LA County Board of Supervisors to Honor USC Annenberg Professor Gutiérrez

Felix GutierrezUSC Annenberg Professor Emeritus Félix Gutiérrez was honored Tuesday, June 24 with a scroll presented by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

The Board periodically selects notable people to honor with a specially written proclamation that recognizes their exemplary work.

Upon hearing of Gutiérrez’s retirement this past May, Supervisors Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky arranged the scroll presentation to recognize his 40 years of “dedicated university teaching and administration and exemplary scholarship in the field of journalism.”

Gutierrez-ScrollGutiérrez was a professor of communication and journalism at USC Annenberg, as well as a professor of American Studies & Ethnicity at the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Throughout his long career as a scholar, teacher and journalist, he was also a strong advocate for diversity in the news media.

Though he said the scroll came as a surprise, Gutiérrez added that it “provided a chance to be thankful for the opportunities for [him] to play a very small role in a very large movement to help news media become more diverse and inclusive in who they hire and what they cover.”

Additionally, he said that his time as a professor at USC has allowed him to “teach and encourage women and men of all colors and cultures to make progress through education.”

The scroll (above) was read aloud and presented to Gutiérrez at the Board meeting June 24 at 9:30 a.m.

Posted in Awards | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Meet USC Annenberg’s Newest Faculty Members

Get ready to see some new faces around USC Annenberg this fall as the the School of Journalism welcomes Peggy Bustamante and Amara Aguilar and the School of Communication welcomes Bob Levy and Annie Maxfield.

Peggy BustamantePeggy Bustamante, who has worked at USC Annenberg for the past year, will be teaching courses on the fundamentals of web development, including HTML, CSS and JavaScript. The courses will serve as a basis for investigating interactive and multimedia storytelling, data-driven news application development, data journalism and visualization.

She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree from Harvard University, where she also worked in the News Office as a web application developer for nine years.

Bustamante also worked for a number of print publications up until the mid-90s, at which point she made the transition to digital platforms, recognizing the need to adapt to the rapid changes in Journalism, then and now.

“It’s a tumultuous time in journalism but also an exciting one,” said Bustamante, who was also a news application developer for Digital First Media up until last month. “We have a rare chance to redefine journalism for the coming century, and USC Annenberg is well positioned to take the lead in that transformation.”

Amara AguilarAmara Aguilar joins USC Annenberg after working as an assistant professor of Journalism at Saddleback College. She has also taught multimedia and journalism courses at Pierce College and California State University, Long Beach.

As a freelance writer and designer (for both print and web), Aguilar’s work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, as well as in collaboration with independent multimedia projects. She also recently launched Evolve Media, a media consulting and development company.

At USC Annenberg, Aguilar said she plans to focus on mobile and tablet development and design, as well as journalism innovation. She added that she looks forward to coming to USC Annenberg “at such an exciting time in the media industry and journalism education.”

Bob LevyBob Levy brings to USC Annenberg 30 years of American television experience.

He was the Executive Vice President of Alloy Entertainment for 11 years, during which he opened the west coast office of Alloy, a young-adult transmedia company, and produced hit teen shows “Gossip Girl,” “The Vampire Diaries,” and “Pretty Little Liars.” He also worked at NBC for 10 years, first in on-air promotion writing and producing, then in programming.

Because of new digital platforms, Levy said the Entertainment Industry is “undergoing as rapid a phase of evolution.”

“Everything’s up for grabs in ways it hasn’t been since its inception,” Levy said, adding that he’s excited to interact with the “generation that will be reinventing that industry and ancillary industries.”

With a new building, new classes and new faculty members, it’s bound to be an exciting year at USC Annenberg.

Posted in Entertainment, Innovation | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Wallis Annenberg Hall Summer Progress Report


Brett Van Ort/USC Annenberg

USC Annenberg faculty, staff and students have been anxiously awaiting the completion of the new state-of-the-art, five story home of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism for the better part of a year now.

