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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Mari Payton

Class of 2003, Bachelor's

Weekday Anchor/Investigative Reporter

Mari Payton loves everything about San Diego. The people, the weather and its beaches.  She feels fortunate to be bringing San Diegans the news every day.

Her coverage of the 2007 Firestorm earned her an Emmy award.  She was also nominated for an Emmy in 2010 for her investigative piece "Prescription For Pot."   She's reported breaking news live on the TODAY show, MSNBC, and other NBC stations across the country.

Before returning home to Southern California, she worked at WLBT, the NBC affiliate in Jackson, Mississippi.  While at WLBT, she was sent to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where she rode out the storm and covered the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  She also won an Associated Press award for a piece on the obesity epidemic in the state of Mississippi. Mari graduated magna cum laude from the University of Southern California with a double major in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science.

She was a Renaissance Scholar and graduated from the Annenberg School for Communication. While there, she worked as an anchor/reporter for Annenberg TV News, USC's live half hour nightly newscast. That's also where she learned to shoot and edit.

Mari also studied international media in London, Paris, Prague, and Geneva.  She also studied in  Washington, D.C. and interned on Capitol Hill for Sen. Dianne Feinstein.  Mari is a member of the Asian American Journalists Association.


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