Harry Vaughn’s desk was covered with notes for his introduction and the question-and-answer session that would follow the 2020 Sundance Film Festival screening of Whirlybird by documentarian and fellow USC Annenberg graduate Matt Yoka. Vaughn (MA, specialized journalism (the arts)) and Yoka, (MA, specialized journalism) had a lot in common beyond their degrees. While they hadn’t met, or even known about each other before Yoka’s documentary was accepted into the festival, they were both native Los Angelenos, later learning they even attended high schools across the street from each other in La Cañada.
Growing up in the post-revolutionary Iran of the early 1980s, Mandana Mellano wasn’t exposed to advertising, particularly Western advertising, until she and her family traveled outside their hometown of Tehran when she was six. Vacationing in Istanbul, she marveled at the “amazing world” of billboards and television spots. “I think the complexity of living in a society that is very much controlled had a lot to do with my wanting to study sociology and communication as a whole,” said Mellano, who graduated in 2001 with a master’s in communication management. “It created the spark.”
With more than half of Americans listening to podcasts and an estimated $1 billion in annual revenue expected by 2021, USC Annenberg and the Sacks Family Foundation are investing in the future of podcasting. Leveraging this explosive growth, the Luminary Fellowship program hopes to infuse the podcast industry with fresh voices and perspectives.
Sophomore Julio Martinez never imagined — or expected — that he would be studying communication at USC Annenberg. Then, two years ago, in the summer before his senior year at Valley Christian High School, Martinez was invited to be one of 26 students for the inaugural Annenberg Youth Academy for Media and Civic Engagement program, otherwise known as AYA.
Jake Wachtel returned to school mid-career, after working successfully in a variety of entertainment jobs. He chose USC Annenberg’s MS in digital social media program, which allowed him to take his prior experience and blend it with new knowledge. This created more professional opportunities for him moving forward.
Kyle Le was living in Saigon, teaching history and producing YouTube videos about food and travel, when he got an unusual request.
Her memoir explores the borders between Mexico and the United States, sanity and madness, science and mysticism, father and daughter.
Even as a four-year-old, Aliya Jasmine knew she wanted to be a broadcaster. Literally standing in her grandfather’s rock fireplace so that the echo would lend texture to her fake British accent, Jasmine would pretend she was a BBC reporter.