In the past nine months, Wallis Annenberg Hall has been transformed from blueprints to scaffolding to an imposing, 88,000 square foot Gothic-style building set to open in Fall 2014, as illustrated in these recent photos by Brett Van Ort.

With just over 60 days remaining until its grand opening, here are some of the latest exciting developments at Wallis Annenberg Hall, courtesy of ASCJ Facilities and Technologies team member Joel Zink, who has been keeping a Building Updates Blog throughout the construction:

Media Center Vertical

Brett Van Ort/USC Annenberg

May 19-20: Shrubbery is planted along Child’s Way, and the broadcast areas of the new building are soundproofed. At this point, the outdoor patio has been developed, the building’s exterior has been finished, and to the relief of many students, Watt Way has been reopened.

May 22: The media center’s “halo” of televisions are installed. “The halo sits over the assignment desk and includes two rows of TVs that provide 360 degree views for those working in the media center on both the first and second floors. The process of lifting, centering, and then securing the TVs took several people, ladders, and a man lift,” according to Zink. 

June 10: The Annenberg Cafe nears completion. Says Zink: “The cafe will be the first permanent food venue for Annenberg. In the existing Annnberg building the only food service is the Annenberg Coffee Cart in the lobby. The new cafe will be managed by USC Hospitality Services and provide a larger selection.”

Brett Van Ort/USC Annenberg

Brett Van Ort/USC Annenberg

June 12: Classroom A/V systems are installed. According to Zink, “When completed, each classroom and A/V equipped meeting space will have it’s own custom A/V system that includes a touch sensitive interface panel, digital TV feeds, wired and wireless laptop and mobile device connectivity, and depending on the  size of the room, single/dual projectors or large LCD screens.”

June 16: Classroom and office furniture has begun to be configured and installed.

June 18: Crews are adding splashes of color to the mostly white new lobby with brightly colored LED panels. There will also be colored window treatments and wood panelling to break up the white interior.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

One Last Look Back at USC Annenberg Commencement 2014

Whether you were unable to make it to the 2014 USC Annenberg Commencement, or just want to relive the memorable day, be sure to check out our video of the full Commencement and Journalism & Public Relations Ceremonies which were held on May 16.

Musician, songwriter and composer T Bone Burnett spoke to hundreds of Communications graduates on McCarthy Quad.

“You are the ones,” Burnett told the grades. “Knock ‘em alive.”

USC Annenberg Dean Ernest J. Wilson III and Communications School Director Larry Gross also addressed graduates.

“All of you who are graduating today should be very, very proud of all that you have accomplished at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism,” said Dean Wilson. “Because we are very proud of you.”

The Journalism and Public Relations Commencement ceremony was addressed by KPCC President and CEO Bill Davis.

Posted in Commencement | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

USC Annenberg Innovation Lab Debates East Versus West Coast Transmedia

Geoffrey Long

Geoffrey Long

Leaders from USC Annenberg’s Annenberg Innovation Lab (AIL) convened Wednesday, June 4 to discuss transmedia and the ways it differs from coast to coast. The two hour discussion, entitled “East Coast Transmedia versus West Coast Transmedia,” was one of the monthly meetups hosted by the group Transmedia Los Angeles, which aims to “bring together the leading minds in the Transmedia continuum to share ideas, experiences, knowledge, techniques and activities.”

The evening’s speakers were Geoffrey Long, Technical Director and Research Fellow at USC Annenberg AIL, and Erin Reilly, AIL Creative Director and Research Fellow, who referenced everything from Doctor Who, Transformers, Alan Awake, Buffy, The Harry Potter Alliance, Caine’s Arcade and even this Mr. Clean ad campaign during their discussion of transmedia from coast to coast.

Long’s interest in transmedia was sparked by his love for comics and games such as Super Mario Brothers, G.I. Joe,  and “Transformers” as a kid in the 1980s, and what he saw as the glaring inconsistencies which resulted in a character being killed off in a television cartoon, only to then have that character be still very much alive in the next comic book issue.

