Global Communication Student Matt Pascarella
Global Communication Student Matt Pascarella

Meet Matt Pascarella

Name: Matt Pascarella

Hometown: My mom was a single mom and a sergeant in the US Army, so I moved around quite a bit as a kid. I wound up in New York City when I was 18 and made it my home for over a decade before moving to SoCal.

Undergraduate Institution: Marymount Manhattan College, New York City

Prior Work Experience: My prior work spans international investigative journalism, national social and economic justice campaigns, as well as advising and/or consulting socially-driven non-profits and start-up companies in the US and Europe.  

My journalistic work includes researching and producing award-winning, law-changing reports and documentaries for the BBC, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Harper’s, The Progressive, Rolling Stone, Pacifica Radio, and many others — in addition to editing three NY Times bestselling books.  

My activism work includes directing the citizen journalism watchdog organization, Video the Vote; producing and directing award-winning viral media for organizations such as MoveOn and Rebuild the Dream; as well as advising the Hello Herman Project, a national anti-bullying campaign that works with high schools and colleges across the country.  I also led the curriculum production team for The 99% Spring, a coalition of several dozen unions and activists groups that came together and trained tens of thousands of Americans in the history and practice of non-violent civil disobedience.

I have also helped to develop and lead start-ups such as Tar magazine which is printed twice a year on a single-sheet fed press in Verona, Italy and was called “a thinking man’s magazine” by the NY Times.  I helped bring the award-winning citizen journalism newswire, Demotix, into North America during the 2009 Iranian presidential election protests.  I have consulted for Prezi’s evangelism marketing team, and currently advise upstarts Onstack (an app-based video sharing platform) and the Daily Clout (an app-based ‘wiki-fication’ of national and local legislation in real time).  

Whether it is through journalism, campaigns, start ups, or non-profits, the common denominator throughout my work has been an obsessive focus on developing innovative trans-media strategies rooted in practices of fact-based and first-person storytelling.  Working from this vantage, my forte is dreaming up scenarios, developing strategies, and identifying innovative tactics that enables the teams I work with to produce initiatives that engage and empower individuals to participate in solving the most pressing issues of our day in meaningful, imaginative, and sustainable ways.

Main Area of Interest: While much of my past work has been very focused on developing high-impact, story-based initiatives from the framework of impacting national change, I am currently pursuing work that attempts to understand how social change takes place when positioned from ‘glocal’ perspectives. In other words, I am interested in how civic institutions, organizations, and campaigns attempt to stretch their work beyond traditional borders of nation states by taking on global issues within specific local contexts, as well as how local issues are being addressed by institutions that situate these issues within a global context.  This work involves exploring and expanding upon existing empirical research, and experimenting with theoretical models from a host of disciplines including: social psychology, sociology, interpersonal and organizational communication, media studies, as well as work in the fields of economics, socio-cultural anthropology and global studies.  These models help build a repertoire of practical applications concerning the role that media and communications can play in leading this form of social change.

Extracurricular Involvement: USC Annenberg Scenario Lab

Twitter: @mattpascarella

Favorite thing about USC Annenberg: The resources, the faculty, and the fellow students—USC is like having a well-off, loving family, and they really make you feel at home here.

Favorite thing about Los Angeles: I love that LA is a cacophony of cities within a city. The endless boulevards and back streets stretching from the Hills to the Pacific, the random strip malls and 50s architecture along the way, and the smiles on people’s faces—just because it is yet another beautiful day in the City of Angels.

Sarah Holterman

Sarah Holterman is Graduate Programs & Student Aid Coordinator for the School of Communication. She oversees the administration of the doctoral program, including fellowships and admissions, and produces School of Communication web content. She tweets...