Tess Patton smiles for camera wearing USC graduation stole
Photo courtesy of Tess Patton

TheWrap names journalism graduate as inaugural reporting fellow

Her pop culture obsession, entertainment industry knowledge and the ability to tell compelling stories are just a few reasons why Tess Patton was selected to be the inaugural recipient of the TheWrap Reporting Fellowship. 

TheWrap established the new reporting fellowship with USC Annenberg to mark its 15th anniversary. The fellowship provides a talented, rising journalist with hands-on experience in editorial mastery, production techniques, and news-gathering skills essential for success in today’s competitive digital journalism environment. 

“Teaming up with TheWrap to establish this fellowship is a perfect example of how USC Annenberg is continuing to build professional bridges between academe and industry,” said USC Annenberg Dean Willow Bay. “We are committed to empowering the next generation of journalists by providing them with the tools and opportunities they need to succeed in today’s ever-evolving media landscape. This fellowship not only provides invaluable newsroom experience for Tess, but also reinforces our commitment to fostering excellence in journalism.”

Based in the TheWrap’s Los Angeles office, Patton will spend a year working full-time as a reporter covering a broad range of stories. She will receive daily assignments and training to develop her reporting, writing, research and multimedia skills alongside TheWrap’s journalists. 

“As an avid consumer of pop culture and all things entertainment, I am excited to put my skills to the test,” Patton said. “I am also looking forward to rotating through the different verticals of TheWrap and learning the ins and outs of the entertainment business. There are so many talented journalists who I am itching to pick the brains of at TheWrap. The mentorship opportunities will be invaluable. I am eager to try everything and find my niche. Being a student has been so fulfilling, but getting to focus on being a journalist full-time feels like such a privilege.” 

Tess Patton wears white turtle neck and black blazor and smiles for camera
Photo courtesy of Tess Patton

Raised in Alabama, Patton moved to Los Angeles in fall 2020 during the height of the pandemic. Originally a theatre major, she started taking journalism classes and found a love for storytelling at USC Annenberg. 

“I’ll never forget my first semester on campus at USC because as a sophomore I was chosen to cover the L.A. red carpet premiere for Squid Games.,” Patton said. “This opportunity gave me a newfound confidence. I knew then that this was something I wanted to pursue professionally.” 

Her versatile reporting and editing experience taught her the value of a good story and helped prepare her for the TheWrap fellowship. She has served as a producer and anchor at Annenberg TV News and is currently working as the digital newsroom’s executive editor. In this role, she manages and facilitates the editorial judgment of a newsroom consisting of over 125 student workers and 200 contributors.

“Being the first reporting fellow for TheWrap is an opportunity I do not take lightly. I am extremely excited to learn and grow under the team led by accomplished, seasoned journalists like CEO and founder Sharon Waxman,” Patton said. “Growing up I’ve always loved entertainment, pop culture and Hollywood, so to be able to combine my passions for reporting in my first job post-grad is a huge honor.”  

Founded by award-winning journalist Sharon Waxman in 2009, TheWrap is the only independently owned Hollywood trade, serving as a source of breaking news, investigative reporting, expert analysis, awards season coverage, and in-depth features for over 15 years.

"While many in the news media are scaling back, TheWrap remains committed to the future of journalism, and nurturing the next generation of reporting talent,” said Sharon Waxman, CEO and editor-in-chief of TheWrap. “We are thrilled to launch this fellowship program in collaboration with USC. This initiative comes at a moment when the credibility and business model of news is under unprecedented challenge. We believe that fact-based, human reporting is essential to the audiences we serve, and the first step is rigorous, hands-on training.”