Long was aware of these inconsistencies even as a kid, he said, but didn’t realize that other people were intrigued by the topic too until an article about transmedia by Henry Jenkins appeared in 2003, when Jenkins was teaching at MIT. Jenkins now serves as AIL’s Chief Advisor and Senior Research Fellow.

“I was like, oh my god, there’s a word for this thing that I’ve been obsessed about for so long,” said Long, citing “Transformers”, and specifically the 1987 animated “Transformers” movie, as the media most impactful on his career as a transmedia storyteller.

As defined by Jenkins, transmedia storytelling is “a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally, each medium makes it own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story.” It is distinctive from franchises, adaptations, and sequels, and is meant to deepen one’s understanding of a single story.

“A traditional story may have been told across a film trilogy,” said Long. “But something like a transmedia story might start in animation, go to a movie, go back to animation, go back to a second film, go into a video game, go back to a third film…and if you follow this story across all of these platforms, you will have an experience that is vastly greater than you would have had if you only experienced the movies alone.”

Long’s study of transmedia has included a push to define it as its own medium, or meta-medium. He imagines a future in which, when one finishes a television series on Netflix, the streaming service then links the viewer to comics or e-books which are a continuation of the story.

Other transmedia scholars, like Reilly, see vast potential in the role transmedia can play, and already has played, in viral marketing, online activism, and entertainment and education strategies for children. One of Reilly’s projects is Flotsam, a transmedia play that explores joint media engagement between children and their caregivers.

Erin Reilly

Erin Reilly

“While some may look at [transmedia] purely as entertainment value, creating a new lens to tell a story offers a different point of view,” said Reilly, whose work with transmedia has been especially focused on engaging children with content across platforms. “With transmedia play, we’re really looking at encouraging a new approach to reading and learning and joint media engagement, whether it’s sibling-to-sibling, or parent to child.”

As for the whole West Coast versus East Coast transmedia debate, these distinctions have been formally addressed by transmedia experts such as author Andrea Phillips in A Creator’s Guide to Transmedia, though the differences can be difficult to define.

“West Coast, or something called Hollywood or Franchise transmedia, is all about big pieces of media, interwoven lightly” said Long. “East Coast transmedia tends to be more interactive and much more web-centered.”

Essentially, West Coast transmedia often encompasses larger pieces of media which could stand on their own, while East Coast transmedia tends to be more tightly interwoven, intricate pieces of content which are heavily reliant upon social media.

The differences between transmedia from coast to coast can be intriguing, but some have criticized these distinctions as being faulty or oversimplified. They argue that drawing a line between East and West Coast transmedia can generalize too much and lead to transmedia storytelling happening elsewhere in the world being overlooked.

Whether transmedia is East Coast or West Coast style, says Long, what all transmedia has in common is connective tissue, or the way in which stories flow from one media platform to another. And for most transmedia scholars, the end goal of their work is not to divide, but to unite; people, places, stories and media.

“In the end, when I think about all these different logics that we’re exploring with transmedia–transmedia storytelling, transmedia activism, transmedia branding– when you put transmedia in a relationship with something else, no matter what that relationship is, the strongest ones are emergent, and social,” said Reilly. “And they’re an opportunity for us all to learn something from each other.”

Posted in Events | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

USC Annenberg Student Selected as Steve Harvey “Intern for a Day”

(Genie LaVine/NBC)

(Genie LaVine/NBC)

When USC Annenberg Broadcast & Digital Journalism major Fernando Hurtado (‘16) received a phone call from a Chicago area code in April, he assumed it must be someone he knew calling from back home in the Windy City.

Hurtado never dreamed it would be the producers of the Steve Harvey talk show calling, offering him the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be Harvey’s ‘Intern For a Day’ and appear on an episode of the show, which will air nationally tomorrow, June 10 at 3 p.m. on KNBC.

“I freaked out,” laughed Hurtado, who was at the gym when he received the call and was completely floored by his selection.

