CommLine Online April 14, 2010


Impact television news magazine wins first-place national College Television Award

Impact logo

USC Annenberg's award-winning Impact television news magazine added another prestigious award to its résumé April 10 when five members of last year's production team won first place in the news magazine division at the national College Television Awards.College TV Awards

The awards ceremony, hosted by The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, honors the best work in video, digital production and film production by undergraduate and graduate students from around the country.

"There was a brief moment of, 'Did we hear what we thought we just heard?"' journalism professor and Impact executive producer/faculty advisor Dan Birman said about listening to Impact's name called. "Seeing the looks on the students’ faces was really, really fun. This is their launch to their careers. This is a really big deal.”

Impact award winnersAccepting the award for the winning show, Impact Episode 45, were show producers Cristina Bishai, Maritza Navarro and Kim Daniels, and segment producers Kate and Shannon Carroll. Esther Pomeroy (supervising producer from last year) and Deidre Crawford were unable to attend. Kate and Shannon reported a story titled Urban Beekeeping for Episode 45, while Bishai delved into the world of ventriloquism with I've Got No Strings.

"It was absolutely incredible," Bishai said about winning the award. "We were all shocked. I jumped up and screamed. We ran down to the stage and accepted the award, and it was very, very exciting. Coming into USC, I knew that Impact had been recognized several times by the Academy. When I knew I would be a senior producer it was my secret goal to get us another award. I'm so happy that it happened."

As a first-place winner, Impact received a $2,000 award. Second-place winners took home $1,000 and third-place winners received $500. In addition to a cash prize, selected winners receive invaluable career building opportunities, including an invitation to pitch their piece to a development executive and a chance to meet with an entertainment industry mentor.

“A number of College Television Award winners go on to have successful careers in the industry and have even become Primetime Emmy Award winners,” said Television Academy Foundation Executive Director Terri Clark. “This accomplishment is only the beginning for many of this year’s talented student producers.”

The University picked up a total of six College Television Awards, as the USC School of Cinematic Arts won five awards. This year, the College Television Awards honored work in 11 categories including: Animation, Children’s, Comedy, Commercials, Documentary, Drama, Music Composition, Best Use of Music, Newscasts and Series. More than 600 students from 158 schools across 38 states entered the competition. The winning work was then showcased at a special screening on April 11 at the Television Academy's Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre in North Hollywood.

"The students are being recognized by the most important and recognizable brand in the industry for their work," said Debbie Slavkin, program manager/development associate Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation. "To be judged on excellence from the same people who are judging for the Primetime Emmy Awards, you can’t do much better than that."

Daniels, who is the supervising producer for Impact this year, said she was nervous before the award ceremony because some of Impact's competition came from universities that focus more on long-form journalism.

"When it happened, it was a little shocking, but also fantastic because we deserve it," Daniels said. "Any time you hear your named called out in that situation, your heart is beating a little bit and you’ve been bracing for the letdown, and then you’re not let down. 'Wow, did they just say that? Yes, they just said that!'"

Impact award winnersShe also called the win encouraging because it shows that the Impact team has been working hard in the right way.

"We know with good training and storytelling, we have talented students who can pull this off and really make great nonfiction storytelling," she said. "We're increasing our skills, telling good stories, making good shows and coming up with compelling content. It’s hugely encouraging. You need to set the bar high. It’s a really competitive industry and this should be our goal. This is huge."

About the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation
Established in 1959 as the charitable arm of the Television Academy, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation preserves and celebrates the history of the medium while educating and guiding those who will shape its future. Prominent among its many initiatives are the Archive of American Television, education programs such as the College Television Awards and its renowned student internship program, all of which utilize the resources of the Television Academy. For more information about the Foundation, its many programs and services, please visit

Episode 45
Impact staff
Urban Beekeeping
I've Got No Strings

Verizon CEO Seidenberg takes the ‘long view’ on digital media revolution

Watch the video »

USC Annenberg speaker series explores visionary executives' ideas for media world of 2020


By Gretchen Parker

Ivan Seidenberg has made a career of building and envisioning the telecommunications of today, but he’s always kept an eye toward the future.

seiden3 At the second installment of USC Annenberg’s symposium series “Art of the Long View” on Thursday night, the CEO and chairman of Verizon Communications shared his thoughts on the pressing issues for telecom companies, consumers and content makers. Led by communication professor Jonathan Taplin (pictured, at right), the forums aim to spark a conversation among global communication leaders, policy makers and academics about the long-term future of media.

As his company waits to hear whether it will be the next carrier for Apple's popular iPhone, Seidenberg told his audience that he sees enormous possibilities for next-generation networks, including 3-D programming, personalized high-definition video delivered to cell phones, personal media players – and even surgery done remotely via imaging and robots.

Seidenberg also shared his views on key issues facing his and other industries, including net neutrality, "bit hogs" and Internet piracy.

He even gave students a taste of the philosophies he uses to guide his own life. He distilled his 44-year career (which started with a job as a cable splicer’s assistant) into a few lines of advice, including: "Don't just reprocess what everybody tells you. Add some unique value to it.”

Highlights of Seidenberg’s answers to questions from Taplin:

On net neutrality, a principle that faced a setback in a federal appeals court earlier this week
(Read journalism professor Andrew Lih's take on the ruling)

“The way I look at this issue is, we start out with the idea that net neutrality is a good thing. You should be able to get any information, go anywhere you want on the net, and you shouldn’t be hassled. We worry that sometimes issues surface where the cure turns out to be a lot worse than the disease… We’re concerned that the government wants to regulate every conceivable issue that could surface on the issue of access, when in fact the market is going to eliminate those barriers over time, and they’re doing it pretty fast…. We should have rules and principles around not [discriminating] getting to Web sites, but we have to be careful not to tell carriers how to run their business in order to manage the network.”

On Verizon gaining carriage rights to the iPhone

“We have no answer to this question. We have expressed an interest to Apple about carrying it. We think our network could handle it. Apple kind of walks to its own beat and hasn't decided whether it’s going to make an iPhone for the 3G network that we run. So we’re working hard with them on getting up to speed on building a 4G phone. Whether they’ll do a 3G – there are reports in the paper that they’re working on it – and I hope that’s true.”

Seidenberg and Dean Ernest J. Wilson III
On Google and China

“Google knew what it was doing when it got into it in the first place. That was a choice they made. The fact that they ran into this issue a couple of years into the process – they should have known that.”

On what people will be doing on their cell phones in the near future

“One simple way of thinking about it is, we had this view of 100 megabits to the home and 20 megabits to the handset. That’s a lot of bandwidth to the handset. What would they do with it? We didn’t know. But Google and Apple figured out how to fill it up pretty quickly… this fourth generation is going to produce 10 megabits on average, and peak speed could be 15 megabits. You only need six to seven for a high-definition TV phone. You have the capability of getting HDTV resolution on a little screen. The last two minutes of the Laker game, or someone sends you medical records – there are all sorts of things you can do with it. Every interaction with your friends is video. Video texting instead of just texting. The whole model changes, and the whole human interaction changes.”

On why video options are about to get a lot more personal, but why people shouldn't expect "a la carte" pricing

“We offer 500 channels. We put it in a bundle and charge $99. Some people say I don’t want 500 channels and we say, ‘Well, that’s what we’re offering you.’ Look, that’s going to change. The Internet will break this down. A la carte is too extreme. There will always be a need for bundling certain things…. We have to get to a point where the model changes and becomes more consumer-driven than industry-driven. The industry drives the architecture of the products we serve. Over time, I think the consumer will drive the architecture of it.”

