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USC Annenberg students handle hot summer assignments around the world

Aspiring journalists hone their skills on stories about the national conventions and Summer Olympics

Claudia Buccio summer intern
USC student Claudia Buccio gained reporting experience as a summer intern for Telemundo. (Photo/Courtesy of Claudia Buccio)

Students from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism delivered news on national and international stages this summer, using their professional skills at the national political conventions and at the Rio Olympics.

Convention coverage

As part of a trip organized by the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy, six students in a summer class led by professor Laura Davis traveled to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

According to Davis, assistant professor of professional practice in journalism at USC Annenberg, the goal of the trip was to give the students “really good reporting experience and get them to better understand the political system and political coverage.” Her class, “Covering the 2016 Election and the Democratic & Republican Conventions,” was created specifically to coincide with the conventions.

Access to this unique experience was limited to six students from any USC program. The only requirement was that the students be passionate about politics, journalism and political communication.

“I knew it would be the chance of a lifetime,” said Sarah Collins, who majors in broadcast journalism and political science.

Given insider access to politicians, delegates and journalists, the students had plenty of opportunities to hone their political reporting using a variety of media, from traditional written reports to video reporting via social media.

Highlights from the trip were collected on Medium, including a rundown of student work produced at the conventions.

Practical experience

For many USC Annenberg students, taking part in a summer internship can often be just as important as the coursework required for their majors.

Jonell Yablonski joined a group of globetrotting students who spent their summer in Rio de Janeiro at the Olympics. She undertook an internship opportunity with O Globo, Rio de Janeiro’s leading newspaper, where she produced daily content written in English for the publication’s special Olympic tabloid.

Lauren Bickford knew that she wanted to intern for a company that already had a real impact on her daily life — and she found the perfect opportunity at Buzzfeed.

“[It’s] a company I interact with daily, whether I’m watching a Tasty video or reading a news article,” Bickford said. She was particularly thrilled that an internship at Buzzfeed would allow her to “work in a stimulating, exciting workplace that equally values creative and analytical minds.”

By the time Claudia Buccio transferred to USC last year, she already had experience as a reporter, anchor and producer for Santa Ana College’s Spanish- and English-language newscasts. When it came time to pursue an internship for the summer, she knew that she wanted to do it at a news station, using Spanish-language skills she acquired while living in Mexico for nine years. She found the ideal match in Telemundo.

“Thanks to an interview I had with a campus recruiter at USC, I was selected as an intern,” Buccio said. “Telemundo was the perfect combination of my passion for news and my Mexican-American culture.”

As a field producer for special assignments, Buccio did interviews and helped the photographer gather material for a news package. “This was one of my favorite parts because my goal is to be a reporter, and I was basically doing a reporter’s job,” she said.

Her assignments included visiting interesting locales like Salvation Mountain and the Hollywood Museum, profiling Mexican craftsmen living in Los Angeles and interviewing a 4-year-old in need of a home.

“These encounters helped me understand others by developing a sense of empathy,” Buccio said. “And it sparked great courage in me to fight for my own dreams, too.”

Stepping up

USCABJ, USC’s official chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, was honored with the Student Chapter of the Year award at this year’s NABJ/NAHJ Convention & Career Fair in Washington, D.C.

“It’s kind of a dream come true,” said Kay Angrum ’16, outgoing vice president of the chapter.

The notable honor for the 15-member organization capped years of work on campus, as well as networking events.

The members had one goal in mind: to win the Student Chapter of the Year award.

Achieving that goal was the perfect coda for Angrum and outgoing chapter president Jordyn Holman.

“It was something that has had so much time and effort invested into it,” Holman said.

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