Sports @ Annenberg

Sports are both an important window into culture and society and an increasingly dynamic site of media production, content creation and audience consumption. Through all of USC Annenberg’s sports-related courses as well as the two minors in Sports Media Industries and Sports Media Studies, students delve into the complex social issues concerning sports and social change, produce compelling sports media content, learn about the broader socio-economic and political context within which sports take place, and study public relations and brand management strategies for promoting athletes and teams. These popular courses and degree programs are taught by internationally-renowned faculty, including both leading academic scholars and outstanding professors of professional practice.

USC Annenberg’s position at an NCAA Division I institution with world-class on-campus sports facilities and its location in Los Angeles, one of the world’s major global cities, provide a perfect laboratory for understanding, researching and exploring the economic, political and social significance of sports. Southern California itself is home to over ten women’s and men’s professional sport franchises, an international hub for broadcasting and the entertainment industries, 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 media center for the world’s press.

Minors

 
  • 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.
  • 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. Students can work with Annenberg Media and other student-run programs in USC Annenberg’s state-of-the-art Media Center

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

Associate Professor of Professional Practice
JOUR 350: Introduction to Sports Media
JOUR 441: Sports Reporting
JOUR 571: 21st Century Sports Storytelling
JOUR 574: Sports and Society

Rook Campbell

Adjunct Professor, Communication
COMM 381 Issues in Contemporary Sport
COMM 445 Global Networks of Sport
COMM 499 Sport Diplomacy
PUBD 599 Sport Diplomacy

Ben Carrington

Associate Professor, Journalism
JOUR 350: Introduction to Sports Media
COMM 387: Sports and Social Change
JOUR 499: Politics of Sports

Daniel Durbin

Daniel Durbin

Clinical Professor, Communication Director, Institute of Sports, Media and Society
COMM 383 Sports, Communication and Culture
COMM 387 Sports and Social Change
COMM 444 Critical Theories of Sports
CMGT 546 Sports, Media and Society

Jeffrey Fellenzer

Associate Professor of Professional Practice
JOUR 350: Introduction to Sports Media
JOUR 380/COMM 382: Sports, Business and Media in Today’s Society
JOUR 480: Sports and Media Technology
JOUR 481: The Athlete, Sports Media and Popular Culture
JOUR 510: Special Assignment Reporting: Sports

Julianna Kirschner

Lecturer, Communication
COMM 387 Sports and Social Change

Arash Markazi

Adjunct Instructor, Journalism
JOUR 432: Sports Commentary

Jeff Moeller

Adjunct Instructor, Public Relations
PR 454: Sports Public Relations

Rob Parker

Adjunct Instructor, Journalism
JOUR 432: Sports Commentary

Shelley Smith

Adjunct Instructor, Journalism
JOUR 404: Produce and Host Sports Content in Studio A
JOUR 432 : Sports Commentary

Miki Turner

Assistant Professor of Professional Practice
JOUR 432: Sports Commentary

Erit Yellen

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

Featured Sports @ Annenberg Alumni

Jacob Ullman

B.A., Broadcast Journalism, 1995 Senior VP of Production and Talent Development, FOX Sports

Lindsay Rhodes

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

Monica Sears

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

Matt Vasgersian

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