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University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication

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Title: University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication  
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University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication

The USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism comprises a School of Communication and a School of Journalism at the University of Southern California (USC). It is led by Dean Ernest J. Wilson III, Ph.D.

USC Annenberg was established in 1971 through the support of Ambassador Walter H. Annenberg. The USC Department of Communication Arts and Sciences and the School of Journalism became part of USC Annenberg in 1994. The Annenberg School offers a range of academic and professional degrees. The School of Communication offers a Ph.D. program.

Ambassador Annenberg’s mission statement remains the central focus of the Annenberg School:

Every human advancement or reversal can be understood through communication. The right to free communication carries with it the responsibility to respect the dignity of others, and this must be recognized as irreversible. Educating students to communicate this message effectively and to be of service to all people is the enduring mission of this school.

During Dean Geoffrey Cowan's leadership (1996–2007), the endowment rose from $7.5 million to $218 million [1].

In 2003, leading internet sociologist Manuel Castells left UC Berkeley to join the USC Annenberg faculty.

USC Annenberg has become a center for inquiry and dialogue among scholars and professionals in communication, journalism, public policy, media, and education. Multidisciplinary and international in scope, focused and practical in application, USC Annenberg scholars, both students and faculty, are defining communication and journalism for the 21st century and beyond.

The Wallis Annenberg Hall

File:Construction of Wallis Annenberg Hall.webm


March 1971

July 1973

  • Frederick Williams becomes first dean

January 1974

  • First M.A. students begin classes (12 in Communication Management)

September 1974

  • First Ph.D. students begin classes (11 in Communication Theory & Research)
  • Groundbreaking for Annenberg School building

February 1975

  • USC Annenberg graduates first students (M.A.)

November 1976

  • Annenberg School building dedicated

January 1978

  • USC Annenberg awards first Ph.D. degrees


  • Richard Byrne serves as interim dean

September 1981

  • Peter Clarke becomes dean

December 1989

  • School name changed from “Annenberg School of Communications” to “Annenberg School for Communication”


May 1994

  • USC Annenberg expands to include two of USC's related academic departments: the School of Journalism, which was established as a separate department in 1927, and the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, which offered courses of study taught at USC since 1895.


  • Gerald Davison serves as interim dean

January 1997

  • Geoffrey Cowan becomes dean


  • USC Annenberg and the London School of Economics & Political Science establishes a joint M.A. degree program in global communication

January 2001


  • Michael Parks becomes interim director of the School of Journalism, and was named director a year later.

September 2002

  • Annenberg Foundation establishes $100 million endowment for school


  • First year M.A. in public diplomacy offered


  • Ernest J. Wilson III becomes dean


  • Geneva Overholser named director of School of Journalism

October 2009

  • School name changed from “Annenberg School for Communication” to “Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism”

Present day

Academic Units

School of Communication

The School of Communication provides students with an education grounded in theory with applications across the communication and media spectrum. Rooted in both the social sciences and the liberal arts, the School is committed to the exploration of the social, cultural, rhetorical and organizational processes that make up the human experience. Professors conduct research furthering the public interest in fields such as telecommunication regulation, communication in urban areas, health communication, and tobacco control.

Degrees offered: B.A. (communication), M.A. (global communication, communication management, public diplomacy, strategic public relations), Ph.D. (communication)

Director Larry Gross

Larry Gross spent 35 years teaching communication at the University of Pennsylvania before joining USC Annenberg in 2003 as director of the School of Communication. He was the Sol Worth Professor of Communication and deputy dean of the Ivy League university's Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in the areas of media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

School of Journalism

Journalism has played an important role at USC for nearly a century. Today, USC Annenberg’s School of Journalism has become one of the most respected schools of journalism in the nation. It benefits from one of the most professional faculties in the U.S. All members of the faculty are skilled writers as well as reporters, with prize-winning expertise in beat reporting, magazine writing, investigative and foreign reporting, editorials, essays and feature reporting. Broadcast faculty include Emmy and Golden Mike Award winners and anchors. Students in broadcast courses work with state-of-the-art equipment that is the envy of journalism schools across the nation. All members of the faculty share their knowledge, expertise, insights, professional advice and contacts with students, and the School’s coursework is comprehensive and compelling.

Degrees offered: B.A. (journalism, public relations), M.A. (journalism, specialized journalism, strategic public relations)

Director Michael Parks

Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent and editor Michael Parks joined the faculty in Fall 2000, after serving for three years as editor of the Los Angeles Times, during which time the paper garnered four Pulitzer Prizes. He became interim director of the School of Journalism in 2001, and was named director a year later.

On April 14, 2008, the USC Annenberg School announced the selection of Geneva Overholser as the next director of the School of Journalism, with a term beginning July 1.[1] Overholser was previously the Curtis B. Hurley Chair in Public Affairs Reporting for the Missouri School of Journalism, and she was editor of The Des Moines Register when the newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1991. The award that year recognized the Register's use of a rape victim's name in its reporting, a break with convention that led to an industry-wide reexamination of the practice.


