frank gathering takes over downtown with street fair and concert

Published: February 27th, 2015

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band performs at Bo Diddley Community Plaza in downtown Gainesville. (Photo by Will England)

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band performs at Bo Diddley Community Plaza in downtown Gainesville. (Photo by Will England)

To end a day filled with speakers, frank invited the Gainesville community to join it and its attendees for night of food, fun and live music.

On Thursday evening, more than 3,000 people gathered in Bo Diddley Downtown Community Plaza for a street fair to hear music from opening act Flat Land and headline performer Preservation Hall Jazz Band, while enjoying meals from local food trucks.

Opening the gathering up to the community was something that attendee Murray Devine said he had never seen at another conference, which is a sentiment that was shared by other franksters.

Kristen King a senior account executive at Fenton, said that it gave her a chance to connect with people outside the frank community and actually experience the town.

“I think it’s great we are getting a little bit of the local Gainesville flavor,” she said.

Meanwhile, her coworker, Jamie Joyce agreed and said that he loved that frank has been spread throughout downtown and that he has been able to get a vibe for the local community because of it.

Devine, the Communications Project Manager at Community Foundation of Sarasota County, also said that within frank he found a community. Only knowing one person before he came, he said that being a part of a Krewe has allowed him to meet and connect with more people than he typically would have at a larger conference.

As Anat Shenker-Osirio said, with so many speakers on stage for a limited period of time, there isn’t a chance to have a robust discussion with the expert while he or she presents his or her topic. However, she had that the way frank is set up, it gives people a lot of time together to have one-on-one conversations. She said that she found having a gathering where people are on the same schedule listening to the same things, allows for more discussion during the breaks.

Having the opportunity to learn from colleagues in the public interest communications field and gather wisdom from other communicators is why Chuck Alexander, from Burness Communications, said he came to frank this year.

He said that the sessions have been incredible and that he is inspired with a renewed energy by the potential he sees that communicators have to change the world.

For Bobby Jones, vice president at Octagon Access, having the opportunity to share, and to listen to others is one of the aspects he enjoys most about frank. He said he finds that the things people are doing are so interesting – even foreign in some ways – and that he finds it fascinating to hear about the different things that people are dedicating their lives to.

Category: College News

Gainesville welcomes frank gathering to town

Published: February 26th, 2015

franksters gather outside The Hippodrome State Theater during the 2015 frank gathering. (Photo by Shannon Kaestle)

franksters gather outside The Hippodrome State Theater during the 2015 frank gathering. (Photo by Shannon Kaestle)

Earlier this afternoon, about 300 attendees gathered into the main stage of the Hippodrome. The room glowed in frank-colored lights, as Pristine Stringz, a local musical duo, The Savants of Souls, a local band, and two dancers clad in leotards soon filled the stage for a whimsical performance for the official opening ceremony of frank 2015.

Returning as frank’s host – or as she likes to be called “the guide” – Lizz Winstead, said she sees that frank brings together all kinds of people with all sorts of tools for social change.
“It’s a gathering for a reason,” she said.

One of the five main aspirations of frank is to curate a community, which is something Roland Walker, a Karel fellow from 2013, said he is seeing more of this year. He said he noticed more people branching out and conversing with other attendees.

The increased social aspect is something that others have noticed as well. Donna Darius, the director of strategic communication master’s program at the University of Oregon, said, the huddles – a time for franksters to gather in small groups to talk about various topics – give people the opportunity to find like-minded attendees, while the Krewes switch things up and make frank more of a social event.

The daytime huddle sessions also allow attendees to learn about topics that they might not know anything about. Debra Faulk, the vice president of community affairs for Wells Fargo in the Tampa area, said her huddle session inspired her to be passionate about communicating about an issue she previously had no knowledge of or interest in.

frank is an invite-only gathering, and Lisa Colton, the chief learning officer from See 3 Communications, said the idea of having a group of tightly curated people in attendance was one of the things that attracted her to the event. She said one of the reasons she came was because she finds that lots of ideas and strategies have already been done and recycled.