On how Verizon made the prescient decision to develop fiber-optic delivery to homes

“I think every student in here and every faculty member would agree that you never have enough bandwidth. There is always a need for more speed and more capacity. We started out with the idea that we were a telephone company – basically a copper architecture that wires into your home and has limited capability…. For us it was a simple situation of survival. Do we do it now, or do we do it later?”

On seeing the future

“What we’re good at is building the network. When we look back 10 years, we said, ‘What do we think people are going to do with this bandwidth?’ We got it all wrong. They've done much more with it. I don't think there's anything you can't do…. The trick for us is to get this technology out there and let others innovate on top of it and create the uses for it. I don’t know if this is actually possible, but I’ll make it up. If you simulate an operating room, someone could actually do an operation using a robot. They could be sitting here in LA, and the operation could be done in Chicago. There seems to be no limit to what the imagination can drive people to do. The important thing is not have the people who build it define what the uses will be.”

On building America’s economic future

“We have to figure out how, as a country, to get our confidence back. With the real estate and the housing bubble, we lost 5 million jobs…. The problem is we haven't given the country confidence that we’re focused on helping people in Detroit, helping people in the service industry figure out how we’re going to transition from the work we used to do to the work we need to do, going forward. We need to get on this issue, and it’s not simple. Because not everyone is going to be a knowledge worker in 20 years. We have to figure out smarter ways of giving people jobs that give the country confidence that we have jobs at all levels of the spectrum. So everyone doesn’t have to be a Ph.D."

Life advice and how to be a successful innovator

“As students, learn what you love and be the best at it. Don’t just reprocess what everyone tells you. Add some unique value to it.”

“Another thing I always tell my employees is someone always is watching you. It took me a long time to realize someone is always watching me. Everything you do on the job, off the job -- people watch. People watch how you talk, what you say, what your statements are. The third thing is don’t be high maintenance. Guys like me, if you’re high maintenance, we get rid of you. We’ll transfer you here and there and give you lots of other projects.”

“You’ve got to be a little bit flexible and a little bit lucky, and you have to go where the work is. I’ve been in the business 44 years with the same company. I moved eight or nine times. I’ve had about 25 jobs and coincidentally, 17 or 18 of those jobs – I was the first one in that job. So I sort of moused around and worked on things that people said, ‘We don’t really know what you want to do here, but go do it.’ So you take some chances and do some things. So when you’re young, you want to create your own thing. When young people come into our office the first thing they tell us is we’re all dumb and they know all the answers. The answer is not to tell them not to do it, but to create the structure. So if you’re a person who empowers other people, you’ll find you’ll be empowered by the organization…. When you make the team better than you are individually, when you make yourself part of something bigger, you win. It works every time. I guarantee it.”

The “Art of the Long View” forums are a way not only to build partnerships that cross industry and university lines but also to explore long-term consequences and plans for the communication revolution, Taplin said. It’s a service that no one else is providing, at a time when the pressure to focus on quarterly earnings is more intense than ever.

“We seek to provide a counter-narrative – a forum to discuss the future of communications and journalism with a time frame of 12 years, not 12 weeks,” Taplin said.

Upcoming programs will focus on the long-term future of advertising, newspaper companies, the music business, the movie business, television drama and online social networks.

James R. Beniger, award-winning scholar and former communication professor, dies at 63

Jim Beniger

James R. Beniger (pictured), an award-winning communication and sociology professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism and Princeton University who authored a highly acclaimed study of the economic and technological origins of the information society titled The Control Revolution, passed away after an extended battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 63.

“Jim Beniger had the highest academic standards, along with the strongest caring for our students,” said communication professor emeritus A. Michael Noll, former dean of the USC Annenberg School. “He was always challenging them intellectually. The field of communication has lost a delightful human being and a provocative scholar taken far too soon.”

The Control Revolution: Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society (Harvard University Press, 1986) is a true classic of sociological and historical analysis with a long history of influence in a variety of social science fields. Beniger’s study made a compelling case that the information age grew out of a crisis of control in transportation and manufacturing during the latter half of the 19th century rather than resulting as an incidental or secondary effect of the development of electronic communication technologies. In 1986, the book received the Association of American Publishers Award for the Most Outstanding Book in the Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award. It received a full-page review in the New York Times Book Review and the lead review in the special book review edition of Science, the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The New York Times Book Review selected the 1989 soft cover edition as a "Notable Paperback of the Year." In 2007 the book won the International Communication Association’s Fellows Book Award for "having stood the test of time." The book has also been published in Italian and Chinese language editions. Beniger's first book, Trafficking in Drug Users: Professional Exchange Networks in the Control of Deviance, was selected by the American Sociological Association for its competitive Rose Monograph Series and published by Cambridge University Press in 1983.

Beniger graduated magna cum laude in history from Harvard College in 1969 where he was an editor of the Harvard Crimson. During college Beniger was also a freelance arts critic for the Boston Globe and a staff writer for The Wall Street Journal in Chicago, where he helped to cover the 1968 Democratic National Convention, with a front-page byline story about President Lyndon B. Johnson on the opening day of the Convention. Following college, Beniger taught history, English and creative writing at the International College in Beirut, Lebanon, and at a secondary school in Cali, Colombia, work which led him to travel through some 40 countries on five continents. Before beginning graduate school, he served as the Acting Books and Arts Editor of the Minneapolis Star. He studied statistics and sociology at the University of California, Berkeley graduating with a Ph.D. in Sociology in 1978.

Beniger served as Associate Editor of Communication Research from 1986 to 1993 where he was responsible for a special section of the journal titled Far Afield, a wide ranging set of review essays written by Beniger and other leading scholars from across the spectrum of the academy. Peter Monge, his former colleague at USC Annenberg, noted, “For many readers these essays were the crown jewel of the journal. They tackled challenging communication issues, offered perspicacious insights, and were written with loving care in a form that has become almost extinct in the Academy.”

In 1996 he was elected the 53rd President of the American Association of Public Opinion Research some 20 years after he won the Association’s Student Paper Award. “Jim’s deep involvement in AAPOR spanned his academic career,” said Peter Miller, current AAPOR President. “He was a charismatic figure who led the Association into the digital age. We will miss him greatly.”

Mr. Beniger initiated and ran the association’s online bulletin board for many years and as a frequent contributor demonstrated the breadth of his concerns and the depth of his legendary wit.

He is survived by his wife Kay Ferdinandsen and daughters Ann and Katherine Beniger of Manhattan Beach CA, his mother Charlotte Beniger of Sheboygan WI and his sister Linda York of Lake Geneva WI. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be sent to the Alzheimer’s Association,

USC Annenberg recognizes investigative journalism with 21st annual Selden Ring Award


2010 award winner T. Christian Miller, of the non-profit news outlet ProPublica, spoke about his reporting on war contractors in Iraq

By Gretchen Parker

For his work uncovering the “the hidden war” – the casualties and neglect of injured contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan – journalist T. Christian Miller of ProPublica was honored Friday with the 2010 Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting.

