NLC 10 Year Stamp

Winter 2010

What's new at The Norman Lear Center
MartyDo you use the reviews on Yelp to pick restaurants, or TripAdvisor to check out hotels, or Metacritic to see what people are saying about movies? Do the recommendations for you on Amazon or Netflix seem surprisingly shrewd? Have you succumbed to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn?  Social media sites are big business and big communities, but the commerce and the culture don't always coexist comfortably. If you're intrigued by social media as entertainment, have a look at the presentation that Lear Center deputy director Johanna Blakley and I gave at the Barcelona Media Center. It's part of The Norman Lear Center's ongoing exploration of the transformations of entertainment, media and society in the digital age.
The Norman Lear Center turns 10 this month, so as we wish you a happy 2010, wish us a happy anniversary. As you'll see below, there's plenty of exciting work going on, and much more on the way. As always, we're eager to hear what you think.

Martin Kaplan

Director, The Norman Lear Center
The Business & Culture of Social Media
Social MediaAdvertisers are in hot pursuit of the people formerly known as the audience, who have migrated to the internet and become creators of content themselves.  The result? A business economy, a gift economy and an attention economy.  It's laid out graphically in this presentation to the Barcelona Media Center by Lear Center director and deputy director Marty Kaplan and Johanna Blakley. 

BrandSpace Header
Art, Culture & Politics: A Coversation with Shepard Fairey
ShepardShepard Fairey, creator of the iconic Obama HOPE poster, is a new kind of cultural producer, an artist/entrepreneur equally at home with commerce, culture and politics. Sarah Banet-Weiser, director of the Lear Center's BrandSpace project, explored these themes and more with Fairey in this recent conversation.
Watch the video.

BrandSpace Faculty Group
It's what you drive, what you eat and what you wear. Is it any wonder that soon where you live will be its own brand name? Annette Schoemmel and Thomas Sevcik, comprising the wife-husband branding team behind Arthesia, specialize in branding place. But what's good for a sneaker or a can of Coke just won't cut it for Phoenix and Finland. The Arthesia group outlines the pentagon of location branding in this most recent meeting of the BrandSpace faculty group.

A World of Stories
HH&S hosted a global health panel titled, "A World of Stories." The panel combined compelling global health stories from experts in the heart of the action overseas, with TV writers who have turned stories on global health topics into top-rated television shows. The panel featured keynote speaker Dr. Tachi Yamada, executive director of the Global Health Program at The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Read the transcript.
2009 Everett M. Rogers Award
Garth JaphetDr. Charles "Garth" Japhet, the creator of Soul City, a large-scale, highly effective multimedia entertainment education program in Southern Africa, was awarded the Everett M. Rogers Award for Achievement in Entertainment Education. The full video of Dr. Japhet's presentation showcases the power of his work. Read the transcript.
2009 Sentinel for Health Awards
ER, Desperate Housewives, and Sesame Street won the top primetime honors in the 2009 Sentinel for Health Awards, which recognize television storylines that inform, educate and motivate viewers to make choices for healthier and safer lives. Watch the video.
HH&S Director at Beyond Broadcast
Hollywood, Health & Society director Sandra de Castro Buffington was featured on a panel at the 2009 Beyond Broadcast conference. The panel examined the role of TV shows in spreading helpful information and the ways network television serves the public in areas of critical importance, such as safety and health. Watch the video.

PMP TijuanaPopular Music Project director Josh Kun recently joined artist Quincy Jones III for a screening of The Carter, an intimate documentary portrait of rapper Lil' Wayne, whose most recent album went platinum in one week. Jones and Kun moderated a compelling discussion - video here - among students afterwards. Kun also assembled his first solo gallery exhibition, the sound installation Last Exit USA, at Steve Turner Contemporary in Los Angeles, which included a listening party, Sonido Pirata.
The president of MySpace Music, Courtney Holt, is PMP's Distinguished Artist in Residence this year; he's conducting an extensive workshop with USC students about the future of music providers and will be part of a large USC event this spring about music's digital horizon.

 IJPC Header
Image of the Gay JournalistThere had been virtually no research on the image of the gay journalist or public relations practitioner until Joe Saltzman, director of the Lear Center's IJPC project, turned his attention to this rich field.  In this presentation to the Annenberg Research Colloquium, he provides an overview of that image as it has played out in movies and television, fiction, comic books, and other aspects of popular culture. He also showed a 14-minute excerpt video from the ground-breaking four-hour-and 42-minute three-disc set, "The Image of the Gay Journalist in Movies and Television, 1929 to 2009." Watch the video.

