This Building Started With A Vision

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WALLIS ANNENBERG

Most of the time, when you want to build a building, you start with an architect.  This building started with a vision. It started with Dean Wilson saying: What if USC Annenberg had a facility that imagined journalism’s future, instead of imitating its past? It started with the idea that the real future of journalism — the students here — should learn and train and innovate in the kind of 21st-century newsroom, the kind of interactive, multi-media incubator, that should be commonplace in ten, fifteen years. It started with the notion that a great school of communication and journalism leads the way. Serves as a laboratory for change. Doesn’t just anticipate the future, but wills it into being. These are grand claims, I know. But thanks to the leadership of Dean Wilson and the crucial support of President Nikias — thanks to the faculty and staff and above all the students here, who shaped every inch of this new building and the way it functions — I believe they’re more than justified. The truth is, this is a decisive moment for traditional journalism. Print readership is declining, TV viewership is eroding — even as we hunch over our tablets and smartphones, increasingly addicted to the latest tweet, the latest Instagram post, the newest kernel of news from the Middle East, or the Ukraine, or just around the corner. The choice is simple: innovate or die. Or as a smart Silicon Valley entrepreneur might put it: when your industry’s destined to be disrupted, your best course is to disrupt it yourself. That’s why Wallis Annenberg Hall is designed to mix all kinds of media together — TV, radio, print and online — because in a world that’s fully-wired and interactive, journalists can no longer survive if they stay in their own narrow cubbyholes, unable to spread their stories across every possible platform. It’s also designed, in close consultation with anthropologists and psychologists and sociologists, to provide connectors, not containers — to give students informal and open spaces where they’re almost forced to rub shoulders, to collaborate, to observe and learn from one another. Because news is now moving so fast, reporters have to be synergistic, not static. USC Annenberg already had the second largest newsroom in all of Los Angeles. Now it has what I believe to be the best. As well as a forum that was partly modeled on the Globe Theater, and will serve as a town square for everything from informal coffees to lectures by the leading journalists of our time. In so many ways, this is a building whose time had come. Dean Wilson deserves all of our praise and gratitude for his tireless effort, and his crystal-clear vision. And may I say, in tribute to the architects who executed that vision, it’s beautifully built as well. Some of you may know that I was a journalist myself. That’s why it was so important to me, as a supporter of this project, that it be built primarily with students’ needs in mind. I’d like to say to the students here today: This is your playground. Your place to take risks, to try new approaches, to test what works and reject what doesn’t.  History is moving faster than ever before. The world’s becoming smaller than ever before. Your job is to chronicle it, make sense of it for the rest of us. Our job is to give you the best tools we can, the most cutting-edge facilities imaginable. We need you. We’re depending on you. And personally, I can’t think of a more worthy investment.

—Wallis Annenberg is Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation. She is USC’s longest-serving trustee.

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The Heart of Human Connectivity

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C. L. Max Nikias

Good morning, everyone! And welcome to this very special ceremony as we dedicate Wallis Annenberg Hall. This building stands at the heart of our university, and that is no coincidence. In the digital Age of Information … communication and journalism lie at the heart of human connectivity. Today, as we embrace the birth of a revolutionary building dedicated to advancing the fields of communication and journalism, we also embrace a philanthropist dedicated to advancing the lives of students: Wallis Annenberg. Her dedication is rooted in an unwavering drive to promote access and connection. For Wallis, access means students having the latest digital storytelling tools at their fingertips. It means creating a building that enables students to showcase their work and better connect them to the campus and the world around them. And true to Wallis’ student-centered focus, it means establishing an environment that puts students front and center. Wallis’ focus — her vision for what the Annenberg School could become — has crafted a building truly aimed at students and the advancement of their imaginations. Here, students will acquire legacy skills and legacy ethics while learning how to use modern platforms. They will balance the demand for instantaneous information with the time-tested traditions of storytelling. They will, in a time of convergent media, master all domains of contemporary journalism, and move between them fluidly. One minute, students may be doing a story for Annenberg Radio News… …And then have to jump to editing video for Annenberg Television News… …And a short time later find themselves creating a multimedia piece for Neon Tommy. Finally, they can do all this under one roof. In fact, seventy percent of the Annenberg School’s classes are now conducted within these cutting-edge spaces … connecting students to the most relevant digital tools in the richest of learning environments. Students will produce compelling content across multiple disciplines for multiple audiences … an ability — digital media literacy — that’s critical for USC students to possess. Perhaps no other place on campus is better suited to promote literacy in digital media than Wallis Annenberg Hall. Thanks to Wallis’ visionary support, Annenberg students will have access to digital tools of the future. And while some have argued that the tools and devices of our Digital Age are isolating us, Wallis Annenberg Hall was in part designed to counterbalance this dynamic of division. Bearing testimony to Wallis’ vision of access and connectivity, the building is full of physical spaces that encourage collaboration and cooperation. It is also home to some of the most creative minds … faculty and students who will push the limits of technology and communications. They will redefine how we connect, how we think, how we access information and experience our days. With the opening of Wallis Annenberg Hall, we are creating singular scholarly experiences for our students. On all levels, there is a new vigor coursing through the school, and I would like to acknowledge a few key individuals who are responsible for Annenberg’s resurgence. The Annenberg School would not be where it is today without the inspiring leadership of Dean Ernie Wilson and the work of our new directors. Sarah Banet-Weiser, director of the School of Communication, is promoting a fresh culture of collaboration with the School of Journalism … which is now led by the trailblazing journalist Willow Bay, who brings a wealth of practical experience. Director Bay’s diverse body of work — from producer and anchor to acclaimed author — is extraordinary, and is a true testament of her dedication to journalism.

