The Brechner Center for Freedom of Information presents 28th Annual Brechner Award

Published: April 14th, 2014

Sandra Chance, Lenore Devore, Ralph Lowenstein and Lyle McBride

Sandra Chance, Lenore Devore, Ralph Lowenstein and Lyle McBride.

The Ledger (Lakeland) has been named the winner of the 28th Annual Joseph L. Brechner Freedom of Information Award for its investigative series. The award-winning series highlights the difficulties reporters and citizens face when they try to exercise their fundamental constitutional right to access government information.

Ralph Lowenstein, Dean Emeriti of the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, presented the $3,000 prize to The Ledger’s Editor, Lenore Devore and Investigative Reporting Team Editor Lyle McBride at the Florida Free Speech Forum’s annual Buddy Davis award luncheon today.

“The series exposed blatant violations of the law, and forced a number of local agencies and officials to change their procedures to comply with the law,” Sandra F. Chance, executive director of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, said.

“The two-year-long investigation uncovered a stunning lack of understanding of the state’s government in the sunshine law by many of Lakeland’s public officials.  They found an appalling lack of compliance with the law and a disturbing failure by these officials to understand the important role theses laws play in protecting our democracy and our ability to oversee our government,” Chance continued.

Devore, a UF alumna, said it was particularly meaningful to return to Gainesville for the special event and accept the award.

“Our staff has done an amazing job holding our government officials accountable,” she said. “We all believe in journalism and the first amendment…I just could not be more proud.”

The annual award was established by the late Joseph L. Brechner, an Orlando broadcaster. Previous award winners include: the AP, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Miami Herald, The Washington Post, the Columbia Journalism Review, The St. Petersburg Times, The Dallas Morning News, the (South Florida) Sun-Sentinel and the Houston Chronicle.

Located at the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville, Fla., the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information exists to educate and promote freedom of information laws and policies. It serves the students of UF, Florida citizens, media lawyers and journalists nationally and internationally by providing training sessions, answering queries and conducting scholarly research on First Amendment and freedom of information issues.

Category: College News

Mindy McAdams quoted in Poynter report

Published: April 9th, 2014

Journalism professor and Knight Chair Mindy McAdams is quoted in the Poynter report, “Journalism needs the right skills to survive,” published April 9, 2014.

College well-represented at Journalism Interactive conference

Published: April 8th, 2014

Mindy McAdams leads a panel at J/i.

Mindy McAdams (left) leads a panel at J/i.

The UF College of Journalism and Communications was well-represented last week at Journalism Interactive, a two-day meeting where journalists, educators and scholars shared knowledge on research and best teaching practices in such areas as data, digital and mobile.  Held this year in College Park, Md., the conference is a partnership among the UF College, the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism and the University of Missouri.

College of Journalism and Communications Dean Diane McFarlin, Director of the Innovation News Center Matt Sheehan, Director of Entrepreneurship and Partnerships Randy Bennett, Journalism Professors Mindy McAdams and Dave Carlson, and visual coordinator Steve Johnson attended this year’s edition of J/i.

“I see this as the front lines of innovation in journalism education,” said McFarlin. “The speakers that are brought in are talking about how we can advance our programs so that when our students graduate they are cued up for the best jobs.”

The J/i conference was founded in 2011 by the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.  It was expanded in 2013 through a partnership with the UF College of Journalism and Communications, which served as the host for the 2013 event. It has since expanded further to welcome the University of Missouri to the consortium as a sponsoring school for both the 2013 and 2014 J/i events and host of the 2015 conference.

“I really enjoy this kind of conference because I get to learn a lot of new things and mingle with professionals who are doing things and learn from them,” said McAdams, who led a panel discussion on 10 Things to Teach About Mobile and a workshop on making maps with Google Fusion Tables. “Having three schools together makes it possible to have a nicer conference.”

The conference will continue in 2015 at the University of Missouri with a focus on journalism education and research.

“We hope to bring more research into the conversation next year,” said McFarlin. “When J/i was conceived it was meant to be a venue for research and interactive media, and we are hoping we can bring that forward next year.”

Category: College News

Calvert: Supreme Court Should Decide Whether Rap Lyrics Are Free Speech

Published: April 7th, 2014

The Huffington Post on April 3, 2014 published “Supreme Court Should Decide Whether Rap Lyrics Are Free Speech,” an op-ed piece by Brechner Eminent Scholar in Mass Communication Clay Calvert.

