NLC Logo


May 2009
MartyThe Lear Center is winding up a particularly busy semester. Have a look at the projects and events that made this such a rich spring.

Martin Kaplan
Director, The Norman Lear Center
Walter Cronkite Awards
Hollywood, Health & Society
Entertainment Goes Global
Creativity, Commerce & Culture
Popular Music Project
Star Maps
Norman Lear: Life After 80

Katie GeorgeThe 2009 USC Annenberg Walter Cronkite Awards, honoring excellence in television political journalism, were handed out at a luncheon packed with distinguished guests, students and alumni last month.

The event kicked off with a freewheeling panel discussion among the winners, led by Lear Center director Marty Kaplan, titled "Making Great Political Television." Winners included NOW on PBS, This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Katie Couric and local stations from around the country.

Watch the panel discussion here and view the awards ceremony here.

HH&SSentinel for Health Awards
The Lear Center's Hollywood, Health & Society project has sent out a call for entries for the 10th annual Sentinel for Health Awards, which recognize exemplary achievements of television storylines that inform, educate and motivate viewers to make choices for healthier and safer lives. A new category has been established this year to recognize global health storylines.

Read the press release here.  Read about the award here. Information for Award applicants can be found here. The deadline for all entries is June 15, 2009.

CDC Narratives Workshop
Hollywood, Health & Society was invited back to conduct another workshop at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 60 scientists and senior health marketing specialists to prepare them to use Entertainment-Education and social marketing as strategies for behavior change communication.

Celebrity DiplomacyCelebrity Diplomacy
Lear Center director Marty Kaplan moderated a panel on "How Insiders View the Issues Facing Celebrity Diplomacy" at a Center for Public Diplomacy/Lear Center workshop featuring Donna Bojarsky (Foreign Policy Roundtable), Eric Falt (UN Department of Public Information), Rene Jones (United Talent Agency Foundation) and Rob Long (writer and producer).

The workshop explored the intersecting themes of the UN celebrity programs, the "soft power" of Hollywood celebrities, and public diplomacy.

View more pictures and highlights here.

Viral SpiralViral Spiral
Lear Center director Marty Kaplan spoke with Lear Center Senior Fellow David Bollier about his new book, Viral Spiral: How the Commoners Built a Digital Republic of Their Own. His book is the first comprehensive history of the attempt by a global brigade of techies, lawyers, artists, musicians, scientists, business people, innovators and geeks of all stripes to create a digital republic committed to freedom, transparency, participation and innovation. These interviews were produced by Brave New Studios, an affiliate of Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films project.

Watch the videos here.

Politics and Popular Culture
MITLear Center deputy director Johanna Blakley was part of a discussion this spring at MIT moderated by Henry Jenkins that questioned if the political consciousness of a new generation might be taking shape in and around popular culture. Is there a blurring of the roles of citizen and consumer? Might aspects of our popular culture generate utopian visions that fuel political change? Other panelists included David Carr, media and culture writer for The New York Times and Stephen Duncombe, assistant professor at NYU and author of Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy.

View the video here.

Today's Songs of Conscience: Ozomatli
OzoJosh Kun, director of the Lear Center's Popular Music Project, interviewed the Grammy-winning LA band Ozomatli about their activism, politics, and the power of political song. This inspiring conversation about the power of music was presented by the Grammy Museum in conjunction with its first special exhibition, "Songs of Conscience, Sounds of Freedom." Ozomatli took questions from the packed audience and showed film clips from their travels as U.S. State Department cultural ambassadors.

Check out more pictures here.

The Art and Business of Song:
Ann Powers in Conversation with Wendy & Lisa

Popular Music Project artist in residence and Los Angeles Times pop music critic Ann Powers spoke about the business of making music, past and present, with celebrated duo Wendy and Lisa. Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman are best known for their collaborations with Prince in the early-mid 1980s. They began their career as a duo in 1986 and currently score the music for the NBC series Heroes.

View the conversation here

Star MapsThe Geography of Buzz: Art, Culture and the Social Milieu in LA and New York
USC Policy, Planning, and Development Professor Elizabeth Currid and Sarah Williams, Director of Spatial Information Design Lab at Columbia University, have captured patterns of the cultural production system and the geographical form it takes by geo-coding over 6,000 events and 300,000 Getty Images photos taken in Los Angeles and New York City, and then analyzing macro geographical patterns.

Read the pdf here.

NormanLife After 80: Always Looking Forward
"Eighty is the new 60," proclaimed Lear Center director Marty Kaplan as he introduced the panelists for a discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills: Norman Lear, Canadian businessman Jim Pattison (The Jim Pattison Group), John Sperling (Apollo Group: University of Phoenix) and Golden Door and Rancho La Puerta spa maven Deborah Szekely. Lear said he is "always on to next" while Szekely claimed "Risk-taking and challenges are the vitamins and minerals of life."

Watch the discussion here.