By Jeremy Rosenberg
The game was in the refrigerator. The door was closed, the lights were out, the eggs were cooling, the butter was getting hard and the Jell-O was jiggling.
Last Sunday was Chick Hearn Night at Staples Center, and the Los Angeles Lakers honored their legendary, late broadcaster by defeating the Sacramento Kings, 100-86. Hall of Famer Hearn was known in part for his gustatory “game over” proclamation.
“This is fantastic; a great night,” said Evan Budrovich (’15), a USC Annenberg broadcast and digital journalism major and sports media studies minor from Torrance, Calif.
There’s no cheering in the—proverbial—press box, and the stentorian-voiced Budrovich wasn’t referring to the home team’s win. Instead, he was taking stock of an evening to remember for him and his family; as well as for fellow USC Annenberg student Sarah Bergstrom (’15) and her family; and for the greater USC Annenberg community.
Bergstrom and Budrovich are the winners of the 2013-2014 Chick Hearn Memorial Scholarship. [Read more about the duo’s accomplishments and about the scholarship here, in this preview story.] Sunday night was about honoring them, and of course, Hearn and his legacy.
“Passion is something that drives me in my own career,” Bergstrom would say later. “And you see that for Chick Hearn, his passion for this city and this community shone through in his work and allowed him to excel.”
Sunday night, ninety-minutes prior to the opening tip, Budrovich and Bergstrom met each other and Lakers officials at—where else?—the Chick Hearn statue outside Staples Center.
Fans were already lining up to pose for photos with the Hearn statue. During the two and a half hours that followed, still and video and smart phone cameras galore, and microphones and voice recorders, would be aimed at Budrovich and Bergstrom.
From the statue, the USC Annenberg duo and their respective parents, brothers and guests were escorted inside the arena and shown to their 100-level seats behind one of the baskets.
Almost immediately, Budrovich and Bergstrom were whisked to the court. The stood near the sideline across from the two teams’ benches, near center court, and shook hands with Time Warner Cable SportsNet Lakers play-by-play announcer, Bill Macdonald, and game analyst, Stu Lantz.
Macdonald and Budrovich paired off, with Macdonald telling Budrovich he was a Trojan, too, and posing for photos while giving a “Fight On” salute. Lantz and Bergstrom chatted a few feet away.
Bergstrom, from Portland, Oregon, is a public relations major who is minoring in sports media and nonprofits, philanthropy and volunteerism. Soccer has always been her sport, she said later. But if a basketball found its way to her out there on the hardwood? “I could hold my own,” Bergstrom said with a smile. “Maybe knock down a couple of threes.”
The Annenberg students weren’t on the court to shoot, or for a meet-and-greet. Macdonald and Lantz interviewed Bergstrom and Budrovich live on-air. This was the first of four interviews the two Trojans gave Sunday night, across a variety of platforms.
“I’m very good at asking questions,” Bergstrom said. “But rarely do I have to pause and be the one who answers questions. I think it’s fun to talk about my work.”
Next, Budrovich and Bergstrom were taken by a Lakers official through a tunnel, down a corridor and into the Chick Hearn Press Room. Budrovich and Bergstrom picked up Lakers gold-colored meal tickets and joined the buffet line. Bergstrom ate cooked salmon, mushrooms and vegetables. Budrovich had steak, mushrooms and pasta. Hot dogs and nachos, this was not.
While the students dined, John Ireland came over to congratulate them. Ireland is the Lakers radio play-by-play announcer, an ESPN 710 radio sports talk show host, and a KCBS / KCAL television anchor and reporter.
Ireland is also a UCLA graduate, and the Trojans and Bruins are scheduled to play their PAC-12 football season finale Saturday. Joked Ireland to the students: “This is the last night I can be nice to you.”
After eating with their media brethren, Budrovich and Bergstrom headed courtside. Here, the pair were interviewed, consecutively, by host Dave Shore live on ESPN 710 radio’s pregame Lakers show. While Bergstrom spoke, a video tribute to Hearn played on the arena scoreboards.
No sooner had the students returned to their seats when another journalist sought them out, this one with City News Service. While the trio spoke, on the concourse level, Lakers fans walked by, many balancing beers and sodas and foodstuffs, many wearing #24 replica jerseys of the injured superstar Kobe Bryant.
For the next forty minutes or so, Bergstrom and Budrovich returned to their seats, sat with their families, and watched the Bryant-less Lakers maintain a small lead over a subpar Kings squad. Budrovich’s on-air, pre-game caution that the Kings could present a challenge appeared to be coming true.
With three or so minutes remaining in the half, Bergstrom and Budrovich and USC Annenberg Dean Ernest J. Wilson III left their seats to connect with Shannon Hearn and Kayla Hearn. The former is Chick and Marge Hearn’s great-granddaughter. The latter, a great-great granddaughter.
When the first half ended, the group moved out to center court. Standing aside the Lakers logo, with a scrum of photographers and videographers gathered in front of them, the Hearns, the Dean and the students were introduced to the announced crowd of 18,977 people.
Bergstrom and Budrovich were handed translucent, teardrop-shaped trophies bearing a congratulatory message from the Lakers and the Hearn Family. Each student smiled such big smiles that, up on the arena’s video screens, their faces looked either like advertisements for toothpaste—or for the joys of talent, training, ambition and effort.
As the Lakers and Kings players filtered back onto the court to warm up for the second half, Bergstrom and Budrovich – this time, joined on camera by Dean Wilson – had one more interview to do. This was for “Backstage: Lakers,” a SportsNet behind-the-scenes show.
While they were out of site, the arena’s public address system played the USC Trojan Marching Band’s version of the Fleetwood Mac anthem, “Tusk.” This was a sonic wink and a nod to the scholarship winners, and to Chick Hearn himself, who more than a half-century ago, broadcast USC football and basketball games.
More recently, current Laker player Nick Young played at USC. During the first half versus the Kings, Young was held scoreless.
The Trojan Family Network knows no bounds. After Bergstrom and Budrovich stood at center court, in the second half Young scored seven points. When Young knocked down a step-back, in rhythm, 27-foot, three-pointer late in the game, the Trojan put the Lakers ahead by a game-high nineteen points. The Jell-O was definitely jiggling.
A moment later, as the final seconds of the game clock wound down, Young dribbled, going behind-his-back and putting on a ballhandling clinic. Gold streamers fell from the rafters. Randy Newman’s familiar “I Love L.A.” played.
This was Budrovich second time out on the Laker’s court. This was Bergstrom’s first. Based on what they’ve already accomplished, and by how polished they already are, it’s worth guessing that they’ll each be back.
As the play-by-play announcer Macdonald had said on-air to Budrovich and Bergstrom: “Congratulations to you both, and we’ll see you in this business sooner than later.”
By Alex Reed
Ever taken an online poll or left an anonymous comment on a news story? They have a bigger impact than you might realize.
On Nov. 18, USC Annenberg welcomed Talia Stroud (pictured below) to talk about the Engaging News Project, which is run out of the University of Texas at Austin and conducts studies on topics such as comment sections for online news, the effectiveness of online polls and quizzes, and the word choice for the “Like” button. In 2011, Stroud, director of the project and an assistant professor at University of Texas at Austin, wrote a book called Niched News: The Politics of News Choice. It analyzed how people tend to read news content that aligns with their political preferences and was the foundation for the Engaging News Project.
With the mass transition to online news consumption, certain online media outlets are allowing people to filter their news so that they only see content that matches their own views.
“[It is] reinforcing their partisanship and creating divides among the public, which is something, I would argue, that we want to avoid,” said Stroud to a room packed with students and faculty.
The purpose of the project is to combat bias and polarization in news consumption, while aiming “to provide research-based techniques for engaging online audiences in commercially-viable and democratically beneficial ways.”
Visiting professor and Wallis Annenberg Chair Mark Lloyd (pictured above) introduced Stroud, following a brief description of his attraction to the project.
“[Stroud’s work] is trying to figure out how technology and journalism fit into current realities and the current practice of journalism, with an eye towards both, how to actually make money using some of these tools, but also how one might improve our democracy,” said Lloyd.
Lloyd is also the director of the New America Foundation’s Media Policy Initiative; the Foundation is a partner of the Engaging News Project.
Stroud’s presentation consisted of four studies conducted by the project about different aspects of online news consumption and commentary. The first of these was online polls and quizzes.
“We have to be cautious with polls, and what they get us, and what they don’t get us,” said Stroud.
There is a lot of missing information when it comes to online polls, such as how many people took it. A study conducted by the project also suggested that people react negatively to polls with only a few answer options, and when poll results are revealed, people tend to second guess their own beliefs.
A test performed by the Engaging News Project revealed that slider polls, allowing for more varied answers, resulted in a more positive reaction and more time spent on the website where the poll was found.
The language of additional wording and hyperlinked prompts on news sites was also proven by the project to have affected the way people consume news.
People consumed less entertainment content when the following phrase was added to a webpage: “Thanks for keeping up with the news. Be proud of protecting your democracy.”
“One sentence matters,” argued Stroud, before moving on to a more controversial aspect of online news: The comment section.
The comments on a news story range from insightful to uncivil. Stroud and the Engaging News Project explored whether or not the presence of the journalist behind a certain news story would change the tone of its comment section.
The project garnered varying feedback from journalists about the idea. Some said that journalists would be out of line by involving themselves in the comment section and others thought that their presence would dramatically shift the tone in a positive way.
Stroud pointed out that the tone may change when the journalist is engaged in the comments “because people know someone is listening.”