She is an asset to the university, and a role model for Annenberg students. Working together, Dean Wilson and Directors Banet-Weiser and Bay are infusing a spirit of excitement, adventure, and resilience into the Annenberg School. But this new chapter for USC would not have been possible without our dear friend and colleague, Wallis Annenberg. As the chairman of the board, president and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation, she has made a wide-ranging impact across society in education, communications, arts and culture, medical research and beyond. Through her profound foresight and leadership, support from the Los Angeles office of the Annenberg Foundation is transforming the face of Los Angeles. From the Annenberg Community Beach House to the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts, Wallis is truly both a patron and steward of Los Angeles. She not only makes Los Angeles a better place to live, but our university a better place to learn. As USC’s longest-serving trustee, Wallis has provided strong guidance and sage counsel to this university for over 40 years. While we refer to her as the “Dean of USC’s Board of Trustees,” she is no doubt more proud to be a champion of USC’s students. Throughout the years, her sustained support of the Annenberg School has allowed it to flourish. Today, as we cut the ribbon and open Wallis Annenberg Hall, we forever link her name at USC, as well as her enduring legacy here. And in doing so, we forever give Annenberg students access to a world of exciting possibilities, where they will create and convey timeless stories that connect and chronicle the human journey. And for this, Wallis, we will be forever grateful. Thank you!

—C. L. Max Nikias became the University of Southern California’s eleventh president in August 2010. He holds the Robert C. Packard President’s Chair and the Malcolm R. Currie Chair in Technology and the Humanities, and chairs the USC Health System Board.

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Connector, Not Container

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[Wallis Annenberg Hall Grand Opening ceremony on Oct. 1, 2014.]

In 2010, Wallis Annenberg and I began a conversation. We reflected together on the importance of journalism and communication for the future of democracy in the United States of America. She described her deep commitment to the eternal values of openness, inclusion and transparency. She articulated a vision of these values — values that would inform the design and the purposes of any new home for the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. This conversation we had then spread to the Annenberg community as a whole. Students, faculty and staff were engaged in that conversation. They embraced the ideas of openness, and they saw the need for 21st-century spaces that are not containers, but are connectors. That are places of innovation, not places of inhibition. Soon these values that we talked about in our conversation were reflected in designs and blueprints, and then they were reflected and expressed in mortar, and in glass and in wood. Wallis Annenberg Hall — built with these values, these ethics, this openness — will shape students in this great school for generations to come. And future conversations shaped by this school will take actions that make the world a better place. On behalf of the students of today, and the students of tomorrow, for generations and generations and generations to come, I thank you, Wallis Annenberg, from the bottom of my heart.