Hurtado learned about the Steve Harvey ‘Intern for a Day’ opportunity while working at Annenberg Television News (ATVN), where he serves as the Web Supervisor. Hurtado, a rising junior, is also the Director of Video Content at USC Annenberg’s 24/7 digital news outlet Neon Tommy and is minoring in Web Technologies and Cinematic Arts, so he had no trouble creating an impressive video submission, but he says he almost didn’t apply due to concerns over missing school and work to fly back to Chicago.

Thankfully, he decided to give the application a shot, and sent producers a 40-second video clip explaining why he wanted to be Steve Harvey’s ‘Intern for a Day.’

“I am extremely attentive to detail,” Hurtado says in his application video, in which he lists six reasons for wanting to be Steve Harvey’s ‘Intern For a Day.’ “And I can make mean fajitas and lasagna.”

Steve Harvey producers were impressed, and said that in addition to Hurtado’s application, videos created by other USC students were among the strongest they received for the first-ever Steve Harvey “Intern for a Day” opportunity.

After getting the good news, Hurtado was flown out to the WMAQ-TV studios in Chicago, where his day as an intern at Steve Harvey was a flurry of non-stop activity from the early morning until late in the evening.

“Steve Harvey was already taping his radio show at six a.m., and I spent basically the whole day with him,” said Hurtado. “I was doing everything from making his special green smoothie he drinks every morning, to making calls for a gala he was organizing, to helping proofread his book before it even hits the printing press.”

(Genie LaVine/NBC)

(Genie LaVine/NBC)

In addition to assisting with The Steve Harvey Morning Show, Hurtado also got to see not one but two live tapings of Steve Harvey, all while being filmed himself. For Hurtado, working alongside Harvey for the day only reaffirmed his determination to pursue his goals and dreams.

“I expected to just walk out with Mr. Harvey to the show, but he put his hand on my shoulder and started giving me advice and telling me that I have to chase my dreams, and if you really want something you have to work towards it,” said Hurtado. “And he’s a perfect example of that.

Hurtado is also an example of this mindset himself; the son of Mexican immigrants Maria and Victor Hurtado, Hurtado is a first-generation college student. He works three jobs along with being a full time student during the school year.

“I’ll be the first in my family to graduate from college, so that definitely drives me,” said Hurtado. “I strive to be the best that I can be.”

Though his busy schedule can be stressful at times, Hurtado is highly motivated to work as much as possible in order to gain journalism experience and help pay for his education, so Hurtado was shocked when Harvey surprised him during the live taping with $5,000 toward his college expenses.

“I was so surprised,” said Hurtado. “And I’m so grateful. It helps a ton to have that money for school.”

Hurtado credits his education and experiences at USC Annenberg with helping him secure the ‘Intern For a Day’ spot, and allowing him to so quickly acclimate to his whirlwind day at Steve Harvey.

“Because of Annenberg, I had the knowledge of how to be professional in that kind of environment, and I knew how live shows worked because of ATVN,” said Hurtado. “Annenberg really prepares us in a professional way so we know how to behave as more than just students.”

As if Hurtado’s ‘Intern for a Day’ opportunity weren’t impressive enough, he’s returned to Chicago for the summer to intern at the Chicago Tribune, where he’ll be working on the Spanish-language newspaper Hoy as well as the Tribune’s multimedia website and recently launched newscast.

“Annenberg has opened tons of doors for me, and this is an even bigger door that has opened,” said Hurtado. “I’m not surprised at all about the cool opportunities that my friends and classmates have this summer, because it’s just an Annenberg thing.”

Posted in Student News | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

USC Annenberg Offers New Fall 2014 Journalism Courses

With a new building, new Master’s degree program, and new classes, the USC Annenberg School of Journalism will see some exciting changes this fall.

The majority of the new journalism classes being offered are directed toward students in the new nine month journalism Master’s degree program, and undergraduate students who will be taking upper-division, special topics courses.

USC Annenberg’s JOUR 499: Glass Journalism course is among the most buzzed about and highly anticipated of the new journalism courses being offered this fall, having received national attention after Mashable’s coverage of the course offering in March. The class, which will be taught once weekly by Professor Robert Hernandez, is the first of its kind and was capped at just 12 students.

