Willow Bay named dean of USC Annenberg School


People have been saying this was coming — they were right. Willow Bay, director of the USC Annenberg School for Journalism since July 2014, is getting a promotion to be dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, effective July 1. In the new job she succeeds Ernest J. Wilson III, who said last May he would be stepping down, and Bay will be the first female dean of USC Annenberg.

Bay came to USC Annenberg from the Huffington Post, where she was senior strategic advisor. Her journalism experience includes stints as co-anchor of ABC News’ "Good Morning America/Sunday" and CNN’s "Moneyline News Hour." She also was a special correspondent and host for Bloomberg TV.

From the release, quoting USC Provost Michael Quick:

“Willow Bay is exactly the right person to lead USC Annenberg at this important time, given the dramatic changes in communications and journalism,” Quick said. “USC is proud to have the foremost school of communication and journalism in the country. Our students, faculty and staff will greatly benefit from Willow’s expertise as they grapple with the ever-evolving world of social media, print and broadcast journalism and converged communication...."

She launched operation of the Julie Chen/Leslie Moonves and CBS Media Center in Wallis Annenberg Hall, introduced the school’s new Bachelor of Arts in Journalism degree program, welcomed the first cohort of the school’s nine-month Master of Science in Journalism program, forged partnerships with key media industry partners and created new curriculum and fellowships for master’s students.

Last fall, Bay’s work to ensure that current and future communicators are fluent on many digital platforms was recognized with the Award of Honor from the PEN Center USA.

She is an experienced journalist, author, producer, digital news editor and national broadcast and global cable television news anchor.

Not mentioned is the heft that Bay is expected to bring on the fundraising side. Her husband is Disney chief Bob Iger and she showed up last year as a co-host of a Hillary Clinton fundraiser alongside Haim Saban, Casey Wasserman and other LA high rollers.

The release carries the byline of Beth Shuster, the former education editor for the Los Angeles Times, who now works as director of public communications for USC's Office of the Provost.

Speaking of LA Times alumnni, the former reporter James Rainey posted on Facebook Monday that he is leaving Variety, where he has been a senior film reporter the past two years, to join NBC News as a digital general assignment reporter. He says in part:

"It's been a treat and a challenge to try to understand Hollywood and the film business. I'm mostly bamboozled by it all, but know a lot more than I did in 2015. (Truly damning myself with faint praise.) Thanks to a bright, energetic and extremely hard working Variety crew for making me feel welcome. The NBC job gives me a chance to rejoin a big, respected international news organization. After spending most of my career at the L.A. Times, I missed having that kind of expertise and heft, with many great journalists under one umbrella."

Also noted:

  • Tronc has licensed the technology platform that the Washington Post uses for managing content in the newsroom and publishing online. It will be rolled out to the Los Angeles Times, where maybe the long technology nightmare is soon to be over. The Times has been shackled by inferior Tribune and internal systems, and anyone who uses knows how much the web presence has needed a big upgrade. Sounds like it's coming. Remember that Tronc's management came in saying they would be providing a tech solution to its newspapers' problems, but instead they are turning to the Post. WSJ
  • The Norman Lear Center at USC Annenberg on Monday announced the winners of the 2017 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism: Jorge Ramos of Univision and Fusion, Jake Tapper of CNN and Katy Tur of NBC. KCET in Los Angeles also won a special commendation for its voter education initiative, "Props in a Minute." Full list of winners
  • A reporter in Ireland asked every one of the country's national politicians for their views on Beyonce. The results

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