Dean’s Report 2023

A professor standing in front of a classroom lecturing.

At this moment, we need creators, collaborators and communicators more than ever.

We need professionals who can adapt to constant and rapid change across the media and communication landscape. To support these current and future leaders, we develop nimble and responsive academic programs and scholarship, build bridges between academe and industry, and support pathways to meaningful careers. We also nurture and support a culture of lifelong learning. The result is an academic community in which we all can thrive and work together toward a brighter future.

Willow Bay
Dean, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Walter H. Annenberg Chair in Communication

Classroom and Beyond

Navigating the future

In the school’s first course focusing exclusively on artificial intelligence, students learn to interrogate, experiment with, and deploy AI tools and technologies.

Unapologetically herself

GRoW @ Annenberg scholar Kaleef Starks elevates conversations that advance LGBTQ rights and create a path toward acceptance and healing.

Inside look

Students share key takeaways from Maymester programs in New York, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.

Storytelling gold

Gearing up for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris and 2028 in Los Angeles, students acquire the skills necessary to produce multiplatform coverage of these mega-events.

Inspired change

Annenberg Youth Academy for Media and Civic Engagement alumni share how the program transforms academic and professional pathways.

Expanded playbook

Professor Robert Kozinets’ textbook provides a window into his popular course and examines how influencer relations is transforming the rules of marketing and public relations.


Red book cover featuring a television and the title "Apocalypse Television."

Apocalypse Television: How the Day After Helped End the Cold War

Oil Beach book cover with yellow background, orange sun and oil filled ocean.

Oil Beach: How Toxic Infrastructure Threatens Life in the Ports of Los Angeles and Beyond

Red book cover for "Kaos Theory" featuring an abstract image.

KAOS Theory: The Afrokosmic Ark of Ben Caldwell

"Decolonizing My Body" book cover with black and orange text and image of the author in geometric shapes.

Decolonising My Body: A Radical Exploration of Rituals and Beauty

Book cover for "Righting the American Dream" featuring politicians reading.

Righting the American Dream: How the Media Mainstreamed Reagan’s Evangelical Vision

Advancing Industry

Ocean of possibility

The Center for Climate Journalism and Communication’s inaugural climate communicator in residence, Sylvia Earle, offers her insights and guidance to students, faculty and SoCal-based climate journalists.

Data and diversity

The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative unveils The Inclusion List, a data-driven ranking that provides the titles of the 100 most inclusive films from 2019–22.

The next wave

USC Annenberg launches new online master’s program in public relations innovation, strategy and management.

Critical Conversations

We engaged in compelling discussions with scholars and professionals across the communication, journalism and public relations fields. Teaming up with Wasserman Music, we hosted a series of discussions, including how to build a career around representing an artist. We fostered dialogues among scholars and professionals such as Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, Angel City Football Club co-founders and investors Kara Nortman, Julie Uhrman and Sophia Bush, and CLOT co-founder Edison Chen. Together with POV Agency, we welcomed their COO and managing partner, Pilaar Terry ’02, as executive-in-residence for the Seeing ME in the MEdia mentoring program, which connects first-gen and BIPOC students to explore the communication and media industries. And our first-ever Kind Fest united USC student organizations The Happy Hour Club, Annenberg Cross-Cultural Student Association, Men’s Mental Health Initiative, and the Public Relations Student Society of America as well as USC Annenberg’s Student Services team for an afternoon of activities focused on enhancing well-being.


in-person and virtual events hosted by USC Annenberg

Research and Impact

Voices of a movement

The Charlotta Bass Journalism and Justice Lab creates an oral history project inviting Black Americans connected to pivotal moments in the fight for social justice to shine a light on events or correct a skewed record of them.

Trigger warning

The Norman Lear Center’s Hollywood, Health & Society helps the entertainment industry improve representations of safe and responsible gun use in media.

Digital diary

The Center for Public Relations and Day One Agency examine the state of Gen Z’s media diets, how they consume news, how and why they spend time online, and who influences them.

Mobilizing change

Researchers analyze millions of tweets to shed light on a new dimension of K-Pop’s influence: public health.

The future of work

Marlon Twyman II, assistant professor of communication, and Casey S. Pierce ’08, assistant professor at the University of Michigan, explore how employees are re-evaluating their relationship to communication technologies in a post-pandemic world.

Beyond the buzz

Center for Generative AI and Society dives into the transformative impact of artificial intelligence on culture, education, media and society.

By the Numbers

Media Highlights

“Journalists need to get good, fast, at looking under the hood of GenAI systems and developing the power to shape them.”
September 27, 2023

Associate Professor of Communication and Journalism Mike Ananny looks at how Generative AI systems act like “stochastic parrots,” using statistical models to guess word orders and pixel placements being incompatible with a free press that commands its own words.

The New York Times
“Women’s magazines, both editorially and from a product perspective, were victims of technology and of us changing.”
August 5, 2023

Professor of Professional Practice of Journalism and Director of Journalism (MS) program Lisa Pecot-Hébert weighs in on the state of women’s magazines in 2023.

“This could change the way we understand the world because this system is giving you confident answers that can feel extremely plausible even when they make mistakes.”
April 19, 2023

Research Professor of Communication Kate Crawford joins Chris Hayes’ podcast, “Why Is this Happening?,”  to discuss the social and political implications of AI, exploited labor behind its growth, the need for regulation and more.

“In the current climate, the old adage of disagreeing without being disagreeable has been flipped on its head.”
February 9, 2023

Part-time Lecturer of Communication Julianna Kirschner explores how political feuds are increasingly out in the open due to social media.

Spaces for Our Future

With the support of the Annenberg Foundation, we launched a capital campaign that will transform the signature spaces in our historic Annenberg School of Communication (ASC) building into dynamic hubs that propel students’ success, further groundbreaking research, and encourage new partnerships and initiatives. The foundation’s gift provides a $5-million grant plus a $5-million matching challenge grant to encourage our alumni, parents and friends to support the renovation. The initial goal is to have the physical infrastructure match the caliber of the school’s ambitions, beginning with ASC’s most critical and visible spaces: its lobbies, auditorium, terrace and classrooms. Make your gift to the ASC renovation fund here.


of USC Annenberg Student Services, including Academic Advising, Career Development and International Programs, reside in the ASC building