“I wanted to learn fresh ideas and approaches from a really diverse group of people.” She said she hasn’t been disappointed, “every single person I’ve met has been fascinating to talk to.

After two sessions of frank talks and a huddle breakout session, the crowd followed the violet and green umbrella-lined path from the Hippodrome to The Wooly, an event space in downtown Gainesville, for the evening activities.

At about 6:30 p.m. the Adventure Hunt kicked off and took attendees and their Krewes throughout downtown Gainesville to solve puzzles.

Faulk said the Adventure Hunt was one of her favorite parts, as the challenging clues encouraged her and her group to engage in more in-depth conversations.

She said she has enjoyed that the event has also allowed her to not only interact with industry professionals, but also some of the 200 students from the College that are working on the event.

“I have a renewed faith of the next generation in our workplace because the students I’ve met here are smart, interesting and interested about the world around them.”

Category: College News

Young Adults Using Traditional Media Feel Most Informed

Published: February 25th, 2015

Digital sites continue to be the primary source of news for young adults, but users of online-only news sites don’t feel as informed as those using sites affiliated with traditional media.

More than half of young adults who prefer traditional news sites said they were “very informed,” a rating chosen by only four out of every 10 who prefer online-only news sites. Yet online-only news is the primary source of news for nearly 35 percent, compared to 22 percent for traditional news sites.

These results come from an online survey conducted among readers and followers of Elite Daily, a major destination site for Millennials, and analyzed by the Millennial Research Core (MRC), the research arm of The Agency (a unit of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications), in partnership with Elite Daily. The results are not generalizable to all young adults, but do provide insights on news preferences of a segment of that generation. The analysis here focuses on 18 to 24 year olds.

Primary News sourcePercent
Online-only news sites34.5
Web site of traditional news media21.8
Facebook links14.0
Twitter links9.9
Broadcast TV4.5
Print newspaper3.1
Other Social3.1
Cable all-news2.3

Overall, 38 percent of respondents felt very informed vs. 59 percent who said they were somewhat informed. A small percent responded that they were not interested in current events or civic issues.

The small group that cited print newspapers as their primary news source felt most informed (67 percent). About 56 percent of those whose primary news sources are traditional media Web sites felt very informed followed by online-only (40 percent), search (33 percent), links from Twitter (32.5 percent), broadcast TV (32 percent), all-news cable channels (29 percent), links from Facebook (24 percent) and other social networks (15 percent). About 35 percent of those who cited “other” sources felt very informed.

Primary News sourcePercent Informed
Print newspaper66.733.3
Web site of traditional news media56.243.8
Online-only news sites39.960.1
Twitter links32.567.5
Broadcast TV31.668.4
Cable all-news28.671.4
Facebook links23.776.3
Other social15.484.6

“Even though the overwhelming majority of young adults are turning to digital sources for news, there is still a perception by some that they are better informed through traditional media,” said Diane McFarlin, dean of the UF College of Journalism and Communications. “Still, legacy media – including newspapers, broadcast TV and cable news – face significant challenges in attracting this demographic. We will continue to explore the ‘why’ behind these and other findings as part of the Millennial Research Core’s focus on this audience segment.”

The survey also asked which social issue is most important. For 18 to 24-year-old men, protection of the environment was most important and for women, by far, equal rights/equal pay was the most important issue.

Important IssuesPercent
Protection of Environment24.813.6
Equal Rights/Equal Pay13.631.1
Access to Healthcare10.413.6
Marijuana Legalization7.24.6
World Hunger2.411.9

Overall, 70 percent of survey respondents were female. Still, on equal rights, of those who thought that was the most important issue, nearly 85 percent were women. For world hunger, 92 percent were women. Men felt more strongly than women about only one issue: immigration. For those who thought immigration was the most important, 62 percent were men.

