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.
Professor Jeffrey Cole and the Annenberg Center for the Digital Future were featured in a Fast Company story about online privacy in the digital age. The story cited research from the center showing that younger people are more comfortable with sharing personal information on the internet than older people are. When the study was released last year, Cole had declared: “Privacy is dead.”
Research from Annenberg’s Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative was cited in a Fusion story about the growth of feminism in popular culture. The study — led by Professor Stacy Smith and her team — analyzed 5,799 speaking or named characters from movies released between Jan. 1, 2010 and May 1, 2013. The research found that 31 percent of characters were women and only 23 percent of the films were lead or co-lead by women.
Robert Hernandez was interviewed by NBC News for a story about a Los Angeles high school that was evacuated after a bomb threat was made on social media app Yik Yak. The app — launched about a year ago — allows users to post updates anonymously, without being tied to a username or profile. Hernandez found it “interesting to see the engagement and the adoption rate.” “Is it a pariah for allowing a public space? I don’t know,” Hernandez said. “Is the movie theater a pariah because someone might yell ‘fire?’ It’s really not on them. It’s on us —society — to have these conversations.”
Adjunct Professor Jeetendr Sehdev recently did a study for Women’s Wear Daily on what makes someone a style icon. His research found that a style icon must have: a definitive sense of style, a sense of confidence, a certain timelessness that can keep modern, a fierce independence and a dose of provocativeness. By those criteria, Sehdev found that Kate Middleton — revered for her style — may not be the icon people make her out to be. “It seems like she’s kind of being dressed or is dressing for a nation,” he said, adding that women seem to be gravitating toward those who are independent in their fashion choices, such as First Lady Michelle Obama. Sehdev said of the first lady: “First and foremost, she seems to be dressing for herself. She’s seen taking far more risks. She seems to have a much stronger sense of independence. She’s nobody’s right hand, she’s a person unto herself and that really scores highly when it comes to how that translates to fashion.” His research was also featured in USA Today.
Karen North — director of Annenberg’s Digital Social Media program — was quoted in a "Los Angeles Times" story about people engaging with religion online. North said that religion has played a big part in technological development. Pope Francis’ use of twitter is an example of how faith and social media connect, she added. “It's not surprising that the Vatican decided to reach out on social media, or that the Dalai Lama has a Twitter account,” North said. “Any area, like religion, where people feel passionately, they look for a voice and a vehicle to share their passion.”
"Wired" wrote a story about Annenberg Public Affairs and Special Events Photographer/Videographer Brett Van Ort’s photo series “Imaginary Battlefields.” The series features photos of paintball arenas made to look like battlefields – taken in London, as well as Los Angeles, Dallas and a number of other US cities. “I feel the correlation made between the fields and the foreign place-names allow stereotypes and misconceptions to solidify,” Van Ort said. “Misconceptions further exacerbate the xenophobic suspicions aimed at the people who live in the real [foreign] landscapes.” The photos were also featured in "Time’s" photo blog "LightBox."
Professor Gabe Kahn was quoted in a story by the "Oregonian" about orchestras and theater companies hiring in-house journalists to write about them. Media observers — such as Kahn — warned that art groups need to create guidelines in order to maintain credibility with their audiences. “It's one thing to do marketing, and another thing to foster lively conversation and debate about a topic,” Kahn said. “We still have to become comfortable with the structure that supports that, but I think it is happening.”