USC Annenberg students and recent alumni were recognized at the 2017 National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards in a variety of categories — from soft news and profiles to commentary and the journalistic use of social media.
The 10th annual ceremony was hosted by the L.A. Press Club at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles on Dec. 3.
Several students, along with alumni, won for their work on Ampersand, a digital magazine that is run by, edited and content-populated by students from the school's arts journalism Master’s program.
Students and alumni recognized for their Ampersand work are:
- Thomas Carroll (M.A. Specialized Journalism - The Arts, ’18) first place for Best Arts or Entertainment Feature, “Of Walking on Concrete.” Judges’ comments were: “Takes you on a walk through the LA River that defines the city and its culture.”
- Didi Beck (M.A. Specialized Journalism - The Arts, ’17) first place for Best Profile, “Alexandra Grant Wants to Live Like a Ghost.” Judges’ comments were: “An intriguing, well-told story of dedication, art and ghosts.”
- Justin Sedgwick (M.A. Specialized Journalism - The Arts, ’18) first place for Best Commentary/Critique, “Life After Tom Petty’s Death.” Judges’ comment: “A very personal appreciation of the late artist’s work.”
- Leah Rosenzweig (M.A. Specialized Journalism – The Arts, ’18), running up against professional (non-student) competition, took third place in Books/Art/Design category for her essay about Frank Lloyd Wright, “The Confused Sense of Place.”
- Paola Mardo (M.A. Specialized Journalism – The Arts, ’17), was recognized in the Soft News Feature category for her radio/broadcast, “Why Tiki? A Deep Dive into America’s Fascination With Tiki Bars, Tropical Drinks and the South Pacific.”
- Sarah Bennett (M.A. ’12 ) took first place for her feature in the L.A. Weekly, “A New Kind of Latin Alternative Music is Breaking Down Old Barriers in LA and Beyond.” Bennett also earned first place in the Food/Culture category. The judge’s comments were: “The main course of extensive food knowledge with a side of cultural information and a political-sarcasm dessert keep the reader laughing and informed.”
- Tim Greiving, KUSC (M.A. ’12) won second place for best Journalistic Use of Social Media by an Individual to Tell or Enhance a Story, “Danny Elfman’s Strange, Circuitous Path to the Concert Hall.”
“It’s great to see that the energy and effort these students put into Ampersand — and into making their own arts journalism site while they are here at Annenberg — pays off,” said Sasha Anawalt, director of the Master’s in Arts Journalism program. “I am always telling them to be as creative as the artists they are covering. If it bores you, it will bore others. Ampersand and its progenitors are the product of their far-reaching curiosity and vision. Not perfect, but with these awards, recognized.
“It is the striving and risk-taking that interests us, and I can’t lie — it feels good to not be alone in supporting that.”
Additional USC Annenberg students and alumni who won include:
- Angelique Perrin (M.A. Specialized Journalism, ’17) who won second place in the Student Journalism category for “Black Money.”
- Renee Gross (M.S. Journalism ’17) won second place for Best Profile, “Actress Eileen Grubba Fights Prejudice Against People with Disabilities.”
- Kristin Marguerite Doidge (M.A., Specialized Journalism, ’15) took home third place in the Soft News category for a piece she wrote for Bustle, entitled: “Nora Ephron Tribute ‘She Made Me Laugh’.” Doidge won two other prizes as well: third place in the Business-Any arts or entertainment-related business story category, for her Los Angeles Business Journal story “Recasting Film-TV Synergy.” In the Celebrity News category, she took third place for her feature “Kanye West Let Out a Cry for Help; We Just Weren’t Listening” in GOOD Magazine.
- Michelle Lanz (M.A. Journalism, ’09) along with Monica Bushman won first place in the Soft News Feature category for a piece they did for KPCC, “The Man Behind The Lyrics To ‘Beauty And The Beast' Didn't Live To See The Final Film.” Judges’ comment: “The history of lyricist Howard Ashman’s involvement with the music for the animated feature film Beauty and the Beast, as well as excerpts of recordings of his singing and playing, is enlightening and particularly poignant because he died of AIDS before the film was finished in 1991, which won him a posthumous Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Song.”