High School Summer Programs

As part of USC Summer Programs, USC Annenberg extends a tradition of excellence to outstanding high school students through its unique 4-week summer immersion courses. Accepted students will balance academic and campus life as they prepare for college in a global center for culture, media, entertainment and sports — Los Angeles, California.

Storytelling in the Digital Age

American democracy is in crisis, with the upheaval and challenges felt in communities and institutions. From the videotaped police killing of George Floyd on Memorial Day 2020, to a devastating pandemic, to Donald Trump and his congressional allies denouncing the outcome of a fair election won by President Joe Biden, the foundation of our country is shaken.

Our communities’ responses to these challenges will provide the context for our month-long journey in journalism this summer. Individual and team-reported projects will highlight what’s working and what’s not. You’ll have the flexibility to produce stories about sports, schools, politics, religions, the arts, and culture. You’ll report on the work of unsung heroes of our democracy.

You’ll write journal entries in the first person. You’ll profile people who live in your community. You’ll learn storytelling techniques for text, video and audio platforms. You will gain an understanding of the challenges and opportunities for journalists in the digital world. Your critical thinking and analytical skills will expand.

We’ll also celebrate one of the key advantages of a Zoom classroom: You’ll be reporting from communities around the country — and world — and provide us a window into places we might not otherwise know.

Along the way to mastering the basic tools of journalism, you will gain an understanding of our world and embrace ways of thinking that will stay with you a lifetime.


  • Enjoy the freedom to produce stories about politics, sports, culture, among other topics
  • Explore and embrace the principles of media literacy and discerning truth
  • Engage people near and far as the pandemic levels the playing field for journalists reporting remotely
  • Practice what you learn and build your own portfolio focused on one of the biggest stories of our lifetime
  • Publish stories on Instagram, Medium and USC Annenberg’s news website
  • Learn reporting and writing skills, interviewing techniques, and new ways of presenting stories
  • Produce journalism that highlights human triumphs in these challenging times

Topic of Study

  • Interviewing, reporting and writing techniques
  • Basic and advanced photography and video skills
  • How to engage with your audience on social media
  • Changing rules of journalism; Old and new story structures
  • Media law and accountability journalism