Journalist Willow Bay was named the new director of the School of Journalism at the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism on Wednesday morning.
Bay, who will start her position in July, brings in a wide range of experience. Currently the senior editor of the Huffington Post and a special correspondent for Bloomberg TV, Bay additionally has been an author, producer, digital news editor and national broadcast and global television news anchor.
“[Bay’s] prominent broadcast experience includes stints as co-anchor of ABC News’ Good Morning America/Sunday; co-anchor of CNN’s Moneyline News Hour; host, lead writer and producer of CNN’s long-form program Pinnacle; substitute anchor on NBC’s Early Today and other MSNBC/NBC programs; co-host of NBA Inside Stuff; and host, writer and executive producer of the Lifetime documentary Spotlight 25,” a press release released by USC stated.
Bay, who has never worked in an academic setting before, said her new position at the Annenberg School will allow her to influence a new wave of young journalists.
“I think Annenberg represents an extraordinary opportunity,” Bay said. “First, to educate and inspire a next generation of journalists, but also to bring into a world of practice, a new skill set and really new ways of covering stories that Annenberg students learn, and frankly that they are fluent in and well-versed in when they graduate.”
Bay’s position as director will begin right before the grand opening of Wallis Annenberg Hall, something she is excited about.
“It is a tremendous [occasion] for Annenberg to take an important role in a conversation, frankly a global conversation, about the future of journalism,” Bay said. “I think one of the key goals will be to settle in to the new Wallis Annenberg Hall and to fully leverage all of those technologies.”
Bay originally began working as a model when she was 15 years old, but said that journalism was always her true passion.
“I have always wanted to be a reporter ever since I was in high school, and that is actually, how I got into modeling,” Bay said. “I went for an internship at Seventeen Magazine. I started my career in a pursuit of a job in journalism!”
Wallis Annenberg, chairman, president and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation and USC Board of Trustees member, expressed immense pride in Bay’s appointment.
“I cannot think of a greater director for the USC Annenberg School of Journalism, or a greater model of what journalism can achieve in today’s world,” Annenberg said in the press release.
Bay’s work spans over a diverse array of the media landscape, and she noted that it’s exactly that diversity that will allow her to stand out as the new director.
“I have worked in so many sections of the industry, and it gives you a familiarity with the needs of those industries and I think that will help me hugely in Annenberg,” Bay said. “Hopefully, I can use that to the advantage, not just of the school, but of the students.”
Ernest Wilson III, dean of the Annenberg school, predicts that Bay’s leadership will usher the school into the future.
“We have a new building, a new program and a new era. I’m thrilled that Willow Bay will be here to provide new leadership for our School of Journalism,” Wilson said in the press release.