About Us

Statement of Purpose

Our Specialized Reporting Institute will examine how journalists use social media to cover social protest movements and how journalists can monitor social media to become aware of and stay on top of emerging movements. It is apparent that in this century the traditional agenda-setting role of media has been overwhelmed by citizens using social media to publicize their cause and rally supporters to action, especially in the case of the Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement and the killing of Kelly Thomas at a train station a few miles from the campus where the institute will be held. Journalists throughout the country need to be better informed about how social media affects public affairs in the public sphere; In the Kelly Thomas case the mainstream press in Southern California was put in the embarrassing position of being behind what turned into a national story about the police killing of a homeless schizophrenic man. Clearly there is a need for reporters to become better aware of social protest movements by monitoring and using social media.

Reporters must also become better aware of the historic nature of social movements, especially in times of economic and political unrest. Long before the age of the Internet, the mainstream pressed missed the story of Black migration from the southern states to northern cities in the last century. That is one reason why the national media was taken by surprise by the rioting that occurred from Los Angeles to Newark in the 1960's. In the midst of what economists call the Great Recession, journalists need to understand how movements arise through social networking and how the nature of mass communications has changed with the ability of one person using the Internet to reach and inspire millions.

The use of social media, especially citizen blogging, has blown open the gate-keeping role of traditional media by allowing ordinary citizens to communicate with mass audiences. The Arab Spring showed the ability of citizens to overcome an authoritarian press model in Egypt that sought to censor news of the uprising. The Tea Party and the Occupied Movement rose from the grassroots. Why and how these social movements germinate will be part of our institute.

McCormick SRI Seminar Hosts

Brent Foster (left), PhD in Communication from the University of Missouri-Columbia, is an Assistant Professor of Communications with an emphasis in Broadcast Journalism. He was the producer of OC Insight, a public affairs talk show on KCET-TV in Los Angeles. In 2011, Dr. Foster was honored by the Broadcast Education Association for Best Hard News Reporting. Before coming to California in 2007, Dr. Foster taught broadcasting at the University of Central Missouri and Missouri Valley College. In addition to teaching, he held positions at KMVC-FM, MVC-TV, KMOS-TV and KTBG-FM.

Jeffrey Brody (right) is a professor of Communications and member of the Asian American Studies Program Council at California State University, Fullerton. He teaches advanced writing classes, courses on mass communication and society, and media and diversity. He has a distinguished record advising student publications. His research interests include the internet, ethnic press, newspaper industry and the Vietnamese American experience. He is co-author of "The Newspaper Publishing Industry," and an oral history of Yen Do, the founder of the Nguoi Viet Daily News, the largest Vietnamese-language newspaper in the United States. Brody also has been associate producer of "Saigon USA," a documentary film, and selections from his documentary photography exhibit, "The Vietnamese: Self Portrait of a People," were included for an exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum in Washington, D.C. and for a touring Smithsonian exhibit in cities across the United States. Brody has a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and received doctoral equivalency from California State University, Fullerton. He is an award-winning reporter with more than a dozen years experience in the newspaper industry and has written freelance articles for newspapers and magazines. Brody has appeared on a ABC Niteline segment and been interviewed by "The New York Times," "The Los Angeles Times," "The British Guardian" and other major publications. He has received grants from the Ford Foundation and been a Jefferson Fellow at the East-West Center in Hawaii. Brody has been a member of the faculty since 1993.


California State University, Fullerton, seeks applicants for a workshop for journalists on “Covering Social Protest Movements in an Age of Social Media” to be held September 27-29.

Academic and journalistic experts will lead discussions of social media as catalysts for social protest movements, case studies on the Occupy and Tea Party movements, and how to cover these important stories.

The workshop is part of the Specialized Reporting Institute training series of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. The McCormick Foundation pays participants’ expenses for tuition, travel, hotel and some meals for those selected to attend. Deadline to apply is August 25.

The aim of the institute is to help journalists become better aware of the nature of social protest movements, the ability of movements to arise through social networking and how journalists can improve their coverage. Participants will learn that movements might develop in many areas, whether it’s discontent over a school board issue or protest over jobs, the environment or the economy.

California State University, Fullerton, seeks participation from a diverse group of 20 editors, news directors, bloggers and reporters from small and medium-sized news organizations.

For a preview of what the workshop will cover, join a live chat on the topic on July 30 at www.poynter.org/chats.

Applicants will be notified whether they are accepted into the workshop by Sept. 1.

For details, go to www.coveringsocialprotests.fullerton.edu.

Download application and email to bfoster@fullerton.edu.


