Current Fellows

Dual-Degree Students


Past Fellows

Andrea Wenzel

Andrea Wenzel is a doctoral student at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. She works with the Metamorphosis research group on projects that aim to strengthen local communication networks and foster community belonging and engagement. Andrea’s research focuses on intercultural relations in communities experiencing demographic change. Andrea previously spent 15 years as a journalist and media development consultant, managing international projects for BBC Media Action and Internews, and producing the public radio series Latitudes (WAMU) and Worldview (WBEZ) as well as features and documentaries. Andrea holds an interdisciplinary B.A. and an M.A. in Social Science from the University of Chicago. Working with Evelyn Moreno and Daniela Gerson, Andrea is the principle investigator coordinating this project.

Tow Center Projects:

Engaging communities through solutions journalism is a collaborative research project that will assess how audiences process local solutions-oriented stories, and their online and offline behavioral intentions. Adapting stories developed through a Metamorphosis research group project connecting South Los Angeles community organizations and local media, South LA residents will participate in focus groups exploring the impact of solutions-oriented community-based journalism. The project will make recommendations for a model for solutions journalism interventions that may be particularly useful for diverse communities.

Curious Communities: This report asks what we can learn from Curious City’s digital and offline strategies to expand the demographics of people whom media is listening to. It draws from my observations of the program’s outreach process and twenty-five interviews with journalists, participating audience members, residents of targeted outreach areas, and partner organizations. It also offers an opportunity to reflect on journalistic norms and approaches to participatory media, how community stakeholders interact with local news, and relations between public media and marginalized publics.

From Polarization to Public Sphere: This research study examines what political polarization and urban-rural divisions look like in the daily lives of residents at the local level. The project focuses on a case study of a region of Kentucky, including the “purple” college town of Bowling Green and the more “red” and rural area of Ohio County. Drawing from interviews and media diaries, the study examines the communication ecologies of residents and the potential for community engagement across demographic and ideological lines. The study will also explore challenges and opportunities in the rural media landscape through a workshop with local and regional media and community stakeholders.