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Leading Showrunners Address Diversity in Media 

By Loyola University on Mon, 10/25/2021 - 12:20

Producers of “Law and Order” and “The Problem with Jon Stewart” join Loyola University New Orleans for talks on gender, race and identity in media

(NEW ORLEANS – October 25, 2021) Leading producers and showrunners join Loyola University New Orleans students this week to talk about inclusive writing and the glories and challenges of assembling the most diverse writing staff ever on television. Longtime leaders of NBC’s “Law and Order” and Apple TV+’s “The Problem with Jon Stewart” will address writing effectively for diverse audiences, starting with the fact that a diverse writing staff is essential. All are welcome.

“I think it is very important to not only equip students with the traditional media tools to succeed but also ensure they have the critical lens through which to understand the relationship between media and communication as it relates to race, gender, and identity,” said Ty Lawson, a former ABC producer who now serves at Loyola as the Marion M. and John S. Stokes Jr Visiting Professor in Race and Culture in Media. “Having guests who are doing this work provides students with real-world experiences.”

Monday, October 25, 2021, 2:30 p.m.
Multimedia Room 2, Monroe Library
Loyola University New Orleans

Warren Leight, Showrunner/Executive Producer of Law & Order, will address writing for diverse audiences, using two episodes as study examples:

S21 / Ep 5 / At Midnight in Manhattan -- The detectives are spread thin when three major cases come in at midnight; an assault of a young white woman by a HailMe driver, a DV case, and the assault of a transgender sex worker.  The episode explores how the justice system does not serve survivors equally.

S22 / Ep 1 / Guardians & Gladiators -- When the squad tries to solve an assault in Central Park, they are hampered by their own blind spots and a community that is losing trust in the police.  For context, this episode first aired in Autumn 2020 as the show’s first episode back after the COVID shutdown.

Wednesday, October 25, 2021, 2:30 p.m.
Multimedia Room 2, Monroe Library
Loyola University New Orleans 

Brinda Adhikari, Showrunner/Executive Producer (Former Longtime ABC News Producer) and Chelsea Devantez, Head Writer, from “The Problem with Jon Stewart” will discuss assembling the most diverse writing staff ever on television. 

The talks are part of the curriculum of the Gender, Race and Identity in Media course taught by Professor Lawson in Loyola’s award-winning School of Communication and Design; the course examines the impact of media’s gender images on individuals, society, and culture. Participants learn to be more critical consumers of media messages, specifically in terms of gender representations, to think and to write critically about their responses to and use of media products, and to develop different perspectives to interpret pop culture and media messages.

Recently ranked No. 7 in the nation by the Princeton Review on measures of diversity and inclusiveness, Loyola University New Orleans is a Jesuit university built on the ideals of respect for all people and education of the whole person – body, mind and spirit. Diverse and inclusive in every way, Loyola’s student body is more than 50 percent students of color. More than 40 percent are Pell-eligible and more than one third are the first in their families to attend university.