Communication Leadership Center established at USC Annenberg
24, 2007) The world’s top African-American publishing company has pledged
$2.5 million to create an innovative new program to support young
journalism and communication students in the Annenberg School for
Communication at the University of Southern California.
Established by Linda Johnson Rice (above), president and chief executive
officer of Johnson Publishing Company Inc., the Johnson Communication
Leadership Center will have at its core a new undergraduate scholarship
program – the first at the school to focus on the specific interests of
the African-American community. Recipients of the Johnson Scholarships
will be selected for the program based on academic excellence,
demonstrated leadership, and a strong interest and involvement in issues
related to African-Americans in the world of journalism and communication.
“Johnson Publishing Company is excited to fund this new initiative at USC.
The scholarships as well as the extensive exposure to mentorship, research
and travel are innovative ways to support the African-American perspective
in the journalism and communication fields,” says Rice, a USC trustee,
member of the USC Annenberg Board of Councilors and an alumna of the
School. Johnson Publishing Company, which publishes Ebony and Jet
magazines, is headquartered in Chicago with offices in New York,
Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Detroit.
In addition to funding scholarships, the Johnson Center also will provide
numerous other experiences specifically designed for the Johnson Scholars,
• Exclusive seminars exposing students to important leaders who impact
the fields of journalism and communication
• Mentorship with an experienced professional in journalism and/or
• Travel to major destinations within – and eventually outside – the
United States (such as Washington, D.C., for meetings with media and
policy leaders, or New York City, for visits with leaders in the
communications industry and the United Nations)
• Research projects with members of the USC Annenberg faculty on a
topic of importance to the field (such as studying the impact of a new FCC
rulemaking on ownership by African-Americans)
• Internships, including the opportunity to work for leading media
Enrolling in fall 2007, the inaugural Johnson Scholars are Anita Little, a
print journalism major from Fort Worth, Texas, and Leigh Lockhart, a
communication major from North Hollywood, Calif.
“We are deeply grateful for the vision and generosity of Linda Johnson
Rice in creating this pioneering center,” says Ernest J. Wilson III, dean
of the USC Annenberg School. “The Johnson Scholarships will allow USC
Annenberg to continue to attract outstanding students as we develop the
next generation of media leaders prepared to shape the future of
journalism and communication.”
In addition to the Johnson Scholarships, the center will engage in
significant scholarly activities designed to advance knowledge on the role
of African-Americans in the media. Studies might explore such subjects as:
the depiction of blacks on the screen or in the press; the ownership and
leadership of media companies; the composition of the newsroom; the
distribution of advertising dollars; the role of online communities for
African-American audiences; or the use of the Internet and the debate over
the digital divide.
Research will be conducted by USC Annenberg faculty as well as by fellows
of the Johnson Leadership Center. Each year, the center will invite a
select group of industry leaders and/or top scholars to serve as fellows.
About the USC Annenberg School for Communication
Located in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California, the USC
Annenberg School for Communication (annenberg.usc.edu) is among the
nation’s leading institutions devoted to the study of journalism and
communication, and their impact on politics, culture and society. With an
enrollment of more than 1,900 graduate and undergraduate students, USC
Annenberg offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs in
communication, journalism, public diplomacy and public relations.
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