The last topic that Stroud presented, and associated with comment sections, was the infamous “Like” button, made popular by Facebook.
Stroud and the Engaging News Project noticed that the word “like” signifies agreement. In some cases, people “like” a comment left by another reader, but that doesn’t mean they agree with it.
Instead of the word “like,” the project tested out button words such as “respect” and “recommend.” In doing so, they found that more people “respected” comments, regardless of their personal beliefs, as opposed to the words associated with the button.
“Even small changes can have important effects,” said Stroud of the project’s efforts to modify the way news is presented.
By Alex Reed
USC Annenberg will award Sarah Bergstrom (’15) and Evan Budrovich (’15) the 2013-2014 Chick Hearn Memorial Scholarship, and both students will be recognized during halftime at the Los Angeles Lakers-Sacramento Kings game Sunday, Nov. 24.
The winners of the scholarship are announced each year on Chick Hearn Night at the Staples Center, celebrated at the Lakers home game falling closest to Hearn’s birthday.
As recipients of the $6,000 scholarship, Bergstrom and Budrovich are also eligible to interview for an internship at Time Warner Cable Sportsnet.
Bergstrom, from Portland, Ore., is majoring in public relations and minoring in sports media and nonprofits, philanthropy and volunteerism. She works for the USC Sports Information Department, does social media for USC Athletics, and works in the sports and web media department of Annenberg TV News.
“Being awarded the Chick Hearn Scholarship is an incredible honor,” said Bergstrom. “To have people believe in my dreams and want to invest in my future gives me so much motivation to continue to achieve more.”
After she graduates from USC Annenberg, Bergstrom said she would like to work in the community relations department of a professional sports team or athletic company. She hopes to one day establish an NCAA program that would send athletes on volunteer trips to third-world countries.
The latter goal was shaped in large part after a volunteer trip to Haiti with several members of the football team last summer. Bergstrom realized that sports act as a “universal language” in the world and can “bridge any social, socio-economic or physical boundary.”
Bergstrom and Budrovich were also two of three winners of the 2013-2014 Allan Malamud Endowed Scholarship, which also recognizes sports journalists at USC Annenberg.
Budrovich is broadcast and digital journalism major and sports media studies minor from Torrance, Calif. He is the sports producer for Annenberg TV News and the sports editor for Neon Tommy.
“For me, sports transcend the box score, because they are about the individual experiences of pain, celebration and effort that can be depicted in a tremendous broadcast,” Budrovich wrote on his scholarship application. “Broadcasting has given me the means to exercise my love for preparation, presentation and persistence.”
Budrovich also has interned for NFL Network and KCBS/KCAL Sports, but he described being awarded the Chick Hearn Memorial Scholarship as a “game changer.”
“It not only confirms that my hard work here at USC is paying dividends but it also gives me the motivation to continue expanding my skills as a sports journalist,” said Budrovich.
Chick Hearn spent more than 40 years as the announcer for the Los Angeles Lakers and several more as an announcer for USC football and basketball. He was also inducted into USC’s Skull and Dagger Society as the “Voice of Troy” in 1959.
With the support of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Hearn Family, the Chick Hearn Memorial Scholarship was established in 2002 to honor the late sports broadcasting icon.
The public may contribute to the fund to help deserving journalism students seeking careers in sports broadcasting. Donations may be sent to USC Annenberg Chick Hearn Fund, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, 3502 Watt Way, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0281.
By Michael Juliani
On Nov. 22, 1963, shortly after President John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Lori Sands Wagner’s father was in the newsroom of CKLW, a TV and radio station in Detroit, viewing the teletype scroll of The Associated Press wire. As details came arrived in spurts from Dallas, Wagner’s father, a reporter, ripped the scroll of teletype off the press and stashed it.
Fifty years later, when Wagner, the mother of USC freshman Jackson Wagner, learned that USC Annenberg would be hosting a Journalism Forum focusing on JFK, she contacted the school to see if the department would be interested in displaying the stretch of scroll her father had saved.
On Tuesday, Nov. 19, Professor Richard Reeves, one of the leading Kennedy experts in the world, discussed the doomed president’s three years in office and the impact they had on American life, in conversation with Professor Judy Muller. Reeves concluded that JFK’s deepest impact on American culture stemmed from the president’s new form of ambition – “He did not wait his turn,” Reeves said. This public display of ruthless initiative to win the seat in the Oval Office influenced the prevailing undercurrents of the 1960s, Reeves said.
As Reeves expounded on the deeply mysterious and nuanced Kennedy presidency, the scroll from the Detroit newsroom leaned against the wall next to him, vertically framed, slightly faded, hard to read in regular light.
Reeves edited a book last month that collects some of the New York Times’ best writing about JFK, The Kennedy Years: From the Pages of the New York Times. Reeves was the senior political correspondent for the Times and has written books about many American presidents, including Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and past books about Kennedy.
“The presidents with the greatest intellect – Nixon, Carter, Obama, for example – often don’t fare as well as someone like Truman, who acts more on impulse,” Reeves said. “I develop great sympathy for presidents, even ones I greatly dislike.”
Though public opinion greatly favors JFK – especially among people ages 18 to 25, which Reeves attributes to the nostalgia of their parents’ generation – Reeves said that journalistic and historians’ opinions about JFK have declined. Reeves rates JFK at the top of the second echelon of American presidents.
“The president brings out the best or worst from the American people,” Reeves said, “and Kennedy brought out the best.”
After Reeves’ talk, Muller questioned a couple of students in the audience about why they think JFK appeals so much to young people. In the age of celebrity in which we live, the students agreed, the Kennedy family attracts the American adoration for glamor, grace and intrigue – i.e. young people admire JFK regardless of politics.
In the Geoffrey Cowan Forum, where the journalism forums are held, USC Annenberg is displaying mounted photographs by photojournalist Lawrence Schiller. Schiller’s photographs drill into the direct essence of the ruthless, apocalyptic ambition that JFK invoked. The exhibit will run until May. One of the featured images shows Lee Harvey Oswald’s rifle being held up for photographers to capture – Schiller was the only photographer to shoot the scene from behind the back of the police officer who held up the gun.
Reeves said that TV, film and media archives of Kennedy are the reasons why JFK’s mystique has continued to grow. “As long as that survives, the Kennedy legend will too, and I suspect it will survive forever.”
(Photos by Alan Mittelstaedt)
Above: A look inside CERN, the particle physics laboratory where the Higgs boson was discovered. With his new Specialized Masters fellowship, Thomas Campbell Jackson hopes to create greater public understanding about such scientific advancements. Photo courtesy of CERN/PF Productions.
Ed. note: Thomas Campbell Jackson and Penny Jackson have created a fellowship in science and technology for the USC Annenberg Master’s of Specialized Journalism program. The fund will provide scholarship support to “gifted journalists who seek a deeper understanding of a field of science and technology and the skills they need to interpret this knowledge for the widest possible audience.” The Jacksons are parents of a current Annenberg student and live in New York City.
USC Annenberg: What inspired you to support the Annenberg with this generous gift?
Thomas Campbell Jackson: Penny is a former teacher, and she and I have long been interested in education, and science education in particular. It just seems clear to us that education is the best route to progress on the world's many challenges and opportunities, and equally obvious that science and technology will always be essential. We've had the honor to be associated with some exceptional organizations doing remarkable work in these domains.
One of those organizations is USC Annenberg. The school first came to our attention through former Dean Geoffrey Cowan. And after our daughter—now a junior at Annenberg—enrolled at USC, we began to learn more about the great work being done here.
The school's cutting edge work in diverse media came as no surprise, and yet, as we got to know more about the school we were increasingly wowed with its wide range of subject knowledge. I have a background in public health, and was very impressed with Annenberg's deep bench in health communication. These days I am an investor in early stage companies, and I was excited to see lots of expertise in economics and entrepreneurship, including in the person of our exemplary Dean Ernie Wilson.
USC Annenberg: Why is a specialization in science and technology important in journalism?
Thomas Campbell Jackson: Science and technology have been themes throughout my careers, and I suppose I am a scientist manqué. Of course, most people will not be scientists or engineers, but all of us are impacted by science and technology. Sadly, the public's grasp of science has not kept pace with technological progress, or with our increasing understanding of reality. Adam Frank's New York Times editorial “Welcome to the Age of Denial” eloquently, if distressingly, highlights the backsliding in Americans' science literacy.
As science and technology advance ever more quickly, we are increasingly dependent on people who can investigate specific research, innovations, trends, possibilities and problems, and then effectively present this information to a lay audience. We need talented “explainers” to engage audiences and transmit information in a largely nontechnical way that is nevertheless meaningful and actionable.
Above all, we want to reduce the number of people giving up on understanding science because they think it is too difficult, or too boring, or even not relevant to them.
USC Annenberg: What are your hopes for this scholarship? What possible outcomes do you envision?
Thomas Campbell Jackson: It is not solely about making better-informed voters. We want journalists who communicate the joy that can come from understanding the world around us, both the natural world and the augmented one we are busy constructing. Great science journalism will inspire future generations of scientists, and armchair scientists.
So it is a very happy happenstance that we find ourselves at USC, as Annenberg already has faculty firepower. I recently had the long-awaited pleasure of meeting K.C. Cole, whose marvelous books I've been reading and recommending for years. I am very much looking forward to meeting Dan Birman, not least because he's doing a NOVA program on the Higgs boson and I am executive producer on the extraordinary new documentary Particle Fever, which is currently on the festival circuit.
