Quoted: USC Annenberg in the News - Week of January 19, 2015

At USC Annenberg, we don’t just cover the news, we make it. “Quoted: USC Annenberg in the News” gathers a selection of the week’s news stories featuring and written by Annenberg’s leaders, faculty, staff and others.

Multiple news outlets featured the work of Professor Stacy L. Smith and the Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative on questions of diversity, inclusion and representation in the entertainment industry. Lights, Camera, Taking Action The New York Times featured research by Professor Smith finding that women are still grossly underrepresented in Hollywood films. Not only are there fewer female roles on screen, but there are fewer women behind the camera: women only directed 4.4 percent of the top 100 box-office domestic releases between 2002 and 2012. The story highlighted the work of the Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative. PGA Program Strives to Boost Number of Female Producers in Hollywood Variety cited the work fo Professor Smith and the Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative in context of a look at the Producers Guild of America’s Women’s Impact Network, a national committee of 200 members that aims to change the disparity between men and women in the film industry. Smith’s research highlights this disparity, finding that an underwhelming 16.7% of of the 1,228 directors, writers, and producers working on the 100 top-grossing films of 2012 were women. #OscarsSoWhite Professor Smith was quoted in a Bloomberg News article following the public outcry over the Academy Awards’ failure to nominate “Selma” for an Oscar. A nomination for Selma director Ava DuVernay would have been the Academy’s first nomination for a film directed by a black woman. “This illuminates the larger lack of diversity we see in Hollywood films,” Smith said. “Last year, ‘12 Years a Slave’ created the perception that things in Hollywood were getting better. In reality, it was just business as usual.”

Popular misogyny: a zeitgeist

Communication school director Sarah Banet-Weiser contributed an essay on the role of feminism in the current cultural climate to Culture Digitally. “This mediated feminist landscape is difficult to comprehend fully, for certainly all feminisms are not the same, nor do they have the same goal. A celebrity endorsing feminism in terms of whether they are one or are not one often ends up commodifying and reifying feminism, so that feminism becomes a sort of product, easy to either embrace or reject, rather than a historically complex series of movements and activism. “

State of the Union

Los Angeles’ KTLA-TV featured a segment on the State of the Union viewing party held at the Wallis Annenberg Hall. The story showed the building's digital media wall and shared thoughts from several different students.

Amazon Chases Netflix with foray into film production

The Los Angeles Times tracked Amazon’s recent jump to film production, this following the success of similar forays into original production by streaming sites such as Netflix. Director of the Annenberg Center for the Digital Future Jeffrey Cole spoke about Amazon competing with Netflix’s original programming. “Amazon Prime is now a threat to Netflix,” Cole said, “and now with successful original programming and theatricals, it’s a movie studio and a network, with very deep pockets.”

Sunday Review

Asked to share what he's been reading, watching and thinking about by the New York Times, sociologist Howard Becker cited an arts email list run by Annenberg Vice Dean & Professor Larry Gross.

Seriously? Some make a living playing videogames

Professor Dmitri Williams was quoted in Malaysia’s English-language The Star in article on professional video game players. "As long as there are people who want to watch entertainment, there is going to be a price to watch talent playing out that entertainment,” Williams said. “It's a long shot to make a living at playing videogames. That said, it is real and it does happen."