The $35,000 annual award, which has been presented for the past 21 years by USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, honors outstanding work in investigative journalism that made an impact. This year’s award was the first to go to a journalist at a non-traditional news organization.

ring1_275“It’s a particular pleasure for me to give this award to T., because it represents the kind of collaboration I am confident will be an increasingly important part of the future of journalism,” said Geneva Overholser (pictured, at left), director of the School of Journalism, as she presented the award to Miller at a luncheon ceremony.

Miller began reporting on the plight of war contractors when he worked for the Los Angeles Times; he continued his work when he moved to ProPublica, a New York-based non-profit news organization that focuses on investigative stories that serve a public interest. The agency partners with newspapers, network news and online outfits to get the stories published and aired.

Besides the Times, which collaborated with Miller on his stories,, The Washington Post, and also ran pieces of the series.

Over three years, Miller untangled the bureaucracies of the Department of Defense and the Department of Labor to uncover for the first time how many contractors have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – 1,757, as of Friday. Another 37,000 have been injured.

“No one tracks these people. There is no accountability for them,” he said of the contractor ranks, which he says have become a “disposable army.”

Beyond the casualties, Miller revealed that contractors were not receiving even minimal benefits owed to them when they are injured in war zones. He also found that many of those suffering are working-class Americans who saw the contract work as a way to dig themselves out of debt and take care of their families. Thousands of them are from third world countries who are hired to do the work of cleaning toilets and mopping floors for the American military.

ring2_275“What the U.S. has done is hire some of the poorest people in the world to do the dirtiest jobs in the most dangerous countries in the world. These are the people who are being killed,” Miller said.

Because of Miller’s work, congressional hearings were held and legislation is being prepared that will hold the DOD more accountable for its hired workers. And the Labor Department also is taking action to step up penalties against errant insurers.

News gathered by collaborative partnerships is becoming increasingly common as news organizations struggle to make the most of resources. But Miller pointed out that these partnerships have the potential to carry more influence than one high-profile outfit pursuing a story.

“The benefit is that you can’t dismiss this as one crazy reporter at one crazy newspaper who is waging a crusade,” he said. “It’s a reverberation effect of many media and many voices participating in many different directions. And it’s increasingly difficult to ignore that story.”

Winning the Selden Ring Award has helped shine even more light on the issue, Miller said.

“The day after I won the award, I sent emails to all the congressional committees involved in this topic and said, ‘This has become a Selden Ring Award winner,’” Miller said. “They all wrote back. It’s a way to put it on their radar screens. They know it’s been recognized. They know we’re going to continue to cover it, and it’s not going to go away.

“That kind of dogged investigative journalism is the exact type that the award was created to recognize.”

And although the award also has brought more attention to non-traditional and non-profit news organizations, Miller cautioned against looking to ProPublica to save the investigative journalism that is seeping out of legacy newsrooms.

ring3_275“I hope it raises the profile of collaborative media, but I don’t think non-profit journalism is ever going to replace for-profit journalism. It gives a boost to what is out there,” he said. “I really hope a message out of this is that there’s no reason not to work with non-profits. So let’s go down this path and try to double the firepower we used to have by bringing in an outside partner.”

Miller was congratulated at the awards luncheon by legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, who related the stories behind how he broke the My Lai Massacre and its cover-up during the Vietnam War.

He encouraged the audience, which included young reporters from an Investigative Reporters and Editors workshop, to pursue investigative journalism.

“It’s truly a great way to spend time, and I urge all you young people to keep at it,” he said.
The award luncheon also featured a tribute by past award winners to Douglas Ring, benefactor of the price. Ring died in November 2009.

Neon Tommy wins 2010 USC Tommys Award for innovation

Neon Tommy logoUSC Annenberg's Neon Tommy news source was named “Most Innovative Student Organization” at the 2010 Tommys Student Involvement and Student Organization Awards Ceremony.

The Tommys, which are sponsored by the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation, are designed to recognize and honor the outstanding work done at some of the more than 700 student organizations on campus.

Neon Tommy senior news editor Callie Schweitzer (B.A. Print Journalism '11) said the Neon Tommy concept itself is innovative, but the student journalists' determination brings the2010 Tommys online news source to a top level.

“I think it’s the passion behind all of our stories and also the risk taking and the boundaries that we’re crossing," Schweitzer said. "Our stories really go a step beyond what a lot of the other LA media are doing. Our swine flu story is proof of that. The story really put a face on the disease in our area. We found that in some cases, family members didn’t even know their loved ones had died from swine flu.

“What makes us unique is that we’re completely online and we’re in the Annenberg School," she continued. "A lot of people are saying university publications are going to be leading the way in the media because of what’s happening with journalism nationwide, and I think Neon Tommy is a great example of the work that can be done by students on a premier level.”

Schweitzer and Neon Tommy were also named finalists in the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) Awards announced on March 29 for the student media category. They were nominated for their excellent work reporting on the swine flu virus.

About Neon Tommy
Neon Tommy is a Web-only, Los Angeles-based news source sponsored by the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism through Annenberg Digital News. Its visitors depend on Neon Tommy to cover crucial stories that would otherwise fall by the wayside, and to provide meaningful context in a cluttered media landscape. The fleet of reporters is a powerful presence throughout Los Angeles and across Southern California, with selective coverage of national and international events.

Neon Tommy takes particular care to avoid redundancy with other news outlets; the work is fresh and unique, telling stories that other outlets are not. When another outlet has the story, Neon Tommy points its visitors there.

Neon Tommy is innovative and iterative, pushing the boundaries of storytelling on the Internet. It throws dated, inaccurate, and misguided news paradigms out the window. It employs a variety of platforms and technologies to create engaging experiences for our visitors. It represents the future of digital news.

2010 Tommys
About Neon Tommy


Alumna and Olympic medalist Janet Evans to receive USC Alumni Merit Award

USC Alumni Association logo

Alumna Janet Evans (pictured, B.A. Communication ’95) is one of seven Trojans to be honored at the 77th Annual USC Alumni Awards on April 24 at the Westin Bonaventure in downtown Los Angeles.

Evans, a five-time Olympic medalist in distance swimming and world-record holder in fUSC Annenberg alumna and Olympic gold medal winner Janet Evansour events, will receive an Alumni Merit Award, recognizing “individuals whose remarkable accomplishments speak well for the range and quality of a USC education.”

Jane Bensussen (M.A. ’69) will receive an Alumni Service Awards for “outstanding volunteer efforts on behalf of the university.” The 2010 USC Alumni awards will also feature a special alumni tribute to retiring USC President Steven B. Sample and his wife Kathryn, commemorating their 19 years of service to the university.

“This year’s honorees represent the very best of the Trojan Family,” said Scott Mory, USC Alumni Association CEO. “We look forward to welcoming them, and our guests, to the 77th Annual Alumni Awards.”

In addition to Evans, the USC Alumni Association will recognize six other distinguished alumni for their achievements and contributions. Academy Award-winning filmmaker Taylor Hackford ’67 (LAS) will receive the Asa V. Call Alumni Achievement Award, the university’s highest alumni honor. USC trustee and Cogent, Inc. co-founder Ming Hsieh ’83, MS ’84 (Viterbi) and Captain Melissa Ward ’86 (Marshall), the first African-American woman to serve as a commercial airline captain, will receive Alumni Merit Awards.

Former USC trustee Gale Bensussen ’70 (Marshall) and his wife Jane, benefactors of the Bensussen Research Floor of the USC School of Pharmacy, and Roger W. Rossier MS ’62, EdD ’72 (Rossier), benefactor of the USC Rossier School of Education and chair of the USC Orange County President’s Council, will receive Alumni Service Awards for “outstanding volunteer efforts on behalf of the university.”

