Race and Social Justice
Develop the skills, critical thinking and expertise to report on the ongoing struggles over race, equality and justice in America. Students will deepen their understanding of the struggle for racial equality and justice through the study of critical theories of race, the lived experiences of journalists of color in newsrooms, and the history and coverage of race and justice in California and beyond. Students will understand the way history, global discourses, newsroom dynamics and technological change are shaping foundational social issues, forming practical knowledge of how race manifests in and shapes reporting in the media today. Students will apply these ideas in the service of producing compelling, deeply-reported stories on race and justice, for publication in local, national, and international media outlets.
Sports and Society
Tap into USC Annenberg’s vast resources to produce deeply- informed, socially-aware sports journalism in LA and around the world. USC Annenberg’s location in downtown Los Angeles positions students at the hub Southern California’s sports media landscape, close to major networks and digital outlets. Students cover the Lakers, Clippers, Dodgers, Kings, Rams, Chargers and Sparks, plus top-level college athletics and Olympic competition. Annenberg faculty have built unparalleled relationships across multiple media platforms and including athletes, coaches and content creators. Students produce on-site field reporting, write longer-form and investigative sports stories, and meet leaders and executives from the NBA, WNBA, MLB, NHL and MLS. Students will also learn the social, political and economic context of sports in American society and culture, equipping them with the tools for both top-notch reporting and critical analysis in a rapidly changing, global sports media environment.
Entertainment and Pop Culture
Go beyond the red carpet to produce deeply reported stories on the culture, social impact, ethics and economics of entertainment and pop culture. Entertainment journalism has a profound impact on how people view politics, government, race, gender and international affairs. With Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world, as the backdrop, students will be steeped in the content, social impact, history, ethics and economics of entertainment and pop culture reporting in the United States and the world. Building on this understanding, and critical skills of research, interviewing, writing and production, students will produce groundbreaking reporting on journalism and pop culture. They will also be introduced to key players, leaders and celebrities, to understand and challenge those who are making decisions that are having an impact on our lives.
Through Annenberg’s Knight Chair in Media and Religion, explore the intersection among religion, politics and culture to write complex stories reported domestically and internationally. Religion plays a crucial role in domestic politics and international relations. Spirituality – the individual search for meaning – shapes our sense of self and our orientation to the world. Report on what gives nations, communities and individuals meaning, identity and purpose whether through arts and entertainment, sports, climate concern, racial justice, politics or humanitarian outreach. Each year, the class travels abroad for an immersive reporting experience focused on religion, politics and culture in countries such as India, Indonesia, South Korea and Israel/Palestine.
Combine on-location global reporting through USC Annenberg with study of international issues across USC, to build top-notch international reporting expertise. 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.
Work with top climate journalists and experts in science and public policy to build top-notch climate reporting expertise. From devastating hurricanes to annual record-breaking heat waves, from “sunny-day floods” in southern Florida to the annual new normal of a California on fire, climate change has reached deep into the American landscape, its economy, politics, even its collective psyche. With these effects has come new awareness, and an urgency to tackle the problem. Never has there been such a need for an original, compelling and accurate accounting of the threat of climate change, and the promise of constructive measures to address it. Students will sharpen their expertise in climate science and social policy, and consider agriculture, water and food sustainability, while producing groundbreaking narrative, documentary and investigative reporting on a central issue of our time.
Report beyond the news through in-depth storytelling and analyses of issues you are passionate about, and contextualize them for a broader audience. The documentary sequence at USC Annenberg provides an opportunity to report beyond the news. You have the opportunity do in-depth analyses of stories that you are passionate about and learn ways to contextualize them for a broader audience. Completed docs are eligible for publication on Impact, a 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, 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.
Data and Innovation
Enhance new forms of storytelling, develop smarter platforms to deliver news, explore techniques in data mining and work on new business models to increase the value of journalistic content. Journalism is at the midst of a bold transformation. The Data and Innovation track 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.
Podcasting and Audio
Explore the power of audio storytelling through advanced production and mixing techniques, narrative point of view, and the history, economics and journalistic range of the podcast. The Audio and Podcasting track gives students grounding in the production and business of podcasting as an outlet for their journalistic work. Students will explore the power of audio storytelling, from classic public radio-style productions to innovative and experimental podcasts. They will learn advanced production and mixing techniques, narrative point of view and the history, economics and journalistic range of the podcast. They will develop a discerning ear for quality audio content and the best practices for effective oral communication. Course work will also expose students to non-production aspects of podcasting such as branding, marketing, distribution, analytics, monetization and legal issues.
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, profiled in The New York Times, you will work on a major investigative project under the mentorship of award-winning journalists who will help place deserving stories in professional news outlets. You will learn how to find documents most reporters would not 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.
Immerse yourself in myriad ways of nonfiction and longform storytelling, learning from award-winning authors and magazine writers the best ways to produce compelling narrative journalism. Top narrative journalists will show you how to cut through the crowded content landscape to tell the stories that matter. In the narrative track, you will learn nonfiction storytelling techniques across a range of styles and interests of your choice – from the arts to religion and social justice issues, from climate reporting to sports and entertainment – to tell the stories that matter. In the process, you will examine fundamental principles embedded in all good narrative journalism: in-depth, empathetic, and creative storytelling. Work that makes a difference. Here you will learn how to create the “journalism of the heart” – groundbreaking, deeply-reported, humane storytelling that bears witness to the world around us.