Thursday, September 27

Wine and Cheese Reception hosted by College of Communications and Orange County Press Club, 6-9 p.m., Marriott Fullerton at California State University, 2701 E. Nutwood Ave, Fullerton, CA 92831.

Friday, September 28

8:00-9:00a.m., Breakfast - Participant introductions. (Salon D)

9:00-9:30a.m., Welcome remarks - Discussion of the goals and desired outcomes of the SRI.

9:45-11:45a.m., Digital Media/Social Media and the Decline of Agenda Setting, Workshop by Rob Curley. (Salon D)

12:00-1:30p.m., Lunch, Marriott Courtyard.

1:30-2:30p.m., Case Study-The Police-Killing of Kelly Thomas and Anaheim Protests. Workshop by Professor Jarrett Lovell, of the Department of Criminal Justice, CSU, Fullerton, Ron Thomas, Father of Kelly Thomas and Gustavo Arellano, Editor, Orange County Weekly. (Salon D)

2:45-3:45p.m., Case Study – The Tea Party Movement, Presentation by Vanessa Williamson is a third-year PhD student in Government and Social Policy at Harvard University. She is the co-author of The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism. (Salon D)

6:00-9:00p.m., Dinner, Keynote address about “Journalists as Activists in an Age of Social Protest” by Robert Scheer, Author and Editor/Chief of TruthDig blog. (location TBD)

Saturday, September 29

8:30-9:30a.m., Working Breakfast, Understanding Social Media as a Catalyst for Social Movements, Workshop by Jeffrey Brody, Professor of Communications, California State University, Fullerton. (Salon D)

9:30-10:30a.m., Reporting Strategies for Covering Social Movements, Presentation by Martin Beck, social media and reader engagement editor for the Los Angeles Times and Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times Reporter who covered the LA occupy movement. (Salon D)

10:45-11:45a.m., Covering Protests Demonstrations that Turn Violent, Presentation by Jim Carlton, Wall Street Journal Reporter who has covered the WTO protests in Seattle and Cancun, and the occupy protests in Oakland and San Francisco. (Salon D)

11:45-1:00p.m., Break/Checkout

1:00-2:00p.m., American Social Movements and Traditional Media Coverage, Workshop by Tom Hayden, is a social and political activist, author, and former California state legislator, who is director of the Peace and Justice Resource Center in Culver City, California. (Salon D)

2:00-2:30p.m., Closing remarks and evaluation of the SRI.

Download schedule


Robert Scheer "Keynote Speaker"

Robert Scheer, editor in chief of Truthdig, has built a reputation for strong social and political writing over his 30 years as a journalist. His columns appear in newspapers across the country, and his in-depth interviews have made headlines. He conducted the famous Playboy magazine interview in which Jimmy Carter confessed to the lust in his heart and he went on to do many interviews for the Los Angeles Times with Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and many other prominent political and cultural figures.

Between 1964 and 1969 he was Vietnam correspondent, managing editor and editor in chief of Ramparts magazine. From 1976 to 1993 he served as a national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, writing on diverse topics such as the Soviet Union, arms control, national politics and the military. In 1993 he launched a nationally syndicated column based at the Los Angeles Times, where he was named a contributing editor. That column ran weekly for the next 12 years and is now based at Truthdig.

Scheer can be heard on the political radio program “Left, Right and Center” on KCRW, the National Public Radio affiliate in Santa Monica, Calif. He is currently a clinical professor of communications at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Scheer has written nine books, including“Thinking Tuna Fish, Talking Death: Essays on the Pornography of Power”; “With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush and Nuclear War”; “America After Nixon: The Age of Multinationals”; with his son Christopher and Lakshmi Chaudhry, “The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us about Iraq”; “Playing President: “My Close Encounters with Nixon, Carter, Bush I and Clinton—and How They Did Not Prepare Me for George W. Bush”; and “The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America.” Scheer’s latest book, “The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street”(Nation Books), was released on September 7, 2010.

Scheer was raised in the Bronx, where he attended public schools and graduated from City College of New York. He studied as a Maxwell Fellow at Syracuse University and was a fellow at the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, where he did graduate work in economics. Scheer is a contributing editor for The Nation as well as a Nation Fellow. He has also been a Poynter Fellow at Yale, and was a fellow in arms control at Stanford.

Scheer received the 2010 Distinguished Work in New Media Award from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Greater Los Angeles Chapter, and in 2011 Ithaca College awarded him the Izzy Award for outstanding achievement in independent media.

Most recently, Scheer was honored with the 2011 Society of Professional Journalist's Sigma Delta Chi Award for best independent online column writing.

