Poverty Narratives in Pop Culture

Our expansive cultural audit on poverty narratives in TV, film, music and video games is now out. Through a mixed-methods research study — including survey research, a systematic content analysis, interviews with thought leaders and a review of existing research — we examined poverty, wealth and opportunity narratives in popular… More

2021 Walter Cronkite Award Winners Announced

Exceptional Reporting on the Pandemic, Systemic Racism and Election Integrity Honored with 2021 Walter Cronkite Awards for TV Political Journalism CNN, CBS and PBS entries take network prizes; local wins for Milwaukee, Missoula and Phoenix Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s COVID-19 fact-checking wins Brooks Jackson Prize After an election year that witnessed… More

Vaping in Music Videos


Our research team collaborated with USC Keck School of Medicine Assistant Professor Jon-Patrick Allem on his research studying depictions of vaping in music videos. And in April 2021, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office announced a $1.2 million penalty against Kandypens for marketing its products to youth, especially through music… More

Narratives of Health Equity

Our Media Impact Project is exploring how media and entertainment narratives impact audiences’ understanding of health and well-being, disparities and solutions; and how entertainment might play a key role in shifting mindsets toward equity, justice and systemic change. Ultimately, this work aims to increase public support for more equitable policies,… More

In Conversation: Jacob Soboroff

Jacob Soboroff

NBC News and MSNBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff’s groundbreaking reporting on children separated from their parents at the border earned him the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in TV Political Journalism. His New York Times bestseller Separated is a Los Angeles Times Book Prize 2021 finalist. Soboroff will be in virtual… More

Charitable Giving in the Media

In 2019, the percentage of Americans who donated to charity was at an all-time low. To understand why, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation commissioned the Media Impact Project to analyze the narratives about charitable giving and philanthropy conveyed through mass media news and entertainment, as well as what types of… 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

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