The survey was conducted between October 14 -19, 2014 among a random sample of subscribers to Elite Daily newsletters and five Facebook groups who were identified as Elite Daily readers through Facebook polls. About 1,300 young adults aged 16 and over responded. The survey also included questions about finances, brand affiliation, media impact on purchase decisions, shopping behavior and more.  A summary of the full study is available here.

For more information, contact Randy Bennett.

About the Millennial Research Core

The Millennial Research Core is the research arm of The Agency, an integrated, strategic communications firm at The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications — led by professionals, staffed by students and inspired by faculty.   The Agency is a nationally competitive firm focused on marketing to millennials. A key offering of the MRC is a Millennial Community which will be populated by demographically and geographically representative group of approximately 1,000 millennials. For more information on The Agency, contact Andy Hopson, executive director.

About the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications

The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications is driving innovation and engagement across the disciplines of advertising, journalism, public relations and telecommunication. The strength of its programs, faculty, students and alumni — in research and in practice — has earned the college ongoing recognition as one of the best in the nation among its peers. The college includes seven broadcast and digital media properties and the nation’s only program in public interest communications. For more information, contact Quenta Vettel.

About Elite Daily

Elite Daily’s founding team grew tired of traditional media publications mandating that news coverage be presented in a dull, one-dimensional manner and set out to create a highly engaging, socially driven content platform that would radically change and redefine the meaning of a media publication. With an audience of over 74 million monthly readers, Elite Daily has established the largest, fastest growing community of millennial voices on the web. For more information, contact Luis Navia.

2015 frank gathering kicks off

Published: February 25th, 2015

frank gathering water bottles and umbrellas are prepared for distribution at check in.

frank gathering water bottles and umbrellas are prepared for distribution at check in.

Basking in a radiant orchid glow with soulful jams wafting through the wood structure of Gainesville’s recently restored train depot, the second annual frank gathering kicked off earlier tonight at the welcome rally.

frank is more than a conference. It is a gathering of a community of public interest communicators dedicated to using strategic communications to drive change.

Over the next few days at the 2015 frank gathering, speakers will talk about how to decide and learn, how technology can help move causes and how people are winning on the issues that matter most (or learning from their failures).

This year frank is even bigger than before, and Frank Karel Chair, professor Ann Christiano said that she sees that people are beginning to see frank as something that they want to be a part of.

“I increasingly see frank as a place where they build the relationships that they need to do their work well,” she said of the speakers and attendees.

As the host of frank for the second year, Lizz Winstead said she is looking forward to the different breakout sessions.

“We didn’t have enough time to have relationship building,” she said. “I’m really excited that there’s more time for breakouts.”

For Mark Dessauer, the director of communications for Blue Cross Blue Shields of North Carolina foundation, frank is an amazing almost cult-like thing. He said it is re-energizing and a place where brilliant ideas are shared with students who are about to launch their careers and industry professionals who have great perspective.

“I had a blast last time. They couldn’t stop me from coming back again.”

Category: College News

The Agency opens with a focus on Millennials

Published: February 25th, 2015

Students, alumni and guests tour The Agency.

Students, alumni and guests tour The Agency.

Under streamers of colored flags, a crowd of faculty, staff, alumni, students and guests gathered Tuesday morning to attend the official dedication ceremony of The Agency.

After months of preparation, the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications is proud to announce the opening of its newly created full-service strategic communication agency.

“The Agency isn’t the vision of just one person,” Dean Diane McFarlin said today at the opening.

The idea for the integrated communication firm focused on the millennial sector began in August 2013, during the College’s annual faculty retreat. By October, Dean McFarlin commissioned a task force to develop an immersive entrepreneurial project for advertising and public relations students, as well as other College and University of Florida students with interests in strategic communications.

To create a competitive and engaging student-run agency, the task force reached out to industry leaders and other professionals, while looking at similar agency projects by other universities.