—Ernest J. Wilson III is the Dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

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Reconceptualizing Development In The Global Information Age

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Development, from our perspective, is the self-defined social process by which humans enhance their wellbeing and assert their dignity while creating the structural conditions for the sustainability of the process of development itself. Although the concept is ideologically loaded, in our strict definition it is not. The values that inform development goals can be very different; from economic growth calculated as accumulation of material wealth and measured by GDP or income, to holistic development, including the conservation of nature and the happiness of humans, or as dignity as a comprehensive concept as proposed by our book. The concept of informational development refers to informationalism, a new form of sociotechno-economic organization that became fully constituted on a global scale in the early twentyfirst century. Informationalism did not replace capitalism. In fact, it powered a new form of capitalism now prevalent everywhere: informational-financial capitalism. The historical equivalent of informationalism was industrialism, which developed in both capitalist and non-capitalist versions. What characterizes informationalism is the widespread use of microelectronics-based digital information and communication technologies that allow the diffusion of networking forms of organization in all domains of economic and social life. It also powers information processing and digital communication, enabling the expansion of the knowledge base of the economy and the information society. Information technologies allow for knowledge and information to be distributed and applied to all activities in any context, in a way similar to the transformation of production processes enabled by new technologies of energy generation and distrubution during the two industrial revolutions. The concept of informationalism rejects technologial determinism, while acknowledging the crucial role of technology embedded in social organization and culture. Networking is an essential component of informationalism; this is why the dominant social structure of our time can be characterized as a global network society. In our view, human development refers to a process of enhancement of the living conditions that make humans human in a given social context. Thus, it can be interpreted in a very broad way. It certainly includes what traditionally have been considered the components of the welfare state: health, education, public transportation, culture, and public insurance or subsidy in case of distress (unemployment, poverty, special needs in housing, transportation, social services, etc.). But it also should include the whole range of elements that constitute ‘quality of life,’ as determined by recent social research. These comprise job creation, work quality, and environmental sustainability, as the natural environment is a source of key dimensions of quality of life including health. Moreover, environmental sustainability is often considered to be an expression of inter-generational solidarity, thus it is a fundamental dimension of wellbeing for the human species at large. Wellbeing also encompasses other dimensions of human life such as personal security, the prevention of violence, the avoidance of war, and the protection of basic human rights such as personal dignity, privacy, communication rights, and protection against discrimination.

—From “Reconceptualizing Development in the Global Information Age,” edited by Manuel Castells and Pekka Himanen.

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Deck The Hall: Students, Bikes and Boards

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To spend time on the USC campus is to witness a New Urbanist’s dream come true — pedestrians and bicyclists and skateboarders moving from place to place, with only the occasional electric cart, or security or delivery car or truck, present as well. USC Annenberg students, faculty and staff remain in the vanguard of alternative transportation efforts. The “Visit” page on the school’s website leads with information about the Metro Expo Line and includes bicycling directions and bike rack locations. Communication professor François Bar and a coalition of local groups previously produced a South Los Angeles bicycling map. In the most recent two issues of this magazine, Neftalie Williams (MPD ’14) shared his photos of USC Annenberg student trips to Brazil (Summer 2014) and Cuba (Winter 2013). This time, we commissioned Williams to shoot a series of profiles that are likewise about travel — but to destinations much closer to home. The resulting images were taken during a two-day stretch this Fall, in Wallis Annenberg Hall’s Digital Lounge. By the way, in skateboard nomenclature, the “deck” is the part of the board where the rider stands.

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India: Reporting on Religion

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India 2014 was my fifth trip with Prof. Diane Winston for her “International Reporting on Religion” class — once as a grad student to Israel and the West Bank and four other times (Israel, Ireland and India twice) as an assistant. On my first trip to India in 2012, I stepped into the serenity of the Taj Mahal. The crowds seemed to fade away as the sun’s reflection off the white marble awakened a spiritual feeling deep within me. It was no doubt why this Wonder of the World lured so many from afar and why I discovered solace in a shadowy building to its side. This year, I found myself in a much different place as I wandered through the maze of Dharavi, one of the largest slums in the world. Inside a small, box-like building lit only by the glow of a makeshift furnace, two individuals were melting soda cans in order to resell the aluminum and provide for their families. Within seconds, beads of sweat formed on my forehead and then slowly dripped down my face onto the dirt floor. Twenty minutes was all I could last before the heat turned me toward the door, leaving the two to finish their 14-hour shift.  These trips provide amazing opportunities for the Annenberg community to experience and communicate a different story.

—John Adams (M.A. Journalism ’10)

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“Deck the Halls: Students, Bikes & Boards” — An Exhibit by Neftalie Williams

On Monday, March 23, at the Third Floor Digital Gallery of ANN, USC Annenberg alum and staff, Neftalie Williams (MPD ’14), showcased his collection of photographs of students and their means of transportation around campus.

Undergraduate and graduate students of all majors from USC Annenberg, as well as staff members, participated in the photo shoot. Skate boards, roller blades, bikes and more were among the transportation forms photographed along with the student and staff riders. The featured students and guests joined Williams at the exhibition, helping launch the official opening of the Third Floor Digital Gallery at ANN. The Digital Gallery can be found just outside the third floor elevators and the exhibit will be available through May.