The fact that Annenberg has communications know-how across diverse media is ideal. Although my wife and I are book people (we met at an independent bookstore, and our home probably qualifies as one), we appreciate all means of communication. I actually cofounded a film production company and help to run a film festival, both devoted to exploring science. Penny is just back from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and working on a new play about genetics. We are both astonished with the explosion in science blogging and tweeting, and delighted by the growing DIY groups in science such as the Maker Movement and Citizen Science.
We can't wait to see the Specialized Master’s students these fellowships will support. We believe our investment in USC Annenberg will provide tremendous leverage in advancing scientific literacy. We just love the idea that each graduate will go forth with new expertise, and will use various media—perhaps even some as yet unknown—to investigate and inform, and potentially share the beauty and grandeur of science with vast audiences of readers and viewers across the country and around the globe. Dare I say, perhaps even billions and billions!
By Olivia Niland
When USC Annenberg alumna Jacki Wells Cisneros toured the construction site of Wallis Annenberg Hall, she knew just which aspect of the 88,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art school she wanted to leave her mark upon.
“I just had to have the assignment desk, because that's what I did,” said Wells Cisneros, who made a career for herself in broadcast journalism at KCBS and KNBC in Los Angeles. “I worked on the assignment desk for most of my career, so it just seemed like the perfect fit.”
Wells Cisneros and her husband, Gilbert Cisneros, have pledged a $500,000 donation to the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and will have the assignment desk of Wallis Annenberg Hall, scheduled to be completed in Fall 2014, named in their honor.
As both a USC Annenberg alumna and established donor, Wells Cisneros was eager to take a behind-the-scenes tour of Wallis Annenberg Hall, and found that its vision for the future of journalism, communications and public relations at USC closely aligned with her own.
“I think we're already seeing the future of Annenberg with the type of classes that are being offered and the state-of-the-art curriculum,” said Wells Cisneros. “The new building is going to be beautiful and have such a variety of activities going on. I can't wait to see it when it's done.”
The assignment desk will be featured prominently in the new building, at the center of the converged, 20,000-square-foot newsroom and media center. The newsroom will allow students to share and publish from multiple sources to any medium. Television, radio and direct-to-Web vodcast studios will each be multipurpose and allow publishing to multiple platforms.
At the heart of the newsroom, the 360-degree assignment desk will be home base for students monitoring and directing coverage of the day’s news.
For Wells Cisneros, the particular duty of being assignment editor – at the nerve center of a newsroom – has gained even more meaning in her life over the past few years. “I was working the assignment desk at KNBC the day I won the lottery, so when I started looking at the naming opportunities for the new building, I told Dean Wilson it was really that simple – I just had to have it.”
Since winning the $266 million MegaMillions jackpot in 2010, Jacki and Gilbert Cisneros have made it their mission to give back to their church and to their alma maters.Toward that goal, they founded the Gilbert & Jacki Cisneros Foundation. In 2011, Jacki and Gilbert established the $1 million Wells Cisneros Scholarship at USC Annenberg.
The scholarship provides $25,000 to one deserving student entering USC Annenberg each year, and is renewable each year, provided that students achieve standards set by faculty and maintain a 3.0 GPA. Extra consideration is given to Latino-American students, those from the state of California and those with demonstrated financial need. To date, two students have been named Wells Cisneros Scholarship recipients, and the scholarship will have two recipients on a permanent basis.
“We've been very impressed with the quality and energy of the students who have received the scholarship,” said Wells Cisneros. “I've gotten letters from them about careers and internships, and I get teary-eyed when I read them. It's like seeing the fruits of our labor actually happening, and it's very rewarding.”
Giving back to the Latino-American community has been particularly important to Jacki and Gilbert Cisneros, both of whom are of Mexican descent.
“Too many Latino kids are not getting the education they need to elevate themselves and their families,” said Wells Cisneros. “It's very important that we have educated Latinos getting into college.”
For Gilbert Cisneros, a George Washington University alum, focusing on giving back to Latino youth through the Gilbert and Jacki Cisneros Foundation has been incredibly fulfilling.
“When we won the lottery, I had just left my job because I wasn't happy,” said Cisneros. “I didn't feel like I was doing anything rewarding or contributing to society. But now with our focus of trying to improve the level of Latino education in this country, I feel like I have a purpose, and I'm doing something worthwhile rather than just punching a clock.”
In addition to USC Annenberg, George Washington University, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the Hispanic Scholarship fund and various churches, Jacki and Gilbert Cisneros have attempted to focus their foundation on organizations that not only align with their causes, but that are willing to actively work with the foundation in providing assistance to those they serve.
“Private foundation, non-profits, charities, schools, churches – they have to be in line with getting more Latinos into college and bringing up test scores,” said Wells Cisneros. “But we try to visit with students, and be as involved as possible. We don't just like to give money, we want to develop relationships.”
According to Wells Cisneros, this has been one of the primary goals of the foundation's involvement with USC Annenberg, as Latino and economically disadvantaged students have much to offer to their professions and schools.
“There are a lot of underserved kids whose parents don't have the means to send them to a school like USC or Annenberg,” said Wells Cisneros. “But they have a voice and a perspective to offer not just to their careers, but to the school. It's very important that these kids have a great education at USC and are able to experience all of the good that comes from that.”
Wells Cisneros received her bachelor's degree from USC Annenberg in Communication in 1995, and knew that journalism was her calling – even before she knew what it was called.
“I didn't even know that term, 'journalism', when I was in high school,” said Cisneros. “I just knew that I wanted to do 'the news,' and Annenberg was a perfect fit for me.”
Working as a KTLA morning show intern while being a full-time student allowed Wells Cisneros to find her footing in the field of journalism, and apply all of the knowledge and skills she learned during her studies at USC Annenberg.
“Working part-time while still going to school was cool because I got to take classes while still being in the newsroom,” said Wells Cisneros, who recalled a class on the principles of production as being one of her most memorable. “I got to see all of the different kinds of jobs in journalism and pick and choose what I was most interested.”
Though Wells Cisneros originally intended to continue her work as an assignment editor at KNBC after winning the lottery, she found herself passionate about a new career path in philanthropy.
"When you win the lottery, your life kind of goes upside down for a while,” said Cisneros. “Now my husband and I devote all of our time to our foundation, and we're more busy with it than if we had full time jobs. I'm very passionate about what we do with our foundation, and I've replaced news with something else that I'm equally passionate about.”
But Wells Cisneros is the first to admit that her career in news was difficult to walk away from, and that she still tries to be as involved in it as possible.
“It was a hard transition, because I really loved what I did. I loved everything about my job,” said Wells Cisneros. “But I still call the station to pitch things, and I still try to keep my foot in the door if I can.”
That kind of passion for news and journalism is what Wells Cisneros hopes to see reflected not only in students who are Wells Cisneros Scholarship recipients, but in all students who will walk through the doors of the Wallis Annenberg Hall next fall and help to define the future of USC Annenberg and their professional fields.
“The kind of journalism that Annenberg is teaching would never have been possible even 10 years ago,” said Wells Cisneros. “A new kind of student is being pioneered here, and there's a lot of opportunity. If you have drive, and if you have knowledge -- both of which you get from Annenberg – you have a lot of control over your own destiny.”
The USC Center on Public Diplomacy is leading a public conversation on the role of cultural artifacts and museums as springboards of international dialogue.
The Cyrus Cylinder, a 2,600-year-old artifact from the Persian Empire, has provided the platform for the discussion. Permanently housed in London’s British Museum, the Cylinder is widely recognized to be the world’s first written declaration of human rights and religious tolerance. Currently on display at the J. Paul Getty Museum of the Getty Villa through Dec. 2, it is on the final leg of its first-ever American tour.
The bread-sized, clay object is significant for a cuneiform inscription that details King Cyrus the Great’s peaceful creation of an empire in present-day Iran. Upon incorporating new people into his kingdom, Cyrus allowed them to retain their own cultures and faiths; additionally, he freed the Jewish people from exile in Babylon, permitting them to return to Jerusalem and rebuild lost temples.
The Center on Public Diplomacy has been heavily engaged with the Cylinder since its arrival to Los Angeles in early October. Along with tracking international media coverage of its American tour, the Center hosted an Oct. 30 discussion with Getty Museum Director Dr. Timothy Potts concerning the vital role of cultural institutions and artifacts in facilitating global dialogue.
“It helps to think … about the communication power of a museum object in the same way we would talk about the communication power of a person,” said USC Annenberg Communication Professor and event panelist Nicholas Cull. “It’s an example of how much extra mileage you can get when you think outside the box.”
Throughout the duration of its five-city tour, the Cylinder has given Americans a new message with which to associate Iran: one of peace and religious tolerance.
“Iran’s political relationship with the United States and Israel has been contentious for the past three decades,” wrote Iran Heritage Foundation overseer Nasser Manesh. “It is, therefore, of particular interest to have an ancient object from Iran in the limelight, one that is so relevant to both the U.S. and Israel. The Cyrus Cylinder documents an important moment in the history of the Middle East with significant relevance to both of these nations.”
Center associates have penned numerous articles questioning if the public success of the Cylinder exhibit indicates a possible deterioration of the tense political barriers that exist between the American, Israeli and Iranian people.
“While world renowned museums like the Getty, Smithsonian, Louvre, British Museum and others serve as vehicles for our global cultural heritage, can the artifacts they hold lead to the betterment of state-to-state, people-to-people, and state-to-people relationships?” asked CPD Assistant Director Naomi Leight.
