USC Annenberg student visit to India
Photo: John Adams

India: Reporting on Religion

India 2014 was my fifth trip with Prof. Diane Winston for her “International Reporting on Religion” class — once as a grad student to Israel and the West Bank and four other times (Israel, Ireland and India twice) as an assistant. On my first trip to India in 2012, I stepped into the serenity of the Taj Mahal. The crowds seemed to fade away as the sun’s reflection off the white marble awakened a spiritual feeling deep within me. It was no doubt why this Wonder of the World lured so many from afar and why I discovered solace in a shadowy building to its side. This year, I found myself in a much different place as I wandered through the maze of Dharavi, one of the largest slums in the world. Inside a small, box-like building lit only by the glow of a makeshift furnace, two individuals were melting soda cans in order to resell the aluminum and provide for their families. Within seconds, beads of sweat formed on my forehead and then slowly dripped down my face onto the dirt floor.

Twenty minutes was all I could last before the heat turned me toward the door, leaving the two to finish their 14-hour shift.  These trips provide amazing opportunities for the Annenberg community to experience and communicate a different story.

—John Adams (M.A. Journalism ’10)