Martin Beck

Martin Beck, social media and reader engagement editor for the Los Angeles Times, is leading the Times' efforts to cultivate community and connect with its audience in new ways. Working across the newsroom, Martin is helping journalists identify effective ways to use social media networks and other emerging technologies. In 22 years with the Times, Martin has worked in a wide range of newsroom positions, including sports writer, copy editor, page designer, technology editor and web deputy. Martin, @latimesbeck on Twitter, is a graduate of UC Irvine and the University of Missouri journalism school.

Jim Carlton

Jim Carlton has covered West Coast political and economic issues for the Wall Street Journal for the past six years. Prior to that, he was an environmental and real-estate writer for the Journal and also covered Silicon Valley. He is also author of "Apple: The Inside Story of Intrigue, Egomania and Business Blunders." Before joining the Journal in 1990, he was a reporter at newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register and Houston Chronicle. Mr. Carlton is based in the Journal's San Francisco office as a senior special writer, and over the years has covered many social protests, including the riots at the 1999 WTO meeting in Seattle. More recently, he has been one of the Journal’s lead writers covering the Occupy movement.

Rob Curley

Rob Curley began his career in 1996 as an education reporter and online editor at a small daily newspaper in Kansas.

For four years, beginning in 2008, he held executive newsroom positions at the Las Vegas Sun and Greenspun Media Group. During that period, the Las Vegas Sun became the first news organization in the world to win the top awards in digital journalism (the ONA and EPpy), the top award in broadcast journalism (the duPont) and the top award in print journalism (the Pulitzer).

Curley’s ground-breaking work has been documented in everything from college journalism textbooks to industry and mainstream magazines and white papers to even a 20-minute segment on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. In a 2005 Sunday business story, the New York Times referred to Curley’s work in Lawrence as “the newspaper of the future.”

In December 2006, he was named by the National Newspaper of Association’s PRESSTIME magazine as one of the top “20 Under 40,” a feature designed to recognize those who have proven themselves as “change agents within their companies and the industry, providing much needed leadership and vision.”

In 2007, Curley was named to Washingtonian Magazine’s annual list of the Washington D.C. metro area’s “40 under 40.” In the March issue of Creativity Magazine, he was named to the magazine’s annual list of the 50 most creative people in the world.

Tom Hayden

After over fifty years of activism, politics and writing, Tom Hayden is still a leading voice for ending the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, for erasing sweatshops, saving the environment, and reforming politics through a more participatory democracy.

He currently writes for The Nation, organizes, travels, and speaks constantly against the current wars as founder and Director of the Peace and Justice Resource Center in Culver City, CA. He also recently drafted and lobbied successfully for Los Angeles and San Francisco ordinances to end all taxpayer subsidies for sweatshops.

“Tom Hayden changed America”, writes Nicolas Lemann of The Atlantic. He created “the blueprint for the Great Society programs”, writes former presidential adviser Richard Goodwin. He was “the single greatest figure of the 1960s student movement” according to a New York Times book review. During his time in Sacramento, he was described as “the conscience of the Senate” by the Sacramento Bee’s political analyst. The Nation magazine recently named him one of the 50 greatest progressives of the 20th century.

Hayden has taught recently at Scripps and Claremont colleges in Claremont, Occidental College, the Harvard Institute of Politics, and is the author or editor of 19 books and hundreds of articles for publications from the Los Angeles Times to the Boston Globe to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Hayden describes himself as “an archeological dig.” He may be the character in the Kris Kristofferson song who was “partly truth and partly fiction, a walking contradiction.” It is a fact that he was the batting champion of the Los Angeles Dodgers fantasy baseball camp in the 1980s.

Kate Linthicum

Kate Linthicum is a reporter at the Los Angeles Times, where she writes about City Hall. Previously, she worked on the Times’ national desk. She covered the 2008 presidential campaign and has contributed stories from across the nation and abroad. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Oregonian, Politico, and People Magazine.

Jarret Lovell

A native of Southern California, Jarret Lovell earned his bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of California, Irvine and his master's degree and doctorate in Criminal Justice from Rutgers University. He is the author of several scholarly articles examining criminal justice and popular culture, and he is the author of two books. His book Good Cop/Bad Cop: Mass Media and the Cycle of Police Reform (2003; Willow Tree Press) examines the influence of media on law enforcement practices and police accountability. His most recent book, Crimes of Dissent: Civil Disobedience, Criminal Justice and the Politics of Conscience (2009; NYU Press) provides readers with an in-depth understanding of why activists break the law for justice, and what happens to them when they do. When not working, he spends his time as a deejay hosting a weekly radio program.

