Quoted: Week of February 6, 2017

At USC Annenberg we don't just cover the news, we make it.

  1. Diane Winston, associate professor and Knight Center Chair in Media & Religion, wrote on The Conversation (which was republished by Smithsonian Magazine, among others), about the National Prayer Breakfast and how Trump's speech this year contrasts with those of past presidents:
  2. "Donald Trump, in his maiden appearance, broke precedent with a powerful no holds barred speech that put other countries on notice, threatened church/state separation and mocked actor Arnold Schwarzenegger," Winston said.
    "As a scholar of American religious history, I am intrigued by how presidents negotiate the intricacies of church/state relationships versus religion/politics entanglements. Most avoid the former while trying to benefit from the latter. That’s why the prayer breakfast is noteworthy – it is an opportunity for leaders to appear as Christ’s servants rather than formidable heads of state."
  3. Also for The Conversation, professor Sheila Murphy wrote about her research on how "narratives and stories about health can influences people’s knowledge, and ultimately their behavior." Looking at the impact of health storylines on TV shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Desperate Housewives,” “ER” and “Law & Order,” the study "suggested that the narratives and stories can be more effective in both communicating health information about cancer and even encouraging people to be screened."
  4. For their latest study on Hollywood inequality, Dr. Stacy Smith and the Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative looked at 1,000 top-grossing films released between 2007 and 2016, and the results reveal that for female, Black, and Asian directors, Hollywood is anything but the land of opportunity. The report was widely cited by various media outlets, from local network news affiliates to industry trade publications.
  5. Smith told ABC 7 Eyewitness News, "We're really seeing a complete exclusion or an epidemic of invisibility behind the camera." Smith offered few suggestions on how to facilitate change:
  6. "Your pool has to be diversified, and if you diversify the pool, that is in fact the first step towards diversifying the ranks of your hiring decisions," she said. Further, "when people are evaluated based on their ideas, their storyboards, their pitches, that's when we'll see some of those numbers change," she said.
  7. Smith told Deadline: “For the last decade, female directors of color have been nearly invisible in the director’s chair. The data speak loud and clear. When Hollywood thinks female director, they think ‘white woman.’ When only seven directing opportunities across 1,000 go to women of color, hiring practices need to change. These findings also show researchers cannot simply report on gender any longer. The experiences of white women differ dramatically from women of color.”
  8. Among other topics, Smith told KPCC how A-listers can create more opportunities for women and minority directors:
  9. "We've really asked A-listers to step up to the plate in this report. Because as notable talent, when making their contractual agreements with studios and production companies, they can ask for an equity rider in their contract to ensure that when studios are going out and pitching their ideas, that they're thinking about, and including on those consideration lists, women and people of color."
  10. Professor Karen North, director of USC Annenberg's digital social media program, was quoted in USA Today, weighing in on how Facebook Groups can bridge geographic and social divides during difficult times.
  11. "Humans are social animals. That's always been true and that will never change," North said. "What changes are the technologies that mediate our interactions with each other. To the extent that these technologies can provide us opportunities to socialize and to feel like we have a sense of belonging then they will bring us in. People have a need to be a part of a group and to come together in communities."
  12. A tweet from associate professor of journalism Robert Hernandez inspired a story on Poynter that poses the question, should journalists protest in Trump’s America? "As [a] journalist, this has been a tough time. Do I watch and report or do I participate? This has been a challenging time for many of us.” Hernandez said in a tweet.
  13. Joshua Johnson, host of NPR's 1A, offered this response: "Reporting IS participation. Incisive & meaningful. Journalists are inside the action... let's not miss our chance to do good."
  14. Jeffrey Cole, director of USC Annenberg’s Center for the Digital Future, weighed in on an L.A. Times story on Sony Corp.’s decision to take a nearly $1-billion write-down on its movie business.
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