As part of the HFPA mission to contribute to organizations connected with the entertainment industry and involved in educational, cultural, and humanitarian activities, five HFPA members recently visited USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism to participate in a panel moderated by Senior Lecturer and former TV Guide senior editor, Mary Murphy. The class was titled ‘Specialized Journalism: The Arts’ and our panel consisted of Jenny Cooney (Australia), Silvia Bizio (Italy), Scott Orlin (Germany), Marlene Von Arx (Switzerland) and Elisabeth Sereda (Austria).
Students listened as we talked about the journalistic benefits we receive as members of the HFPA, accessing interviews that allow us to make our living as foreign correspondents providing entertainment content to each of our markets. We also talked about our responsibility as Golden Globe voters and how we cover awards season and cover the entertainment industry now the impact of the foreign box-office and global TV hits have changed everything.
The HFPA members also learned something too. The students asked great questions about censorship, how social media affects our jobs and how we tackle difficult topics in interviews or deal with publicists trying to control or manipulate an interview. We were surprised to hear that the students often make decisions on their movie-going habits using sites like Rotten Tomatoes instead of reviews or word of mouth. One really surprising discovery came when we discussed former screen legends like Warren Beatty, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford and found out a majority of students had never heard of them. Even less had watched any of their Oscar-winning films so we suggested they do their homework before sitting down with filmmakers or actors because many of them reference these legends as their inspiration and if you plan to cover Hollywood, you will want to know what they are talking about when the references come up!
Despite the fact that real journalism (not fake news) is on the decline, we left the two-hour class feeling a little more optimistic about the passion of these students so committed to the profession. We encouraged them to submit something about their experience with our panel and include some examples below. We are grateful to Mary Murphy for inviting us and look forward to following the careers of the students we met.
by Alicia de Geus
On Monday, February 13th, five members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association participated in a panel for undergraduate students at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Discussing how they got their starts in journalism and their experiences in the HFPA, the members gave students a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by international journalists. Students were curious to learn about the relationships the HFPA has developed with members of the entertainment industry and the role this plays in Golden Globes nominations. The students were particularly intrigued by the privilege these journalists have to engage with talent and directors in a way that extends beyond the limitations publicists often set for American journalists. As a final piece of advice for the rising journalists in the audience, the members stressed the importance of journalists’ responsibility to tell a true narrative, not taking news out of context or spinning stories to fit their own agendas. Filled with anecdotes of the members’ personal experiences, the panel left students with a greater understanding of how the American entertainment industry and international journalism significantly impact one another.
by Betsy Carter, M.S. Candidate, Journalism, USC
Five members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association met with journalism students at the University of Southern California recently to discuss their careers. They shared their experience covering film and television for various publications around the world and co-producing the annual Golden Globe Awards. Students learned about the voting process and the privileges associated with being a HFPA member.
Scott Orlin, who writes for Germany’s Cinema magazine, offered the class some advice on how to be a better journalist. “The best thing I ever did was listen,” said Orlin. He also encouraged them to dig deeper into what makes a story interesting. “Find out the best parts of what you read,” he said.
Elisabeth Sereda of Austria urged students to become experts in the film industry to take their storytelling and interview skills to the next level. “You can’t be in this business unless you know the legends,” she said.
USC Professor Mary Murphy said the students were enthralled with their stories and realized the responsibility all journalists have no matter what they cover.