College honors students, alumni, faculty at awards banquet

Published: April 21st, 2015

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Congratulations to our winners from the 2015 awards banquet, held April 20, 2015. Chad Furst, who will graduate this spring with a public relations degree, received the Ruth and Rae O. Weimer Award. This award, named for the founding director and first dean of the College, is presented each year to the outstanding graduate of the College.


Cynthia Barnett
JOU 1989, MA 2003

Fabiola D. Santiago
JOU 1983

Ann Marie Woods Smith
PUR 1982, MAMC 1985

Joe O. Zubizarreta
ADV 1982

Read more about the Alumni of Distinction class →


Ruth and Rae O. Weimer Award

Chad Furst

Dean’s Cup for Professional Promise

Kelly Price & Krystal Lambert

Dean’s Cup for Scholarship

Jennifer Leggett

Dean’s Cup for Service

Connor Hachey & Katie Brady


Outstanding Advertising Scholar

Chris Burg & Katie Duguid

Joseph R. Pisani Service Award

Katie Brady

Robert Glafcke Award

Katy Whitehurst

Richard W. McGinnis Professional Promise Award

Krystal Lambert

John Sutherland Great Ideas Award

Kristina Camara & Devin Lee

Respess Award

Haley Bell


Outstanding Journalism Scholar

Chabeli Herrera

Journalism Service Award

Justin Galicz

John Paul Jones Jr. Award

Zack Peterson

Elmer Emig Award

Alex Harrisn & Kelly Price

H.G. “Buddy” Davis Award

Kathryn Varn

Society of Professional Journalists Award

Ayana Stewart & Erica Hernandez


Outstanding Public Relations Scholar

Jennifer Leggett

Frank F. Rathbun PRSSA Award

Chad Furst & Ana Gomez

Charles Wellborn Service Award

Andrea Cepeda

Jack Detweiler Professional Promise in Public Relations Award

Elliot Levy, Jenna Perlman, James E. Parker & Paige Thies

Florida Public Relations Association Award

Chad Furst & Jennifer Leggett


Outstanding Telecommunication Scholar

Virginia Hamrick

Major Garland Powell Award

Lizette Arocha

May Burton Award

Connor Hachey

F. Leslie Smith Management Award

Joselyn Oliva


Leah Harding


Jon Quattlebaum Award

Rochelle Alleyne & Zak Dahlheimer

Ralph L. Lowenstein Broadcast News Award

Morgan Falcon

Kenneth A. Christiansen Award

Leanna Schachetti

TV Production & Creative Services Frank Counts Award

Kaley LaMarca

“Red” Barber Award

Corey Brooks

Doris Bardon Award

April Lanuza

Excellence in Digital Media Award

Katie Campbell

Excellence in Multimedia Meteorology Award

Sean Bellafiore

Excellence in Media Leadership

Andrew Arons & Julian Hernandez


Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher

Nicki Karimipour & Annelie Schmittel

Outstanding Master’s Student

Kendra Auguste & Gary Green

Outstanding Student Research Award

Annelie Schmittel & Yulia Strekalova


Outstanding Doctoral Mentor

Juan-Carlos Molleda

Teacher of the Year

Ann Christiano

Faculty Research

Kim Walsh Childers

Faculty Service

Cynthia Morton Padovano

Category: College News

Calvert: Indecency, Politics and the FCC: A New Round in the Culture Wars?

Published: April 16th, 2015

HuffPost: Entertainment on April 16, 2015 published “Indecency, Politics and the FCC: A New Round in the Culture Wars?” a column by Brechner Eminent Scholar in Mass Communication Clay Calvert regarding the FCC’s standards on indecency.

Category: Faculty Bylines

Los Angeles Times wins 29th Annual Brechner Award

Published: April 14th, 2015

Sandra Chance, Paul Pringle, Ron Li, and Dean Diane McFarlin

Sandra Chance, Paul Pringle, Ron Li, and Dean Diane McFarlin

The Los Angeles Times has been named the winner of the 29th Annual Joseph L. Brechner Freedom of Information Award for its investigative series. The award-winning series titled: “Lifting a Cloak of Secrecy,” details the fight for access to information about ownership of the Los Angeles Coliseum.

UF’s College of Journalism and Communications Dean Diane McFarlin presented the $3,000 prize to the Times’ Ron Li and Paul Pringle at the Florida Free Speech Forum’s annual Buddy Davis award luncheon on April 13, 2015.

“The reporters used public records to reveal how Los Angeles city officials were making secret deals to turn ownership of the Coliseum over to the University of Southern California, a private institution, said Sandra Chance, executive director of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information. “Their reporting led to indictments, hard-fought court battles and a ‘blistering rebuke’ of the government and its tactics by the judge who found multiple violations of the law and ordered $415,000 to cover legal expenses.”

