The Norman Lear Center’s Media Impact Project received $3.25 million in grants Monday to fund a cutting-edge research study aimed at measuring the influence of social media and understanding the audience draw.“People are analyzing their work by looking at counting page views, likes on Facebook, followers on twitter, retweets, etc. [and] trying to figure out if their film or their television show or their opinion piece or any kind of journalism actually made an impact,” said Adam Rogers, the Norman Lear Center’s project specialist. “Those measurements show how many people saw something or looked at something, but that’s not the same as the outcome or the impact. [What] we are doing is going to take this to the next level to actually look at the engagement and the impact statistics as well.”The funds for this research, which come from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will be distributed over the next two and a half years as specialists from different disciplines come together to contribute to the investigation.These specialists include Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering Carl Kesselman, Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism lecturer Dana Chinn and Norman Lear Center Managing Director and Director of Research Johanna Blakley.“When we get these people together from across disciplines to really look at the issue of the media in a way that nobody has looked at it in the same way before,” Rogers said. “Hopefully we can get lots of students involved from across different disciplines of the entire university.”Rogers said the Media Impact Project distinguishes Annenberg as an institution at the forefront of research on an international level.“This particular project we are kind of setting up as the global hub for this type of metric analysis, and its really doing something that nobody else is doing well,” Rogers said.Max Schwartz, a freshman majoring in broadcast and digital journalism, said this project will not only have a huge impact on the school as a whole, but the professional careers of its students.“It sets [our school] apart because it allows us to go deeper than just content,” Schwartz said. “It allows us to see what the content leads to and the impact of the content, which is something that will make us. I think that, ultimately, that will be part of the future of our profession.”Though the project is still in its early stages, Rogers said this only adds to the excitement for the possible opportunities for the students and the school.“The first step will be identifying interested student workers who can come in and work on our social media and our engagement in helping indentify the types of projects that are out there to work with,” Rogers said. “Any students who have experience and want to gain experience in the type of statistical analysis that we are doing that is cutting edge that nobody else is doing. This will be an incredible opportunity for them to gain that experience.”
In the argument of student-athlete compensation, one side generally defends the current system saying that these athletes are getting their tuition paid for and that is a huge sum of money. Of course, not all college athletes are on a full-ride scholarship, but for those that are; their scholarship doesn’t achieve its full value.Photo courtesy USC Sports InformationBusy schedule · The men’s golf team has a busy November, playing on Monday and Tuesday before hitting the links again next week for three days. It’s just one instance of an athletic team tied down by a rough schedule.Student-athletes continually choose their sport over school because the Pac-12 and their school force them to. How can anyone expect student-athletes to put their academics first when their governing bodies refuse to do the same?This debate is especially relevant given all the attention that Thursday night football games have been given and their impact on the minutes football players spend in the classroom, but it isn’t just about football players. Once again the massive entity that is collegiate football has overshadowed the non-revenue sports that suffer from this problem just as much if not more.The men’s golf team has two consecutive weeks in November in which they have a tournament during the week. This week, the team played on Monday and Tuesday and next week they will be on the links Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.That means they are missing the equivalent of a full week of school from just two tournaments.The women’s volleyball team also plays a significant number of times during the week. This week they played in Tucson on Wednesday night and again in Tempe on Friday, meaning they will miss Tuesday through Friday this week.“On Tuesday we travel, Wednesday we play and Thursday we travel to Tempe,” women’s volleyball head coach Mick Haley said to the Daily Trojan before the team left. “Then we play early Friday at 6 p.m., but we can’t get out that night, which is terrible because we have to get up early to get them back by 9 the next morning on Saturday.”This atrocious schedule leaves very little room to achieve academic excellence. In the same interview, Haley said he thought the team would only be in school for eight days in November.It doesn’t matter how many administrators and coaches come out and say academics are the priority for their teams if their actions speak differently.This isn’t a new problem either and the NCAA in all its resplendent glory is aware of the problem.The organization has conducted a study in order to gain insight into the experiences and well being of student athletes. This survey, “Growth, Opportunity, Aspirations and Learning of Students in College,” was conducted in 2006, 2010 and most recently in 2015.The findings are disheartening, considering the word student comes first in student-athlete. In Division I schools, athletes reported dedicating a median of 34 hours a week to their sport in-season, a two-hour increase since 2010. Not surprisingly, football players spent the most time, averaging 42 hours a week. The other sport that struck the 40-hour mark — that of a full-time job — was baseball at 40 hours per week.The silver lining is that athletes also said they are spending more time on academics than they were in 2010 with the number of hours per week rising from 35.5 hours to 38.5 hours while they are in season. Across the board, female student-athletes said they spent more time studying than their male counterparts.Fifty-nine percent of male and 66 percent of female Division I athletes said they want to spend more time on academics during the season. The three sports who consistently reported they spent significantly more time on athletics than academics were football, baseball and men’s golf.Student-athletes are missing class at very high rates as well. Ten percent of football players reported missing three or more classes a week during their season, and this was the lowest number among of the categories the NCAA provided for Division I athletes. Nineteen percent of baseball players, 21 percent of men’s basketball players and 22 percent of women’s basketball players — all limited to Division I athletes — reported missing three or more classes a week during their season.Between the time spent traveling or working out and the time spent pursuing a degree, the life of a college athlete is far busier than most average students. Unfortunately, most of the student-athletes surveyed were not dissatisfied with these time commitments during the season.By promoting a culture of athletics taking precedent over academics, these athletes are being done a disservice by their universities.According to the NCAA, just 1.6 percent of NCAA football players go on to compete in the NFL. 1.1 percent of men’s basketball players make it to the NBA and for baseball players, 9.7 will be drafted by a Major League team.By taking athletes out of the classroom for such a significant time, the University is taking away valuable preparation for a world beyond athletics. This isn’t to say that college sports should be done away with, there just needs to be some reform in the amount of time that these athletes are expected to contribute to their schools when what they are receiving in return — their education — is being taken away from them.Hailey Tucker is a junior majoring in broadcast and digital journalism. She is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. Her column, “Tucker Talks,” runs Thursdays.