Other new special topics classes being offered include JOUR 499: Real Time Social Media Monitoring and Analysis for Converged Communication, taught by Professor Matthew Le Veque, and JOUR 499: Sports and Media Technology, which will be taught by Professor Jeffrey Fellenzer and still has a few open spots for students.

The first class of the new nine month journalism Master’s degree program, JOUR 528: Summer Digital News Immersion, will begin in August, and will be taught jointly by Professors Laura Castaneda, Vince Gonzales, Robert Hernandez, and Larry Pryor. Following this, students will take JOUR 531: Fall Digital News Immersion, a team-led eight unit course which will entail Master’s program students spending eight hour shifts working in the new USC Annenberg media lab each week.

Other classes which will make up the new journalism Master’s program curriculum have been condensed from the previous fifteen week long courses to just seven weeks in order to accommodate the nine month program. These include JOUR 523: Public Radio Reporting, JOUR 539: Introduction to Investigative Reporting, and JOUR 553: Coding and Programming for Storytelling.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

What’s Next for USC Annenberg PhD Graduates?

Though USC Annenberg’s recent graduates will be missed, a number of them have already found exciting jobs and research opportunities all over the country.

Russell Newman, whose research at USC Annenberg focused on the connection between the media and political economy, was recently hired at the new Civic Media Initiative at Emerson College.

USC Annenberg Professor and Vice Dean Larry Gross said the job is “a perfect match for [Newman] as a scholar as well as a committed activist in pursuit of social justice and equity, and as an engaged and engaging teacher.”

Gross co-chaired Newman’s dissertation with USC Annenberg and University Professor Manuel Castells.

While at USC Annenberg, Inna Arzumanova was an Annenberg Fellow and her research looked into racial performances throughout global arts and culture industries. She was recently hired as an Assistant Professor in the Media Studies department at the University of San Francisco.

“[Arzumanova’s] work at Annenberg has been a stellar example of interdisciplinary, critical, and cultural Communications studies,” said USC Annenberg Associate Professor Josh Kun.

Katrina Pariera accepted a position as an Assistant Professor at George Washington University in the fall.

USC Annenberg Professor Sheila Murphy, who chaired Pariera’s dissertation on parent-child sexual communication, described her as a “dream graduate student.” Pariera left USC Annenberg with eight first-author publications under her belt, five of which she was the sole author of.

After spending the past year finishing her dissertation at Michigan State University, Jingbo Meng was offered teaching positions in two of the school’s departments. She accepted a position in the Department of Communication, with affiliate status in the engineering and healthcare programs. The position is referred to as “the trifecta,” according to Meng’s dissertation chair, USC Annenberg Professor Margaret McLaughlin.

Meng’s research at USC Annenberg looked at social influences on the health and fitness social networking site FatSecret.

Nancy Chen graduated from the PhD program last year, but stayed at USC Annenberg an additional year as a Postdoctoral Scholar. She recently accepted a position at California State University, Channel Islands as an Assistant Professor in Health Communication.

“I was drawn to this position because they were looking for someone who’s interested in researching and teaching about health communication with diverse populations,” said Chen, adding that her time at USC Annenberg allowed her to experience and investigate the diverse communities of Los Angeles.

Sandra Evans completed her dissertation on organizational change within public media groups and will be working as an Assistant Professor of Organizational Communication at Cal Poly Pomona in the fall. While at USC Annenberg, Evans was a teaching and research assistant to USC Annenberg Associate Professor Patricia Riley.

“[Evans] is amazing because she is extremely competent at both quantitative and qualitative research and that is very rare,” said Riley. “She manages to do everything well which is more astonishing for the mother of a one-year old!”

After he completes a year of Postdoctoral work at the University of California, Berkeley, Benjamin Stokes will start an Assistant Professor position at American University. At USC Annenberg, Stokes’ research focused on how social change can be brought about by closing the gap between online and offline participation in video games and mobile media.