Creative director of 160over90, a branding agency in Gainesville, Greg Ash, said he typically sees a gap from when students graduate to when they join the industry and that many seem to have issues applying the material that they have learned to the real world. He said that he sees The Agency as a great tool to empower and train students while they are still in college.

“We work with a lot of universities, and this isn’t happening anywhere else,” Ash said.

The Agency will not only be developing strategies and campaigns for high-profile clients, but it will also be a center for thought leadership through the development of a nationwide Millennial Research Core — an online panel of thousands of millennials that will provide insights on a number of topics including buying habits, social media usage and brand loyalty.

Andy Hopson, the executive director of the agency, said the goal is to become internationally recognized for The Agency’s expertise on marketing to millennials.

Ph.D. student, Jasper Fessmann who had his own agency in Germany, said he sees great potential for students involved in The Agency.

Of the 300 students that applied to be a part of the integral team, 57 are currently on the staff.

“There are all the pressures that you have at an agency, while still maintaining a safe environment,” he said.

Professor Tom Kelleher, Chair of the Advertising Department, said that he wishes there had been an opportunity like this when he was in attendance at the College. However, he is excited for the amount of potential The Agency holds for the future. Right now there are 57 students involved, but there is the prospect for so many more as it grows.

Ryan Baum, assistant to the executive director, is a third-year public relations major and has been at the forefront of building The Agency with Hopson. As a student he sees this as a way of taking the classroom and putting it out into the industry itself. The Agency will have real-world clients, which means there are real responsibilities and consequences to the team’s actions.
“As fun as it was to build it, I can’t wait to see what we can do with the final project,” he said.

~Jacki De Bonis, 4JM

Category: College News

Two Major Clients Sign on to New Millennial-Focused Integrated Communication Agency

Published: February 24th, 2015

New Agency is Led by Professionals, Staffed by Students and Inspired by Faculty

Agency-Flat-G-Bigger-Rectangle-HeightGAINESVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 24, 2015) – The Florida Department of Citrus and Mexican theme park Experiencias Xcaret have signed on as initial clients for The Agency, a new integrated communication firm focused on the millennial sector.

The Agency, which was officially dedicated today, is a unit of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. It will provide an immersive learning experience for advertising and public relations students working for real-world clients.

Other clients include several University of Florida departments such as the International Center, the Health Science Center and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

In addition to developing strategies and campaigns, The Agency will be a center for thought leadership through the development of a nationwide Millennial Research Core — an online panel of thousands of millennials that will provide insights on a number of topics including buying habits, social media usage and brand loyalty.

“We are excited to celebrate the dedication of the agency with our friends and alumni,” said UF College of Journalism and Communications Dean Diane McFarlin. “The Agency is already carving out a national niche in millennial marketing. Staffed by an ever-fresh team of UF students on a campus with 50,000 young adults, The Agency is well positioned to help guide the industry on this topic.”

As a contrast to student-run agencies around the country, employees will draw from the experience of Andy Hopson in his role as executive director. His 30-year career leading and integrating industry heavyweights during a critical transition from traditional media into the digital era will inform campaigns and provide rich learning opportunities for students.

Hopson has played key leadership roles at several nationally known agencies, including Ruder Finn, Burson-Marsteller, Publicis and Ogilvy, representing such companies as Nestle, Smucker’s, Southwest Airlines, Westin Hotels and the CDC. He served as President & COO of the EvansGroup from 1993 to 1998, and then served in the same role with Publicis Dialog, launching its U.S. operations after its acquisition of the EvansGroup.

The Agency will use revenue to expand the professional staff and extend offerings for both clients and students. To work toward that goal, Kimberly Bastoni was brought in on a contract basis to direct research efforts and launch the Millennial Research Core, drawing from her experience in previously held senior positions at GfK and Kantar (TNS and Millward Brown).