Kelleher is named Chair of the Department of Advertising

Published: April 7th, 2014

Tom Kelleher

Tom Kelleher

Tom Kelleher, MAMC 1996, Ph.D. 1999, has accepted the position of Chair of the Department of Advertising at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, Dean Diane McFarlin announced. He will join the College in June.

Kelleher has been a member of the faculty at the University of Hawaii for the past eight years and served as chairman of the School of Communications from 2010-2013. He also served on the faculty at the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 2004-2006.

“Tom’s broad view of strategic and digital communication, combined with exceptional leadership skills, equip him well to help us advance our scholarship in advertising,” said McFarlin.  “We are excited to welcome him to the College.”

A native Floridian, Kelleher received his bachelor’s degree at Flagler College before moving to Gainesville to earn his graduate degrees.

Kelleher has designed and taught 22 different courses and has advised dozens of theses and dissertations. The AEJMC mass communication and society division named him a top-three AEJMC Promising Professor in 2001. He won the University of Hawaii College of Social Sciences Excellence in Teaching award in 2009, a PRSA Hawaii Koa Anvil Award of Excellence in 2009, the Flagler College Alumni Professional Achievement Award in 2011, and was named an Arthur W. Page Legacy Educator in 2012.

Kelleher has published in 10 different scholarly journals including Journal of Communication, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Journal of Mass Media Ethics, Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, Journal of Public Relations Research, and Public Relations Review. He served as guest editor for Journal of Public Relations Research for a 2010 special issue on social media.

His first book, “Public Relations Online: Lasting Concepts for Changing Media,” released by SAGE in 2006, was among the first scholarly textbooks in public relations to focus on the implications of social media and “Web 2.0” technologies for theory and practice. He is contracted to write his second book on public relations in the digital age with Oxford University Press. His research interests are social media in strategic organizational communication, diffusion and adoption of communication technology, public relations theory, campaigns, ethics, and teaching and learning with online media.

Category: College News

College honors four new Alumni of Distinction

Published: April 1st, 2014

College honors students, faculty at awards banquet

Published: April 1st, 2014

During its annual awards banquet held March 31, 2014 at the UF Hilton, the College announced the following award winners:

Faculty Awards

Outstanding Doctoral Mentor Award

  • Cory Armstrong

Teacher of the Year Award

  • Troy Elias

Faculty Research Award

  • Amy Jo Coffey

Faculty Service Award

  • Amy Jo Coffey

College-Wide Student Awards

Dean’s Cup for Professional Promise

  • Stephanie Denardo

Dean’s Cup for Scholarship

  • Stephanie Denardo
  • Lisa DeRuiter
  • Kimberly Greenplate
  • Brianna Kolota
  • Cassandra Vangellow