“One of the core tenets of public diplomacy is to share values. It is clear from the global public interest in the Cyrus Cylinder, and reverence shown by both Iranians and Israelis for Cyrus, that the Cylinder is the commonality that public diplomacy practitioners seek out and utilize as a jumping-off point for dialogue about international relations.”
Check out the CPD’s complete coverage of the Cyrus Cylinder:
By Olivia Niland
USC Annenberg's Institute of Sports, Media and Society hosted a three-day conference about “Sports and the LGBT Experience: An Exploration of Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity in Athletics” from Oct. 22-24.
The conference was hosted and run by the Institute of Sports, Media & Society, under the direction of USC Annenberg Professor Daniel Durbin, in partnership with the USC Student Affairs LGBT Resource Center and the Norman Lear Center.
The Norman Lear Center's Adam Amel Rogers and USC Annenberg Ph.D candidate Evan Brody served as the conference's co-directors. Over the course of three days, six panels were held in the Geoffrey Cowan Forum and the Annenberg Auditorium. Panelists ranged from USC student-athletes to coaches, sports administrators, journalists, scholars and current and former professional athletes, including former MLB center fielder Billy Bean, former NFL defensive tackle Esera Tuaolo and professional softball player and Olympic medalist Lauren Lappin.
“Our goal in creating this conference—as in our other conferences—was to move the discussion of this important subject forward and to engage scholars, journalists and athletes in a unique forum that allowed for open discussion and debate,” said Durbin, USC Annenberg Clinical Professor and Director of the Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media and Society.
With the controversy surrounding Russia’s stance on homosexuality, and the upcoming winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, “This seemed an especially fortuitous time to have a conference discussing the LGBT experience,” Durbin said.
Durbin developed the Institute of Sports, Media and Society in 2009 with the objective of focusing on sports and their impact on culture through communication media, and approached the Norman Lear Center's Rogers and Doctoral Candidate Brody last year about co-directing the conference.
“Evan Brody is doing his dissertation on the convergence of sports and the LGBT experience, and my background is in LGBT issues,” said Rogers, who previously worked for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLADD). “Co-directing the conference was a fantastic experience for us.”
The second of two panels on Oct. 23, “Sports and the Collegiate LGBT Experience” featured USC junior and swimmer Sean Mulroy, USC Senior Associate Athletic Director Donna Heinel, USC Clinical Sports Psychologist Nohelani Lawrence, Assistant UCLA softball coach Kirk Walker and Pat Griffin, founding Director of Changing the Game, who served as the panel's moderator.
“We figured it would be a missed opportunity, being at a school with an extraordinary sports tradition, to not include the collegiate experience [in this conference],” said Brody at the beginning of the panel. “So we wanted to see what USC is doing to make safe spaces for athletes, as well as the NCAA in general.”
During the 90-minute panel, the discussion ranged from LGBT issues in college, recreational and professional athletics, addressing LGBT issues with teammates, coaches and parents, LGBT athletes in relation with religion and race, and what's next for the LGBT collegiate athletics community.
“It's been an amazing couple of years looking at LGBT and collegiate issues,” said Griffin. “There has been more progress in the past three years than in the previous 20. This panel is happening in the context of big change.”
The panelists also emphasized the importance of allies who advocate for LGBT issues on college campuses. Several praised USC Athletic Director Pat Haden's commitment to addressing LGBT issues in college athletics, and in particular his support of USC's forthcoming You Can Play video.
“With Pat taking over, we acknowledge the existence of gay and lesbian athletes on campus,” said Heinel. “He is just all about support and all about student-athletes' welfare.”
The conference's five other panels included “LGBT Sports Scholarship: A Conversation with Senior Scholars,” “LGBT Sports & Entrepreneurial Journalism,” “Critical Discourses on LGBT Sports,” “The State of LGBT Sports & Popular Media,” and “Professional Sports & the LGBT Experience,” all of which were well-attended.
“I think [Rogers and Brody] did an especially good job putting together a program that examined the subject from the perspectives of academics, journalists and athletes,” said Durbin of the conference's co-directors. “And I think the ‘Sports and the Collegiate LGBT Experience’ panel was especially eye-opening in its discussion of the situation at USC.”
The USC Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media and Society has previously hosted programs on sports violence and injury, the Olympics movement, and sports and gender issues, in addition to Sports and the LGBT experience. A conference on the intersection of sports and race is scheduled to be presented next year.
Television news manager and educator Serena Cha has been named Annenberg Media Center executive director, officials at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism said today.
Cha, a USC Annenberg professor, has previously served as the director of Annenberg Television News (ATVN). The newly created position will oversee the real time, multi-media operation tying together groundbreaking production work in journalism, public relations and communication, and USC Annenberg student-run publications including Neon Tommy, Annenberg Radio News (ARN), ATVN and Impact.
Cha has her eye on the future. “Our outstanding media faculty, staff, students and partners are eager to create a new model that will be evolve and never be static. We will blend our school’s knowledge with the urge to innovate,” she said. “The Media Center will inspire our students, Annenberg and the world to invent new ways to communicate and connect. At the same time, we will still teach our students to insist on accuracy, fairness, depth and inclusiveness.”
“Professor Cha’s deep commitment to our students and our school is well known,” said USC Annenberg Dean Ernest J. Wilson III, in announcing Cha’s new position. “Her work on the Wallis Annenberg Hall building committee has been integral as well as we prepare for the opportunities ahead.”
In Fall 2014, the state-of-the-art, 88,000-square-foot, technologically transformative Wallis Annenberg Hall is scheduled to open, giving USC Annenberg two buildings on the USC campus. The Media Center will be a centerpiece of Wallis Annenberg Hall.
Likewise launching in Fall 2014 is the school’s new nine-month Journalism M.S., which will replace the two-year master’s degree.
Michael Parks, interim Director of the Journalism School, said, “I am highly optimistic about Professor Cha’s ability to facilitate amazing collaboration among our student-run platforms.” Added Parks: “USC Annenberg has real opportunities here to remain at the forefront of the rapidly developing world of converged media.”
Cha arrived at USC Annenberg in 1998 as the founding director of ATVN. She has supervised an operation that involves as many as 250 journalists each semester putting together USC's live nightly newscasts for a worldwide web audience and the campus community.
Cha created the newscast producer training program, which includes guidelines and interactive exercises that are still taught in Annenberg’s rigorous television news production course. Graduates of this intensive production and leadership program supervise news and sports programs at both the network and local level. They have also used their training to excel in other professions.
Cha led the student and staff design team responsible for the video-rich ATVN.org website. Under her leadership, Annenberg TV News has earned awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Los Angeles Press Club, National Broadcasting Society and Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation. News and sports media organizations reach out to ATVN regularly for video, information and well-trained producers and reporters. Alumni mentored by Cha are leaders in pioneering changes on the air and behind the scenes at ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, AL Jazeera, ESPN, Fox Sports, Time Warner Sports and other networks, as well as at stations across the country. ATVN alumni dominate many markets including Los Angeles, San Diego, Lansing, Albuquerque and Seattle.
Before joining USC in the summer of '98 to start Annenberg TV News, Cha was an executive producer at KCAL-TV Los Angeles. She established a strong reputation for hands-on daily supervision of a major-TV market newsroom producing live newscasts, breaking news coverage, election coverage and special on-site reports from all over the world.
Cha also supervised news teams in her roles as senior producer at KCBS-TV and news producer at KNBC-TV and KTTV in Los Angeles. In addition to innovative production of coverage of the Gulf War, elections and natural disasters, Cha was the producer in the control room launching KNBC’s live coverage of the Los Angeles riots.
She won the Associated Press Award for best television newscast in California and a Golden Mike Award for best daytime newscast in Los Angeles. She also earned a USC Mentoring Award in 2011.
Cha earned her master's degree in journalism at Columbia University and received her undergraduate degree in history from the University of Michigan. She also completed professional training at the Scripps Howard Academy Leadership Academy and The Poynter Institute.
Fruitvale Station. 12 Years a Slave. The Butler. 42. Mandela. It may seem in 2013 that the critical and popular success of films featuring black lead actors signals that Hollywood is diversifying. But a new study from USC Annenberg shows it’s business as usual when it comes to employing underrepresented races and ethnicities in the industry.
USC Annenberg Professor Stacy L. Smith and her team analyzed 500 top-grossing films at the U.S. box office over five years (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012) and over 20,000 speaking characters. The evidence reveals that in 2012, black or African Americans represented 10.8% of all speaking characters, while Hispanics represented 4.2% and Asians 5%. In the top-grossing films analyzed from 2012, nearly 40% depict black characters in less than 5% of all speaking roles.
“There is still a noticeable lack of diversity across the landscape of popular films,” said Professor Stacy L. Smith, the principal investigator. “This year is the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights movement, and the Census shows that the population of the United States is more diverse than ever. Our film content, however, depicts something very different.”
African Americans and blacks are not only outnumbered on screen, but behind the camera as well. Across 565 directors and 500 films, there are just 33 black directors between 2007 and 2012 – and only two of those directors are female. “It is hard to believe that across all of these top directing jobs, there are only two qualified black females. Other talented black female directors exist. Where are they?” Smith asked.
The report analyzes the nature of diverse portrayals as well. When they are on screen, female Hispanic characters are more likely than female characters from any other race/ethnicity to be depicted in sexy attire or partially naked. Black males are least likely to be shown as parents or caregivers (26.7%), or as romantic partners (43.3%).
