Multimedia Properties, Facilities and Centers
Weimer Hall is considered one of the finest educational journalism buildings in the nation. Named for Rae Weimer, the first Dean of the College, the school moved into the $6.3 million building in 1980, and added the $3.1 million, Alvin G. Flanagan Telecommunication Wing in 1990. Additional media properties space was added in 2001 and the Innovation News Center was completed in 2012.
In addition to 20 classrooms and laboratories, Weimer Hall houses the Innovation News Center, four radio stations, two television stations, research facilities, a 250-seat auditorium and 11 satellite ground stations.
As an acknowledged leader in communication technology, the College has put forth a set of computer requirements requiring that each student have access to a personal computer. In support, the College provides some 300-networked computers equipped with the latest computer hardware and software packages.
Weimer’s well-equipped laboratories and classrooms also provide experience with professional-quality equipment, including television and radio production hardware, reporting and editing terminals, digital still cameras, and computerized graphics equipment.
The computer laboratories, including three state-of-the-art desktop publishing labs, connect the College’s newsrooms and offices to the rest of the campus and the Internet. The Jerry Davis Interactive Media Lab provides students, faculty and staff a place to innovate and explore the future of news delivery using state-of-the-art workstations, audio and video editing equipment.
Division of Multimedia Properties – Radio, Television and Digital Properties
The College’s Division of Multimedia Properties, located in the Flanagan Wing of Weimer Hall, includes seven broadcast stations, allowing students from throughout the College to gain experience in a competitive broadcast marketplace. More than 300 students work in news, sports, production, management positions, web design, promotions and advertising for the radio and television stations each semester.
Public broadcasting television station WUFT-TV/DT carries PBS and locally produced programming, including a daily newscast produced by the College’s students. Commercial television station WRUF-TV broadcasts local weather, news and Florida Gator athletic programming and serves as a training ground for budding meteorologists.
Commercial radio station ESPN 850 (WRUF-AM) is the top sports station in the market, while its FM counterpart Country 1037 the Gator provides residents across North Central Florida with the market’s only contemporary country radio station.
The National Public Radio affiliate, WUFT-FM, and its repeater station, WJUF-FM, provide 24/news and talk. The College also provides opportunities for students in Spanish language programming on WUFT Ahora, a WUFT HD station that features news and public affairs including Spanish language newscasts produced by the College’s students.
In addition, the College has a partnership with the University of Florida Athletic Association to work with their professionals to produce high quality content for Florida Gator video and online distribution.
Innovation News Center
The Innovation News Center is the home of the College’s news, weather and sports operations. The two-story, 14,000-square-foot space replaced three 1980s-era newsrooms, and provides nearly 100 seats for reporters, producers and editors working together to report the news for the College’s many distribution channels, including WUFT-TV, WUFT-FM 89.1, ESPN 850 WRUF, Country 103.7 the Gator, WUFT-TV 6, wuft.org and other affiliated websites.
The facility, which opened in the fall of 2012, allows the College’s students to learn to report from multiple platforms. Using the ROPE model – report once, publish everywhere – students work in a real world environment that prepares them to produce content at any type of media organization.
The INC is organized around a “super desk” where an assignment manager and news managers from web, television and radio are seated. Directly adjacent are seats for senior producers to manage the coverage on each platform. Three pods of nearly 24 seats each hold journalism and telecommunication students as they report and produce stories. Sprinkled through are breakout rooms for team meetings, television and radio editing rooms and audio booths. The space also includes a mini-studio (or “live-shot area”) where the College’s students create video content for streaming and for broadcast on WUFT-TV and WRUF-TV.
The second floor space includes a video editing laboratory, a conference room and newsroom space for the College’s and ESPN 850 WRUF sports operations and reporting. All of these spaces overlook the news floor and are connected by two open staircases and bathed in natural light from the clerestory window overhead.
Center for Media Innovation + Research
The Center for Media Innovation + Research utilizes advanced digital technology to train the College’s students in creating content for all media. Journalism and telecommunication students primarily work in a convergent setting in CMIR’s 21st Century News Laboratory, while public relations, advertising and public interest communications develop successful campaigns and programs in AHA! The Innovation CoLab.
The 21st Century News Laboratory, which opened in September of 2010, includes a 1,200 square feet production studio, complete with professional lighting and a large multi-display video wall. Adjacent to the newsroom is a conference room and sound studio.
AHA!, which opened for students and faculty in March 2012, is primarily for students in public relations, advertising, public interest communications and telecommunication production. The Suite allows these students to hone their skills in digital technology and develop campaigns and programs across multiple media platforms.
The Suite provides an area for students and faculty to explore emergent technologies and connectivity and provides a space for students from advertising and public relations to work more closely together. It consists of an open “Collaborative Café” surrounded by four high-tech breakout suites where teams of students work collaboratively to develop their ideas.
The final component of this innovative CMIR triumvirate is a digital communications think tank and research consortium that will extend the center’s research across the world, allowing faculty and staff to collaborate on digital communications research projects with people around the globe.
The Brechner Center for Freedom of Information
The Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida exists to advance understanding, appreciation and support for freedom of information in the state of Florida, the nation and the world.
The Brechner Center is the successor to the Florida Freedom of Information Clearinghouse, established in 1977. For nearly 10 years, the Clearinghouse operated under the direction of Professor Jo Anne Smith. Many of the funds for the Clearinghouse endowment were provided by the Florida news media.
Joseph L. Brechner, an Orlando broadcaster and advocate of freedom of information, provided more than $1 million for the eminent scholar endowment, funds to construct a suite of offices, and funds to enlarge the operational endowment. In 1986, the Clearinghouse was renamed the Joseph L. Brechner Center for Freedom of Information to honor Brechner. Through education and promotion of freedom of information laws and policies, the Center seeks to foster open government and a participatory democracy. In addition, The Brechner Center serves the public with information about the First Amendment, freedom of information, and access to government information issues.
The Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project
The Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Projectis a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to current and contemporary issues affecting the First Amendment freedoms of speech, press, thought, assembly and petition.
The Project addresses these issues in multiple ways, including by:
- Filing of legal briefs in court cases
- Authoring scholarly articles in the nation’s top law journals
- Publishing op-ed commentaries in mainstream newspapers
- Presenting speeches and papers at conferences and symposia across the country
- Providing commentary to news organization and media outlets
- Testifying before legislative bodies regarding bills affecting First Amendment rights
The First Amendment Project’s benefactor was Marion B. Brechner, who passed away in January 2011. Her son, Berl Brechner, maintains an active role with the College and the Project.
Allen H. Neuharth Reading Room
The Allen H. Neuharth Reading Room is located on the 3rd floor of Library West and is a part of the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries system.
The primary mission is to serve the instructional and research needs of the students, faculty and staff in the College of Journalism and Communications. The library provides reference materials, a circulating collection of books, scholarly journals, newsletters, professional/trade journals, newspapers, and popular magazines. Computer workstations are available to access the extensive databases and other resources. Reference and research assistance is also available. Neuharth founded USA Today in 1982 and retired from Gannett in 1989.
The Institute for Public Relations™
The Institute for Public Relations™ is an independent nonprofit organization founded in 1956 and dedicated to the science beneath the art of public relations™. It exists to expand and document research-based knowledge in public relations, and to make this knowledge available and useful to practitioners, educators, researchers, and the clients they serve.
Everything the Institute publishes is available free on its Web site, www.instituteforpr.org.