By Catherine Donahoe
Student Writer

FerreiraMany nineteen-year old college sophomores spend their days doing homework, working a student job, or spending time with friends. At nineteen, Trenise Ferreira, a sophomore at USC Annenberg, has already published her first book.

Ferreira began writing “Seven-Oh!-Seven: Livin’ the dream” when she was 15 years old, and finished it at 17. “I was watching Laguna Beach, and I thought, 'I could write a better story than this!'” she said. Her mother told her that she should do it, so she began writing her book during her winter break from school. “I make it up as I go along,” she said. “Once I started writing it, it came along.”

Ferreira said that the story is based in Northern California, where she grew up. “The first book is getting to know the story. Each character has a specific problem that I feel like teenagers today are dealing with,” she said. “As the series progresses, you will see how they face their problems.” Issues that teenagers deal with regularly, like relationships and alcoholism, are discussed the novel.

“I’m excited about it! I hope people really like it,” she said. “I hope parents read it, and have talking points with their kids about it.”

The book is based on some real experiences. Some of them didn’t happen to Ferreira specifically, but other people she went to school with. “I thought it would be a good idea to write a book about it, and people could see themselves in the characters. They could maybe think of making better decisions in their own lives so they can have a better fate,” she said.

Her book was published in November, and is available through her Web site,, and by purchasing from Ferreira directly.

Ferreira is an undergraduate at Annenberg studying Broadcast Journalism. “I want to be a sports anchor for ESPN,” she said. “I’ve taken some journalism classes and have learned a lot already.”

She chose Annenberg because she said it is one of the best schools for journalism in the country. “LA is the media capital of the world. USC has a lot to offer- internships, a great football program- it’s a perfect place for sports,” she added.

Ferreira has many future goals. She is working on a sequel to her book, which she was planning on finishing over her winter break from school. After she finishes her high-school series, she wants to write a college series about USC. 

Aside from being a sports anchor, she wants to minor in Cinematic Arts and learn how to become a screenwriter. She said that if her books take off, she’d like to become a full-time writer.

“As an author, I want to be a positive role model for the next generation,” she said. “There are not many young, more relatable role models. I want to project a better image to young girls,” she added.



Information Technologies & International Development special issue published

A special issue of Information Technologies & International Development came out for Winter 2009.  The Volume 5, Issue 4: HCI4D issue is about Human-Computer Interaction for Development: Mapping the Terrain.

USC associate professor François Bar and Georgia Institute of Technology professor Michael L. Best served as Editors-in-Chief and USC’s Arlene Luck served as managing editor.  Dean Ernest J. Wilson III is the founding Editor-in-Chief,

The articles in this issue examined an “interdisciplinary approach to understanding and advancing the ways that technology can become part of everyday life in developing regions.”



Chinn to speak on "Social Media: Getting It Right in 2010" panel


Journalism professor Dana Chinn will speak about social media metrics on a Jan. 21 panel titled "Social Media: Getting it Right in 2010."

The panel will take place at the Western Justice Center Foundation in Pasadena. It is a Social Media Club event.

Social Media Club



K.C. Cole on the recession not being over (American Public Media’s “Marketplace”)


Journalism professor K.C. Cole was featured on a commentary on “Marketplace” on Dec. 21 about how the recession is not truly over despite some economic experts saying it is.

“I thought about this recently walking by a row of shuttered stores in a nearby pricey neighborhood, thinking of my laid-off friends while ‘experts’ were saying the recession was over,” Cole said.

“Do they ever look outside, I wondered? Or were they simply so blindsided by sunny stocks and profits that they weren't seeing the obvious?” she continued.

Read the article


Jeffrey Cole to speak at Digital Communications Literacy Forum in Doha


Director of the Center for the Digital Future Jeffrey Cole will speak at the ‘Digital Communications Literacy Forum’ in Doha in February. The forum will be held by The International Institute of Communications (IIC) in association with ictQATAR.

Cole, who is also Director of the World Internet Project, will talk about the key facts about the growth of digital media.

The one-day forum will examine the role that digital literacy can play in the Middle East region’s communications environment. The Forum’s speakers include experts from the European Union, the World Internet Project, BBC, Al Jazeera, and Vodafone.



Cooper pens op-ed on dawn of the new decade (LA Times)


Journalism professor and director of Annenberg Digital News Marc Cooper wrote an op-ed on Dec. 30 in the Los Angeles Times about the trials and tribulations of the last decade and a look forward to the new one.

“I'm ready to celebrate almost anything but what we've had since 2000,” said Cooper in his article. “It has been a decade of collapse and exhaustion. It began with the breakdown of an antiquated balloting system and the charade of a moth-eaten electoral college and an unelected Supreme Court choosing the president.”

“Can we, together, begin to move beyond hubris and denial and into the realm of healing our profound ills? Or are we destined this next decade to continue languishing in a sort of political and moral purgatory that rejects the old but refuses to conjure the new? New Year's Day seems the right moment to decide,” wrote Cooper.