“When you see someone who looks like you on screen, it makes you feel like you’re being seen,” said Bridgette Webb, a senior USC Annenberg Communication student who works with the program that conducted the study, Annenberg’s Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative. “Media ideals are so opposite from how I look that when I see representations or diverse characters, it makes me feel like the media thinks I’m OK.”
Black directors may make an impact on the diversity on screen. When films have a black director, 52.6% of speaking characters are black, compared to just 9.9% for films with non-black directors. “Quite simply, when we see diversity behind the camera, we see a difference in the percentage of diverse characters on screen,” said Marc Choueiti, a co-author of the study. “The question is: are these directors encouraged to create more diverse stories that reflect the world? Or is the type of story they are entrusted with an exclusive story about their own racial or ethnic group?”
Today’s report is the latest in a series of studies from Professor Smith and her team at the Media, Diversity, and Social Change Initiative at USC Annenberg. For more information, or to read the full report, visit annenberg.usc.edu or click here.
(Photo: L.A. Times / D. Stevens / Warner Bros. Pictures)
By Senta Scarborough
On the night of Oct. 25, at the start of the busy USC 2013 Trojan Family Weekend, parents, visitors, alumni and students packed into a standing room-only venue to watch two opposing nationally ranked teams take center stage.
But the excitement wasn’t for one of the Trojan’s storied athletic programs. Instead, it was to commemorate the university’s courageous and historic commitment to social advocacy through its debate program.
In 1935, USC, then the defending national championship debate team, broke racial barriers to compete against an undefeated all-black Wiley College of Marshall, Texas. Wiley’s win that year earned them the honor of being the first historically black college to win a national championship – and its debaters set the stage for the civil rights movement. Wiley College’s James L. Farmer Jr., would later organize Freedom Rides to protest a segregated transportation system.
That debate also inspired the 2007 film The Great Debaters, starring Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker, which depicts Wiley College defeating Harvard’s debate team for the national title. Washington portrayed Wiley’s coach Melvin B. Tolson and directed the movie. After the film, he donated $1 million to help Wiley College revive its debate team.
Last week, 78 years after the original debate, Wiley’s team, known as the Melvin B. Tolson/ Denzel Washington Forensics Society, traveled to Los Angeles for a rematch in an exhibition debate against the USC Annenberg Trojan Debate Squad. It was the first time the teams had met at USC since the historic debate; last year, USC traveled to Wiley for the first rematch since 1935.
More than 200 people, including alumni from both schools and Wiley College President Haywood Strickland, Los Angeles City Councilman Curren Price and The Great Debaters screenwriter Robert Eisele, filled a room at the Salvatori Computer Science Center.
In honor of the groundbreaking 1935 debate, USC’s debate coach, USC Annenberg Professor Gordon Stables, and Wiley’s coach, Christopher Medina, selected a social justice-related theme: the merits of affirmative action.
“It is hard to imagine nearly 90 years ago that education narrowed who students are exposed to. It made education less valuable for all students because they learn from each other,” said Stables. “If tonight's debate is remarkable, it is remarkable because of the role that debate plays in the lives of students, communities and universities.”
The two teams, each consisting of one black and one white student - teams that would have been unheard of in the 1930s - argued the gray areas of racial inequality in college admissions.
“The great thing about the diversity on both of our teams is that it happened by accident. We are a perfect example of the world that those great debaters were fighting for in 1935,” Wiley College debater Lyle Kleinman (‘17) said.
The Trojan team argued that the role of race should be expanded in university admissions. They claimed that the loss of affirmative action has meant a decrease in diverse students and perspectives in college classrooms. Wiley debaters argued that affirmative action sends unprepared students to college, setting them up to fail. (Teams negotiated debate topics and sides beforehand.)
The lively 40-minute debate outlined the pros and cons of affirmative action in higher education and garnered enthusiastic affirmations and applause from the packed house.
A powerful moment occurred when USC debater Christian Patterson (Political Science, News Media and Society minor, ’15) spoke from his personal experience.
“You may call it tokenism when you have one black student or one Latino student in your classroom but I can tell you from personal experience, when I'm in that classroom, I don't feel like it’s tokenism. I feel like I'm doing something. I feel like I'm telling people about a problem that they would not know anything about if I were not there,” Patterson said.
But Wiley debaters countered that these programs can harm minority students who aren’t ready for college.
“If a student cannot get science books in their elementary classroom how do you expect them to become nuclear astrophysicists? How do you expect someone to find the cure to cancer when they can't read?” Kleinman said. “Affirmative action paints a color on failure…We set them up to fail, and we argue that this is the best policy out there.”
USC’s debate team captain Clara Purk (International Relations and Global Business, Global Communication Minor, ’14), was one of the teammates who traveled last year to Wiley College for the debate rematch. She said both teams instantly bonded. Before last week’s debate Purk even received a “good luck tonight” text from former Wiley opponent and graduate, Cary Chavis.
In the week prior, USC and Wiley students had dinner together and they also attended a USC football game afterwards. They learned both Wiley College debaters were freshmen and from California – and the USC students came from Utah and Wiley’s home state of Texas.
“[Debate] has helped me see so many perspectives that I wouldn’t have considered before,” Purk said. “Debate is so unique, because it gives us the opportunity to understand both sides of an issue.”
Those are skills USC Annenberg Dean Ernest J. Wilson III feels are crucial for students and society today.
“What these young people are doing today dates back thousands of years to Cicero,” Wilson said during his opening remarks of the debate. “But it is also a very modern tradition. If we think about debate teams and then we think about social media – what is social media? What is blogging? What is the Internet, other than simply the latest modern opportunity to engage in debate? And to engage in debate that is principled and forthright, that can be critical, is essential for citizenship.”
Today, USC continues that 1935 spirit of collaboration by encouraging student debate both locally and abroad. They are teaming up with the George Soros’ Open Society Foundation to develop online debating tools to link schools around the world.
Over the past five years, USC also has partnered with the LA Metro Debate League to help build debate teams in 17 Los Angeles Unified School District high schools.
“The purpose is really to teach these kids critical thinking and research skills,” said USC student Jordan Friedman (English, Communication minor ’13), who greeted visitors to the debate and serves as the head volunteer coordinator for university’s partnership with the local urban debate league.
“Students are reading material they are actually engaged in and getting the skills necessary for college,” said Friedman, adding many high school students also earn debate scholarships.
Scholarships and support have made the difference at Wiley College as well. After the popularity of The Great Debaters, there was a resurgence of interest in debate, and Wiley’s student enrollment has tripled.
The film also changed the life of Nate Parker, the actor who portrayed one of the 1935 Wiley team members and served as judge for Friday’s exhibition.
“It really changed my perspective in terms of being a part of my community, not only to those who look like me, but the nation at large. I have a responsibility to attack any issue I feel is unjust,” Parker said.
The outcome of the debate was “very close” but Wiley College defeated USC in the end. Despite the loss, Parker said everyone benefits by encouraging future leaders.
“All of the debaters are incredible speakers, their presentation and the preparation was fantastic,” Parker said.
“One of tonight’s debaters is interested in political office. These are the leaders of tomorrow and we have to cultivate them. I think we did that by filling this room up, by being supportive in the debate.”
(Photos by Neftalie Williams)
By Olivia Niland
The USC Annenberg Auditorium rang out with voices on the evening of Oct. 11 as about a dozen high school and USC student actors performed “Moby-Dick: Then and Now,” a USC Visions and Voices Event.
The play, which was written and directed by playwright and actor Ricardo Pitts-Wiley, was originally produced at the Mixed Magic Theatre in Rhode Island, where it first caught the attention of USC Annenberg Professor of Communication Henry Jenkins.
“I very much wanted to bring this performance to LA,” said Jenkins, who was able to do so in part through the Annenberg Innovation Lab. “And this has been a collaboration that has brought together many different parts of USC,” he said, acknowledging the participation of the School of Dramatic Arts, the School of Cinematic Arts and the Rossier School of Education.
Jenkins, who is also USC Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Arts and Education, joined USC Annenberg in 2009 after directing MIT's Comparative Media Studies graduate program for 16years. Co-authored with MIT professor and Melville specialist Wyn Kelley, Jenkins’ most recent book, Reading in a Participatory Culture: Remixing Moby-Dick in the English Classroom, features Pitts-Wiley's efforts to make literature, specifically Moby-Dick, more accessible to incarcerated youth.
“We realized that what I was trying to do and what they were trying to do was very closely related. And a partnership has developed,” Pitts-Wiley told the audience of his collaboration with Jenkins and his Project New Media Literacies teams at MIT and USC, a project funded by the MacArthur Foundation to explore how youth learn outside of traditional classroom settings. Project New Media Literacies, which started at MIT, was led by Erin Reilly, who now oversees its development at USC.
Both Jenkins and Pitts-Wiley view reading literature as participatory, and have recognized the education potential of “remixing” to make classic literature more relatable and relevant to modern youth. But Pitts-Wiley emphasized that he takes great effort to retell classic stories in such a way that they become modernized, but are still true to their source, and he tries to teach students to do the same.
“Melville acknowledged where things came from, and I think it's so important for young people to understand that just because you have a computer and can go grab something [from the internet] doesn't mean that you're not responsible for knowing where it came from,” said Pitts-Wiley. “It's not just yours because you can use it, and also, if you take the time to figure out where it comes from, it gains greater value.”
Jenkins also emphasized the difference between “remixing” classic literature and plagiarizing the works of other authors, a distinction which can something create confusion for teachers when first introduced to the concept.
