Quoted: Week of April 20, 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 USC Annenberg’s leaders, faculty, staff and others. The stories are listed in chronological order, the most recent story appearing first. 

Comcast drops $45.2 billion bid for Time Warner

After critics raised concern about lack of competition, Comcast abandoned its plan to acquire Time Warner Cable. The purchase would have resulted in the company’s control of 55 percent of U.S. broadband subscribers and 30 percent of cable TV customers.

Critics said it would have given Comcast far too much control over what Americans watch and download. Professor Jonathan Taplin was quoted in a Pasadena Star-News story about the acquisition.

“My feeling is this was doomed from the beginning,” Taplin said. “You can’t take the No. 1 provider of cable TV and Internet services and the No. 2 provider and combine them … it defies the logic of antitrust.”

Victims’ Families Urge Media Restraint On Aurora Theater Massacre Trial Coverage

As the trial of the alleged mass murderer of patrons at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado began, a group representing the survivors and families of victims of nine of the worst mass shootings in American history is urging news media “to stop the gratuitous use” of the confessed killer’s name and photo.

Professor Laura Castañeda was quoted in a Deadline Hollywood article, noting that the requests are “perfectly reasonable.”

“I think a lot of the media coverage around mass shootings can become overwhelming, sensationalistic and inaccurate,” Castañeda said. “If the person is no longer at large, I don’t know what the public would lose by not seeing the person’s likeness or name.”

PopPolitics: The Clinton-Inspired Humor of ‘Veep”

Professor Mary Murphy was on Variety’s radio show PopPolitics to weigh in on Hilary Clinton’s announcement to run for president and how she can best draw on her support from Hollywood.

“Some very powerful people in Hollywood now, they’re already on board,” Murphy said. “So this is where she’s going to be looking for money upfront.”

Drought shaming: California ‘water vigilantes’ call out neighbors online

In the midst of a historic drought, officials are urging California residents to conserve water, but self-appointed “water vigilantes” are filming their neighbors wasting water on their smartphones, then posting their names, and even addresses, onto social media with the hashtag #DroughtShaming.

Professor Karen North told the Today Show that social shaming may not be the most effective way to encourage change.

“Instead of going online and shaming people publicly, which might be useless, why doesn’t this guy just go to the city and tell the city, ‘Stop these people — they’re using too much water,'” North said of one such “water vigilante.”

Though the city of Los Angeles has issued 7300 warning letters and only 10 violations, it can impose fines of up to $500 for wasting water.

Open Phones with Robert Scheer

Professor Robert Scheer was interviewed at the 2015 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, held on the USC campus ,about his book “They Know Everything About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy.”

Scheer expressed his concern about the amount of data we willingly surrender to private corporations, and how the government can obtain that data without your permission.

“This is what those books, 1984 and Brave New World, were all about,” Scheer said. “Totalitarian societies make themselves palatable to people, and they do it through self-censorship so people don’t know they’re being manipulated, and we are being manipulated to a very high degree now.”

Apple Watch to boost ‘glance journalism’

With the Apple Watch expected to become the leading item in wearable technology, we move toward entering the era of “glance journalism.” The term refers to a new form of storytelling that is more bite-sized to fit even smaller screens and can be glanced at quickly. Readers will then be able to “hand off” an article to an iPhone or iPad if they wish to read the full versions.

Professor Robert Hernandez told Canoe about the new platform for news that wearables have created.

“The ability to access knowledge will be quicker with the watch,” Hernandez said. He went on to say that journalism will find a way to adapt to the smartwatch’s limitations to get stories across. “When Twitter came out people were saying ‘you can’t do journalism in 140 characters,’ but it has now become an essential tool,” he said.

Target takes aim at Latinos with new marketing campaign

Target recently launched its first Latino-focused marketing campaign to rely on cultural concepts called “#SinTraducción” or “Without Translation.” The 30-second ad features a family lingering after a meal to chat, a common practice in Latin America called “sobremesa,” of which there is no comparable English term. It is an attempt to capture the Latino market, which controlled $1.3 trillion in spending power in 2014.

Professor Laura Castañeda was quoted in an LA Times article on why companies are focusing in on the Latino market now.

“The market has been out there for decades, and companies have known it,” Castañeda said. “It seems to ebb and flow. I think surpassing that trillion-dollar mark might be the tipping point.”