USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism Dean Willow Bay has named Gordon Stables, an accomplished educator and leader, as director of USC Annenberg’s School of Journalism. Bay has also appointed award-winning editor and digital news innovator Christina Bellantoni as professor of professional practice and director of USC Annenberg’s Julie Chen/Leslie Moonves and CBS Media Center.
Stables and Bellantoni begin their appointments effective July 1 and August 16 respectively.
With their deep academic and professional expertise, Bay said Stables and Bellantoni will establish a critical new foundation of leadership as the school navigates rapid change and continues to advance the fields of journalism and public relations.
“Together, Professors Stables and Bellantoni will help position the School of Journalism at the forefront of media innovation and help build the diverse, creative workforce our changing field needs,” Bay said.
Stables brings to his new position an extensive knowledge of USC Annenberg’s programs and students through his roles as clinical professor of communication, associate dean for student affairs, and, most recently, as interim director for the School of Journalism.
Since joining USC Annenberg in 2002, Stables has played a prominent part in developing and teaching a wide range of courses and experiential learning programs that explore rhetoric, debate, political communication, propaganda and global media. As associate dean for student affairs, Stables oversaw USC Annenberg’s advisement and academic services, career development, international, and civic engagement programs.
For a decade, he also directed the International Communication Studies program, USC Annenberg’s oldest international program providing students with a hands-on opportunity to travel across Europe and North Africa and to meet with a wide range of communication, journalism and public relations executives. As director of debate and forensics for USC’s nationally recognized Trojan Debate Squad since 2002, Stables served as a leading voice within the intercollegiate debate community.
“An adept manager of academic programs and people, Gordon truly understands the ways in which scholarship and practice are both enriched by sharing the same intellectual space,” Bay said. “He is uniquely positioned to help our faculty prepare students for careers in a culture in which our stories and messages carry greater influence than ever before.”
In addition to training the next generation of journalists and public relations professionals, Stables said he is also honored to lead the School of Journalism as it engages broader public debate about the future of journalism and the evolving media landscape.
Together, Professors Stables and Bellantoni will help position the School of Journalism at the forefront of media innovation and help build the diverse, creative workforce our changing field needs. – Willow Bay
“I am looking forward to bringing together our faculty, students and staff to develop the kinds of dynamic classes, projects and conversations that are only possible at USC Annenberg,” said Stables, who earned his Ph.D. in speech communication from the University of Georgia. “We have the opportunity to both study and drive the transformation of contemporary journalism and public relations.”
Most recently, as an assistant managing editor at the Los Angeles Times, Bellantoni has focused on digital innovation, visual storytelling, increasing political coverage and building audience engagement. She led the creation of the Times’ California politics vertical that increased examination of the state’s power centers and congressional delegation while diversifying types of storytelling to develop new audiences for politics.
A versatile, multi-media journalist, Bellantoni has worked as a print and digital reporter, TV producer and analyst, radio host and an award-winning editor. She has covered local, state and federal government, along with four presidential campaigns and the White House. Over the span of her career, she has held positions at Roll Call, PBS NewsHour, Talking Points Memo, the Washington Times, the Palo Alto Daily News, and the San Jose Business Journal.
Bellantoni was an Institute of Politics fellow at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in 2011 and was vice president of the Washington Press Club Foundation, which works to advance women and minorities in newsrooms.
“Christina has just the right skill set and mindset to serve as media center director,” Bay said. “I know she will lead our journalism and public relations students just as she has award-winning newsroom teams. She’s a natural teacher who will leverage our media center — a newsroom, classroom and incubator for new approaches to telling stories and reaching audiences.”
Bellantoni said she is thrilled to be joining USC Annenberg and leading the media center at such an important moment for journalism and public relations.
“As someone who has worked across multiple platforms and has pioneered new ways to engage audiences, I know what the future of our field looks like,” said Bellantoni, who received her bachelor’s degree in mass communication from the University of California, Berkeley. “I can’t wait to guide students, as I did with journalists in my newsrooms, to break news and hold leaders accountable while producing meaningful and impactful storytelling.”