21 Top Journalists Chosen for Fellowships to USC Annenberg's NEA Theater Institute

Twenty-one arts journalists from 13 states have been chosen to participate as fellows in USC Annenberg's seventh National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater. Fellows include theater critics, reporters, editors and general arts &entertainment journalists. The Institute will be held in Los Angeles from June 13 to 22, with the generous support of the NEA. The 21 NEA Fellows are:

  • Christopher Arnott, affiliated arts journalist and critic, New Mass Media, Inc., New Haven, Conn.
  • Martin Brady, affiliated theater critic, Nashville Scene, Tenn.
  • Anthony Byrnes, affiliated weekly columnist and theater critic, Opening the Curtain KCRW,
  • Venice, Calif.
  • Linda Fowler, affiliated arts writer, nj.com and Advance Publications Inc., Tewksbury, N.J.
  • Nancy Fowler, arts reporter, St. Louis Beacon, Mo.
  • Ben Fulton, arts reporter, The Salt Lake Tribune, Utah
  • Rachel Lee Harris, arts & culture news assistant/freelance writer, The New York Times, Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Lou Harry, arts & entertainment editor, Indianapolis Business Journal, Ind.
  • Gerry Christopher Johnson, freelance writer, Philadelphia Weekly andPhiladelphia Tribune, Pa.
  • Maura Judkis, art, theater and culture reporter, TBD.com, Washington, D.C.
  • Jenny Lawton, associate producer, Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, from PRI and WNYC, Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Kerry Lengel, theater reporter and critic, The Arizona Republic, Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Rebecca Milzoff, arts reporter, New York Magazine, N.Y.
  • Jesse North, founder and editor, Stage Rush, New York, N.Y.
  • Kathryn Osenlund, affiliated theater critic, CurtainUp.com, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Julie Potter, affiliated arts journalist, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Calif.
  • Walter Ryce, staff writer and calendar coordinator, Monterey County Weekly, Seaside, Calif.
  • Laura Spencer, arts reporter, KCUR, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Grace Suh, theater writer, The Pitch, Kansas City, Mo.
  • David Timberline, affiliated theater critic, Style Weekly magazine, Richmond, Va.
  • Benjamin Waterhouse, assistant arts and culture editor, Willamette Week, Portland, Ore.

Since the first Institute in 2005, the fellowship has evolved each year, growing from nuts-and-bolts journalism training to encompass a full range of multimedia techniques and sophisticated digital storytelling. This year's fellowship takes another big evolutionary step.

"We are structuring the fellowship as an experimental 'test-tube newsroom' that will create a 'pop-up' website to cover two theater festivals and the annual Theatre Communications Group national conference, which will bring a thousand theater professionals from all over the U.S. for three days. The website, called Engine 28, will experiment with new ways of covering these events," said Sasha Anawalt, director of the NEA Theater Institute. "Our fellows, plus a crack team of prominent editors, will focus on innovative ways of covering this convergence of festivals and the TCG conference."

The NEA Institute's "pop-up" temporary newsroom and its online publication, Engine 28 (URL coming soon), will be led by USC Annenberg's Anawalt with Douglas McLennan, editor and founder of ArtsJournal.com, and Jeff Weinstein, editor and former critic for the Village Voice, Philadelphia Inquirer and Bloomberg News. Joining them on the editorial staff are nationally esteemed journalists Susan Brenneman, deputy op-ed editor for the Los Angeles Times; Steven Leigh Morris, critic-at-large for the LA Weekly; Laurie Ochoa, co-founder of Slake, Dominic Papatola, lead theater critic for St. Paul Pioneer Press; Michael Phillips, film critic for the Chicago Tribune; and Howard Shapiro, theater critic and editor for thePhiladelphia Inquirer and Broadway critic for radio's Classical Network.

The NEA Fellows will participate in a rigorous 10-day program that will focus on the 2011 Theatre Communications Group (TCG) National Conference, hosted by the LA STAGE Alliance, the RADAR L.A. Festival, and the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2011, as well as other major productions, companies and theaters in Los Angeles.

For more information about the NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater, visit http://annenberg.usc.edu/nea.

About the NEA Arts Journalism Institutes

The Theater and Musical Theater Institute at USC Annenberg is one of three NEA Arts Journalism Institutes, along with the Institute in Classical Music and Opera at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York and the Institute for Dance Criticism at the American Dance Festival in Durham, N.C. In 2009, an International Institute in the Visual Arts at American University in Washington, D.C., also was created. Funded by a multimillion-dollar NEA initiative, these institutes offer intensive training for arts reporters and their editors. The four Institutes also partnered in October 2009 to produce the first-ever National Summit on Arts Journalism held at USC Annenberg. The summit explored new ideas for arts coverage and journalism business models in front of a live and virtual audience of nearly 20,000 people. For more information, visit http://annenberg.usc.edu/nea

About the National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at arts.gov.

About the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism

Located in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California, the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism (annenberg.usc.edu) is a national leader in education and scholarship in the fields of communication, journalism, public diplomacy and public relations. With an enrollment of more than 2,200 students, USC Annenberg offers doctoral, master's and bachelor's degree programs, as well as continuing development programs for working professionals, across a broad scope of academic inquiry. The school's comprehensive curriculum emphasizes the core skills of leadership, innovation, service and entrepreneurship and draws upon the resources of a networked university located in the media capital of the world.


Arianna Sikorski

Liz Stark