Dean’s Cup for Service

  • Joshua Minchin

Ruth and Rae O. Weimer Award

Lauren Rautenkranz

Department Awards


Outstanding Advertising Scholar

  • Emily A. Alter
  • Ellen Y. Leung
  • Emily Nicole Nelson

Joseph R. Pisani Service Award

  • Katherine Brady

W. Robert Glafcke Award

  • Meredith Rowe

Richard W. McGinnis Professional Promise Award

  • Anayo Ordu

John Sutherland Great Ideas Award

  • Chris Burg

Respess Award

  • Meredith Rowe


Outstanding Journalism Scholar

  • Cassandra Vangellow

John Paul Jones Jr. Award

  • Dana Burke

Elmer Emig Award

  • Christopher Alcantara

H.G. “Buddy” Davis Award

  • Meredith Rutland

Society of Professional Journalists Award

  • Matt Riva

Public Relations

Outstanding Public Relations Scholar

  • Lisa DeRuiter
  • Kimberly Greenplate
  • Brianna Kolota

Frank F. Rathbun PRSSA Award

  • Adara Ney

Charles Wellborn Service Award

  • Joshua Minchin

Jack Detweiler Professional Promise in Public Relations Award

  • Evan Rae Galin
  • Jaclyn Paige Rosen

Florida Public Relations Association Award

  • Brianna Kolota


Outstanding Telecommunication Scholar

  • Lauren Rautenkranz
  • Stephanie Denardo

Major Garland Powell Award

  • Blair Milko

May Burton Award

  • Amanda Barina

F. Leslie Smith Management Award

  • Shelli Weinstein


  • Lauren Lettelier

Graduate and Research Awards

Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher

  • Mariam Alkezemi
  • Adriane Jewett-Grumbein

Outstanding Master’s Student

  • Chris Peralta

Outstanding Student Research Award

  • Kevin Hull

Media Properties Awards

Jon Quattlebaum Award

  • Julian Hernandez

Ralph L. Lowenstein Broadcast News Award

  • Leanna Scachetti

Kenneth A. Christiansen Award

  • Stephanie Denardo

TV Production & Creative Services
Frank Counts Award

  • Andrew Arons

Creative Services Award

  • Enrico Mattei

“Red” Barber Award

  • Kyle Benzion

Doris Bardon Award

  • Stephanie Tinoco

Division of Multimedia Properties
Director’s Award

  • Blair Milko
  • Wade Millward
  • Neil Zimmerman

Category: College News

WUFT-FM, WUFT-TV and win Florida AP awards

Published: April 1st, 2014

Congratulations to the students and staff of WUFT-TV, WUFT-FM and for an outstanding showing at the Florida Associated Press Broadcasters Conference in Orlando, FL. In the college competition, students competed against their peers from other schools in Florida, and in the professional competition, students competed against other professionals in Florida.

Winners and finalists include:

College Competition


Best Use of Sound: WUFT-FM, Feeding the Homeless, Ebony Joseph (first place)

Best Long Light Feature: WUFT-FM, Controlling Buzzards, Jennifer Tintner (first place)

Best Radio Newscast Up to 15 Minutes, WUFT-FM, Heather van Blokland (first place)

Best Long Hard Feature, WUFT-FM, Florida’s Greyhound Industry, Stephanie Tinoco (first place)


Best TV Newscast, WUFT-TV, Shauna Mackey (first place)

Best Spot News, WUFT-TV, Corey Brooks, Christina Lob, Blair Milko, Mike Gillespie (first place)

Best Short Hard News Feature, WUFT-TV, Keighly Chambers (first place)

Breaking Spot News, WUFT-TV, Corey Brooks (first place)

Long Hard News Feature, WUFT-TV, Marc Whiteman (finalist)


Best Web Site, (first place)

Professional Competition


Best Hard News Feature, WUFT-FM, Samantha Schuyler (first place)

Investigative, WUFT-FM, Old UF Landfill, Elly Ayres (first place)

Best Newscast, WUFT-FM, Heather van Blokland & Samantha Schuyler (first place)

Best Use of Sound, WUFT-FM, CCC Revisited, Leanna Scachetti (first place)

Light Feature, WUFT-FM, War Poems, Trevor Sikkema (finalist)


Public Affairs, WUFT-TV, Veteran’s Day Special Broadcast (first place)

Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project files brief with Supreme Court

Published: March 25th, 2014

The Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project filed a friend-of-the-court brief last week with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of United States v. Elonis.

“The case deals with the true threats doctrine in First Amendment jurisprudence. True threats is a contentious and muddled area of law, and we want the high court to take this case to clarify how the doctrine applies to new modes of online expression and controversial genres of artistic expression,” said Clay Calvert, director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project.

The Elonis case involves alleged threats posted on Facebook and conveyed in the form of rap lyrics.

“The Court has never addressed a true threats case in this modern-day context. Its most recent decision in the area involved a cross burning. It has yet to consider a true threats dispute involving online social media and/or rap music,” Calvert said.

The brief was filed in coordination with the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

The Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to current and contemporary issues affecting the First Amendment freedoms of speech, press, thought, assembly and petition.

Category: College News

Rock ‘n’ Roll MOOC debuts March 13 on

Published: March 11th, 2014

David Carlson

David Carlson

More than 30,500 people from 70 countries have signed up so far for the Massive Open Online Course Journalism Professor David Carlson has been working on. “Music’s Big Bang: The Genesis of Rock ‘n’ Roll” will debut March 13, 2014 on

Carlson’s class builds on the foundation Bill McKeen created more than a decade ago with “Rock ‘n’ Roll and American Society.” However, Carlson’s class concentrates more on the pre-history of rock ‘n’ roll. It was developed in cooperation with UF’s Distant and Continuing Education department.

The class is free and open to the public at

Category: College News