Every year since 1932, the USC Alumni Association has paid tribute to distinguished members of the Trojan Family. The annual Alumni Awards is the premier event sponsored by the Alumni Association. All proceeds from the event support the Alumni Association’s programs, services and scholarships. Past honorees include Grammy-winning trumpeter Herb Alpert, former Secretary of State Warren M. Christopher, architect Frank O. Gehry, opera great Marilyn Horne, WNBA star and USC Annenberg alumna Lisa Leslie and screen legend John Wayne. For more information, please visit

NEA25 Top Journalists Chosen for Fellowships to USC Annenberg's NEA Arts Institute

Twenty-five arts journalists have been chosen from 16 states to participate as fellows in the sixth National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater at USC Annenberg.

Through the generous support of the NEA, the Institute will be conducted by USC Annenberg's School of Journalism in Los Angeles from May 17-27, 2010.

Participants in USC Annenberg's 2010 NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater include theater critics, reporters and editors, as well as general arts and entertainment journalists. Many of them have shifted from print to online or are finding the balance in between. Some also work in radio.

The 25 NEA Fellows are:

  • Bob Abelman, affiliated theater critic, News-Herald, Chagrin Valley Times, Solon Times and Geauga Times Courier, Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Sabrina Artel, independent radio producer and host, performance coordinator of "Trailer Talk," Liberty, N.Y.
  • Kelly Baker Ashkettle, arts writer, In This Week, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • Ian Buckwalter, affiliated theater critic, and, Washington, D.C.
  • Lindsay Christians, fine arts reporter, The Capital Times and Wisconsin State Journal, Madison, Wis.
  • Mark Cofta, theater critic and arts correspondent, Philadelphia City Paper, Pennsylvania.
  • Sarah Fisch, arts and online editor, San Antonio Current, Texas.
  • Nicole Gluckstern, affiliated theater critic, San Francisco Bay Guardian, California.
  • Matthew Irwin, editor and reporter, Jackson Hole Weekly, Wyoming.
  • Michael Janairo, arts & entertainment editor, Times Union, Albany, N.Y.
  • Melinda Johnson, arts editor, Post-Standard, Syracuse, N.Y.
  • Mayank Keshaviah, affiliated theater critic, LA Weekly, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Elizabeth Kramer, arts and humanities reporter, Louisville Public Media, Kentucky.
  • Larry Laneer, affiliated theater critic, Oklahoma Gazette, Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Christa Lawler, arts & entertainment reporter, Duluth News Tribune, Minnesota.
  • Charles Patton, arts writer, The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Cindy Pierre, theater critic and senior writer,, Elmhurst, N.Y.
  • Zachary Pincus-Roth, freelance arts journalist, Los Angeles Times, and other publications, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Susan Saccoccia, affiliated arts journalist, Bay State Banner, Boston, Mass.
  • Ben Siegel, editor and writer, Block Club Magazine, Buffalo, N.Y.
  • John Staton, arts & culture writer and editor, StarNews Media, Wilmington, N.C.
  • Suzi Steffen, performing and visual arts editor, Eugene Weekly, Oregon.
  • Angie Fiedler Sutton, associate editor, KC Stage Magazine, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Emiko Tamagawa, associate producer, WBUR's "Here and Now," Boston, Mass.
  • Robert Waddell, reporter, and, Bronx, N.Y.

"I'm calling this the post-shock journalism generation,"/images/faculty/anawalt_121x161p.jpg said Sasha Anawalt (pictured, right), director of the NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater. "Many Fellows in this year's class have created ways to practice their craft, demonstrating entrepreneurial spirit and confidence in spite of the economic tailspin. These young professionals (their average age is 32) have used technology and the Internet to serve the arts and their passion for covering theater. They are good, inquisitive journalists determined not just to survive, but thrive. We look forward to helping them go the distance."

The Theater and Musical Theater Institute at USC Annenberg is one of three NEA Arts Journalism Institutes, along with the Institute for Music and Opera at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York and the Institute for Dance at the American Dance Festival in Durham, N.C.

The 25 NEA Fellows will participate in a rigorous 11-day program that includes writing workshops and one-on-one master classes. Among the guest faculty are Hilton Als, theater critic for The New Yorker; Irene Borger, arts journalist, author and director of the Alpert Award in the Arts; Kay Cole, Broadway dancer, choreographer and teacher; Steven Leigh Morris, playwright and critic-at-large for LA Weekly; Dominic Papatola, theater critic for the St. Paul Pioneer Press; Jack Viertel, artistic director, New York City Center Encores!, and creative director, Jujamcyn Theaters; and Jeff Weinstein, editor and critic formerly with the Village Voice and Philadelphia Inquirer. Entrepreneurship journalism training is emphasized, as well as multimedia and digital skill-building with Douglas McLennan, editor and founder of

Nine performances will be attended, including "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo" directed by Moisés Kaufman at the Mark Taper Forum and the world premiere of "Road to Saigon," developed and directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera, at East West Players.

Over 50 applications were received from theater writers, editors and critics from 27 states and from a variety of media. Each newspaper, radio and television station represented in the 2010 fellowship is new to the NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater.

For more information about the NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater, visit

About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts -- both new and established -- bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the largest national funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities and military bases. For more information, visit

Stone recalls life and work of NY Times trailblazer Gerald Boyd

By Jonathan Arkin
Student Writer

Robin Stone, the widow of Gerald Boyd, the author of "My Times in Black and White: Race and Power at The New York Times," visited USC Annenberg on April 6 as part of the Journalism Director’s Forum to talk about her husband’s legacy and book.

“[The book] is gaining quite a bit of notice…it’s beautifully edited,” said director of the School of Journalism, Geneva Overholser. “This is an extraordinary book.”

Boyd, who died of lung cancer in 2006, became The New York Times’ first black managing editor and led the staff to several Pulitzers before being forced out in 2003 over a misunderstanding Stone said was based on race.

“This is something I know Gerald would want to do,” said Stone of the decision to tell his professional and personal story. “One of the things I do when I start at schools is to ask who’s heard of (former Times reporter) Jayson Blair, and then I ask who’s heard of Gerald Boyd, and I see no hands. And this is the story…that (Gerald’s) is a life and a legacy in journalism that truly mattered… But that’s not the whole story. The whole arc of the story didn’t end at The New York Times.”

In high school, Stone said, Boyd went into the Upward Bound program, where he ended up writing for the student paper, earned his first bylines, and rode a scholarship from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch into the University of Missouri.

“One of the reasons I called this book a success story is because Gerald never forgot where he came from,” Stone said of Boyd’s poor upbringing in St. Louis, where he went through several decimations of his family due to relocations – essentially leaving him alone to pursue his dreams. “He decided then he was going to become a journalist, so he had this long string of firsts. He was a rabble rouser on campus, but he was also a leader…the first African American to be elected to executive position on (Mizzou’s) student government. Then he became first black correspondent for St. Louis Post-Dispatch and The New York Times.”

It was at The Times that Stone and Boyd solidified their relationship both on and off the presses.

“Gerald recruited me to The New York Times, but we met here in Los Angeles at the convention for the National Association of Black Journalists,” Stone said. “I was editor at The Boston Globe. I wasn’t looking for a job…or a husband. The Times sends recruiters to these conventions…to find young journalists to connect with…well, I was on their ‘A-list’ as they called it, so he knew who I was.”