“A remix knows where it comes from,” said Jenkins, noting that Moby-Dick itself is an allusion to the Bible, among other sources. “It's grounded in history; it's quoting things for a reason. Plagiarism is simply copying, it tries to mask where it comes from. In my mind, that's a fundamental, ethical difference between the two. Modern culture is built on remixing.”
In “Moby-Dick: Then and Now,” the traditional telling of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick plays out on one half of the stage, while on the other half, Pitts-Wiley's re-imagining of the story as a tale of loss and revenge deeply entrenched within 21st century urban gang culture comes to life.
In the updated version, Captain Ahab has become Alba, a teenage girl whose brother was killed after becoming caught up in the drug trade. Rather than the whale of the original story, Alba's nemesis and object of revenge is WhiteThing, an mysterious entity which appears in a different form to each who view it, and comes to represent the international drug cartel, which has many “agents” that impact people’s lives. The “now” cast incorporates modern slang, popular culture references and allusions to topics such as consumerism, drug use and street violence, which Pitts-Wiley acknowledged as relevant to many youth today, and is inspired by the original group of incarcerated students he worked with in Rhode Island.
“These young people not only read [Moby-Dick], but they read it closely,” said Pitts-Wiley. “Even though I thought I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do with the novel, they really released my imagination.”
In addition to the contrast between the costumes of the two sets of actors—sea-faring garb for the “then” group, jeans and tennis shoes for the “now”—Pitts-Wiley also chose to make two groups demographically distinctive. Drawing on the conception of Melville as a “dead white male writer,” Pitts-Wiley casts many of the “then” actors, in most performances, as older and white, with the majority of actors drawn from USC's own theatre program.
The “now” cast, on the other hand, was deliberately chosen to be mixed race and younger, and most of the students were sourced from Gertz-Ressler High School and the Los Angeles High School of the Arts. Both casts featured many female members, and several of the men's roles were played by women, a choice which, according to Pitts-Wiley, is key to the retelling of the tale and addressing the criticism that Melville's classic novel only features male characters.
“Making Alba a female character was important because I wanted to be able to illustrate that the passion and the desire to exact revenge on something that has hurt you is not just limited to men,” said Pitts-Wiley. “And also I didn't want it to be a comparison of two characters. By making Alba female, it became just two captains...and in some ways I think it shows the capacity of female leadership to be hardcore too.”
Another noteworthy aspect of the performance itself is that it was the result of only five days of rehearsing by the actors, who were brought together with help from USC Annenberg graduate student Alexandrina Agloro.
“To think that [Pitts-Wiley] put this together in five days and could draw such great stuff out of a remarkable group of students really blows my mind,” said Jenkins. “And obviously the ideas of the play are very relevant to South Central Los Angeles, and it's so great that the show features students from local high schools and that their parents are here to see them tonight. It really bridges a divide.”
The 90-minute performance was followed by a short question and answer session by both Jenkins and Pitts-Wiley, during which Pitts-Wiley discussed why he feels there is such a need for retelling classic literature.
“Teachers teach the literature that was important to them, and to their teachers,” said Pitts-Wiley. “But I'm not sure they're asking enough what's important to young people.”
This idea will carry over into Pitts-Wiley's next project, a remixing of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. In addition to being a playwright, songwriter and author, Pitts-Wiley is currently in residency at USC this fall, and spoke about Moby-Dick: Then and Now alongside Jenkins and co-author Wyn Kelley at a Los Angeles Public Library event last month.
“Moby-Dick: Then and Now” was Jenkins’ second Visions and Voices event, and he expressed an interest in bringing more remixing to USC. And given the reaction from audience, cast and crew members following the performance, future events will likely be well received.
“I'd never read Moby-Dick,” said Amber Espinosa-Jones, a junior theatre major who provided technical assistance for the production. “There's a reason why I usually don't remember most of the books I read. But this retelling is kind of genius, if you think about it. I never would have thought to present the book this way.”
Deanna Morgan, a sophomore theatre major and member of the “then” cast, agreed: “The way [Pitts-Wiley] presents the story is new,” said Morgan. “I feel like people my age have so much shorter attention spans, and we learn a lot visually and through media, so there's a reason that something like this is memorable.”
By Gretchen Parker
Through a new collaboration with Adobe, a global leader in digital media tools, USC Annenberg will provide its students, faculty and staff with Adobe Creative Cloud at no cost during the 2013-14 academic year.
The popular software products will be available to all students pursuing a major or minor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The suite, which includes Photoshop, Premiere, Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat, is an industry standard for print, web, video, photography and design professionals.
Offering students unlimited access to these tools, invaluable for developing skills for digital communication and collaboration, will give students a competitive edge in the classroom – and after they graduate, said USC Annenberg Dean Ernest J. Wilson III.
The collaboration is a first for Adobe and the University of Southern California and will become a cornerstone of a core mission at USC Annenberg – to encourage and establish digital literacy as an integral part of a student’s education here. Pursuing digital literacy includes teaching students how to think critically about the digital world of communication and also how to participate and flourish in that world.
The culture of communication is increasingly participatory and collaborative, and that’s where the benefits of Adobe’s offerings come in, said Dean Wilson.
“Digital literacy requires students to be adept at using digital tools to evolve from consuming information to producing it,” he said. “Our students at USC Annenberg already are producers and networkers across multiple platforms of communication and journalism, and now they will have free access to these tools, which will help them further hone these skills.”
Adobe officials said they look forward to contributing to the digital education of future communicators.
“Adobe is excited to work with USC Annenberg to provide the newest tools for creation of content for print, web, video and mobile to the next generation of digital storytellers,” said Jim Guerard, VP of enterprise solutions at Adobe. “With the capabilities of Creative Cloud, students will have the opportunity to express their creativity while mastering their ability to work collaboratively on projects. We look forward to seeing the great content they will create and to their new facility when it opens next fall.”
USC Annenberg will continue to work with Adobe through the Fall 2014 opening of the technologically-transformative Wallis Annenberg Hall. Access to Adobe Creative Cloud will be instrumental to the building’s state-of-the-art content management system, which allows students to share and publish from multiple sources to any medium.
One example is the work of ATVN, USC Annenberg’s award-winning television and online news station.
“We’re excited that the Creative Cloud will make all Adobe products readily available to all students interested in multimedia production,” said USC Annenberg Professor Serena Cha, director of ATVN.
In Wallis Annenberg Hall, the tools will work seamlessly with the new content management system, as students tie video editing software Adobe Premiere with their video production. “Students will be able to quickly retrieve and deliver shared material,” Cha said.
To help students, faculty and staff make the most of their access to the Creative Cloud, USC Annenberg plans the following events to roll out the partnership:
*Workshops, developed by USC Annenberg and Adobe, that will be held through November 2013
*Information on CCS and Adobe swag, available at a booth in the East Lobby on Thursday and Friday, Oct. 24-25, to coincide with USC Trojan Family Weekend
*”Adobe Days,” held Nov. 11-13, which will include video exhibits, workshops and a performance by “Soul Pancake” on Nov. 11.
For more information on Adobe’s Creative Cloud, visit: www.adobe.com
By Michael Juliani
Over the phone from New York City, photographer Lawrence Schiller claims: at the time, he had no idea that the photos he was taking in the sixties were so momentous. “History made my pictures important, not me,” he says.
Scrolling through Schiller’s photographic archive is like viewing the subconscious tickertape of America in the middle of the 20th Century: there’s Marilyn Monroe, nude, in a swimming pool; there’s the National Guard rolling into Los Angeles during the Watts riots; there’s Robert F. Kennedy sleeping on the floor of his private jet during his final campaign. There are dozens of luminous subjects: Muhammad Ali, Patty Hearst, the Jackson Five. Schiller still pleads, “I don’t consider myself one of the great photojournalists of my time. I’m just a worker. I’m an idea man – I don’t like being monkey see, monkey do.”
USC Annenberg is exhibiting some of Schiller’s photographs, spanning his 60-year career, throughout the fall and spring semesters this year.
Despite his reluctance to acknowledge himself, Schiller’s work has captured the pulse of American culture since he started working as a photojournalist when he was a teenager. Schiller explained his strategy of approaching shoots differently than most photographers, sometimes even doing the exact opposite.
When a police officer held Lee Harvey Oswald’s gun over his head, a crowd of photographers were in front of the officer, using flash photography to get the light just right. Schiller was behind the officer, not using flash, and his picture shows the difference: an “imperfect” image that includes the crowd of photographers in the background. “I do distortion, I blur, I want to know what [the subject’s] all about,” Schiller said.
Schiller’s work stretches beyond photography: he’s directed films, documentaries, TV series and has written books. When the iPad first came out, he was asked to create an app that would serve as a model for other artists wanting to use the device. The Lawrence Schiller app presents a retrospective of his life and work, as told by Schiller himself in short video clips.
“When the app first came out, people wanted to know how I’d done it. I did it all myself. I see it as a building block for other great apps to come,” he said.
Schiller has observed the shift of photojournalism from more of an art form to a medium of widespread information dissemination.
“This past decade, the camera has lost its tip of the paint brush. Now everyone’s inundated by competition,” Schiller said.
He also said that he feels that the increased number of perspectives in photography benefits society’s ability to understand difficult moments in history. “There’s nothing wrong with [social media],” he said. “Technology steals time from you. There’s less art, more information. Maybe [photojournalism] is more honest without the art in it.”
