At USC Annenberg, we don’t just cover the news, we make it. “Quoted: USC Annenberg in the News” gathers a selection of the week’s news stories featuring and written by Annenberg’s leaders, faculty, staff and others.
Doctoral student Dayna Chatman was quoted in a New York Times story about ABC’s new show “Black-ish” and its honest approach to racial issues.
Chatman—whose research looks at representations of African-American women in pop culture—said that most shows with character diversity create a dynamic that “makes whiteness the norm.” She added that reality television shows present over-the-top performances by African-Americans, which isn’t “particularly representative or flattering.”
“We are hyperaware of how people and the media perceive us, and who gets it and who doesn’t get it,” Chatman said, citing Dave Chappelle as an example of misusing humor to “destabilize racial stereotypes.”
A Los Angeles Times column quoted professor Dan Durbin about the rivalry between the Giants and the Dodgers.
Durbin, who is also the director of Annenberg’s Institute of Sports, Media & Society, said that Los Angeles sports fans consistently expect to be front-runners, an idea that has been amplified by the Dodgers’ “free-spending ways” in the last few years.
He added that fans expected the Dodgers to at least get past the first round this year.
“I think that the fact that the Giants have now been in the World Series in three of the past five years contributes to their frustration,” Durbin said.
Research by professor Stacy Smith and the Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative was featured in a Daily Beast story about whether shows like “The Good Wife,” which feature women seeking leadership roles, will influence women to do the same in real life.
In her team’s examination of the 500 top grossing films from 2007 to 2012, they found that “2012 featured the lowest percentage of female speaking characters across the years studied.”
“Looking at all female speaking characters, approximately a third are shown in sexually revealing attire or are partially naked in 2010 and 2012,” Smith said. “The trend is more pronounced with regard to teens, as over half are shown sexualized in the most recent year evaluated in this study.”
Professor Marty Kaplan wrote an article for Jewish Journal about how people process facts contrary to what they believe and how it relates to the spread of information about Ebola.
“Contrary facts don’t change our minds, they just make us dig our heels in harder,” Kaplan wrote. “We process information both rationally and emotionally, and our emotional apparatus gets there faster.”
He also cited a recent story about the Syracuse University Provost uninviting a Washington Post photojournalist from a workshop at their communication school because he had been in West Africa three weeks prior. Despite having monitored his temperature for 21 days—the incubation period for Ebola as determined by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—he was still not allowed to come.
Kaplan, who had mixed reactions to the story, added that “there’s plenty of Ebola ignorance going around and plenty of political and financial incentives to keep it that way.”
She said that the idea of scavenger hunts on smartphones has been around for at least five years.
“People are drawn to challenges, especially those that seem easy and you can win,” North said.
She added that social media and smartphones have given businesses, groups and event organizers “a really clever way” to get exposure.
“It gets the community at large to generate content promoting whatever your cause is,” North said. “Peer recommendations are a powerful social tool now. Word of mouth is now exponential because now if I put it up on social media it goes to everybody I’m connected to and many of the people that they are connected to.”
A 2010 study by USC Annenberg’s Norman Lear Center was mentioned in a Los Angeles Times article about Dan Gilroy’s new film “Nightcrawler.”
The article focused on the director’s choice to select Los Angeles as the setting for the film due to his fascination with the city. He explained the people in Los Angeles have been fed with stories about graphic, violent stories.
The study by the Norman Lear Center upholds that statement based on their findings that show that Angelenos prefer crime at the top of their news compared to most markets.
“Among the eight stations studied, researchers found that ‘one out of three broadcasts led with [crime].’ ‘Nearly half of those were about murder, robbery, assault, kidnapping, property crime, traffic crime and other common crime.’”