• News

    2021 Cronkite Awards Call for Entries Entries for the 2021 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism are now being accepted. To reflect this extraordinary election cycle, winning submissions will honor outstanding local and national coverage of the pandemic, systemic racism and the integrity of the 2020 elections. Administered by the Norman Lear Center… More
    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
    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
    #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
    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
  • Noted

    In 2019, the percentage of Americans who donated to charity was at an all-time low. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation commissioned the Media Impact Project to analyze the narratives about charitable giving and philanthropy conveyed through mass media, as well as what types of media content are consumed by potential donor audiences. We present our findings at a special webinar on Friday, January 29 at 11 am PST. Register.

    Director of Research Erica Rosenthal was interviewed by Cronkite News about our recent Change the Narrative study. Here she explains why accurate representations of undocumented people on TV are so important to changing attitudes and behaviors around immigration issues.  Watch the video.

    What does Sunset Boulevard sound like? In 10 Songs for 10 Sunsets, a project through the Getty Museum, our Popular Music Project Director Josh Kun visits ten photographs by Ed Ruscha of the famed thoroughfare and shares the songs that help reveal their histories.

    Media consumption patterns are changing in this age of COVID-19. Managing Director Johanna Blakley is featured in this Facebook IQ report about how the pandemic has changed how we consume our entertainment, and how this may evolve over the next year. Where is the entertainment industry headed?

    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

  • Blog

    What can fashion teach the news industry? Remember my TED.com talk, Lessons from Fashion’s Free Culture? Well, a Fellow at Harvard’s Nieman Center, Tomer Ovadia, interviewed me recently about what lessons the news industry might learn from the fashion industry. We discussed the many surprising parallels between the two and where the future might lead. Listen to… More
    Why Charitable Giving and Philanthropy Matter Today Charitable giving and philanthropy are as important today as ever. In the midst of the pandemic and national reckoning with racial injustice, Americans from all backgrounds are giving in different and important ways. Understanding these trends, how they are shifting and how media can and does influence the discourse is… More
    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