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Provost Professor Jenkins named to Peabody Awards board

Henry Jenkins, Provost Professor of Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Arts and Education

Professor Henry Jenkins of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is one of three new members of the board that selects Peabody Awards, one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media, administrators of the award announced on Sept. 11.

Jenkins, Provost Professor of Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Arts and Education, will join the 15-member panel in March. The group is charged with selecting recipients of the 73rd annual Peabody Awards from an international field of more than 1,000 entries in broadcast and cable television, radio and the Internet. The 2013 recipients will be announced in April.

“I am enormously excited about serving on the Peabody committee,” Jenkins said. “As someone who has been a lifelong television fan, I’ve always respected the openness of the Peabody Awards to recognize outstanding accomplishments across a range of programming — news as well as entertainment, science fiction as well as ‘serious drama.’ ”

Serving on the Peabody Awards panel offers several unique opportunities, he continued.

“I am hopeful that my involvement can help them also respond to a shifting media environment where real accomplishments are emerging at the intersections between media that other awards committees have had difficulty understanding and appreciating,” he said. “And I look forward to broadening my own already eclectic tastes in media content to discover work that would never have crossed my desk otherwise.

“This new appreciation will no doubt translate back into the kinds of experiences I can offer to the students in my classes here at USC,” he added.

Also joining the board are John Huey, former editor in chief of Time Inc., and Eric Deggans, future TV critic for National Public Radio.

“These are interesting times in the shifting landscape of electronic media,” said Jeffrey Jones, director of the Peabody Awards. “These three individuals bring us extensive knowledge and expertise that can help navigate that landscape as we determine just what constitutes ‘excellence’ in a convergent media era. We are grateful for their commitment of time and effort.”

Established in 1940 and administered by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, the awards recognize distinguished achievement and meritorious public service by stations, networks, producing organizations and individuals.

“The Peabody Awards are the most forward-thinking of the major media awards, so it is entirely appropriate that Henry Jenkins has been asked to serve on the awards panel,” said Larry Gross, vice dean of USC Annenberg and director of its School of Communication. “Henry is a true pioneer and intellectual mentor to those working at the forefront of contemporary culture, and he will bring a wide range of experience and generosity of spirit to this prestigious enterprise.”

Jenkins arrived at USC in fall 2009, after spending the previous decade as director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Comparative Media Studies Program and the Peter de Florez Professor of Humanities. A leading thinker in the effort to redefine the role of journalism in the digital age, Jenkins draws parallels between the consumption of pop culture and the processing of news information to identify new methods to encourage citizen engagement.

He is the author and/or editor of 15 books on various aspects of media and popular culture, including Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture; Hop on Pop: The Politics and Pleasures of Popular Culture; and From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games. His newest books include Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide; and Fans, Bloggers and Gamers: Exploring Participatory Culture. Jenkins has also written for Technology Review, Computer Games, Salon and The Huffington Post.

As one of the first media scholars to chart the changing role of the audience in an environment of increasingly pervasive digital content, Jenkins has been at the forefront of understanding the effects of participatory media on society, politics and culture. His research gives key insights to the success of social-networking websites, networked computer games, online fan communities and other advocacy organizations, and emerging news media outlets.

Jenkins is the principal investigator for Civic Paths and the Media, Activism, Participatory Politics Project, a group that is part of the MacArthur Digital Media and Learning Initiative. He is chief adviser and senior research fellow for the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab.

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Provost Professor Jenkins named to Peabody Awards board

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