Stone recounted several stories about Boyd the journalist as well as the father and husband – although he was twice divorced and she engaged, at one dinner wearing a big diamond engagement ring, Stone described the gruff but romantic side of Boyd.

“He said ‘You’re not going to marry that man,’” Stone recalled Boyd saying at the time. “And so became the courtship.”

The two raised a son, Zachary, who also writes but who Stone said will likely not be following in their journalistic footsteps – and with whom Boyd spent much time after his staff’s dismissal from The Times.

“He also did a column for awhile how the sausage was made…how journalism was made, how journalism was made in the newsrooms,” said Stone of the post-Times life of Boyd. “One of the things that was in his way was the assumption that Gerald, as an African American, aided and abetted Jayson Blair. The two became linked, but that assumption has been corrected now. It's taken some time…but it was really hard to take back. It’s one of the insidious sides of journalism – once something is out there, it’s hard to take back.”

Although Stone said Boyd endured a racially tense atmosphere at The Times in appointments and in his relationships to his superiors, his tenacity and hardboiled exterior served him well and earned him praise and respect from his colleagues.

The New York Times thought he had the right temperament to succeed,” Stone said of Boyd’s rise to become the paper’s first black managing editor. “When people term him as arrogant…I think he was proud. He was tough on himself. He didn’t spare himself either: that was Gerald. But he was also very kind and compassionate…he supported good journalism, passion for the story – all the good tenets of journalism.”

Several senior faculty were present to hear Stone’s story; some even worked at The Times during the same period of “creative tension” – what Overholser called the modus operandi of newsrooms at the time.

“I’ve read the book and I loved it,” said journalism professor Tim Page, himself a Pulitzer winner, who posited his own question. “But why is it that at The New York Times, whether it’s black or white – no matter what the managing environment, it seems to be the most dreadful place to work? Almost nobody who ever worked at The New York Times has had good things to say. It’s got this nightmare of intrigue. I’ve been to other newspapers and it’s not like that.”

While not accusing the newspaper’s staff of racism, Stone did say that the atmosphere at the time – the “kindling period” of post-9/11 stress and uncertainty followed by the “match” that was the Jayson Blair scandal – was not friendly to Boyd.

“Journalism isn’t always right or wrong, there’s always different ways to do things, and that’s how Gerald was,” Stone said, before closing and repairing to the gallery to sign copies of the book. “He was someone who was interested in promoting diversity of thought...he felt that that perspective had a place at the table. It’s very much his voice.”

From the book:
“For the first time, I came across real racial tensions (upon arriving at The New York Times). These issues hung over the newsroom like polluted air…I didn’t think it would be so difficult in the newsroom. I was naïve…but I saw that I could be both an agent (for change) and a lightning rod for racial justice.”

But, Stone added, Boyd was able to rise above the unfair treatment and scandal to preserve his legacy.

“At some point he stopped letting those slights from getting in his way,” Stone said.

Vogue’s Lisa Love visits USC Annenberg class

By Catherine Donahoe
Student Writer

Senior West Coast Editor of Vogue magazine Lisa Love discussed her career as West Coast Editor as well as her background in the fashion industry on April 8 during professor Dan Durbin’s Fashion, Media and Culture class.

Love broke into the business as a model in Paris when she was 15. “That put the bug in my ear. I thought I wanted to do something in fashion,” she said. When she was 16, she moved to New York and met Andy Warhol, who referred her to modeling agencies. “It happened in a day by accident,” she said.

“Andy was passionate and exactly what you talk about when defining anyone in the arts,” she said.

She met Warhol on a whim. Warhol noticed her wearing a red zoot suit, and she caught his eye. “It’s all about what you wear,” Love laughed.

Love also discussed her day-to-day life as the West Coast Editor of Vogue. “The satellite offices operate differently than the New York offices,” she said. “We have a lot more freedom here than in New York, but we’re enabling them.”

“We have a lot of events,” she continued. “About 10 events a month for different fashion companies.”

Some of the events that Love attends with Vogue are at retail stores, to try to gain more foot traffic. “We’re just encouraging people to come and see fashion,” she said. “You have to be really excited about this profession because of the recession the way it is.”

Even though Love attends many events, she makes the most of her time out. “I’m a great believer in meeting as many people as I can,” she said. “Every time I go out, I want to get something out of it. It’s not worth going out unless you’re going to do it hoping that you will better yourself, or write down something you heard.”

Love has pegged up-and-coming LA fashion designers and follows their work. “I encourage the ones that have a great deal of talent and hope,” she said. “I promote people from LA that I believe in.”

She said she notices people that have a passion for what they do. “When you see that in somebody, you know that they’re not going to way,” she said. “I watch them.”

Love also gave advice and answered student questions at the end of her presentation.

“Target the magazine you really want,” she said.

She said being Web-savvy is especially important in the business. “A whole other level of jobs coming up in Internet, and people will have to create content,” she said.

“I have the best job in the world,” Love said. “You’re always meeting new stories, every day, and you never go to work thinking it’s going to be dull or the same thing.”


ABC's Lee talks hybrid journalism/PR jobs at Director's Forum

By Jonathan Arkin
Student Writer

Former ABC senior producer Deanna Lee joined Geneva Overholser, director of USC Annenberg's School of Journalism, for a March 30 talk on advocacy journalism and the uses of public relations skills in communication careers.

Lee described her work as vice president of communications and marketing at the New York Public Library, the latest in a series of high-profile communication/public relations “hybrid” jobs that utilize the well-known skills she acquired as a journalist.

“It is my great pleasure to introduce Deanna,” said journalism professor Judy Muller, one of several faculty members who know Lee quite well – journalism professor Andrew Lih, whose paths crossed electronically with Lee in Beijing during the 2008 Olympics, is another. “I think she is an inspirational example of taking all these skills and exploding them exponentially into the world of PR and she has self taught herself all the skills of media. Just amazing work she’s done since she left ABC News.”

For the past year, Lee has been with the NYPL, a job she said was not only enjoyable but rewarding and powerful in its own unique way.

“I am so pleased to be here today that I didn’t tell you how much fun I have in my job, how fulfilling it is, how important it is,” Lee said, laughing as she recalled her busy day visiting Annenberg. “Most people would be surprised at the breadth of what I do as a communication officer.”

The worlds of communication and journalism, linked famously at Annenberg, were not accidental partners in the field of public relations either, said Lee.

“After all these years as a journalist, it did take a while to stop identifying as a journalist,” said Lee, who also worked at the Asia Society in New York as a communication executive for several years after her stint at ABC. “It is with journalists that I discuss the field of communications as PR, which is the hot new field right now. If you want to go into it, you have to see all the potentials of this field at this point in time. If nothing else I just want to get you excited about the field. Everything you learn in journalism and public relations is applicable to today’s communication organizations. Look at me as the sort of person who bridges communication and journalism. It’s a great field because of the alterations were seeing in the overall media landscape.”

What was exciting in her field, Lee said, was the opportunity to use all the resources of Web 2.0 and the Cloud – traditionally exploited by news outlets – to sell the ideas of a given organization’s mission.

“You don’t have to rely on traditional media to get the word out…you can be a news feed yourself,” said Lee.

Lee’s own definition of what she does today and what she thinks is rewarding about being a communication professional is, she said, tied in with the new ways of communicating that have arisen, coupled with a powerful traditional PR mandate.

