Documentary storytelling at USC Annenberg provides an opportunity to report beyond the news. The documentary sequence makes it possible to do in-depth analyses of stories that you’re passionate about and learn ways to contextualize them for a broader audience. Completed docs are eligible for publication on Impact, our own student-produced series that is featured on the Annenberg Media website, and is broadcast by Spectrum News1, L.A.’s 24-hour news channel. You will learn advanced ideas centering on visual literacy, production skills using professional equipment, techniques to manage large amounts of content, and organized approaches to building documentaries for multi-platform distribution. These are skills that translate to all aspects of journalism.
Entertainment and Sports Reporting
USC Annenberg’s location in Los Angeles not only positions students at the heart of the entertainment industry, but at the hub of sports broadcasting and the home of 10 professional sports franchises. Students who select this specialization want to pursue careers covering music, TV, film, the arts, pop culture, and sports. They get to experience the entertainment and sports industries firsthand as they do on-site, field reporting and meet leaders and executives from Amazon, Hulu, Warner Bros., the L.A. Kings and the L.A. Dodgers, to name a few.
Journalism is at the midst of a bold transformation. The innovative journalism specialization is designed for students who are seeking to embrace the technologies that have opened up new frontiers for the profession and to capitalize on this moment by charting the next phase of the communications revolution. Students work closely with leading players in the industry to: (1) enhance new forms of storytelling; (2) develop smarter platforms to deliver news; (3) improve reporting techniques and data mining; and (4) work on new business models to increase the value of journalistic content.
To report on the world, you must know the world. Students who opt to specialize in international reporting explore international relations, public policy, religion, health, immigration and environmental studies across the university in tandem with their journalism courses at USC Annenberg. Students have traveled to and reported from countries like Greece, Ireland and Indonesia. As an extension of their coursework, students have also partnered with various media organizations like The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Daily Beast and Public Radio International to have their stories published.
USC Annenberg is seeking students and early-career journalists of exceptional promise who aspire to journalism’s highest calling: producing stories that expose harm, wrongdoing, abuse of power. Stories that matter. Building on the work of the Beacon Project, recently profiled in The New York Times, you’ll work on a major investigative project under the mentorship of a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who will help place deserving stories in professional news outlets. You’ll learn how to find documents most reporters wouldn’t even think to look for; persuade reluctant or hostile sources to reveal their secrets; obtain and analyze data; protect your sources with digital-security savvy and counter-surveillance techniques; bulletproof your stories against libel actions; and write compelling stories for text, audio, or video.
Social Justice Reporting
Students seeking to explore contemporary social issues — including immigration, homelessness, gentrification, poverty and environmental justice — will thrive in social justice reporting specialization. Building on USC Annenberg’s rich history of issue-oriented reporting projects like “Hunger in the Golden State,” for the Los Angeles Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting and “24 Hours: A Day in the Working Life,” for KCRW’s Unfictional and the Public Radio Exchange, this specialization combines critical analysis, extensive contact with experts in relevant fields, and most of all, in-depth, on-the-ground reporting produced for multiple platforms. Students will work with a cohort of journalist peers in project-oriented, newsroom-style classes collaborating with professional print and broadcast outlets.