Williams works with the USC Annenberg Institute for Sports, Media & Society and will begin teaching Comm 499, a course on skateboarding and action;sports in business media and culture during the Fall 2015 semester.

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AnnenbergX Class Visits the Exploratorium in San Francisco

@TheExplainers shared an Instagram of professor K.C. Cole's talk

@TheExplainers shared an Instagram of professor K.C. Cole’s talk

USC Annenberg professor K.C. Cole presented projects created by students from one of the first AnnenbergX classes to the staff of the Exploratorium in San Francisco — a “museum of human awareness.” The 7-week AnnenbergX course focused on the exploration of art, science, and humanities through hands-on exhibits, films, tinkering and interactive projects.

A highlight for the students was meeting the high school and college “Explainers” who come from all over San Francisco and comprise the floor staff of the 330,000 square foot museum on Pier 15. “Explainers” do demonstrations, dissections, explain science and arts, and basically run the show. In turn, the Explainers and museum staff were very impressed by the USC students’ projects, which included a short film, interactive T-shirts and an Explorabus.

“They really got it,” Anne Jennings, director of Extended Learning, said. Jennings noted the “amazing synergy” between AnnenbergX and the Exploratorium, which is ranked with top museums like the Louvre, Getty and Smithsonian (80 percent of the world’s science centers use Exploratorium-designed exhibits).

The eleven AnnenbergX students represented diverse fields including PR, comm management, psychology, business and architecture.

“There was so much to see and do,” Paloma Mayorga, a public relations major, said. “The dedication to creativity and discovery is what is really going to push you to the next level in anything that you do.”

Professor Cole said she plans to go back next year with an expanded AnnenbergX class, Ways of Knowing, which will include working with the Fisher museum’s eagerly awaited exhibition “Gyre. The Plastic Ocean.”

USC Annenberg public relations student Paloma Mayorga and psychology student Jairo Gomez play with a distorted mirror at the Exploratorium.

USC Annenberg public relations student Paloma Mayorga and psychology student Jairo Gomez play with a distorted mirror at the Exploratorium.

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Alumni Column: Expecting the Unexpected After Graduation

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In a new series of columns, each week an alum of USC Annenberg will share stories of their time at the school, discuss their career, and offer advice to students.

You’ve turned in your final paper. You’ve accepted that awesome job offer. And on graduation day, you walk across the stage and proudly accept your diploma. Maybe you think you’ve got it all figured it out (I totally did). Or maybe you don’t know what your next steps will be (that’s totally OK too).

Graduating and leaving the place you spent the last four years of your life can be scary, whether you’re jumping right into the workforce or still trying to piece it all together. For me, after graduating this past May, I was excited to join the team at my music industry internship-turned-full-time job.

I had been brought into the company the summer before my junior year by a previous internship supervisor. I spent the second half of my college career going to school full time and working in the office three days a week, straight through school breaks and summer vacation. It was my boss who noticed and appreciated my dedication, and campaigned for me to come on full-time from the very first semester I worked there. I loved the work I did, whether it was writing articles for our website, conducting interviews with musicians or helping our production team on video shoots. After graduation, I was elated to finally become an official member of the team.

But then came the unexpected — my division of the company was shuttered in December. Just months after I accepted my dream job, I was being torn away from the office I loved. The initial blow was tough. It was surprising for almost everyone. But after the initial shock wore off, I knew I was prepared to take on this new challenge I faced.

As a USC Annenberg student, I had been fortunate to hear from highly successful professionals from all different disciplines. But among all the speakers, one thing rang true — everyone faced setbacks in their career. Sometimes a business idea had to pivot. Sometimes the job they thought they wanted was not right for them at all. Sometimes startups failed. These lessons reminded me I was not alone. I may not have expected this situation, but others had been there and successfully pressed onward.

As I journeyed back into the workforce early this year, I again found myself someplace unexpected. With my background in music and content creation, I suddenly found myself in the midst of an exciting and unique opportunity at a USC-based drone startup. USC Annenberg always encouraged me to explore opportunities across a breadth of fields and this notion is what pushed me to become involved with the Viterbi Startup Garage during my college career. Through this connection I found myself at my current company. Although I may not have a background in engineering or robotics, I am constantly reminded that my USC Annenberg education is applicable almost anywhere. A drone company may not be where I pictured myself as I walked across the stage at graduation, but it is where I see myself succeeding right now.