“Yes you’re responsible for images, but just being a megaphone for all the great things your organization does,” Lee said of the power of officiating communication for just about any organization – and how Annenberg is well positioned to provide the personnel of tomorrow. “As a communication professional, you get to define the future for an organization…you get to direct it. Every organization out there is going through a state of change. Everyone is impacted…and every company has to speak to not just their customers but to a growing audience. And you know how to talk to that audience.”

She added that, insofar as jobs are concerned, those in communication are magnets for graduates of journalism programs – largely because of the high multimedia content public relations jobs generate and also because of the expertise journalism-savvy job seekers possess.

“They want what you guys are doing and learning,” Lee said of the enthusiasm human resource departments have for journalism school grads. “Because if anything, as a journalist, you learn to become an expert fast.”


Mayer selected as Fulbright Senior Specialist to Australia

Doe Mayer

Professor Doe Mayer was selected by the Australian government as one of its Fulbright Senior Specialists for 2010.

Mayer will travel to the University of Melbourne Medical School and the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne in June to deliver workshops and lectures on entertainment education and structures for getting better health messages into primetime TV.

In the past, Mayer has also been a Fulbright Specialist in Fiji in 1995 and the Netherlands in 2007.



Reeves’ “Daring Young Men” on top-10 book list

Journalism professor Richard Reeves’ book “Daring Young Men: The Heroism and Triumph of the Berlin Airlift” was listed by the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force General Norton Schwartz’s reading list for the year.

Reeves' book was one of ten books chosen for the General Schwartz’s reading list. He recommended it to all officers interested in augmenting leadership skills.

Also, Reeves’ book was listed as recommended reading by the San Francisco Chronicle.



/images/faculty/jontaplin.jpgTaplin and Thomas nominated to Edgerati

Communication professors Jonathan Taplin (pictured, left) and Doug Thomas were nominated to the Edgerati.

According to the Web site, “Edgerati are people who venture out onto various edges, engage with participants on those edges, develop deep insight from their involvement on the edge and report back to the rest of the world what they have learned.”



Trojan Debate Squad finishes another successful season

The USC Annenberg Trojan Debate Squad attended the 2010 National Debate Tournament and the Cross-Examination Debate Association (CEDA) National Championships at UC Berkeley between March 20-28.

There were many highlights from the national championship tournament. Seniors Stephanie Scott and Mima Lazarevic finished their debate careers with impressive showings. Lazarevic added a second appearance on the CDA All American debate team, a double-octofinalist appearance at CEDA and recognition as the 12th overall speaker of more than 400 students.

Also, freshmen Debbie Oh, Avi Munoz and Sean Hernandez qualified for the elims as CEDA Nationals, and squad UDL coordinator Dayton Thorpe was inducted in Phi Beta Kappa.

The team also had an impressive display among the National Debate Scholars. Maria Mohammed received summa cum laude, Monica Do, Gary Padtra, David Resnick, and Stephanie Scott received magna cum laude, and Marilyn Katzman, Mima Lazarevic and Nat Wong received cum laude honors.

Also, the CEDA National Championships marked the conclusion of Gordon Stables’ term as president. His last formal act was to direct the largest intercollegiate policy debate tournament in more than a decade. More than 200 teams from 78 universities competed in the four-day event at UC Berkeley.


Alumna Wendy Carrillo named Woman of the Year by Senator Romero

Alumna Wendy Carrillo (M.A. Specialized Journalism '09) was named the 2010 Woman of the Year by Senator Gloria Romero on April 9 at the“Outstanding Women of the 24th Senate District” event at Industry Hills Expo Center.

Carrillo is a multimedia journalist from East Los Angeles who currently hosts the weekly “Knowledge is Power” radio show on Power 106 FM. She discusses a wide variety of issues including politics, education, and pop culture. She hosts conversations with leading experts on these issues.

Also, Carrillo recently won the Elfen Award for Social Justice in Poverty for her short film on Homeboy Industries.



Published and Presented

/images/news/big/cdf.jpgCenter for the Digital Future survey finds gender differences emerge on social networks

In a sharp reversal over the past three years, many more young women than men now report feeling as strongly about their internet communities as their real world ones; 67 percent of women under forty—but only 38 percent of men in the same age group—say they feel as strongly about their favorite internet community. As recently as 2007, survey numbers were reversed; 69 percent of younger men said their online communities were just as important as offline equivalents vs. 35 percent of younger women.

Researchers at the Center for the Digital Future, part of the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California, are reporting another gender shift. The Center’s latest survey reveals that nearly half of young women say they’ve met offline with an online community contact, against barely a third of men under forty (48 percent vs. 36 percent); in 2006 the percentage was the same for women, but 59 percent of younger males had met offline with an online community contact.

Michael Gilbert , author of The Disposable Male and a senior fellow at the Center, where he focuses on gender and family issues, says growing interest in online communities and social networking by younger women reflects historic adoption patterns.

“Women have been a bit more cautious with new technologies but they generally catch up and often exceed men in their enthusiasm once they’ve had a chance to look around. Men tend to charge in to new technologies and the opportunities they enable.” But, says Gilbert, “there are some early signs men may be over the infatuation and are starting to check out.”

Both sexes, of all ages, tell the Center they get considerable benefits from their online community, but younger male enthusiasm is waning. In 2005, 77 percent of men under forty said their online community was very or extremely important; just 39 percent say that now. This trailing off of interest is reported even though men generally are more likely than women to say they’re contributing to their internet community (84 percent vs. 69 percent).

Despite the early signs of networking fatigue among younger men, their online connections must count for something since 40 percent acknowledge their internet community involvements have decreased the time available for their offline communities. Here, too, women are closing the gap; in the Center’s latest survey, 27 percent of young women say their membership in online communities has resulted in a reduction in time spent in their offline ones, a fourfold increase since 2007.

The Center’s surveys also show that women, of all ages, demonstrate a wider range of online community interests, putting greater emphasis on social, spiritual and relationship aspects. Gilbert believes these deeper personal and social interests likely account for the increasing importance women place on their online communities.

About the survey:

Through findings developed in annual surveys conducted among 2,000 American households, the Digital Future Project provides a broad year-to-year exploration of the influence of the Internet and online technology on Americans by examining the behavior and views of a broad national sample of Internet users and non-users.

The USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future also created and organizes the World Internet Project, which conducts similar surveys and studies in twenty-seven countries around the world.

Center for the Digital Future

Aronson hosts former FCC Chairman in class

Communication professor Jonathan Aronson hosted former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt on April 8.

Hundt also spoke to communication professor Jonathan Taplin’s class and to a group of graduate students at an Annenberg Research Network on International Communication’s seminar at the Annenberg Research Park.

Hundt discussed the Future of broadband.


K.C. Cole delivers public lecture on Oppenheimer at StanfordKC Cole

Journalism professor K.C. Cole gave a public lecture at Stanford University on April 6 on “The Uncle of the Atom Bomb: Frank Oppenheimer and the World He Made Up.”

Cole discussed her new book and Frank Oppenheimer’s life and philosophies. She also spoke to Stanford physics students.

Additionally, Cole spoke with journalism students at Palo Alto High School.


/images/faculty/cooper_121x163.jpgCooper to moderate panel, participate in onstage dialogue

Director of Annenberg Digital News Marc Cooper will moderate a panel on April 25 at LA Times Festival of Books titled “Life on the Edge: Violence and the West.”