On Thursday, Oct. 24, USC Annenberg will host a small reception at 3:00 p.m. in honor of the exhibit. Guests are welcome and light refreshments will be served. No RSVP is required.
<<©Lawrence Schiller All photographs courtesy of Fahey Klein in Los Angeles, CA>>
In 1935, the debate team at Wiley College came to Los Angeles and defeated USC, the defending national champion, to become the first historically black college to win the national championship.
On Friday, Oct. 25, Wiley will debate at USC for the first time since 1935.
The debate in 1935 served as inspiration for the 2007 film, “The Great Debaters,” starring Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker, in which Wiley College defeats Harvard’s debate team in the national championship. The success of the film made the reenactments possible, in part, because Washington made a $1 million donation to the school so it could revamp the debate program.
Since then, the Wiley College debate team has been formally known as the Melvin B. Tolson/Denzel Washington Forensics Society.
USC and Wiley, two nationally-ranked teams, have only met one other time since 1935. In 2012, the USC Annenberg Trojan Debate Squad traveled to Marshall, Texas to face off with the Wiley College debate team and debate the necessity of civil disobedience.
The exhibition was held in front a standing-room only crowd of more than 700 people, including Wiley alumni and other distinguished guests. After the exhibition, USC Annenberg Director of Debate and Forensics Gordon Stables (pictured right) remarked that everyone, audience included, “won the debate.”
Immediately, Stables invited Wiley College’s Speech and Debate Team to USC for a rematch.
“The audience is treated to a remarkable conversation among the students,” said Stables. “The exhibitions are really about showcasing the abilities of the students and demonstrating a heightened understanding of a topic.”
This year’s debate will address the role of race and ethnic identity in university admissions decisions.
“Our main interest is in debating a controversial topic and giving that topic a just and fair treatment by creating the best dialogue,” Stables said.
Trojan Debate Squad member Christian Patterson (Political Science, News Media and Society minor ’15) and team captain Clara Purk (International Relations, Global Communication minor '14) will compete against Wiley debaters Lyle Kleinman (’16) and Nathan Leal (’15).
“I think this year's debate will build on the excitement and tradition we established last time we visited Wiley,” said Purk, who participated in the 2012 debate at Wiley. “The debate we had two years ago was such a novelty, since the two schools hadn't met in quite some time.”
Patterson added that he’s glad the two schools continue “to commemorate a really historic event between such storied programs.”
“As a student of color, I have a great deal of appreciation for what the Wiley debate team accomplished in the 1930's, so to be a part of the celebration of that event is a real honor,” added Patterson.
The Trojan Debate Squad is also hoping to show the visiting Wiley students the USC campus and the city of Los Angeles.
“Everyone was so welcoming when we visited, and we made friends very quickly,” said Purk. “I am looking forward to returning the favor and showing our Wiley peers some classic Trojan hospitality.”
The debate falls at the beginning of USC’s annual Trojan Family Weekend, and organizers hope visiting families will take advantage of the opportunity to attend the debate. Purk added that she was excited to share “with the USC community the exciting and intellectual culture of debate.”
“I realized debate has so much potential to educate and influence audiences,” said Purk.
The exhibition will be held Friday, Oct. 25 in Salvatori Science Center Room 101, starting with opening remarks from Dean Ernest J. Wilson III at 5:30 p.m. The event is sold out; seating is available at a live video simulcast in Taper Hall Room 101.
By Greg Asciutto
Ernest J. Wilson III, Dean of USC Annenberg and Walter Annenberg Chair in Communication, has been selected as a fellow-elect of the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), an independent, non-partisan organization that works in a consultative capacity with federal officials.
“I am deeply honored," said Dean Wilson, "for the opportunity to further involve our school and our university in the important contemporary issues of governance and democratic participation and public administration."
Established in 1967, the Congressionally chartered NAPA has close to 800 Academy Fellows from a range of private- and public-sector industries. Members of Congress, former presidential cabinet members, business executives, public administrators and notable academics comprise the Academy, which will induct 37 new Fellows this fall. They will be inducted Nov. 14.
Dean Wilson joins two other USC administrators in the 2013 Academy Fellow class: Raphael Bostic, director of the Bedrosian Center at USC Price, and James Ferris, director of the Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy at USC Price.
"I am in wonderful company," said Wilson of the two USC Price inductees and his other fellow inductees. The Dean added: "Communication is at the center of everything in the Information Age. My invitation to serve here is further validation of both that centrality and of the excellence, prominence and centrality of USC Annenberg."
"The Academy is honored to add these leaders in public administration to its ranks,” said Dan Blair, President and CEO of the Academy, in a statement. “Elected by their peers, these inductees will drive the important work of the Academy in addressing emerging issues in government.”
The induction is the latest in a long list of significant public appointments for Dean Wilson. In 2008, he was appointed to the presidential transition team that advised President Barack Obama as he assembled his first administration; the following year, he was elected chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Last year, Dean Wilson was inducted to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences honorary society. (Read his full bio here.)
The Academy’s underlying responsibility is to provide federal departments and agencies with assistance on nationally pressing administrative issues. The bulk of Academy work comes at the request of Congressional committees and other government entities.
Among the Academy’s specific organizational objectives include: Improving the effectiveness of public programs, strengthening cross-sector collaborations, providing transparency to government operations and creating long-term macroeconomic solutions.
Fellows work to fulfill those goals by developing organizational assessments, strategy measures, performance management systems and implementation strategies to combat environmental, fiscal and other national concerns. Fellows may also be called upon for Congressional testimony, online stakeholder engagement or to create in-depth administrative studies and analyses.
In recent years, the Academy has partnered with some of the nation’s top institutions to address public management challenges: the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Veteran Affairs, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), among others.
Currently, the Agency is engaged in a number of public assessments that reflect the organization’s broad expertise. Current projects include assessing the operations of the National Weather Service, evaluating a hybrid public-private partnership model for the future of the U.S. Postal Service and examining the involvement of veterans in national and community service programs.
Dean Wilson will be officially inducted to the National Academy of Public Administration on Nov. 14, when the Academy holds its annual Washington D.C. meeting.
Roger Smith, former National Editor of the Los Angeles Times who helped lead its coverage of the Affordable Care Act’s passage and subsequent legal challenges, will become Managing Editor of the California HealthCare Foundation’s Center for Health Reporting at USC Annenberg.
Smith, a USC journalism alumnus, has an enviable background in news, particularly in-depth analysis, investigative journalism and narrative storytelling – all areas the Center emphasizes, the Center said in a news release this week.
Smith has directed presidential campaign coverage and shaped the work of national correspondents. He has overseen reporters covering religion, science and medicine.
For many years, Smith was editor of the Times’ signature front-page feature, “Column One,” and is a master at story conception and narrative structure, the Center said.
He has also supervised a number of investigative projects, including two Pulitzer Prize award winners.
Smith is a California native who spent more than three decades at the Times.
The CHCF Center for Health Reporting is an independent news organization that partners with news media to report about California health care issues. Based at the USC Annenberg, it is funded by the non-profit California HealthCare Foundation.
By Alex Reed
Students, faculty and guests have the opportunity to learn about and discuss the latest ideas and technology in journalism at USC Annenberg’s weekly Journalism Forum series.
The forums are sponsored by the school’s nine-month Journalism M.S. program, which launches fall 2014. With topics ranging from women in media technology to using Google Glass to tell stories, forum attendees are given a glimpse at “the story behind the story.”
Journalism Director Michael Parks described the purpose of the gatherings, held every Tuesday at noon in USC Annenberg’s Geoffrey Cowan Forum (Room 207), as a way to bring students all over campus “a different sort of learning environment that’s not classroom, not textbooks.”
“It’s a way to build media literacy, to understand how to evaluate the news and information you get by understanding how it comes together, and to look at the horizon and beyond,” Parks said.
The forums kicked off Aug. 27 with a discussion, organized by Journalism Professor Robert Hernandez, about storytelling using Google Glass and how it is important for journalists to explore new digital tools. Four USC Annenberg Google Glass explorers were on the panel.
“Quite honestly, when has journalism ever benefited from ignoring or dismissing technology?” Hernandez asked a packed room of intrigued students and faculty. “Someone’s got to play with it and figure it out.”
Though the forums have all had different speakers that discuss vastly different topics, the common themes of experimenting with new technology and the future of the media are prevalent throughout all discussions.
Parks pointed out that the forums should get “students ... thinking about the present and how they want to develop and shape the future," noting that the fate of the industry is entirely in their hands.
A Sept. 24 forum, led by Aaron Koblin, the creative director of the Data Arts Team at Google and this year’s Innovator in Residence at the Annenberg Innovation Lab, continued the forward-thinking conversation about technology and creation. Koblin shared some of the data art projects he’s done for Google over the last few years, including an interactive music video for Arcade Fire.
The use of new technology, specifically when reporting in diverse communities, was also the topic of discussion when participants in the USC Annenberg Reporter Corps program and their professional mentors led an Oct. 1 discussion.
Reporter Corps mentor Sahra Sulaiman said her reporting in South Los Angeles involves riding her bike through the community and following gang members on Twitter. When reporting in a diverse community, she said, “being aware of who you are and how people are going to see you is a really important thing.”
The forum itself also incorporated social media by encouraging audience members to tweet questions, followed by the hashtag “#ReporterCorps,” to be asked at the end of the event.
Parks said that he hoped people would use social media at the forums because they are a good way to get the attention of people outside of USC, especially prospective students. Additionally, professional media outlets and USC Annenberg student media outlets have covered several of the forums.