  • The Annenberg Research Network on International Communication generates research on critical international communication issues.
  • The Johnson Communication Leadership Center provides undergraduate scholarships and conducts research on the role of African-Americans in the media.
  • The Center on Communication Leadership & Policy sponsors research and organizes courses, programs and symposia for scholars, students and working professionals to prepare the next generation of leaders in a rapidly evolving media environment. The center's director is the former dean of USC Annenberg Geoffrey Cowan.
  • The Center for the Digital Future studies communication technology and mass media and their impact on individuals, communities and nations around the world. Includes the research project:
    • Surveying the Digital Future
  • The USC Center on Public Diplomacy, operated in partnership with the USC College’s School of International Relations, examines how government, corporate and non-state actors engage foreign audiences to facilitate intercultural dialogue and understanding worldwide. Includes the:
    • U.S. Canada Fulbright Chair in Public Diplomacy
  • The Haptics Lab, which develops the science of integrating the sense of touch into human/computer interactions, is supported by the Integrated Media Systems Center, a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center.
  • The globalization, new communication technologies and population diversity.
  • The Norman Lear Center is a multidisciplinary research and public policy center exploring implications of the convergence of entertainment, commerce and society. Includes the research projects:
    • Celebrity, Politics and Public Life
    • Creativity, Commerce and Culture
    • Grand Intervention Project
    • Hollywood, Health and Society
    • Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture
    • Lear Center Local News Archive
    • Telemundo Network Outreach Evaluation
  • The mission of the Strategic Public Relations Center is to advance the study, practice and value of public relations through research and engagement with professionals in the field.
  • The Annenberg Innovation Lab
  • The USC Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media & Society

Professional education

  • Knight Digital Media Center
  • USC Annenberg/California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships
  • USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program
  • Institute for Justice and Journalism
  • NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater

Awards presented

  • Everett M. Rogers Award for Achievement in Entertainment Education
  • Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting
  • USC Annenberg Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism


International Journal of Communication Editors: Manuel Castells, Larry Gross

Online Journalism Review Editor: Robert Niles (ceased operation on June 16, 2008)

Student activities

Students are active with USC’s student-run newspaper, the Daily Trojan; USC Annenberg’s online news publication, Neon Tommy; USC Annenberg’s nightly television newscast, Annenberg TV News; its TV newsmagazine Impact; and Annenberg Radio News. USC Annenberg is also home to the nationally ranked, award-winning Trojan Debate Squad, as well as student chapters of the Radio-Television News Directors Association and TriSight, an in-house public relations agency that works with non-profit and small business clients.

ATVN's website.


USC Annenberg’s career development office provides services exclusively to USC Annenberg students and alumni. Services include daily online job and internship postings; career and job fairs; and a variety of workshop, counseling and interview opportunities. Students and alumni are recruited by top employers, including major newspapers and magazines, local and national broadcast and cable TV stations, public relations and consulting firms, film and music studios, public agencies and non-governmental organizations, and corporations from AT&T to Xerox.


Resources include a fully digital three-camera broadcast studio, a television newsroom, a digital lab equipped with more than 50 Avid nonlinear video editing systems, four computer classrooms and the Experiential Learning Center. Fourteen classrooms feature multimedia display capabilities. Professional media and research software applications are installed on more than 200 computers available for student use.

International programs

USC Annenberg offers study-abroad opportunities for undergraduate students in Amsterdam, Auckland, Buenos Aires, Christchurch, Hong Kong, London, Singapore and Sydney. Graduate journalism and public relations students may complete summer internships in Cape Town, Hong Kong and London, and public diplomacy students have the opportunity to complete summer internships abroad. USC Annenberg offers a joint MA/MSc graduate degree program in global communication with the London School of Economics & Political Science.

Notable Faculty members and instructors



Admissions statistics


Total undergraduate enrollment (Fall 2007): 1,321

Freshman class statistics

Number applied 1,876
Number admitted 326
Number entered 157
Average GPA (weighted) 4.10
Middle 50% SAT 1920–2130
Middle 50% ACT 27–31


Total graduate enrollment (Fall 2007): 545

Graduate program statistics

Program No. Enrolled
Communication Ph.D. 92
Communication Management 238
Journalism 97
Public Diplomacy 52
Strategic Public Relations 54

Finances and fundraising

  • Annual operating budget, 2007–08: $49 million
  • Endowment (as of July 1, 2007): $228 million
  • Undergraduate tuition & fees (with living expenses): $35,810 ($49,598)
  • USC undergraduates receiving financial aid: 60%

See also


External links

  • USC Annenberg School for Communication website
  • Online Journalism Review website
  • USC Annenberg TV News website
  • USC, Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism from The Annenberg Foundation Website

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