Winter 2015
Laughter strips the emperor naked.  Satire is a check on power. Why else would tyrants and fundamentalists bother to ban and punish it? Here's my take on Charlie Hebdo.  
What's So Viral About "Going Viral"?

Despite the metaphor of "going viral," says 2014 Ev Rogers Award winner Duncan Watts, online influence doesn't spread the way infectious diseases do. At the Rogers Colloquium in the Forum of the USC Annenberg School's new Wallis Annenberg Hall, Watts -- principal researcher at Microsoft Research -- described the surprising difficulty of empirically identifying social influence. Watch his talk and our "5 Questions for Duncan Watts" video

After Norman Lear's memoir, "Even This I Get To Experience," was released, his book tour included The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Late Show with David Letterman and visits to Yahoo News with Katie Couric and The View.



Lear Center director Marty Kaplan presented evidence for the power of narrative and challenged scientists to be better storytellers at "The Science of Science Communication," a conference at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Lies told by those in power can take journalists decades to discover.  What happens to democracy when citizens don't have accurate information? The Lear Center hosted American University professor, and founder of the Center for Public Integrity, Chuck Lewis for a talk on "Investigating Power and the Future of Truth." 

Hollywood, Health & Society
Parenthood, The Normal Heart and Doc McStuffins were among the big winners at the 15th Annual Sentinel for Health Awards, which honor exemplary depictions of health, health care and climate change storylines.  Partnering with the Writers Guild of America, East in New York, on the eve of the UN Climate Summit, HH&S brought together climate change experts and some of the entertainment industry's funniest writers (including Norman Lear) for "What's So Funny About Climate Change?" HH&S also produced "2036," a video of children talking about the future of the planet. 
Media Impact Project
YouTube Basics for Journalists and Web Metrics for Journalists were released by the Media Impact Project, part of a series of publications to help media organizations understand audience engagement and digital measurement, and to use that data to inform decision-making. MIP also produced an animated explainer of the Media Impact Project Measurement System. 

In March, IJPC is releasing "Heroes and Scoundrels: The Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture." Drawing on portrayals of journalists in television, film, radio, novels, comics, plays and other media, the book by Matthew Ehrlich and Joe Saltzman surveys how popular media has depicted journalists as good guys and bad.

How can the process of assembling a track illuminate larger social and cultural practices? Josh Kun, director of the Lear Center's Popular Music Project, put on "Check the Technique: Hip Hop as Methodology," which looked at hip hop production practices as both musical and social techniques. 
Lear Center Managing Director and Director of Research Johanna Blakley presented research at a National Endowment for the Arts symposium on New Tools for Measuring Engagement. She moderated conversations at the MAK Center on experimental art installations and at the Shoah Foundation on social media and holocaust remembrance. She also gave a talk about Deflating the Filter Bubble at Drexel University. 
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 bridges the gap between the entertainment industry and academia, and between them and the public. Join our mailing list here.