Letter from the Editors


                                                                                                                                                                                    December 2008

Dear Readers,

This fall, nearly a dozen journalism students at the USC Annenberg School for Communication traveled across the great expanse of South Los Angeles in pursuit of multimedia stories that you won’t find anywhere else. What they found will surprise, and disappoint. They will also offer hope.

In a collection of stories that documents the challenges, and aspirations, of our neighbors just south of the USC campus, Adriana Venegas-Chavez offers a poignant story about a young woman working hard, with help of a nonprofit, to reclaim her life after years of poor decisions. Adriana’s compelling narrative is accompanied by a slideshow narrated by Alisha Ruiz, now a 21-year-old woman who earns our award for perserverance.

Amber Mobley and Brian Frank document early results of an ambitious school reform at Crenshaw High School, and across the U.S., and Jessica Selva reports on new career training opportunities for students at Jordan High School in Watts. Natasha Garyali offers a rare glimpse into the lives of immigrant children.

In one dispatch from Los Angeles’ Skid Row, John Legittino takes stock of the financial health of one nonprofit and discovers, to no one’s surprise, it now needs as much assistance as the people it is trying to help.

John was enrolled in an undergraduate business reporting class taught by Professor Laura Castaneda. John and his classmates offer a compelling look into the financial life of South Los Angeles in these tumultous economic times in Greenlight, Watt Way’s new business section. The business reporting class was joined by second-year graduate and specialized journalism graduate students enrolled in an education reporting class taught by Prof. Bill Celis, whose spring 2006 advanced magazine writing class created the first issue of Watt Way.

A word about the magazine itself. Watt Way is one of several student-produced websites at the USC Annenberg School showcasing our School’s increasingly strong multimedia journalism curriculum. At the same time, this particular student project places a high premium on the acquisition of cultural literacy by helping our students understand that diverse voices in journalism matter a great deal. In this issue of our magazine, you will read and hear from immigrants, African Americans, Latinos, working-class Angelenos, voices not typically found in such abundance in a single publication.

This edition would not have been possible without the immeasureable talent and hard work of Brian Frank and Chris Nelson, second-year graduate students in the education and youth reporting class. Brian and Chris, along with their Annenberg classmates, rolled up their sleeves and produced this fourth edition of the magazine, which from the beginning has offered our readers compelling journalism from across this great city we call home.

                                                                                          Bill Celis and Laura Castaneda,
                                                                                          USC Annenberg journalism faculty