Kevin Driscoll is headed to Cambridge, Mass. to do research for Microsoft. His research at USC Annenberg looked at popular technical culture in the United States, hobbyist telecommunication networks and personal computing history.

USC Annenberg Professor Henry Jenkins was the chair for both Stokes’ and Driscoll’s dissertations.

“They embody some of the traits I most admire about Annenberg’s Communication PhDs and they have ended up in jobs which fit them like a glove,” said Jenkins, adding that they were his first two PhD students and he’s “so proud of what they have accomplished.”

Posted in Commencement, Student News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Graduate School Fellowships Awarded to Four USC Annenberg Students

In recognition of their hard work, four USC Annenberg graduate students were recently awarded USC Graduate School Fellowships for the upcoming school year.

Fellowship winners are selected annually based on nominations made by USC’s numerous graduate departments for students demonstrating good progress. The winning students receive a full year of funding, which includes tuition, insurance, and an annual stipend.

The fellowship also allows students to dedicate more time to their dissertations and other projects because they do not have to teach or serve as a teaching or research assistant.

Kligler-Vilenchik_Neta_106 (2).ashx“The idea behind this fellowship is to give students at advanced stages in their research the time and energy to focus on completing their dissertation,” said Neta Kligler-Vilenchik, who received a Dissertation Completion Fellowship.

The fellowship will allow Kligler-Vilenchik to devote more time to her dissertation, “Alternative citizenship? From online participatory cultures to participatory politics,” which looks at several online communities where young people discuss a pop culture interest while also encouraging civic and political engagement among members.

Kligler-Vilenchik also hopes to use the extra time to work on additional peer-reviewed published works that will help her in applying for competitive academic positions down the road.

Hou_J2010.ashxJinghui Hou, who received the Oakley Fellowship, will spend the next year working on her dissertation, “Leverage Social Influence Biases to Design Online Crowdsourcing and Network Platforms for Healthy Eating: A Field Experiment.”

“Receiving this award is not only about getting a generous support but also recognition of the value of my research, which is a great encouragement to me,” said Hou.

Yasuhito_Abe_126p.ashxYasuhito Abe received the Research Enhancement Fellowship, which is awarded to students whose research requires additional expenses.

In Abe’s case, the additional funding will allow him to spend seven months in Japan to do research for his dissertation, “Measuring for What: Networked Citizen Science Movements after the Fukushima Nuclear Accident.” He will be conducting extensive ethnography, looking at how people generate and convey information about nuclear radiation.

Abe said he feels “extremely lucky and privileged to receive such a prestigious fellowship.”

SelbyJaclyn2.ashxThe Russell Fellowship was awarded to Jaclyn Selby, which, to her, “translates into a year of freedom to focus on one’s own research, particularly completing the dissertation.”

“What this means for me, personally, is that with the help of the Russell Fellowship I can complete a more ambitious dissertation than would otherwise be possible,” said Selby.

Selby’s dissertation, “The Internet Middlemen: Targeting Intermediary Firms as Gatekeepers in the Online Economy,” looks at intermediary platforms and governance on the internet. Additionally, she plans to work on other research projects for publication.

Posted in Awards, Student News, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

USC Annenberg Student Summer Showcase

USC Annenberg students are known for being talented, hard-working and accomplished individuals when they’re on the USC campus during the school year–but that success doesn’t stop when classes do.

Whether spending their time working overseas or for some of the most recognizable news, sports, entertainment, research and public relations entities right here in Los Angeles, there’s hardly ever a dull moment in the summer of a USC Annenberg student.

We’re collecting news of the adventures and opportunities our USC Annenberg students are embarking on this summer, so if you or a USC Annenberg student you know have an internship, fellowship, research opportunity or other noteworthy experience to share, make sure to find us on Facebook and Twitter at @USCAnnenberg and tell us all about your summer.

Then, be sure to check back to see your USC Annenberg student summer experience showcased, and to see what your classmates and colleagues are up to!

Posted in Student News | Tagged , , , | Comments Off