• News

    Immigration Stories Foster Inclusive Attitudes In this second study with Define American we found that TV shows with nuanced immigrant characters and immigration storylines can shift attitudes and inspire people to real-life action — leading to more inclusive attitudes towards immigrants and opposition to criminalizing undocumented people. Viewers were also more likely to take certain… More
    Studying Pop Culture’s Impact We are excited to be part of an illustrious cohort of change makers who are recipients of 2020 grants from the advocacy organization The Pop Culture Collaborative. Our research team will develop a field-wide impact learning system: research, evaluation and learning tools to track and understand the pop culture field’s… More
    Patient-Provider Interactions on Primetime TV A new study co-authored by researchers at our Hollywood, Health & Society program (HH&S) suggests TV may influence viewers’ health-related knowledge, perceptions and behaviors by examining patient–provider interactions on the most popular primetime TV programs. Congratulations to HH&S and our Director of Research, Erica Rosenthal, for this enlightening study. Read… More
    #iamAFRICA winners announced We are thrilled to announce the winners of the #iamAFRICA Short Film Competition. Three films have been selected by our jury in addition to the Audience Favorite, who was selected by you. — “Eyelash” directed by Mpendulo Myeni from South Africa “Miracle” directed by Bongi Ndaba from South Africa “Who… More
    Normalizing Injustice
    Normalizing Injustice Our research team worked with the advocacy organization Color of Change on this edifying new study that looked at depictions of the U.S. criminal justice system on American television. Among the finding were that the crime TV genre advances distorted representations of crime, justice, race and gender. For people of… More
    The 2019 Sentinel Awards In a sometimes moving and deeply personal ceremony, the 2019 Sentinel Awards honored 13 TV shows for outstanding storylines dealing… More
  • Noted

    Legendary writer and producer Norman Lear asked 27 students from the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism three questions: What they look forward to when they wake up in the morning; a piece they’ve read that benefited them, and whether they have ever cried with joy. The video aired as part of Annenberg’s 2020 virtual graduation ceremony. Watch the interview here.

    Define American presented a sneak peek of the findings of our new entertainment media study at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Watch the conversation here. Sign up for updates on the 2020 study at https://defineamerican.com/hollywood

    Our 2018 Ev Rogers Award winner, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, will be awarded the 2020 Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy of Sciences at its annual meeting in April. Read the full release.

    Richard Ness, Chief Film Consultant and Researcher with our Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture project and a professor of Film at Western Illinois University, has published the definitive guide to journalists on film. Read all about it! www.ijpc.org/page/publications.html

    Get up to speed on the new Josh Kun book in collaboration with the LA Public Library, “The Autograph Book of L.A.: Improvements on the Page of the City,” out now from Angel City Press. Great reviews from LA Times and LA Downtown News.

    “Why is it that a network gets to monetize our election? It’s a financial transaction between democracy and the media industry. Politics has effectively merged with entertainment, because both these entities are in the attention-capture business.” – Marty Kaplan, Lear Center director

    READ more of Marty’s take on the 2020 Democratic debates in this New York Times article.

  • Blog

    Why Designing for Impact Can Lead to New Jobs in Journalism & New Ways of Working Journalists are good with messes. Problems make for interesting stories with lots of layers, complicated characters and usually thick narrative drama. Designing for impact, however, sometimes means sweeping the mess aside and clearing a path to action. We talk about information needs; this need is for information that helps me… More
    I Remember ‘Aunt Carol’ Channing This originally appeared in the Forward and is republished with permission. This temple is going to the dogs,” said the congregant making her way to a seat, to no one in particular but loudly enough for half the sanctuary to hear. “The nerve of them! Bringing in a Carol Channing… More
    News Media Should Democratize Presidential Debates — Not Monetize Them This originally appeared in the Forward and is republished with permission. The CBS board may have fired Les Moonves for misleading them about sex, but he did call it straight about money, media and politics. “Trump’s run may not be good for America,” he told a conference of investment bankers in 2016, “but it’s… More
    The Straight Line From 5,000 Trump Lies To 11 Jews Murdered In Pittsburgh “There must be no tolerance for anti-Semitism in America,” Donald Trump told the Future Farmers of America following the mass murder in a Pittsburgh synagogue at a Sabbath service — the same Trump who said that some of the neo-Nazis chanting “Jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville were “very… More
    The Suicide Epidemic Is A Symptom Of Our Sick Body Politic This originally appeared in the Forward and is republished with permission. I would love to believe in petitionary prayer. Especially when life and death are at stake, a God who hears my supplications would be deeply reassuring. Despite my skepticism, I never pass up a chance in shul to say… More
    Trust #PlaidShirtGuy To End Trump’s Nightmare Reign This originally appeared in the Forward and is republished with permission. I was wondering if I was reading too much into the near-convergence of Sen. John McCain’s funeral; Labor Day, the traditional kickoff of the campaign season; and Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish holidays of repentance and renewal.… More