Also, Cooper will be doing an onstage dialog with writer Pico Iyer in Santa Barbara on May 8. They will discuss the latest developments in writing, living, thinking and digital life—touching on American leadership, multiculturalism, and new possibilities for the expression of global culture.



Fromson conducts Q-and-A with Hebrew University professor (Jewish Journal)

Communication and journalism professor emeritus Murray Fromson conducted a Q-and-A on “The Arabs are multiplying twice as fast as the Israelis” with Hebrew University Professor Sergio Della Pergola for the Jewish Journal on April 8.

Professor Sergio Della Pergola is considered Israel’s leading specialist in demography. The interview took place on March 16 in Los Angeles.

“The demographic question continues to loom high, and only some territorial sacrifice (beginning with the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem) on the Israeli side will guarantee that Israel remains Jewish and democratic,” he said to Fromson in the interview.

Read the interview

Kennard on CNN correspondent becoming host of ABC news talk show (The Huffington Post)

Center on Communication Leadership & Policy senior fellow Cinny Kennard penned an April 5 op-ed titled “August Is Too Long To Wait For Amanpour” for the Huffington Post.

“For those of us who have complained about the dumbing-down of news on television, declared journalism dead or carped about too few women in leading roles on TV news programs, it's time to celebrate: Beginning in August, ABC News will put Christiane Amanpour in the host chair of its Sunday morning talk show ‘This Week,’” she wrote in the article.

“The presence of Amanpour on ‘This Week’ can help return foreign news to the stage it deserves -- and Americans need,” she continued.

Read the article


Kun featured on CBC, CNN; participates in The Festival of International Books and Arts 2010

Journalism and communication professor Josh Kun was featured on a CBC/Radio-Canada show discussing Narcocorridos and the Mexican drug war on March 30.

Kun was also featured on a CNN story about crime playing a role in Latin music. Kun said that this isn’t a new phenomenon, and that many cultures write songs that discuss criminal activity in their music.

Kun participated in The Festival of International Books and Arts 2010 at University of Texas. He participated on the panel “Border Music: Conflict, Resistance, and Identity,” and delivered a keynote discussion on his 2005 book "Audiotopia: Music, Race, and America.”

Also, Kun’s exhibition “Jews on Vinyl,” which he co-curated, is coming to the Skirball this May. It was also featured on NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman’s blog.

Kun will also moderate a conversation with Popular Music Project Artist-in-Residence and President of MySpace Music Courtney Holt at Annenberg on April 19. Last year, Holt asked a group of Annenberg undergraduates to imagine their ideal online platform for digital music consumption. They will present their findings in a discussion with Holt, also moderated by doctoral student Inna Arzumanova.

Kun was also a featured contributor to In Media Res’ theme week dedicated to “Glee,” the hit FOX TV show. His piece, “Barbra as Mantra: Glee and the Musical Jewish Question” ran on April 7.

Link to show podcast
CNN story
The Festival of International Books and Arts
"Jews on Vinyl"
In Media Res


Lih reviews Apple's newest product, the iPad

Journalism professor Andrew Lih

By Andrew Lih
Journalism Professor

Saturday was the day that thousands of users obsessively checking for their package status finally got their gleaming white box of iPad.


With an entry price of $499, Wifi networking, a fast custom A4 processor made by Apple, and 16 Gbytes of storage, the iPad promises to be a compelling media consumption device. I say consumption, because it doesn’t come with a camera at this time nor does it come with any removable storage for expansion.

So does the iPad meet the hype? In the first 12 hours of use, I’d say yes it does. And it has great implications for traditional print publishers.

First the very basic physical aspects: it’s a 9.7″ 1024×768 pixel screen, or about the same screen size as a respectable laptop of a few years ago. The difference is, this is thin, portable and held vertically. It’s a classic lean-back instead of lean-forward experience. With no physical keyboard, you naturally hold it in portrait mode, about a foot from your face. That gives the pixels much higher impact on the eyes as it fills your visual senses.

When it comes to operation, one cannot underestimate the value of the intuitive direct manipulation interface — scroll by swiping, zoom by pinching, enable by tapping. There really is no manual for this thing, because you can learn everything you need to know in about a minute of experimentation.

Apple boasts the device can go 10 hours on a full charge. Most testers have found Apple was modest, and have exceeded that in real world tasks. One caveat: because the battery is so capacious, one really does need to use the included 10 watt adapter to charge the iPad in a reasonable amount of time. Plugging the tablet device into a computer’s USB port will charge it much less slowly, taking up to four times as long and not being able to charge overnight.

The screen is plenty bright in daylight, as that’s something Apple perfected some years ago. However, since we’re used to screens that stand almost vertical, putting this down on a table, even at an angle, will bring up lots of glare, especially outdoors. The keyboard is usable, but not for touch typing. For brief bursts it’s fine, and more pleasant than using the miniscule iPhone or iPod touch virtual keyboards.


In some ways the iPad is a retro concept. With a fixed well-known screen size for content developers, and apps that need to be installed before one can experience rich content, the iPad model is reminiscent of the golden era of CD-ROMs. That was a time where every pixel on the screen could be manipulated, and any mode of interaction was possible with rapid-fire crisp response because everything was local to the computer. This resulted in great tools and content, including Voyager CD-ROM books, Apple’s Hypercard and multimedia encyclopedic content from Encarta and Britannica. Strangely enough, iPad may bring us back to recapture that cutting-edge 1995-era multimedia technology.

Contrast that with web pages viewed on a general purpose computer, which has been the focus of “interactive content” since 1995. While basing the dot-com revolution around Web browsers and Internet-hosted content certainly allowed for great advances in connected applications and collaboration, it was lacking for rich media experiences. Macromedia (now a part of Adobe) pushed the envelope by giving us Flash, but even then most sites amble along awkwardly with a mishmash of dynamic HTML, and give us a but a small window of interactive Flash.

The situation changes quite a bit with iPad.

Right now, the two choices for content creators is to go the “app-ian way” or to innovate with web content. Remember: the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch don’t support Adobe Flash.

Apple doesn’t mind closed solutions but only if *it* is the purveryor of the proprietary product. Therefore, Apple didn’t want to give entire swaths of its prized iPad real estate to another company. The other solution that has developed is the HTML5 spec, which has been trumpeted as the way to replicate Flash’s video and advanced multimedia capabilities in a standard way, and is supported by the Apple’s Safari browser.

The apps released so far for iPad have been impressive, which has invigorated the art of visual news design, now that designers (unshackled from HTML and CSS) have the entire screen the play with. The content from NPR, Match (France), Yahoo! Entertainment and even the usually bland Associated Press all show promise that go far beyond what you see from their respective web sites.

In the coming months, look for news outlets to experiment heavily with both approaches.

So far the range of iPad apps exhinits a curious mix of charging for the app, charging for the content, or making money from advertising.

Consider what we have right now on launch day, you can find an array of models from various news organizations including:

  • Pay for app, pay for issues (Time)
  • Pay for app, free content (CNN, ESPN ScoreCenter XL)
  • Free app, pay for content (Wall Street Journal)
  • Free app, selected free content, ads (NY Times, subscription forthcoming)
  • Free app, free content, ad support (IMDB, Yahoo Entertainment)
  • Free app, free content (NPR, BBC)

Tablet style computers have been around for years now. So what makes Apple’s move interesting? The allure for publishers is that Apple has tackled the problem no one in media has been able to solve — micropayments. Apple’s iTunes Store system has suddenly made even $0.99 transactions possible and profitable, since people are already signed up, credit card in hand, and comfortable with pulling the trigger to pay for ephemeral content. That’s a major cultural shift traditional media organizations are eager to join.