 Read the article


Fleming writes article on Boy Scouts excluding gay members (LA Times)

Adjunct professor Charles Fleming penned an op-ed on Dec. 30 in the Los Angeles Times about the boy scouts and how they still refuse to accept gay members.

“I don't find being gay inconsistent with being morally straight,” Fleming wrote. “But I find discrimination inconsistent with Scouting's principles of kindness and tolerance. They are values I learned around the Boy Scout campfire and taught my children when I became a father.”

“Scouting organizations in other countries have maintained their core values without making heterosexuality a membership requirement. In Britain, birthplace of Scouting, the group's bylaws prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, without any apparent damage to its mission,” Fleming added.

Read the article


Kaplan on car insurance changes (Huffington Post)

Director of USC Annenberg's Norman Lear Center and holder of the Norman Lear Chair in Entertainment Martin Kaplan wrote a Jan. 4 Huffington Post article on an insurance company wanting to charge more for drivers who have had changes in their insurance coverage.

“Mercury wants California insurance companies to be able to jack up the premiums on all drivers who haven't had continuous car insurance. If your coverage was canceled at some point in the past because you missed a payment (did I hear someone say ‘worst unemployment since 1940’?), Mercury wants the right to penalize you - even if you tried to reinstate your coverage right after you were canceled,” said Kaplan.

Huffington Post article

Student Evelyn McDonnell on the "Stooges" (LA Times) and Shepard Fairey (Miami Herald)

Specialized Journalism: The Arts student Evelyn McDonnell wrote a review on Dec. 19 on “The Stooges: The Authorized and Illustrated Story,” which was showcased in the LA Times.

“It's hard not to get a little hagiographic when discussing the Stooges, so extreme is their story, so complete their devotion to their cause,” McDonnell wrote in the article. “That cause, of course, was a sort of nihilism: Rarely have musicians waded so deeply into the muck of violence, boredom, drugs, chaos, insanity and sadomasochism -- in both their music and their lives. You can't help but rubberneck at the story of this high-speed train hurtling off the tracks.”

McDonnell also wrote an article on the creator of Obama “Hope” artwork, Shepard Fairey in the Nov. 29 Miami Herald.

In the article, McDonnell discussed the success and controversy Fairey has faced since his artwork became famous.

“Fairey is too simultaneously sarcastic and earnest to wallow in victimization. He seems defensive and slightly shell-shocked, but one gets the sense that he also at some level relishes his role as David against an outmoded media Goliath. Whoever wins the legal case, Fairey can take assurance in already having played a role in securing one important victory. Obama sent him a thank-you note,” said McDonnell in her piece.

Provost’s professor of communication and journalism Henry Jenkins was also quoted in McDonnell’s piece. "He embodies this new dispersed, grassroots, participatory culture about as well as any contemporary figure,'' said Jenkins in the article. "The battle between AP and Fairey is an epic struggle between the old media and new-media paradigms, a dramatization of one of the core issues of our times."

Read the review on "The Stooges: The Authorized and Illustrated Story"


Muller on business of egg donation (KCET)

Journalism professor Judy Muller reported on KCET’s “SoCal Connected” about the business of egg donation in Southern California on Dec. 17.

Muller said Southern California is an ideal place for egg donors, and that young women can make large sums of money by donating their eggs. She also reported that many businesses are starting up to match egg donors with families who are infertile.  There are many fertility match-making services in California alone.

The premiere date was Thursday, Dec. 17, but it was also re-broadcast throughout the weekend.

 Watch the broadcast


Nelson reviews "Journalism and Truth: Strange Bedfellows" (Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly)


Journalism professor Bryce Nelson penned a review on Tom Goldstein's book "Journalism and Truth: Strange Bedfellows" in the Autumn 2009 issue of Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly.

In the review, Nelson said that Goldstein's training as a lawyer and a journalist "adds considerable dimension to most of his discussions, and makes the book worth the cost of admission." Nelson also stated that people will be interested in Goldstein's defense of tabloid journalism.


Reeves on Harry Reid, Obama's presidential grade; war in Afghanistan (Yahoo! News)

Journalism professor Richard Reeves wrote an op-ed on Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid on Dec. 25.

“It wasn't pretty, but it worked. The Senate was revealed for what it now is, a marketplace with two sets of merchants who hate each other, which made Reid's leadership at least as impressive as Lyndon Johnson's dramatic arm-twisting and legal bribery when he was majority leader. As powerful as Johnson was in the 1950s, he still operated in a country and body that could produce bipartisan majorities on issues from national security to public security and public health,” said Reeves in his piece.

He also wrote an op-ed on Dec. 21 about President Obama’s progress as president.  He stated that all presidents are students, and that Obama’s assignments are “getting out of Afghanistan and finding a way to raise revenue of the federal government.”  

