Highlights of USC Annenberg reporting at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions
This July, Geoffrey Cowan and the team at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center arranged for some of USC’s top student journalists to attend and report from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, OH and the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, PA. The trip was organized in partnership with Professors David Eisenhower and Marjorie Margolies of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School, who have taken Penn students to the conventions since 2000.
Below is some background on the trip, followed by highlights and original reporting from each convention.
Six USC students had a front-row seat to history while reporting each day for USC Annenberg Media, one of the top student media outlets in the country. The student journalists were joined by Communication PhD student Ruthie Kelly, who studies the role of media in American politics at USC Annenberg. The experience included a number of private meetings and interviews with politicians, journalists and other officials including Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Libertarian presidential candidate Gov. Gary Johnson, UK politician and Brexit leader Nigel Farage, TX Rep. Pete Sessions, FEC Commissioner Ann Ravel, the Bernie Sanders campaign’s General Counsel Brad Deutsch, late-night Full Frontal host Samantha Bee, and many more.
Students reported from the conventions for Annenberg Media and other national media outlets. For example, Kate Guarino (’17) produced photo essays for NBC that asked RNC and DNC delegates to share their opinions on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in one word. Matt Tinoco (’16) wrote an investigative piece for Politico focused on Los Angeles real estate developer Geoffrey Palmer, “the single largest Donald Trump donor in the United States.” (Matt’s reporting made Politico’s influential Playbook newsletter on August 6.) Sarah Collins (’17) and Hannah Vega (’17) helped produce a video at the RNC for Define American. Tiana Lowe (’18) wrote more than a dozen articles for The Tab and Heat Street in addition to reporting for Annenberg Media on the anatomy of the Trump coalition. And Rachel Chiu (’19) reported on topics including the Democrats in Ohio who switched parties to vote for Trump.
The conventions trip was part of a new USC Annenberg class, Journalism 490: Covering the 2016 Election and the Democratic and Republican Conventions, which is co-taught by Assistant Professor Laura E. Davis and University Professor Geoffrey Cowan, and organized and supported by Ev Boyle and Susan Goelz of the Annenberg Center. Professor Davis, who reported from the 2012 conventions as an editor for Yahoo! News, is also a veteran of Buzzfeed, where she helped to develop and launch the Buzzfeed News mobile app in 2015.
The USC Annenberg Center had a major presence at the conventions during the past two cycles, hosting panels in partnership with Politico in 2008 and with Bloomberg and Harvard’s Institute of Politics in 2012. While the Center again co-hosted a panel with Bloomberg at the RNC in 2016, this was the first time bringing students with us to the conventions. With help from Professors Cowan, Davis, Eisenhower and Margolies, the Center arranged for students from both Annenberg Schools to meet with major journalists and political figures, attend exclusive meetings and events, and engage in innovative reporting and research projects on the present and future of conventions and political parties.
In addition to support from USC’s Annenberg Center and the Annenberg School, funding for the trip was provided in part through a donation from Rebecca Donatelli, USC alumna and director of Campaign Solutions.
Highlights from the RNC and DNC
Meeting with politicians, journalists, campaign advisers and government officials
Interviewing delegates, party members, and observers
Reporting live from inside the convention hall
Reporting on the reporters
Covering delegation meetings, protests and events
When students weren’t reporting stories, they were the story
And finally, while USC reporters did their best to remain unbiased, one candidate proved irresistible…
Archive of student reporting on and about the conventions
Hannah Vega (USC ’17, Broadcast & Digital Journalism)
- “Women Reflect on Hillary Clinton’s Historic Nomination” (30 July 2016). USC Annenberg Media. http://www.uscannenbergmedia.com/2016/07/30/women-reflect-on-hillary-clintons-historic-nomination/
- “From the Republican National Convention: The Women Who Support Donald Trump” (22 July 2016). USC Annenberg Media. http://www.uscannenbergmedia.com/2016/07/22/from-the-republican-national-convention-the-women-who-support-donald-trump/
Kate Guarino (USC ’17, Print & Digital Journalism)
- “RNC Delegates Share Their Opinions on Candidates, Issues” (21 July 2016). NBC New York. http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/national-international/Delegates-RNC-Share-Opinions-About-Candidates-Issues-387535071.html
- “Pelosi Booed at California Delegate Breakfast, Attempts to Unite Democrats Against Trump” (25 July 2016). NBC Bay Area. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/california/Pelosi-Booed-at-Delegate-Breakfast-Attempts-to-Unite-Democrats-Against-Trump-388156372.html
- “Sanders, Warren Call to Unite Behind Clinton at Democratic Convention Roiled by Email Controversy” (26 July 2016). NBC Bay Area. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/politics/Democratic-National-Convention-Unity-Despite-Leadership-Shuffle-Hillary-Clinton-Bernie-Sanders-Philadelphia--388101532.html
- “DNC Attendees Share Their Opinions on Candidates” (27 July 2016). NBC New York. http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/national-international/DNC-Delegates-Show-What-They-Think-of-the-Candidates-388300172.html
- “How to Be a Sanders Delegate at Clinton’s Convention” (30 July 2016). USC Annenberg Media. http://www.uscannenbergmedia.com/2016/07/30/how-to-be-a-sanders-delegate-at-clintons-convention/
- “Still Bernie or Bust? Sanders Delegates Reassess After Clinton’s Convention” (2 Aug 2016). NBC Los Angeles. http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/politics/Being-a-Sanders-Delegate-at-Clintons-Convention-388845602.html
Matt Tinoco (USC ’16, Public Diplomacy)
- “For Some, the 2016 Political Conventions Are Just Another Job” (29 July 2016). USC Annenberg Media. http://www.uscannenbergmedia.com/2016/07/29/for-some-the-2016-political-conventions-are-just-another-job/
- “Trump’s Los Angeles Money Man” (4 August 2016). Politico. http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/08/geoffrey-palmer-trump-donor-los-angeles-214130
Rachel Chiu (USC ’19, Communication, Political Science)
- “Bernie Sanders Supporters Disrupt California Event at Democratic National Convention” (25 July 2016). USC Annenberg Media. http://www.uscannenbergmedia.com/2016/07/25/bernie-sanders-supporters-disrupt-california-event-at-democratic-national-convention/
- “Ohio Democrats Switched Parties to Vote for Trump — But Will It Last?” (22 July 2016). USC Annenberg Media. http://www.uscannenbergmedia.com/2016/07/22/ohio-democrats-switched-parties-to-vote-for-trump-but-will-it-last/
Sarah Collins (USC ’17, Political Science, Broadcast & Digital Journalism)
- “Meet the Teenage Delegates of the Democratic National Convention” (28 July 2016). USC Annenberg Media. http://www.uscannenbergmedia.com/2016/07/28/meet-the-teenage-delegates-of-the-democratic-national-convention/
- “How Foreigners View the Race Between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump” (30 July 2016). USC Annenberg Media. http://www.uscannenbergmedia.com/2016/07/30/how-foreigners-view-the-race-between-hillary-clinton-and-donald-trump/
Tiana Lowe (USC ’18, BS Economics & Mathematics)
- “With Cleveland on high alert, Trump plans speech that will echo Nixon” (18 July 2016). The Tab. http://thetab.com/us/2016/07/18/with-cleveland-on-high-alert-trump-is-planning-a-speech-that-will-echo-nixon-37273
- “We talked to Gary Johnson at the RNC” (21 July 2016). The Tab. http://thetab.com/us/2016/07/21/gj-39142
- “Anti-Semitism and Hillary Hate Among the Protestors of Code Pink” (21 July 2016). Heat Street. http://heatst.com/politics/anti-semitism-and-hillary-hate-among-the-protestors-of-code-pink/
- “From the Ground Up: The Grassroots Movement Against Political Correctness” (21 July 2016). USC Annenberg Media. http://www.uscannenbergmedia.com/2016/07/21/from-the-ground-up-the-grassroots-movement-against-political-correctness/
- “The funniest and scariest stuff we found in the DNC email leaks” (23 July 2016). The Tab. http://thetab.com/us/2016/07/24/funniest-scariest-stuff-found-dnc-email-leak-39927
- “Breaking: Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigns as DNC Chair” (24 July 2016). The Tab. http://thetab.com/us/2016/07/24/breaking-debbie-wasserman-schultz-resigns-dnc-chair-40020
- “Bernie delegates shout down CA secretary of state at DNC breakfast” (25 July 2016). The Tab. http://thetab.com/us/2016/07/25/bernie-delegates-dominate-ca-delegation-breakfast-40266
- “No-one enjoyed the first day of the DNC more than Donald Trump” (26 July 2016). The Tab. http://thetab.com/us/2016/07/26/no-one-enjoyed-first-day-dnc-donald-trump-41038
- “Bill Clinton says Hillary is ‘the best darn changemaker’” (27 July 2016). The Tab. http://thetab.com/us/2016/07/27/bill-clinton-says-hillary-best-darn-changemaker-41773
- “Barack Obama: ‘The American Dream is something no wall will ever contain’” (28 July 2016). The Tab. http://thetab.com/us/2016/07/28/barack-obama-the-american-dream-is-something-no-wall-will-ever-contain-42246
- “‘Believe me!’ Tim Kaine extends an olive branch to the right” (28 July 2016). The Tab. http://thetab.com/us/2016/07/28/believe-tim-kaine-extends-olive-branch-right-42247
- “Bernie supporters are now turning to Jill Stein for hope” (28 July 2016). The Tab. http://thetab.com/us/2016/07/28/bernie-supporters-are-now-turning-to-jill-stein-for-hope-40548
- “Bill Clinton just passed us in the corridor at the DNC” (28 July 2016). The Tab. http://thetab.com/us/2016/07/29/bill-clinton-just-passed-us-corridor-dnc-42691
- “Watch Bernie Sanders delegates walk out of Hillary’s acceptance speech” (29 July 2016). The Tab. http://thetab.com/us/2016/07/29/breaking-bernie-supporters-walk-out-of-hillarys-acceptance-speech-42664
- “The DNC couldn’t remember the Pledge of Allegiance and didn’t acknowledge ISIS yesterday” (29 July 2016). The Tab. http://thetab.com/us/2016/07/26/dnc-couldnt-remember-pledge-allegiance-didnt-acknowledge-isis-yesterday-41310
- “Many Delegates Still Feel the Bern at the Democratic National Convention” (30 July 2016). USC Annenberg Media. http://www.uscannenbergmedia.com/2016/07/29/many-delegates-still-feel-the-bern-at-the-democratic-national-convention/