A week-long recruitment campaign earlier this year garnered almost 300 applications, which an intensive review process narrowed down to an inaugural staff of 57 students specializing in various communication disciplines. Students range from freshmen to graduate students and study public relations, advertising, journalism, telecommunications, psychology, economics and more.

“The college has always made it a priority to bridge the industry and the classroom,” said Ryan Baum, assistant to the executive director, “but now they are tearing down the walls in between. This is a rare opportunity for our students, but even more so for the companies we serve.”

# # #

About the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications

The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications is driving innovation and engagement across the disciplines of advertising, journalism, public relations and telecommunication. The strength of its programs, faculty, students and alumni — in research and in practice — has earned the college ongoing recognition as one of the best in the nation among its peers. The college offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and certificates, both online and on campus. The college’s strength is drawn from both academic rigor and experiential learning. CJC students have the opportunity to gain practical experience in the Innovation News Center, which generates content across multiple platforms, and The Agency, a strategic communication agency that began operation in 2015. The college includes seven broadcast and digital media properties and the nation’s only program in public interest communications.


Quenta Vettel,, 352-278-5726

Ryan Baum,, 407-967-1708

Spiker: The Key to Making Your Kid a Star Athlete: Back Off

Published: February 17th, 2015

Time on February 17, 2015 published “The Key to Making Your Kid a Star Athlete: Back Off,” an interview with bestselling-author David Epstein (The Sports Gene) by Associate Professor and Interim Journalism Chair Ted Spiker. Spiker interviewed Epstein during the latter’s January visit as UF Science Journalist in Residence.

Category: Faculty Bylines

Foley to interview James Franco for ACCENT

Published: February 16th, 2015

Master Lecturer Mike Foley interviews comedian Andy Samberg at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.

Master Lecturer Mike Foley interviews comedian Andy Samberg at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

Master Lecturer Mike Foley will interview actor, writer and director James Franco as a part of the ACCENT Speakers Bureau at the University of Florida on Feb. 25.

“I’m flattered to be asked once again by ACCENT to do this,” said Foley. “I look forward to meeting James Franco. I’ve always admired his work.”

When Foley was asked on what we are to expect from his interview he replied, “I have rich field to plow here,” referencing Franco’s diverse body of work.

Foley has interviewed other high-profile speakers for the ACCENT Speakers Bureau, including Zach Braff, Diablo Cody, Vince Gilligan, Rex Lee and Andy Samberg.

Franco’s presentation will include a moderated conversation followed by an audience question-and-answer session. The program starts at 8 p.m. at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Foley is a College of Journalism and Communications alumnus and veteran newspaper editor, who worked with the (St. Petersburg) Times Publishing Co. for nearly 30 years before joining our faculty.

Franco is an actor, director, screenwriter, producer, teacher and author. He began his career on FREAKS AND GEEKS and received a Golden Globe Award for his performance in the biographical film JAMES DEAN. Notable film credits include OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL, SPRING BREAKERS, “Harry Osborn” in the SPIDER-MAN trilogy, MILK and 127 HOURS for which he received Academy Award, SAG and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor. He has directed, wrote and produced several features and has been published several times in magazines and through his own books. He is currently teaching college courses at UCLA, USC and CAL ARTS and acting classes at STUDIO 4 and recently made his Broadway debut in OF MICE & MEN to rave reviews.

“James Franco is one of the most well-known movie stars in Hollywood, and I’m ecstatic that he’s coming to share his experiences with the students,” said Corey Flayman, ACCENT Speakers Bureau Chairman.

The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required; seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

About ACCENT Speakers Bureau:

ACCENT Speakers Bureau is the largest student-run speakers bureau in the nation and is an agency of the University of Florida student government. Since its creation in 1967, ACCENT has worked to bring prominent, controversial and influential speakers to the university to enhance students’ education outside the classroom.

