By Kayla Colin and Riannon Trutanich
ATVN (Annenberg TV News)
The USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism broke ground Thursday (Nov. 8) for the Wallis Annenberg Hall, a new state-of-the-art building, as well as launched a $150 million fundraising initiative.
Trustees, faculty, staff, students and alumni attended the ceremony which marked the beginning of the initiative, which will "invest in new generations of students and scholars exploring the digital future," according to USC News.
Funds raised will be directed toward capital projects to enhance the facilities in the hall and also will be distributed for student scholarships, fellowships, chaired professorships and funding for startups led by students and faculty.
According to USC, the initiative is part of The Campaign for the University of Southern California, a multiyear effort to raise $6 billion for the university’s academic, community and capital priorities.
The hall will include a four-story atrium with a rooftop skylight as well as a multistory digital media tower which will display student programming along with online social media and live broadcasts.
The new 88,000-square-foot, five-floor building is scheduled to open in Fall 2014. Its design was drawn to exemplify the "transparency and collaboration that drives USC Annenberg’s educational philosophy," according to Annenberg officials.
The center of the building will consist of a 20,000-square-foot newsroom with a state-of-the-art content management system which will allow journalism students to publish from multiple sources to any medium.
The newsroom will include a 360-degree assignment desk that will oversee all of USC Annenberg’s student news organizations. Each organization will continue operating independently, but they will have the ability to share audio and video on multiple platforms from the single newsroom.
Studios in the newsroom will be multipurpose: the television studio will contain multiple sets, including anchor desks and a green screen; a separate radio studio equipped with broadcast-quality cameras will operate alongside the television studio so that radio content can be used online or on television; and a third studio designed for vodcasts will allow streaming of professional-quality audio and video directly to the Web.
The building will also include a central media database that will encourage sharing and analysis by communication and journalism faculty, students and scholars, regardless of where they are, according to Annenberg officials.
Plans for the new building began with a $50 million gift from the Annenberg Foundation under the direction of Wallis Annenberg, who is also the foundation’s president and CEO. Annenberg is the longest-serving trustee on USC’s Board of Trustees and has been a lifelong advocate for continuing journalism.
In total, the Annenberg Foundation and the Annenberg family have contributed a $350 million to USC, beginning with Ambassador Walter Annenberg, who originally founded USC Annenberg in 1971.