“So, watching ‘60 Minutes’ the other night, I was not surprised when President Obama gave himself a B-plus for his first year in the White House. I think he has done a good job in the most difficult of circumstances, probably the most frustrating set of interlocking circumstances since Franklin D. Roosevelt came into office in 1933,” Reeves continued.

Additionally, Reeves penned an article on the war in Afghanistan on Dec. 14 on Yahoo! News and Dec. 15 in the Kitsap Sun.

“So, our extraordinarily rational and articulate president went to Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and identified himself as a wartime commander-in-chief. True, but he neglected to mention that his nation is not at war,” Reeves said in his piece.


Seib on “International News Reporting: Frontlines and Deadlines” (International Journal of Press/Politics); meets with National Security Council staff at White House


Center of Public Diplomacy director Philip Seib wrote a review on “International News Reporting: Frontlines and Deadlines” for the January 2010 issue of International Journal of Press/Politics.

“International News Reporting is primarily for aspiring journalists, but anyone interested in how international correspondents pursue their craft will find it interesting. The book benefits from its array of smart and experienced contributors,” wrote Seib.

 “As with most such collections, International News Reporting contains some repetition, and some chapters are better than others. But overall the book does a fine job of explaining the work of journalists whose job, as Pete Hamill once wrote, is to ‘take the torch to the back of the cave and show what is there in the darkness,’” Seib said.

 Additionally, Seib met with National Security Council staff at the White House regarding the administration's approach to public diplomacy on Dec. 15.

 International Journal of Press/Politics

Suro delivers keynote address in Mexico City; essays appear in book


Journalism professor Roberto Suro delivered the keynote address at a Jan. 15 Mexico City conference that discussed the challenges that migration poses to the education systems in both the sending and receiving countries. "The Students We Share: New Research from the United States and Mexico" is organized by The Civil Rights Project at UCLA.

Also, two of Suro's essays appeared in the book "Migration, Public Opinion and Politics," which was published in December. The first essay, "America's Views on Immigration: The Evidence from Public Opinion Surveys," analyzed data from different polls for nearly a decade and offered an assessment about rising anxiety over recent illegal immigration. The second essay, "Promoting Stalemate: The Media and US Policy on Migration," built on and updated a content analysis of the coverage of migration by journalists, talk radio hosts, and bloggers which Suro conducted in 2008. Researchers in Germany and the United Kingdom used similar methodologies to migration coverage in those countries for publication in this volume.  The book was published by Verlag Bertelsmann Siftung in Germany.

"Migration, Public Opinion and Politics"


Winston speaks on documentary at CU-Boulder; participates in panel in San Diego

Knight Chair in Media and Religion Diane Winston will speak on the documentary “Muslim Cool” at CU-Boulder’s Islam and the Media Conference on Jan. 8.

Also, Winston participated on a Jan. 10 panel at the American Historical Association in San Diego. The panel examined Internet use in the classroom.





Aronson on plagiarism (The Signal)

Chinn on importance of Web analytics (SF Weekly)

Jeffrey Cole joins MediaLink as a senior advisor (New York Times)

K.C. Cole’s book on Oppenheimer reviewed (LA Times)

Cooper on Warren Beatty (LA Times), top political stories of decade (Oregonian), online journalism sites (Marketplace)

Jenkins on participatory culture (NPR); writing on "intertextual fiction" highlighted (Times U.K.)

Kaplan on R-rated movies (New York Times), NASA TV (LA Times), network news (Marketplace), Palin joining Fox News (The Tribune)

Lih on Wikipedia (Financial Times)

Overholser on Miami Herald asking online readers for donations (SF Chronicle)

Ph.D. student Powers' research on war and peace in newscasts highlighted (Khaleej Times)

Reeves' new book on Berlin Airlift featured/reviewed (The Economist, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer)

Saltzman on popularity of faux news format shows (Dallas Morning News)

Seib on Obama family on TV (Baltimore Sun), Turkey and E.U. (Jerusalem Post), Haiti (Huffington Post)

Suro on second generation Latino immigrants (The Herald)
The Monterey County Herald quoted journalism professor Roberto Suro in an article about the children of Mexican immigrants to the United States. "If you look at the second generation in some really key things like education, they're doing pretty well," Suro said. "They're way ahead of their parents and much better than Latinos who've been here for a long time."

Taplin on negotiations between Fox and Time Warner (Pasadena Star-News)

Dean Wilson's goal to boost innovation in public media highlighted (Nieman Journalism Lab)

Annenberg Program on Online Communities highlighted (New York Times)

Annenberg class' partnership with Center for Investigative Reporting mentioned (PBS Media Shift)

Neon Tommy saluted by Chairman of Voltage Capital (PR Web); article on delay of Metro Gold Line opening highlighted (LA Weekly, LAist)

Lear Center's HH&S mentioned (Yahoo! News)