More on Andrew Lih


Lih weighs in on appeals court ruling on network neutrality

By Andrew Lih
Journalism Professor

Originally posted on Lih's personal blog.

Today marked a signifcant setback for the network neutrality movement. The dream of keeping Internet traffic unshaped, unprioritized and unfettered was dealt a blow by a decision by the US Court of Appeals.

The panel of three judges unanimously invalidated the FCC’s authority to mandate that Internet traffic has to be treated equally. This was originally brought about by Comcast’s throttling of users’ BitTorrent traffic in 2007, which led to a 2008 FCC order to the cable provider to stop the practice. Since then, the FCC has been on the winning side of court cases maintaining the status quo and the agency has enforced “network neutrality” across Internet service providers.

Today’s ruling changes things, but it’s not as bad as one might think.

Though it started with BitTorrent, peer to peer file sharing is the least interesting of the cases out there. Instead, follow the money.

The idea of Comcast, AT&T or Verizon arbitrarily prioritizing packets by traffic shaping has been the scary scneario for a number of Internet-age content providers who have profits in mind, and hope to challenge powerful traditional telecom and entertainment companies.

Of particular interest — providers of Voice over IP, such as Skype, and those who serve up video that directly challenge the role of cable TV providers in delivering video content (ie. Netflix, Hulu and others). Consider also how much Google is getting into the both of those spaces with YouTube and Google Voice, and how much Apple depends on speedy download of video content for iPad and other devices.

Ben Scott, policy director of Free Press, observed that this was not a lasting victory for ISPs.

With perhaps the best quote of the day, he said, “Comcast swung an ax at the FCC to protest the BitTorrent order… And they sliced right through the FCC’s arm and plunged the ax into their own back.”

That’s because there are some possible easy remedies for the FCC. The agency can reclassify broadband as a telecom service that deserves heavier regulation, which would change things rather quickly but not without controversy.

Or on a longer time scale, Congress could act to give the FCC this exact authority to regulate broadband. An FCC statement released today said, “the court in no way disagreed with the importance of preserving a free and open Internet; nor did it close the door to other methods for achieving this important end.”

It’s clear the FCC folks are sticking with their stance, and confident of a solution.

Until then, we should expect to see bandwidth shaping experiments from DSL and cable providers. But this has always been a huge risk in upsetting customers. In an age of Twitter and Facebook, we’ll quickly see people diagnose, triangulate on and react to these types of efforts.

Caveat Comcast, don’t get too comfortable.


Miller gives presentation on social computing, behavioral modeling and prediction


Communication professor Lynn Miller and her colleagues gave a talk and presented a poster at the 2010 International Conference in Social Computing, Behavioral Modeling, & Prediction (SBP10) on March 30 in Bethesda, Maryland.

Their presentation, titled “Modeling the Impact of Motivation, Personality, and Emotion on Social Behavior,” took place at the National Institutes of Health Main Campus.

The authors were Lynn Miller, Stephen Read, Wayne Zachary, and Andrew Rosoff.



North shoots segment for Fox News on Jerry Brown’s campaign site

Director of the Annenberg Program for Online Communities (APOC) Karen North shot a segment for Fox News at the end of March.

The segment was on the Jerry Brown campaign’s site “WikiMeg,” which is a user-generated site to air negative information on Meg Whitman.

Page gives commencement address; pens article for Opera News


Journalism professor Tim Page will give the commencement address at the University of Michigan School of Music. The commencement address for the entire university will be by President Obama.

Additionally, Page wrote an article on the career of the mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade in Opera News titled “How Strange the Change from Major to Minor.”

Read the article



Sigal pens article on U.S. soldiers for The Guardian

Journalim professor emeritus Clancy Sigal wrote an April 5 article for The Guardian titled “The soldiers’ burden.”

“The GIs are doing the best they can, and then some, sometimes staggeringly beyond the normal call of duty, in a ‘job’ the politicians command them out of imperial hubris and historical ignorance,” he wrote in the article.

“Soldiers humping their 100-pounds-plus packs up and down Afghanistan's rugged mountain ranges have the additional burden of carrying on their backs the fanaticism and careerism of their politicised generals who may never get around to reading the home-town obituaries of the men and women they put in harm's way,” he continued.

Read the article


Smith presents at Pacific Sociological Association’s annual meeting


Communication professor Christopher Smith presented on April 9 at the 81st annual meeting of the Pacific Sociological Association.

The conference, “Revitalizing the Sociological Imagination: Individual Troubles & Social Issues in a Turbulent World,” took place in Oakland, Calif.

Smith presented on “Communication and Cultural Studies,” which was part of the presidential roundtable organized by Professor Herman Gray of UC Santa Cruz titled “Intellectual Convergence: Sociology and Interdisciplinarity.”



Tolan pens article translated into 26 languages


Journalism professor Sandy Tolan wrote a piece on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that was published in this month’s “Le Monde Diplomatique.” It was published in Paris, and translated into 26 languages.

Tolan’s graduate class “Hunger in the Golden State” produced a multipart multimedia series that was published on the front pages of the San Francisco Chronicle, Long Beach Press-Telegram, La Opinion(two part series), the Contra Costa Times, the Los Angeles Daily News, the Daily Breeze, and on the California Report and KPCC.

Graduate journalism students Tina Mather, Kimberly Daniels, and Shannon Pence wrote the story about food being thrown away, while many people in the state go hungry.

Tolan's article

La Opinion
La Opinion
San Francisco Chronicle
Los Angeles Daily News
Contra Costa Times


Grad student Rockower pens article for The Korea Times

Graduate student Paul Rockower (MA Public Diplomacy) wrote an article titled “Korean Tacos and Kimchi Diplomacy” for The Korea Times on April 7.

“South Korea has recently launched a serious re-branding effort. The South Korean government has been worried that the country's brand has been underperforming in years past, and not at the level befitting a nation that is the solid middle power that South Korea believes itself to be,” he said in the article.

“For all that Korea is spending trying to rebrand itself and push Korean gastrodiplomacy, it would be better served listening and looking for examples of organic, authentic and homegrown outlets of cultural gastrodiplomacy like the Korean taco truck,” Rockower continued.

Read the article



Ball-Rokeach and Metamorphosis project highlighted (PBS MediaShift)

Castells on the information revolution (The Globe and Mail)

Corwin’s book reviewed (Washington Times)

Cowan’s “Top Secret" play reviewed (Huffington Post)

Lih on Internet traffic filtered from Hong Kong to China (PCWorld)

Reeves and “Daring Young Men” highlighted (LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle)

Lear Center study on LA TV news highlighted (ars technica)

Annenberg Foundation’s $10 million gift highlighted (LA Downtown News, CBS News, The Desert Sun, The Daily Tell)

TruthDig article: The Future of Journalism Is Written in Neon (Tommy)

Student Ayala's article on hunger mentioned (NBC News)

LA Observed article mentions meeting with graduate students (KCRW, LA Observed)

Center for the Digital Future Study highlighted (Toronto Sun, NY Times, Associated Press, BusinessWeek)