Public Space, Public Art & Public Life
Sonic ForestA mesmerizing light and sound installation entertained the USC campus in October. Sonic Forest is composed of sixteen eight-foot columns, each containing audio speakers, lights and photo-electric sensors that enable up to four people to interact with each column at once.
For the official opening of Sonic Forest at USC, acclaimed artist, architect and composer Christopher Janney composed a "truly immersive sound experience that featured the percussion section of the Trojan Marching Band.
Following the performance, Marty Kaplan moderated a discussion about the interplay between art, entertainment and architecture in urban space; the lively panel included perspectives from all angles. Watch the video.

Star Maps
The Geography of Buzz
Star Maps project director Elizabeth Currid co-directed an innovative new research project called "The Geography of Buzz" that seeks to understand the social milieu of cultural industries. Covered by The New York Times and TIME, Currid and her team geo-coded 300,000 images in the Getty Image database in order to find geographical patterns in media coverage of cultural production in both Los Angeles and New York City. The maps were displayed in a gallery exhibition at the School of Policy, Planning & Development.
The Black List
Currid also published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times about the Black List, an insider's list of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood. Currid argues that the Black List has been very effective at creating the kind of buzz that a script needs in order to get produced, but Black List movies tend to fail at the box office because they reflect the taste of taste-makers instead of average moviegoers.


Last year, Zogby International and The Norman Lear Center surveyed 1,637 American women about their political beliefs and their media, entertainment and leisure preferences. The data reveals some stark differences among women of different ages. Not only do they gravitate toward different media and entertainment channels, they also spend their leisure time differently, and they often have widely varying views about the biggest political issues of our day.

The Zogby/Lear Center data also informed Lear Center deputy director Johanna Blakley's Politico op-ed about Oprah's interview with Sarah Palin.

Lear Center Senior Fellows
Senior Fellow David Bollier
David Bollier continues to speak about his latest book, Viral Spiral, at universities and events around the world. The book is a stunning account of the rise of the digital commons and why it matters to our democracy and economy.
On January 12th Bollier will moderate the panel "Emerging Media: Commentary, Criticism and the New Publishing Paradigm" at World's Fair Use Day in Washington, D.C. WFUD is a free, all-day celebration of fair use, the legal right that allows innovators and creators to make particular uses of copyrighted materials. 
Senior Fellow Neal Gabler
Gabler recently published an op-ed in the Boston Globe about "The College Admissions Scam," as well as an op-ed in Newsweek defending America's obsession with celebrity scandal.
View all of Gabler's recent works here.

Norman Lear: Always Looking Forward
Lear HeadNorman Lear continues to champion the non-profit, music-driven movement Playing for Change, which uses music to celebrate our common, global humanity and raise funds for music schools in areas of need. For his achievements in socially transformative television, filmmaking, philanthropy and social activism, Lear garnered AARP's annual Andrus Award for Service.
At the panel discussion "Life After 80: Always Looking Forward" at the Milken Institute Global Conference 2009, Norman offered his thoughts and wisdom about living a healthy, vital life and never slowing down. Marty Kaplan moderated the discussion. Watch the video.

Upcoming Events 

Addiction: Fact & Fiction
Hollywood, Health & Society will host a panel showcasing compelling stories about addiction - from substance abuse to treatment and recovery. Hear from recovered addicts, medical experts, specialists in drug and tobacco policy, and TV writers who have turned stories about addiction into top-rated television shows.
Jan. 14, 6:30 pm.
Event is full.


Lincoln Bicentennial: 1809 - 2009
The Norman Lear Center is a co-convenor for the Los Angeles Abraham Lincoln National Town Hall, part of a series of national events celebrating the life and legacy of the 16th American president. Panelists include Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., actor Richard Dreyfuss, writer/director Gary Ross and Lincoln biographer Ronald C. White for a forum titled "Lincoln and King's Unfinished Work" that will discuss the parallels between Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., exploring race relations and civil rights issues then and now.

Jan. 17, 2:00 pm, Free, Dorothy Chandler Pavillion. RSVP here.



Joystick Nation: A LAIH Lecture
Lear Center director Martin Kaplan moderates a discussion titled Joystick Nation: Theater, Film and Interactive Gaming in 2020 as part of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities lunchtime lecture series. Kaplan, an LAIH fellow, will be joined by another LAIH fellow, author Richard Schickel, along with REDCAT executive director Mark Murphy and Tracy Fullerton, director of USC's Electronic Arts Game Innovation Lab.
Mar. 29, 4:00 pm, USC's Doheny Library

Intern Opportunities
The Lear Center has several internship positions available during Spring semester.
The internship is unpaid and located off-campus in our Beverly Hills office.
Our internships are uniquely developed to create a beneficial experience for each intern.
We work with interns to tailor an individual work schedule and we have an eclectic range of projects to work on.
If you are interested in applying, please email your resume and a paragraph describing why the Lear Center is a good fit for you to


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