Baghdad | Los Angeles, a four-month collaboration between the Annenberg School for Communication at USC and the Center for Investigative Reporting in Berkeley, explores the impact of the Iraq war in Southern California. Stories include: a profile of the Junior ROTC program at Hollywood High School; the tale of an undocumented Mexican, in the U.S. since the age of three, who wants nothing more than to serve in the U.S. military, but can’t; stories of Iraqi exiles with roots in Southern California who’ve returned to help rebuild their country; a “biography of a fighter jet,” from Southern California assembly line to payload delivery in Iraq; an analysis of the U.S. Army’s advertising strategy in light of an unpopular war; and a first person essay by a reporter whose father’s secret defense-industry work has its own ties to Iraq. The project began as part of Sandy Tolan’s “Reporting in Los Angeles” class at the Annenberg School. The class’s goal was to examine how the war in Iraq, in direct and indirect ways, has played a role in the lives of a diverse group of Californians. The challenge was to find untold stories and to tell them in new ways in a digital format. Student reporters explored ideas during regular class sessions and with extensive consultation with colleagues from CIR. The reporters were encouraged to come up with their own ideas and interpretations of the connections between Iraq and Southern California.  Student reporters are Janna Brancolini, Lara Coger, Daniela Gerson, Alex Herbach, Michelle Lanz, Catherine Lyons, Chris Nelson, and Jean Yung.  Special thanks to CIR’s director, Robert Rosenthal, and editorial director, Mark Schapiro.  Thanks also to CIR’s web producer, Carrie Ching, to Wendy Chapman, Director of Web Technologies at Annenberg, and to Chris Nelson, who designed and set up the project website. The editors would also like to thank Dan Birman, executive producer for USC Annenberg’s student-produced newsmagazine series, Impact, and to Impact’s Lee Warner, for their generosity in facilitating access to Jean Yung’s story, “A Helping Hand for the Cadets of Hollywood High.” >> Visit the Baghdad | Los Angeles website >> Download press release

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