His research interests are alternative means of justice attainment such as civil disobedience, direct action and social protest as well as system responses to these strategies of protest. Other interests include understanding our fascination with violence in popular culture, and media portrayals of the administration of justice. He is currently researching how the justice system investigates and responds to instances of cruelty and abuse toward animals.

Vanessa Williamson

Vanessa Williamson is a third-year PhD student in Government and Social Policy. She is the co-author, with Theda Skocpol, of The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism (Oxford University Press, January 2012). Her primary research interest is the politics of taxation in the United States.

Before coming to Harvard, she served at the Policy Director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Williamson lobbied to improve the benefits and support available to military veterans, including for the passage of the 2008 GI Bill, a $60 billion investment in veterans’ college education. She is also the author of Supporting Our Troops, Veterans and Their Families: Lessons Learned and Future Opportunities for Philanthropy, an analysis of almost $250 million in philanthropic spending by the California Community Foundation.

Her work has been cited in diverse media outlets, including the New York Times, the Economist, the Associated Press, Reuters, the Washington Post, CNN, NPR, MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show," McClatchy, the Guardian, and Mother Jones. She has also testified before the House Veterans Affairs Committee regarding outreach to new veterans.

She received her B.A. in French language and literature from NYU, and her MA from NYU's Institute of French Studies. Vanessa also manages the website I Heart Taxes, a pro-tax project that donates its proceeds to the United States Treasury. In her spare time, Vanessa is an amateur aerialist at Aircraft Aerial Arts.

Resource Material


Social media as a tool for protest, by Marko Papic and Sean Noonan


Social media in the Arab World: leading up to the uprisings of 2011, by Jeffrey Ghannam


How social media changed protest, by Dominic Casciani


Occupy Movement inspires new generation of journalists, by Pei Xiong Liu


Occupy Wall Street 'Media Blackout': journalists arrested, roughed up, blocked from covering clearing, by Jack Mirkinson


Social media buzz builds for the Occupy Wall Street movement [CHARTS], by Charlie White


Tech-savvy occupy protesters use cellphone video, social networking to publicize police abuse, by Radley Balko


World citizen: Facebook, Twitter and the protests of 2011, by Frida Ghitis


How Social Media Is Changing Protest Reporting in the U.K., by Katia Savchuk


Is Twitter a useful tool for journalists?, Found in the Journal of Media Practice by Ali Nobil Ahmad

Newspaper coverage of the 2011 protests in Egypt, Found in the Journal of International Communication Gazette by Nawaf Abdulnabi AlMaskati


Cyberprotest: New Media, Citizens, and Social Movements, by Wim B. H. J., Van De Donk, and Dieter Rucht

The Handbook of Global Online Journalism, by Eugenia Siapera, Andreas Veglis

The Digital Journalist’s Handbook, by Mark S. Luckie


Citizen journalists use cell phones, social media to cover Occupy Wall Street protests, by Summer Harlow


How journalists are using social media to cover security sector issues, by Storify user Lodgaard


Twitter for newsrooms




The Fullerton Marriot is located at the corner of Nutwood Avenue and the 57 freeway.

Marriott Fullerton at California State University

Important Links

McCormick Specialized Reporting Institutes for 2012
Marriott Fullerton at California State University
California State University, Fullerton
College of Communications
Society of Professional Journalists
Kelly Thomas / Fullerton Stories
OC Press Club

News in Orange County

OC Register
OC Weekly
LA Times
Fullerton Stories


Things to Do in OC

General Links

Orange County site


Knott's Berry Farm


Huntington Beach
Newport Beach
Laguna Baach
Crystal Cove
Dana Point


General things to do
What's popular
Inside Fullerton: daily events
City of Fullerton
Downtown Fullerton & nightlife
Downtown Fullerton & nightlife II

SRI Seminar

Speakers and Participants

Featured Videos

For more seminar coverage, visit http://www.youtube.com/user/FullSRI

Useful Links

#coveringsocialprotests and #fullsri were the hashtags used by SRI participants to follow the discussions.

Jennifer Karmarkar of Fullerton Stories published an article covering the seminar. Click the link to be directed to the article

Carlos Miller of Photography is Not a Crime and PIXIQ interviewed Ron Thomas during the event and published the article. Click the link to be directed to the article.

Darleene Powells of CBSLA.com wrote about the seminar on her blog Darleenisms. Click the link to be directed to the article.

For more information and contacts visit Poynter News University Resource Page, Resources for Covering Social Protest Movements in an Age of Social Media .