About Under the Influence

Never before in American history has Big Money played such a powerful and, often, determinative role in our political system.

Under the Influence: Money & Power in Politics will illustrate the nexus of campaign cash and public policy on both a local and national stage. Our reporters will partner with the Sunlight Foundation to dig into campaign finance databases and unearth what some call the permanent government — the un-elected special interests behind our public institutions. In addition, they will examine the revolving door through which powerful lobbyists become top staffers to key national legislators.

The project will culminate with a series of in-depth multimedia reports in the summer, but in the meantime you can follow the reporters' dispatches and notes right here — and watch the stories unfold.

About News21
As part of the Carnegie-Knight Initiative that brings together a dozen prominent universities, News21 aims to leverage the reporting power of the country's most advanced journalism students to shed new light on selected issues of pressing civic importance.

The USC Annenberg News21 team, now led by veteran journalists and current faculty members Marc Cooper, Patricia Dean and Willa Seidenberg, has completed extensive and well-received multi-platform reporting on subjects as varied as immigration, religion, Campaign '08 and, most recently, the disappearance of the California Dream.

About the News21/SoCal Connected Collaboration
The USC News21 partnership with SoCal Connected connects an elite group of 10 bright, budding journalists with working professionals at KCET. They'll work as part of the SoCal Connected team — contributing story ideas, collaborating with producers and keeping pace with the demands of a hard-hitting weekly news program.