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 Lakeland Ledger, 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

Telecommunication alumnus winner of the National Geographic WILD TO INSPIRE filmmaking competition

Published: April 14th, 2015

This fall, Filipe DeAndrade will be traveling to Africa.

The 2012 telecommunication production graduate is the winner of the second annual WILD TO INSPIRE filmmaking competition. National Geographic WILD presents this award, in partnership with the Sun Valley Film Festival (SVFF) and the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF).

As the winner, DeAndrade’s wildlife adventure will be shared through a variety of media, including video diaries, photos, social media and more, as part of an online companion to Nat Geo WILD’s signature Sunday night nature series, “Destination Wild.”

Working with National Geographic and traveling to Africa have been two aspirations in his life.

“It was like my two biggest dreams wrapped up into a delicious slice of life pie,” he said.

While UF typically isn’t regarded as a film school, DeAndrade said the telecommunication production track gives you more than you need to go out and learn on your own.

“UF paved the way for more accomplishments because it was always my dream school, once I got into there and once I started my career path, it made me feel like I could do anything I want.”

Three piece of life advice from DeAndrade:

  1. Know what it is that you want, so many times it is hard for people to answer that question. Know what you want and how you are taking the steps to get those things. It’s ok to not have the answers and figure out who you are, but what’s not ok is to not be trying.
  2. Don’t be afraid to take chances. So many times people are their own worst enemies. They talk themselves out of things and list a hundred reasons why not to do something. We are naturally careful, it’s ok to be unsure and afraid, but you have to use that energy and turn it into a positive. It is a way that can push you instead of holding you back.
  3. Live passionately; don’t be afraid to do exactly what you want to do in life. What you’re supposed to be doing will find you. The things that you care about and feel like you’re making a difference in the world will get noticed. You will find a way to make a living out of it.

Category: Alumni News

College and Yik Yak Partner To Create Unique, Customized Local News Feed

Published: April 9th, 2015

swampjuice-2The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications has partnered with messaging app Yik Yak to create a customized content feed for local Yik Yak users.

The feed, called Swamp Juice, is available as a Peek to any Yik Yak user around the University of Florida campus. On Swamp Juice, UF journalism students curate a feed that shares news, local developments, campus happenings and other tidbits of interest to the UF community. The community can then up-vote content that they find particularly interesting or relevant. Community members can also submit news items to the UF Swamp Juice team.

“We are very excited about experimenting with new ways to distribute meaningful content to Yik Yak’s users,” said Diane McFarlin, dean of the College of Journalism and Communications. “This experiment builds on our mission to leverage our Innovation News Center (INC) to provide industry executives with new insights on storytelling and content approaches.”

“The power of location-based messaging apps has not been recognized by media organizations,” said Matt Sheehan, director of the Innovation News Center and member of the journalism faculty. “Yik Yak provides a platform that ties us in to a targeted geographic area and provides immediate feedback on how messages perform. It’s the modern town square — it’s important for us to be there for both news gathering as well as to engage in the conversation.”

Currently, journalism students working out of the INC write about 20 pieces of content, or “yaks”, each day. Examples of recent yaks include:

“UF professor John Schueller, Ph.D., was in Abu Dhabi for a conference when he was arrested after taking photos of buildings. Thoughts go out to his family as they await the court proceedings.”

“The University of Florida ranks No. 11 in the top colleges for mobile dating, based on The Grade. If you got rid of Tinder, you may want to think about downloading it again!”

“In 1981, President Regan was shot outside of a D.C. hotel and was back to work from a hospital on the next day. No more complaining about hangovers.”

Yik Yak’s voting feature allows the college to gauge what type of content is most engaging to this audience.

“It’s great to see the University of Florida’s Journalism program using Yik Yak to share news relevant to their campus,” said Brooks Buffington, COO and cofounder of Yik Yak. “Yik Yak already serves as a natural news source for communities, as users post everything from traffic alerts to student government election results to event announcements on their local feed. We’re thrilled to partner with UF on their customized feed and to engage with aspiring journalists who are thinking creatively about media.”

The college will be experimenting with sharing breaking news and using other new app features, including embedded links. As more metrics become available during the experiment, the content will be modified based on engagement data and user feedback. The UF team will work with Yik Yak developers as they assess and develop tools for media organizations.

Because Peeks are available only to users around the University of Florida campus, we have created this short video to convey the user experience:

For more information contact:

Matt Sheehan

Director, Innovation News Center

Hilary McQuaide

Director of Communications, Yik Yak

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.

About Yik Yak

Yik Yak is a social app that enables hyper-local community discussions. Pose a question, share a joke, join a cause, or spread the word with Yik Yak, where users can converse anonymously with their local herd.


Category: College News

Ann Christiano named UF’s 2014-2015 Teacher of the Year

Published: April 6th, 2015

Ann Christiano

Ann Christiano

Ann Christiano, the Frank and Betsy Karel Endowed Chair in Public Interest Communication and Professor of Public Relations at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, was named the 2014-15 University of Florida Teacher of the Year, Dean Diane McFarlin announced today.

