Sports @ Annenberg

Sports are both an important window to culture and an increasingly dynamic site of media content. Through all of USC Annenberg's degree programs, students delve into the link between sports and social change, produce compelling sports media, and study strategies for promoting athletes and teams.

USC Annenberg’s position at an NCAA Division I institution and its location in Los Angeles provide a perfect laboratory for exploring sports. Southern California is home to 10 professional sport franchises, a hub for broadcasting and entertainment content, as well as the site for many of the agencies who represent players and teams. In addition, Los Angeles will host the 2028 Summer Olympic Games and Wallis Annenberg Hall will serve as the main press center.

Minors

Sports media Industries

  • Expose yourself to a range of professional settings, activities, and challenges related to the growth of sports media.
  • Navigate the vast array of mediated content in one of the most popular forms of live and participatory entertainment.
  • Assess the challenges for journalistic norms and storytelling techniques and new opportunities for the business of sports media management.
  • Learn to cover sports utilizing diverse platforms.

Sports Media Studies

  • Understand the historical, social, cultural, ethical, and political roles sport plays in society and global culture.
  • Decode the meanings sport takes on in a variety of mediated communication considering the production, consumption, and distribution of content in film, television, streaming services, online and social media.
  • Assess sport’s value as a vehicle for social change and a site to explore the construction of identity, including gender, race and sexual orientation.
  • Situate sport as a fundamental feature of entertainment and news media in relation to events, the construction of celebrity and the prevalence of sports fandom.

Courses

USC Annenberg offers more than 15 sports-related courses across the communication, journalism and public relations fields. Courses are taught by top faculty scholars as well as sports media professionals who work in the industry and teach at the same time. Our faculty are continually working to develop new courses on emerging topics.

JOUR 350: Introduction to Sports Media
Highlight norms, routines of content, including print, broadcast, video. Focus on opportunities, constraints posed by roles of reporters, fans, players, publicists, agents, leagues, teams.

JOUR 380: Sports, Business and Media in Today’s Society
An inside look at the symbiotic relationship of sports and the media — from the interdependence of sports and media, to the coverage of sports in newspapers, magazines, radio and television. The economic and ethical issues involved, the conflicts of interest, the history and current status of sports coverage in American media today.

COMM 381: Issues in Contemporary Sport
Explores social, political and ethical issues in elite sports and how issues are addressed through popular media; examination includes the relationship between sports and politics.

COMM 383m: Sports, Communication and Culture
Rhetorical and critical approaches to sports and public discourse; application to sports organizations, the news and popular media; representations of gender and race in sports.

COMM 387: Sports and Social Change
Application of critical, sociological and rhetorical theories to sports events and sport media; examination of the role of sports in enacting social change.

JOUR 432: Sports Commentary
Techniques of reporting and writing sports columns and commentary for print, video, radio and Web-based media.

JOUR 441: Sports Reporting
News and feature coverage of sporting events, including social and economic factors influencing sports in America.

COMM 444: Critical Theories of Sport
Focuses on critical theories that examine social and political roles of sport in society and how these roles play out in media and broadcast platforms.

PR 453: Public Relations Strategies for Working with Athletes
Sports Public Relations isn't only getting press for a team or player; it's managing communications among influencers. Complements overview course giving students advanced look at practitioners' role with professional athletes.

PR 454: Sports Public Relations
Introduction to the field of sports information and promotion, including lectures, media assignments, role-playing, and presentations by sports professionals.

JOUR 480: Sports and Media Technology
Examine and analyze the ever-changing technology sector of the sports business and sports media world. Identify emerging technologies being developed in the sports industry and how they are being utilized to enhance the fan experience.

JOUR 499: The Athlete, Sports Media and Popular Culture

JOUR 499: Produce and Host Sports Content in Studio A

JOUR 510: Special Assignment Reporting: Sports
Beat reporting with a deep dive into research, source development, and writing/reporting skills. Focus on current trends, history, major actors and key issues.

CMGT 546: Sports Media and Society
History and evolution of sports media industry; traditional, new and alternative sports media; globalization of sports; sports promotions and personalities.

JOUR 571: 21st Century Sports Storytelling
Seminar in how to report and write sports: news, previews, profiles, features, columns.

JOUR 574: Sports and Society
Develop and refine print and multimedia skills to work as a sports journalist. Gain perspective, context and background in how sports intersect with society.

Student Media

Through our student-run media organization, Annenberg Media, students produce compelling and informative stories that include regular sports coverage.

Sports SCene, for example, focuses on USC sports. Learn more here.

Research and Programs

USC Annenberg’s Institute of Sports, Media and Society promotes academic programs, international research initiatives and professional engagement in the competitive world of sports and media. Clinical Professor of Communication Daniel Durbin founded and directs the institute, which hosts two sports and social change programs each year. These events bring together scholars as well as professionals from the world of sports and sports management to discuss important issues around sports and culture. The institute also houses the world’s only oral history project of African American Major League Baseball players who played in the 25 years after MLB’s color barrier was broken.

There is no better place to study sports than USC Annenberg. Our students learn from top scholars and seasoned professionals in the classroom, from firsthand experience with our student-run media platforms and state-of-the-art media center, and from their internships with organizations like ESPN or the L.A. Kings.
Willow Bay, Dean

Featured Faculty

Alan Abrahamson

Lecturer, Journalism
JOUR 350: Introduction to Sports Media
JOUR 571: 21st Century Sports Storytelling

Ben Carrington

Associate Professor, Journalism

Daniel Durbin

Daniel Durbin

Clinical Professor, Communication Director, Institute of Sports, Media and Society
COMM 383: Sports, Communication and Culture

Jeffrey Fellenzer

Lecturer, Journalism
JOUR 380/COMM 382: Sports, Business and Media in Today’s Society

Arash Markazi

Adjunct Instructor, Journalism
JOUR 432: Sports Commentary

Jeff Moeller

Adjunct Instructor, Public Relations
PR 454: Sports PR

Shelley Smith

Adjunct Instructor, Journalism
JOUR 432 : Sports Commentary
JOUR 499: Produce and Host Sports Content in Studio A

Erit Yellen

Adjunct Instructor, Public Relations
PR 453: Public Relations Strategies for Working with Athletes

Featured Sports @ Annenberg Alumni

Matt Vasgersian

B.A., Communication, 1990 Studio Host, MLB Network

Lindsay Rhodes

B.A., Broadcast Journalism, 1998 Host, NFL Total Access

Monica Sears

B.A., Public Relations, 2005 VP of Operations, Golden Boy Promotions