USC Annenberg Magazine, Winter 2021

Image of a Black Lives Matter protest

Feature Story

Talking About a Revolution

It wasn’t so much the sign itself that caught Rachel Scott’s eye, but the boy who was holding it.

The throng of protesters in Lafayette Park outside the White House on the evening of June 7 bristled with posters — some with now-familiar slogans like “Justice for George Floyd,” “Defund the Police,” and, of course, “Black Lives Matter.” But among the peaceful, multiracial, multi-generational crowd protesting systemic racism and police violence against Black people, Scott, who was covering the protests for ABC News, made her way over to a child.

“He was holding up a sign that read, ‘I want to be a Black engineer that works for NASA. Will the police kill me before I have the chance?’” recalled Scott, who earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2015. She spoke to the boy and his parents, learning that his name was King and that he was 9 years old.

Read the full story >

Features and Columns

A Way with Words

How language evolves to make meaning in an ever-changing world.

Leagues, Lives and Livelihoods

The world of sports communication and journalism responds to COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter.

The Gifted Project

Jaimie Milner ’10 creates a series of portraits and interviews to celebrate the talent and influence of Black men.

Stepping Up to Serve

Brenda Gonzalez ’17 worked both at the Capitol and most recently as then-Senator Kamala Harris’ state press secretary.

Health-Tech CEO Wastes No Time

Founder and CEO of Healthvana Ramin Bastani ’01 believes speed is life as his health-tech startup works with cities and states across the nation on COVID-19 testing and vaccination records.

Searching for Harmony

Journalism master’s student Polina Cherezova reflects on her Russian soul in an American reality.

Dean’s Note: Meeting the Moment

by Willow Bay
Dean and Walter H. Annenberg Chair in Communication

Rachel Scott reporting at Joseph Biden’s victory celebration on Nov. 7.
Photo courtesy of: Rachel Scott
As the events of the past year unfolded in dizzying succession, we have remained relentlessly focused on advancing our academic mission and enriching the student experience in creative and impactful ways. Creating intentional moments of connection has been our call to action as together we faced a global pandemic, the fight for racial justice and the turmoil of our political system. 

Throughout this issue, you will find that our alumni, some of the world’s most accomplished communicators, have played a critical role in helping us make sense of these challenging times, and push toward a brighter future.

ABC News’ Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott ’15 is among those who has still found the time to share her experience and guidance with our students while covering the biggest news events of the last year. 

“I owe so much to USC Annenberg that I jump at any opportunity to talk to a student, to talk to a class, talk to a seminar,” she told us.

Since March, our students have needed the counsel of alumni like Rachel more than ever before. An ongoing study by our Center for the Digital Future, which examines views about life since the pandemic began, found that 61% of college students learning remotely feel isolated.

Joining our dedicated faculty and staff, our alumni stepped up to address this need and to ensure our students continue to thrive. More than 250 alumni volunteers have given back by speaking with or mentoring students, and also have helped us offer nearly 100 professionally focused events that engaged more than 3,400 students and alumni.

What I find so remarkable is that as we identify ways to support our students, we also discover opportunities to develop our own sense of belonging. I know that in the year ahead we will continue to build our resilience as a community of inquiry, guided by our research, teaching, service and each other.