So the most important thing I’ve learned during life after graduation? Expect the unexpected.

That doesn’t necessarily mean prepare for the worst or that a curveball is definitely headed your way. But to me, it means being ready for new challenges, making hard decisions and not setting your path in stone. And I think USC Annenberg did a pretty awesome job preparing us for that.

alex-gurley

Alexandra Gurley is a 2014 graduate of USC Annenberg with a degree in Communication. As a student, she was involved in Undergraduate Student Government, Program Board’s Concerts and Marketing Committees and the Viterbi Startup Garage. She worked as a content coordinator at Live Nation Labs, a digital innovation agency within Live Nation, and now works with Awesomesauce Labs, a drone company based out of USC. She also currently serves as an Annenberg Alumni Ambassador and can be reached at [email protected]

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Quoted: Weeks of March 9 & 16

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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 USC Annenberg’s leaders, faculty, staff and others.


When emotion trumps information: The importance of storytelling in promoting civic participation

KaplanM3Marty Kaplan, professor and director of USC Annenberg School’s Norman Lear Center, was asked to offer his thoughts on voting and civic participation, inspired by the Knight News Challenge on Elections, which asks the question: How might we better inform voters and increase civic participation before, during and after elections?

“If civic engagement is a religion, its god is going through a rough patch,” Kaplan wrote. “Declining electoral participation is a symptom of the dispiriting but not unreasonable erosion of moral confidence in democratic institutions.”

Kaplan concluded by telling Knight News Challenge applications that the public’s cynicism is well earned, “and not a misunderstanding that a cool civic app can dispel.”


Starbucks Initiative on Race Relations Draws Attacks Online

Jeetendr-SehdevThe #RaceTogether was on top of Twitter’s trending list last week after Starbucks tried to stimulate conversations about race relations with a new campaign. Professor Jeetendr Sehdev spoke with the New York Times about the coffee giant’s failed campaign and what their true motives may have been.

“This is not about starting a conversation. This is about coffee wars,” he said. “The sole objective here is to try to increase the brand’s cultural relevance.”

Professor Jeetendr Sehdev was also quoted in La Opinion about Rodner Figueroa following his Univision departure. Note: this publication is in Spanish.


In the Middle East, Events Are Outpacing U.S. Policy

Philip Seib. Photo by Maggie SmithVice Dean Philip Seib said there are five factors that guarantee rough times are ahead for the U.S. in the Middle East. His new column for The World Post looks at these five factors and how, collectively, they will cause major problems in the years ahead.

“There is no evidence of a strategic or a moral compass guiding U.S. policy in the region,” Seib wrote. “In this era of pervasive media, every venue from Al Jazeera to Twitter provides Arab audiences with daily reminders of American fecklessness.”

Seib noted the Obama administration began dealings with the Arab world on a hopeful note, but since then, “American policy has been perceived as hostile, or at least uncaring, toward Arabs.”


Presidential long shots often win big after losing election

KaplanM3Donald Trump recently announced of the formation of a presidential exploratory committee. In the Los Angeles Times’ political analysis of his announcement and other long-shot candidates, the newspaper noted “he stands no chance of winning” and yet he “has underscored a growing phenomenon … the pursuit of the White House has become a self-promotional ploy for some, exercised for fun and profit.”

Professor and director of USC Annenberg School’s Norman Lear CenterMarty Kaplan is also a former Democratic speechwriter. Kaplan offered his response to Trump’s announcement for the Times’ article.

“If Donald Trump is a candidate, why not anyone who made it to the finals of ‘The Bachelor’?” Kaplan asked.


The real star of SXSW Interactive: Humans

Francesca SmithFrom the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab, doctoral student Francesca Smith and technical director Geoffrey Long were quoted in Digiday’s story on the power of the human given the wearables and customization revolution.

“Distracted, discerning and demanding, audiences expect to do things exactly the way they want,” Smith said. “Customization is the name of the game.” long

Long said wearables that react to biometric levels and the outside environment will “take hyper personalization to a whole new level and collapse the distance between reality and fiction.”


Schmaltz Is Gluten-Free

KaplanM3In a new column for The Huffington Post — also published by the Jewish Journal — professor Marty Kaplan questioned how we can follow the ever changing diet and exercise advice shared in the media. His column was inspired by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recently giving Kraft Singles a nutrition seal.

“You might think such a logo is a nutritional seal of approval, just as you might think the academy is a reliable source of guidance for parents,” Kaplan wrote.

