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USC opens new $60-million J-school building

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USC opened the Wallis Annenberg Hall this week as part of a major expansion to the university's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

The University of Southern California is expanding the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism with a $60-million building. 

The building includes a 20,000-square-foot newsroom, a 30-foot digital screen, and a 500-terabyte private cloud for students to store their work.

Many news establishments can only dream of spending this amount on upgrades right now, worrying instead about how to keep the doors open. 

But, Willow Bay, who had a long career in TV news before becoming director of USC's journalism school, says she remains optimistic despite the seemingly constant announcements of newsroom layoffs.

"It is certainly true that there have been profound changes, we're living through an era of profound technology-driven change in this business, much of it disruptive; but I can't help but see opportunity," she said.

Amid the news this week of 100 newsroom layoffs at The New York Times or the recent shutdown of The Los Angeles Register print publication, Bay said she tells her students, "you have never had more opportunity as a journalist to go out and research [and] investigate with all the access to information that we now have."

"You've never had more tools to create gorgeous-looking, deeply engaging, powerful news reporting. You've never had more opportunities to find an audience and drive them to your content," she said.

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