Embracing Change

Embracing Change

At the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, students have countless opportunities to learn how to become dynamic communication specialists, trusted reporters, publicity experts, creative social media marketers — or whatever the ever-changing media landscape brings next.

Even as today’s communication industries face unprecedented financial upheaval and fallout from “fake news,” the Annenberg School’s efforts to educate the next generation of storytellers grow stronger.

To ensure students and faculty are prepared to excel in this new tumultuous era, USC Annenberg has boosted access to internships and study abroad programs, recruited top scholars, and expanded service-learning projects that encourage local community students to explore potential careers in media. These and future opportunities are made possible because of you and your support.

Innovation in Curriculum: In and Out of the Classroom

The shifting media landscape is prompting USC Annenberg to adapt quickly and embrace flexibility. To help the school and its graduates remain at the forefront, Dean Willow Bay is leading an overhaul of the school’s undergraduate public relations program and its numerous master’s programs. Already, she erased the divisions among print, broadcast and digital journalism in a revamp of the undergraduate journalism program in her previous role as director of the School of Journalism.

Students now receive training in new media technologies and promptly put those skills to use in the building’s dedicated media center. The newsroom brings together audio, video and text across platforms, forming a lively hub for student-led journalism, communications and public relations projects. This provides students with a strong foundation to explore and experiment with new ways of storytelling, new tools and techniques, and new ways of examining and assessing communications they see around them.

Students are also encouraged to embrace co-curricular opportunities outside out of the classroom. The average USC Annenberg student has over three internships before graduating, and the school wants to keep expanding accessibility to those experiences, which are backed in part by the school’s Student Success Fund Endowment.

USC Annenberg students have interned with NBC Sports during the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea and spent a week embedded with a local newspaper in Utah to learn about journalism in rural settings. They also collaborated with local radio station KCRW to tackle controversial issues like deportation and immigration during a virtual reality reporting project in Tijuana. Financial support helps make those career-boosting internships possible.

Sofia Bosch (Journalism ’20) talks to San Juan County, Utah, residents as part of her class “Reporting Beyond the Bubble.” Learn more.

Donors who support this fund also ensure that more students can afford to participate in other experiential-learning programs, capstone research projects, and the Maymester career treks in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles – organized educational visits to leading media companies like Twitter, ESPN and The New York Times.

Beyond students venturing off-campus, the school promotes a parallel effort emphasizing diversity and inclusion. USC Annenberg regularly brings in high school students from surrounding neighborhoods and beyond to explore career pathways in communication and journalism, including through an intensive summer youth academy.

Through the Annenberg Youth Academy for Media and Civic Engagement, 26 students came to USC Annenberg to learn the fundamentals of media communications and journalism, and how they influence civic engagement and debate. Through this program and others like Annenberg High School Day, talented local students from under-served communities can share their stories and bring diverse perspectives into our classrooms.

Students enrolled in the Annenberg Youth Academy prepare for a day of photo-journalism lessons and experiments. Learn more.

Emergency Student Aid Opens Doors

The school is prioritizing the establishment of new forms of student aid, like emergency funds to cover unexpected financial difficulties for students.

When unforeseen hardships or emergencies strike, they can have crippling effects on students’ academic careers and can even jeopardize enrollment. Whether faced with medical expenses, sudden changes in employment or natural disasters that affect their homes and families, having tuition-aid funds readily available to assist these students during times of need is crucial to guarantee continuous access to education and experiential-learning opportunities.

Ethan Ward (Journalism ’20) earned a partial scholarship to attend USC. Previously homeless himself, Ethan pursues his journalism studies with an eye towards social justice issues. Learn more.

Recently, due to Hurricane Irma struck the Caribbean, a student from the British Virgin Islands whose tuition was covered by government funding had her scholarship revoked to shift that money toward emergency response and rebuilding efforts. That student was going to have to leave USC Annenberg, but we were able to tap into emergency funding thanks to private donor support.

She’s not alone: in 2018, over a dozen students have expressed need for emergency tuition dollars to continue their enrollment at the school for reasons beyond their control, such as currency fluctuations in other countries, DACA delays in Congress and medical crises.

Philanthropy at USC Annenberg

Alumni, parents and friends have been exceedingly generous in helping these students and others as they learn and grow, and continue to provide us with extraordinary gifts that expand access to experiences that are often life-changing for students.

We encourage you to join us in supporting students with a gift to any program, scholarship or designation that is meaningful to you and your USC experience. Every gift, no matter its size, creates opportunities for students to become forward-thinking and versatile leaders in the fields of communication, journalism and public relations.

Thank you, and Fight On!