Studying and shaping the impact of entertainment and media on society
The Norman Lear Center is a nonpartisan research and public policy center that studies the social, political, economic and cultural impact of entertainment on the world.
The Lear Center translates its findings into action through testimony, journalism, strategic research and innovative public outreach campaigns. On campus, from its base in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, the Lear Center builds bridges between schools and disciplines whose faculty study aspects of entertainment, media and culture. Beyond campus, it helps bridge the gap between the entertainment industry and academia, and between them and the public. Through scholarship and research; through its conferences, public events and publications; through its role in the formulation of the academic field of entertainment studies; and in its attempts to illuminate and repair the world, the Norman Lear Center works to be at the forefront of discussion and practice in the field.
The Lear Center was named in 2000 in appreciation for a major gift from television and movie writer, producer, and director Norman Lear, a pioneer of a more candid, socially realistic genre of television programming and a champion of democratic values. The founding of the Center celebrates the artistic innovation of such Lear shows as All in the Family, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and The Jeffersons; his willingness to take extraordinary creative and commercial risks in the name of quality; his passion for wrestling with issues of conscience while building a remarkable entertainment career. Read his full biography or visit his official web site.
Lear Center Director Martin Kaplan holds the Norman Lear Chair in Entertainment, Media and Society at the USC Annenberg School, where he was Associate Dean for 10 years. A Harvard summa cum laude in molecular biology and president of The Harvard Lampoon, speech writer in the Carter Administration as well as deputy campaign manager of Mondale’s 1984 presidential campaign; vice president of production at Walt Disney Studios; a columnist for the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles since 2008 and a featured Huffington Post blogger since its inception in 2005. Read his full biography or view videos featuring him.