He goes on to discuss the numerous “healthy” labels foods have been given over the years, the medical or scientific “evidence” that supports the latest fad, and the media’s coverage of them.

“As each new study seems to contradict the previously contradictory advice that we’ve barely re-rejected, skepticism toward all studies looks like a reasonable response,” Kaplan wrote. “Unstable norms make it easier for Kraft to cut a mutual endorsement deal with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


Important reminder: Superman was an undocumented immigrant.

Jenkins_121pProfessor Henry Jenkins wrote about his research on media, activism and participatory politics for Fusion’s “Origin Stories.” Jenkins specifically discussed the appropriation of the superhero as an example of how contemporary popular culture is inspiring the civic imagination.

“Everywhere you look, young people are using elements poached from popular culture to express their struggles for social justice and to question what kind of political structures they want to occupy,” Jenkins wrote.


California’s public records law has ‘no teeth,’ experts say

KotlerThe purpose of the California Public Records Act is to make government records easily accessible to the public. However, the 1968 law has been revised numerous times over the years, and never for the better. Professor Jonathan Kotler told the Long Beach Press Telegram: “It’s got no teeth.”

Other states have strong public records laws, Kotler noted, especially Florida — which has has only once had to prosecute an agency for failing to comply with its public records law.

“And that was enough,” Kotler said. “I’m a big believer in penalties to achieve good conduct, whether it’s speeding on the freeway or access to government, and I think that unless you have some sort of negative penalty to get things done, nothing’s going to get done. There needs to be penalties.”


Texting while driving kills, but will we stop?

Jeff ColeIn a new study by the Center for the Digital Future, it was discovered that while 87 percent of respondents agreed it is dangerous to text while driving, 18 percent said they cannot “resist the urge” to use their phones behind the wheel.

Professor and director of the CDF, Jeffrey Cole, told USA Today: “People are admitting that it’s dangerous to text and drive, but it’s still a behavior that people cannot shake.”


Those Jingoistic, Nationalistic, Patriotic Cartoons

KaplanM3A Zócalo Public Square “Open Art” on the many roles cartoonists play and have played over the past century, was moderated by professor Marty Kaplan, director of USC Annenberg School’s Norman Lear Center.

In their coverage of the event, Zócalo noted the questions Kaplan posed to the panelists. Before a question-and-answer session with the audience, “Kaplan asked the panelists if they feel magazines and newspapers should have reprinted controversial cartoons from the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in the wake of a terrorist attack.”

Earlier this year, USC Annenberg held a discussion panel on this same topic.


Six Boston 2024 employees make over $100,000 a year

USC Annenberg clinical professor Daniel DurbinThe Boston Globe reported that with Boston’s 2024 Olympic bid, former governor Deval Patrick will earn $7,500 a day for occasional travel as a global ambassador, selling the city and its vision for the Games to the International Olympic Committee.

Professor Daniel Durbin, who is also director of the USC Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media, and Society, told the Globe that it is a common practice to use former politicians on bid teams.

“There is nothing more political than an Olympic bid,” Durbin said. “You need as many influential, coercive personalities as you can get.”


The Workplace Is Even More Sexist In Movies Than In Reality

Professor Stacy L. Smith and Marc Choueiti, MDSC researcher and project administrator. (Brett Van Ort/USC Annenberg)

FiveThirtyEight noted that movies seem to take place in an “alternate universe where men outnumber women by more than 2-to-1…” and women have jobs that reinforce gender stereotypes.

Research by professor Stacy Smith and the Media, Diversity, & Social Change (MDSC) Initiative was cited in the story, specifically noting that only 3.4 percent of characters working as top-level business executives were women.

“Not one speaking character plays a powerful American female political figure across 5,839 speaking characters in 129 family films,” MDSCI’s report stated.


The Global Broadband Adoption Gap Needs Greater Attention

Research by the Center for the Digital Future was cited in a TechCrunch article on internet access. According to the CDF’s World Internet Project, not having a computer was the main reason for U.S. non-users remaining offline.


Christopher Hill: A Diplomat at Work

Philip Seib. Photo by Maggie SmithVice Dean Philip Seib reviewed a new book by former U.S. ambassador to four countries and senior State Department official, Christopher R. Hill, for The Huffington Post. “Outpost: Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy” will give readers a sense of how modern diplomats do their jobs, according to Seib.

“Some memoirs concentrate on self-promotion and score-settling, but Hill avoids the former and mostly eschews the latter,” Seib wrote. “He focuses instead on the on-the-ground work of the diplomat, which may entail dangerous forays far beyond embassy walls.”

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