Category: College News

College adds two faculty members

Published: February 12th, 2015

Huan Chen

Huan Chen

Rita Men

Rita Men

The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications will add two new faculty members in August to continue strengthening its degrees and programs in Advertising and Public Relations.

Rita Men, APR, a specialist on employee engagement and leadership communication, will join the College as an Assistant Professor of Public Relations, and new media and advertising expert Huan Chen will join the Advertising faculty as an Assistant Professor.

Men is currently an Assistant Professor at Southern Methodist University and Chen is an Assistant Professor of Communication at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College.

Men is currently working as part of a global research team dedicated to developing the measurement standard for excellence in internal communication and on several projects concerning how organizational leadership, culture, new technology, and strategic communication factors interplay to influence public relations effectiveness.

Her research has been published in leading referred journals, including Journal of Public Relations Research, Management Communication Quarterly and the Public Relations Review, and as book chapters in Handbook of Communication and Corporate Reputation, The IABC Handbook of Organizational Communication: A Guide to Internal Communication, Public Relations, Marketing and Leadership, and New Media and Public Relations.

Men serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Public Relations Research, Communication Research Report, and was the 2010 recipient of the Ketchum Excellence in Public Relations Research Award from the Institute for Public Relations.

Men earned a doctorate in Communication in 2012 from the University of Miami, a master’s degree in Communication from Hong Kong Baptist University and a bachelor’s degree in International Communication from Zhejiang University, China.

She has extensive professional experience, including corporate communication, branding, and public relations research. She has worked internationally with Alibaba Group, Inc., Ketchum, Inc., and provided communication consultancy for multiple multinational corporations and non-profit organizations in China and the United States.

Huan’s research interests include new media and advertising, integrated marketing communication, and international and cross-cultural advertising.

Her research has been published in the Journal of Advertising, Journal of Interactive Advertising and the Journal of Promotion and Management. She has also presented nearly 20 research papers at international, national and regional conferences.

Her recent book, “Connecting Virtual World Perception to Real World Consumption: Chinese White-Collar Professionals’ Interpretation of Product Placement in SNSs,” was released in July 2011.

Huan earned her bachelor’s degree in Advertising and a master’s degree in Communication from Wuhan University in Wuhan, China. After serving as an Assistant Professor at Ocean University in China, she relocated to the United States in 2005, graduating with distinction from UF with a master’s degree in Advertising. She then earned a doctorate in Communication and Information in 2011 from the University of Tennessee.

Category: College News

Ten CJC alumni named to Gator100 list

Published: February 6th, 2015

Brad and Diane Weinbrum talking to a group in G037 Weimer Hall.

Brad and Diane Weinbrum talk with students, faculty, and staff at the Gator100 reception in the College.

Ten University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications alumni are being recognized this weekend as one of the Gator100, the top 100 Gator-owned or Gator-led businesses around the world.

The University of Florida and The Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation are introducing this inaugural group of UF alumni entrepreneurs during a weekend of events.

The ten CJC Gators include:

  • Kristen Vocelle Barstow, JM 2005, owner Vocelles The Bridal Shop
  • JW Dicks JM, 1971, founder, Dicks Nanton Celebrity Branding Agency
  • Geoff Gaborino, TEL 1984, owner,  Gulf Shores Vacation Rentals
  • Lee Goldstein, ADV 1998, president, DiMassimo Goldstein
  • Jill McCrory, ADV 1997, McCrory Law Firm
  • Helen Stefan Moreau, PR 1988, president and CEO, The Midtown Group
  • Chip Osborne, PR 1994, CE0 and president, National Bus Sales
  • Dana Rhoden, PR 2000, The Dana Agency
  • Edouard Rollet, MAMC 2001, co-founder and president, Alter Eco Americas, PBC
  • Brad Weinbrum, ADV 1986, president, ABB Optical Group

The alumni were selected from a group of Gator-led or Gator-owned companies nominated last fall. More information can be found at: