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Cha named executive director of Annenberg Media Center

Serena Cha came to USC in 1998 as founding director of Annenberg Television News. (Photo/courtesy of USC Annenberg)
Serena Cha came to USC in 1998 as founding director of Annenberg Television News. (Photo/courtesy of USC Annenberg)

Television news manager and educator Serena Cha has been named executive director of the Annenberg Media Center.

Cha, professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, previously served as director of Annenberg Television News (ATVN). In the newly created position, she will oversee the real-time, multimedia operation tying together production work in journalism, public relations and communication, as well as several USC Annenberg student-run publications.

“Our outstanding media faculty, staff, students and partners are eager to create a new model that will be evolve and never be static. We will blend our school’s knowledge with the urge to innovate,” Cha said. “The Media Center will inspire our students, Annenberg and the world to invent new ways to communicate and connect. At the same time, we will still teach our students to insist on accuracy, fairness, depth and inclusiveness.”

USC Annenberg Dean Ernest J. Wilson III, who announced Cha’s post, said: “Professor Cha’s deep commitment to our students and our school is well known. Her work on the Wallis Annenberg Hall building committee has been integral as well as we prepare for the opportunities ahead.”

The technologically transformative Wallis Annenberg Hall is scheduled to open next fall, giving USC Annenberg two buildings on the University Park Campus. The Media Center will be a centerpiece of Annenberg Hall.

Also launching next fall: the school’s new nine-month Journalism Master of Science curriculum, which will replace the two-year master’s degree.

“I am highly optimistic about Professor Cha’s ability to facilitate amazing collaboration among our student-run platforms,” said Michael Parks, interim director of the Journalism School. “USC Annenberg has real opportunities here to remain at the forefront of the rapidly developing world of converged media.”

Cha arrived at USC Annenberg in 1998 as founding director of ATVN. She has supervised an operation that involves as many as 250 journalists each semester pulling together USC’s live nightly newscasts for a worldwide Web audience and the campus community.

She created the newscast’s training program, which includes guidelines and interactive exercises that are still taught in USC Annenberg’s television news production course. Graduates of the production and leadership program for producers supervise news and sports programs at the network and local level.

Cha led the team of students and staff responsible for the design of the video-rich ATVN website. Under her leadership, ATVN has earned awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Los Angeles Press Club, the National Broadcasting Society and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation.

News and sports media organizations reach out to ATVN regularly for video, information and well-trained producers and reporters. Alumni mentored by Cha are leaders in key changes made on the air and behind the scenes at ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, ESPN, Fox Sports, Time Warner Sports and other networks, as well as at stations across the country.

Before joining USC in the summer of 1998 to start ATVN, Cha was an executive producer at KCAL-TV in Los Angeles. She established a reputation for hands-on daily supervision of a major TV market newsroom producing live newscasts, breaking news coverage, election coverage and special on-site reports from around the world.

Cha also supervised news teams in her roles as senior producer at KCBS-TV and news producer at KNBC-TV and KTTV. In addition to innovative production of coverage of the Gulf War, elections and natural disasters, Cha was the producer in the control room launching KNBC’s live coverage of the Los Angeles riots.

She won the Associated Press Award for best television newscast in California and a Golden Mike Award for best daytime newscast in Los Angeles. She also earned a USC Mentoring Award in 2011.

Cha earned her master’s degree in journalism at Columbia University and received her undergraduate degree in history from the University of Michigan.

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