Annual Fellows Luncheon highlights CCLP impact in a variety of fields

Geoffrey Cowan (left) and Warren Bennis at the Annual Fellows Luncheon held at the University of Southern California.

Faculty, staff and friends of the Center on Communication Leadership and Policy (CCLP) gathered for the second Annual Fellows Luncheon to honor senior, faculty, research, law, graduate and junior fellows. Following welcoming remarks from managing director Geoffrey Baum and director Geoffrey Cowan, guests and honorees listened as select fellows described projects and accomplishments during the 2009-2010 academic year. Distinguished fellow, noted author and leadership scholar Warren Bennis was the featured guest, offering observations about the rising importance of the communication field.

Joined by teleconference, the Center’s most recently appointed Senior Fellow Linda Douglass expressed her enthusiasm in joining CCLP and her desire to research public trust of the news industry, particularly in the rise of opinion journalism. Douglass has spent the past year serving as a Director of Communications for the White House Office of Health Reform in the Obama Administration.

Senior Fellow Cinny Kennard also joined the conversation by teleconference to describe the Center’s initiative on women and communication leadership and work with Maria Shriver’s latest initiative, “A Woman’s Nation.”

The conversation then transitioned to discussing the Center’s latest research project Public Policy and Funding the News. Senior Fellow David Westphal and Law Fellow Ariel Fox briefly shared key findings from the report, including that historically, billions of government dollars–in the form of tax breaks, public notice revenue, and postal subsidies–supported the news industry. This report PDF was released in Washington DC at the National Press Club in late January.

In addition to the release of Public Policy and Funding the News, the Center plans to have future presence in Washington DC. Senior Fellow Adam Clayton Powell III shared that–under USC’s new leadership–he will direct a new USC policy initiatives office based in the USC Washington DC center. Among many other roles and responsibilities, Powell, along with Senior Fellow Jeremy Curtin, will be involved with the Center’s newest research initiative on communication technology and foreign policy.

Back in Los Angeles, the Center will continue to host its Global Communication Leadership Forum with Senior Fellow Derek Shearer. The Global Communication Leadership Forum convenes academics, professionals, diplomats, and other officials in a two day conference that explores the media’s role in covering and communicating a particular international affair. This past year’s forum focused on the War in Afghanistan. Ambassador Shearer shared that this year’s forum will focus on the global economic crisis.

Since its inception, the Center on Communication Leadership and Policy has placed great value on the importance of leadership in the rapidly evolving communications and media industries. Distinguished Fellow Dr. Warren Bennis anticipates that as communications evolve and become even more complex, the field of communication will be the most studied– and therefore yield the most sought after degree — for masters students. The ability to sift through and manage information that saturates communication channels will become even more vital and the importance of “creative collaboration” and fostering innovation will only continue to grow.