Annenberg at 50: students and faculty reflect

With Annenberg turning 50-years-old this year, students and faculty reflect on the half-century anniversary and look towards the future.

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USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism held a public event for students, staff and faculty on Wednesday to continue the celebration of the 50th year since its commencement. The event recapitulated the September 20th evening’s reflection of the school and was followed with a casual lunch at USC’s Associates Park.

At Associates Park, “be comfortable with being uncomfortable” is the advice former Annenberg Dean Ernest J. Wilson III gave to students.

Students at the event spoke with Annenberg Media to share what they hope to see for the future of the school.

“I think of the event as a testament to what America really looks and feels like. Just people of different classes, different backgrounds, different cultures coming together to celebrate heritage, to celebrate life and to simply be at peace with each other,” said Masongo Ogora, a graduate student studying Public Relations and Advertising.

Ogora had a positive outlook on what Annenberg has become for its students but also sees room for improvement in the future.

“I would like to see more opportunities for Black and brown kids who look like me coming from the other side of the country. I came from Maryland to California as a first generation Kenyan American,” Ogora said.

More students encouraged that the school should continue building collaborations and partnerships supporting various causes.

“I am a minority and that drives change. And that’s where you can find the people and the minds that redefine what communications means. Bringing in a new agenda where new students can find inspiration such as an agenda for cultural diversity or agenda for sustainability and climate change,” said graduate student Daniela Rodriguez.

Professor Joe Saltzman has been with Annenberg for over 55 years. He said that he understands technology has changed but believes journalism’s foundation relies on the ability to tell a story.

“We’re teaching them stories that reach into people’s hearts and minds. We’re teaching them to write about people and stories and the stories that influence our lives,” Saltzman said. “And as long as you’re doing that, the technology will accommodate you.”

He also spoke on the future and his advice for Annenberg and its students.

“The future is limitless for people that have initiative, passion and want to have a great life in journalism,” Saltzman said.