“We want to let people know that this is the school that is up there exploring the future,” said Parks. “You want to be in that conversation.”
There will be a new forum held every Tuesday through the end of the semester. Here is the complete schedule:
- Aug. 27 – Storytelling with Google Glass
- Sept. 3 – The Obama-Xi Sunnylands Summit
- Sept. 10 – We the Media: Annenberg Emerges as Publisher
- Sept. 17 – The Image of the Washington Journalist
- Sept. 24 – Innovator in Residence Aaron Koblin
- Oct. 1 – Reporting on Diverse Communities in the Digital Era
- Oct. 8 – A Conversation with Kim Ghattas
- Oct. 15 – Wired Women: Bridging the Technology Gap
- Oct. 22 – Sports & the LGBT Experience
- Oct. 29 – TBA
- Nov. 5 – Lewis Friedland
- Nov. 12 – Matt Galligan, Founder of Circa
- Nov. 19 – Richard Reeves on the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy
- Dec. 3 – TBA
By Olivia Niland
Journalism students will have the opportunity to meet recruiters, interview for positions and attend workshops during the USC Annenberg-sponsored CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California's Journalism Opportunities Conference Oct. 24-25. The event, which will be held at the USC Davidson Conference Center, is billed as the West Coast's largest annual multicultural journalism conference.
The 35th annual CCNMA conference, which is also co-sponsored by the Asian American Journalists Association's Los Angeles Chapter and the Black Journalist Association of Southern California, will be held in tandem with the USC Annenberg School of Journalism’s job fair, offering students the opportunity to network both Thursday and Friday.
The conference and job fair are open to students of all schools, majors and cultural backgrounds.
“The idea has always been to focus on college students to give them exposure to recruiters at an early age,” said Julio Moran, executive director of CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California, formerly known as the Chicano News Media Association (CCNMA). “This prepares them for internships and entry level jobs.”
The conference first began partnering with the USC Annenberg School of Journalism job fair in the 1990's, after Annenberg's own one-day job fair posed an issue to students who weren't able to miss class to attend. Partnering with the CCNMA conference then allowed students to choose two days to attend the job fair.
“It's a good partnership, because Annenberg is a strong journalism school with a reputation across the country,” said Moran, who serves as an Adjunct Professor at the USC Annenberg School of Journalism. “It also allows students from other schools who are interested in transferring to Annenberg the opportunity to learn more about it and be exposed to people who will be helpful.”
Jennifer Medina, who graduated from USC in 2002 and attended the conference during all four years of her undergraduate studies, exemplifies how the conference provides students with an introduction to the journalism industry.
“You have to have talent, which of course she has,” Moran said of Medina. “But she needed help meeting people to establish that relationship.”
Medina now works in the Los Angeles Bureau of The New York Times as one of two reporters covering all of Southern California and Nevada, and credits the Journalism Opportunities Conference with kick starting her career.
I absolutely got my job at The New York Times because of the job fair,” said Medina, who first attended the conference as a freshman and approached a New York Times recruiter on the advice of an upperclassman. “I kept in touch with that reporter for four years, got hired as an intern as a senior, stayed as an intern for a year and then was hired as a staff member.”
Medina also credited the conference and job fair with the summer internships she held at several media outlets as an undergraduate, and with helping to improve her overall job hunting skills.
“I learned to prepare for the kinds of things that recruiters ask for, and going to the job fair multiple times helped tremendously. I remember being one of the only freshmen to go my first year, but it helped so much to practice for my senior year,” said Medina. “The job fair allowed me to meet so many people and recruiters, and talk to people I never otherwise would have met in person.”
The CCNMA began hosting its Journalism Opportunities Conference, in affiliation with USC Annenberg, in 1978 to provide Latino students with the opportunity to meet recruiters from media organizations around the country.
“Our conference is multicultural so that recruiters are able to see a diverse pool of candidates,” said Moran. “Most job fairs are national and are dominated by one cultural group, but our conference is open to everybody, and everyone's welcome to attend. We want to tell our recruiters that this is an opportunity to find young, talented people.”
The conference and job fair typically attract 20-25 recruiters, mostly from Southern California, Moran said. “We have both broadcast and print media organizations, and are slowly attracting online companies to participate, as well.”
Moran noted that, ultimately, the number of recruiters is not as important as the skills and networking he hopes students gain from the conference.
“The importance of a job fair like this is not so much the expectation that people will attend and walk away with job offer, but to provide the opportunity for students to meet and talk with recruiters face to face, as opposed to simply sending in applications,” said Moran. “Hopefully talking to recruiters will build a relationship where students can remain in contact with them so when opportunities do present themselves, the recruiters are not just looking at a faceless name but will hopefully have met these students. It's a lot easier to hire someone you know and have met.”
Medina agreed. “You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain,” she said of her advice to this year’s attendees. “Talk to as many people as you possibly can, put together a package of your best work, and don't be afraid to ask questions and learn to think on your toes.
“I can't say enough about how much this job fair has helped me,” Medina added. “I wouldn't be where I am today without it.”
This year's Journalism Opportunities Conference and job fair will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday, with registration opening at 8 a.m. on both days. Attendees will be provided with lunch on Friday, and coffee and snacks both mornings. Workshops, many of which are run by Annenberg faculty, will also be held both days.
“Annenberg provides, with people to run our workshops, for example – Annenberg Professor Robert Hernandez,” said Moran, noting one of this year's journalism tutorials focused on the use of smartphones as reporting tools. “Having professors to run these workshops is a great benefit to us, and great exposure for Annenberg to showcase faculty and staff.”
“Our partnership with Annenberg has been mutually beneficial, and we hope it continues,” said Moran. “There's great benefit for both the CCNMA and Annenberg.”
Registration applications for the 35th annual Journalism Opportunities Conference are available on the CCNMA website at www.ccnma.org, or by calling the CCNMA office at (424) 229-9482 or writing to email@example.com. Registration is $25 for students.
Recruiters Scheduled to Attend include:
- KABC-TV (ABC, Los Angeles)
- KNBC-TV (NBC Los Angeles)
- KTLA-TV (CW, Los Angeles)
- NBCUniversal Radio
- American Public Media
- Southern California Public Radio
- Minnesota Public Radio
- The Associated Press
- The Dallas Morning News
- GOOD Magazine
- The Los Angeles Newspaper Group
- Los Angeles Daily News
- Long Beach Press-Telegram
- Pasadena Star-News
- Torrance Daily Breeze
- San Gabriel Valley Tribune
- The San Bernardino Sun
- Whittier Daily News
- Los Angeles Times
- McClatchy Newspapers
- The Charlotte Observer
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
- The Kansas City Star
- Lexington Herald-Leader
- The Miami Herald
- The Fresno Bee
- The Modesto Bee
- The News & Observer (Raleigh)
- The Sacramento Bee
- The Orange County Register
- Arizona State University Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Communication
- Columbia University, New York
- CUNY (City University of New York)
- USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
- The California Wellness Foundation
Today the Guggenheim Museum opened a new exhibit on the Participatory City, including a video about “collaborative urban mapping” in South Los Angeles. The mapping video was commissioned by the Guggenheim, and features an innovative mix of cameraphones, old-fashioned paper, and food justice tied to LA streets. Collaborators include the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab, Community Services Unlimited, and T.R.U.S.T. South LA. Their video is available at RideSouthLA.com.
The exhibit at the Guggenheim is showing in New York from October 11, 2013 through January 5, 2014. The exhibit explores the major themes and ideas that emerged from the BMW Guggenheim Lab during its travels to New York, Berlin, and Mumbai. All videos commissioned by the Guggenheim can be found online here.
“Our video reveals how mapping can be deliberately low-tech, partly for reasons of equity, but surprisingly for innovation too,” said Benjamin Stokes, a USC Annenberg researcher and organizer.
“We resist crowdsourcing that treats participants as cheap sensors for map data,” argued the group in a blog post about the video. “Instead, we proclaim that distributing our voices is an act of civic advocacy, a way to build power.”
Food justice is at the heart of the mapping project. “The video and map document the innovative efforts that have emerged from within South LA to counteract the overwhelmingly bleak reality of our food environment,” said Neelam Sharma, Executive Director of Community Services Unlimited, one of the anchor organizations behind the South LA mapping initiative.
The mapping video is 3-minutes in length, and was produced and largely filmed by USC doctoral student Karl Baumann and translated into Spanish by Eileen Forbes of T.R.U.S.T. South LA.
“My hope is that this map will allow us to bring to light some of the many efforts to address food access in South Los Angeles,” says Tafarai Bayne of T.R.U.S.T. South LA.” Both visitors and residents can use the map to find all kinds of local resources, some obvious and some not so. This map helps go beyond what’s not working, to reveal positive stories about South Los Angeles.
About the Video Team: RideSouthLA is a collective that is bringing mobile mapping, bicycling and social justice to South LA. Our mapping is multi-platform, involving mobile phones, paper and our bodies in space. We seek to tell a neighborhood story of assets and opportunities that is bigger than any one organization. For us, mapping is a tool for social change — documenting our community, envisioning our future, and building our collective power. Our team includes many organizations and individuals, including TRUST South LA, Community Services Unlimited, bike clubs like the East Side Riders, and University partners including the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab, the Metamorphosis Project, and the USC Laboratory on the Social Frontier. Technology and design partners include VozMob, Vojo.Co, and DesignedByColleen. Countless individuals have joined our mapping process by contributing their own images, stories and strategies for change.