The award was presented Monday evening at UF’s annual Faculty Awards reception hosted by UF President Kent Fuchs.

Christiano is only the third College faculty member to receive this recognition. Journalism Professor Norm Lewis received the award in 2009-10 and Mike Foley, the Hugh Cunningham Professor in Journalism Excellence, won in 2006-07.

Christiano joined the College in 2010 to create and build its public interest communication program after directing communications for The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Vulnerable Populations portfolio. The field of public interest communication is dedicated to using strategic communications to drive change, working in such areas as health, human rights, environment and poverty.

“This honor is a testament to the movement Ann has built on the UF campus around public interest communications,” said McFarlin. “She is changing lives by inspiring our students to steer their careers toward making the world a better place.”

In support of Christiano’s nomination, one of the College’s students stated: “To be so well-known after only a few short years at the University of Florida – for her kindness, the intellectual rigor of her experiential courses, and her extraordinary willingness to be a resource for her students – speaks to Professor Christiano’s merit for this award.”

In 2014, Christiano started the frank gathering, bringing together more than 300 public interest communicators from across the globe. The second annual frank gathering was held in February.

Category: College News

Juan-Carlos Molleda recognized for doctoral advising, mentoring

Published: April 6th, 2015

Juan-Carlos Molleda

Juan-Carlos Molleda

Juan-Carlos Molleda, Chair and Professor of Public Relations at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, was recognized as one of four 2014-15 UF Doctoral Dissertation Adviser/Mentoring Award winners, Dean Diane McFarlin announced today.

The award was presented Monday evening at UF’s annual Faculty Awards reception hosted by UF President Kent Fuchs.

In 2013, the College honored Molleda with its Outstanding Doctoral Mentor Award. In the last five years, he has chaired seven doctoral committees and served on an additional seven.

Molleda is the first College faculty member to receive this award since the late Telecommunication Professor Lynda Lee Kaid won in 2010-2011. Other faculty members who have received the award include Senior Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research and Professor of Advertising Debbie Treise in 2009-2010 and former Brechner Center for Freedom of Information Director Bill Chamberlin in 2002-2003.

The Daily Beast quotes Calvert on rap lyrics

Published: April 6th, 2015

Brechner Eminent Scholar in Mass Communication Clay Calvert is quoted in this April 6, 2015 article in The Daily Beast, “Can Rap Lyrics Send You to Jail? If You’re a Young Black Male, Yes.,” regarding the defense against prosecutors using rap lyrics as evidence is cases such as Elonis v. United States.

New York Times Senior Reporter and Columbia University Professor Howard French keynotes UF Conference on the Rise of China in Africa

Published: April 2nd, 2015

Howard French

Howard French

Howard French, author of China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa, will address China’s continental impact on Africa, from historical and global perspectives, at the University of Florida on April 9.

Both the university community and the general public are welcome to attend the keynote address on April 9, at 6 p.m., followed by a reception at 7PM.  The event will be held in the Gannett Auditorium, Weimer Hall, in the College of Journalism and Communications.

Howard W. French is an associate professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he has taught both journalism and photography since 2008. For many years, he was a Senior Writer for The New York Times, where he spent a nearly 23-year-career as a foreign correspondent, working in and traveling to over 100 countries on five continents. Until July 2008, he was the chief of the newspaper’s Shanghai bureau.

Prior to his current assignment, he headed bureaus in Japan, West and Central Africa, Central America and the Caribbean. Mr. French’s work for the newspaper in both Africa and in China has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. He has won numerous other awards, including the Overseas Press Club award and the Grantham Prize. French speaks English, Chinese, Japanese, French, and Spanish.

Mr.  French’s  address is part of a two-day conference of invited scholars from Africa, China, Europe and the United States on “China-Africa: Engagement, Investments and Media Strategies”, taking place on the UF campus April 9 – 10.

The conference participants have been invited based on their areas of expertise in studying the China-Africa relationship.  Their disciplines include anthropology, economics, linguistics, mass communications, political science and sociology.  In addition to a broad discussion of China and Africa relations, scholars will examine China’s engagement in specific countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mozambique, Senegal, Sudan, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia.

The conference is being convened by UF Center for African Studies and the UF College of Journalism and Communications.  For more information contact Dr. Michael Leslie at 352-283-1713 or

Category: College News

Calvert: Man Jailed for Swearing During 911 Call: The Sad Saga of Boyd Green and a Senseless Arrest

Published: March 25th, 2015

HuffPost: Crime on March 25, 2015 published “Man Jailed for Swearing During 911 Call: The Sad Saga of Boyd Green and a Senseless Arrest” a column by Brechner Eminent Scholar in Mass Communication Clay Calvert regarding the First Amendment case Green v. Chitwood.

Category: Faculty Bylines