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Wednesday
Sep 03rd

USCs Johnson Communication Leadership Center to focus on African American interests

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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. Linda Johnson-Rice

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, 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 strong interest and involvement in issues related to African-Americans in the world of journalism and communication.

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.

"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, including:
  • Exclusive seminars exposing students to important leaders who impact the fields of journalism and communication

  • Mentorship with an experienced professional in journalism and/or communication

  • 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 entities

"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; 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.
 

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