CNN Campaign Camper to Visit UF December 1

Published: November 24th, 2015

CNN Campaign Camper

This election season, CNN and Facebook have partnered together to provide the most in-depth election coverage in the country. As a part of the partnership, CNN’s new Campaign Camper has been crisscrossing the country in the lead up to the debates to hear from voters.

The Bob Graham Center for Public Service in conjunction with the College of Journalism and Communications will be hosting the #campaigncamper on Dec.1 outside of Pugh Hall.

On the camper, students, faculty, and members of the community can record their questions for the GOP Candidates for the upcoming CNN/Facebook Republican Debate on Dec.15 in Las Vegas. Some may even have their questions answered during the Debate.

Category: College News

Street Fight Features New “The Student Body” Magazine

Published: November 24th, 2015

The Student BodyThe recently-launched The Student Body Magazine is featured in this November 24, 2015 article in Street Fight, “Classroom as Incubator: University of Florida Produces National Health Site for Young Adults

UF PRSSA Chapter Receives National Recognition at Annual Conference

Published: November 23rd, 2015

The UF Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) received national recognition at the organization’s 2015 conference in Atlanta, including Star Chapter Recognition. The College’s Bateman Case Study Competition team received their second place prize at the conference as well.

Individual honors were bestowed on UF Chapter President Josh Ferrari. Ferrari received a National President’s Citation and the Neumeier Family Leadership Award. Ryan Baum, vice president of communications for the chapter, received a Betsy Plank/PRSSA Scholarship.

The CJC PRSSA chapter also was chosen to organize a chapter development session for PRSSA attendees. The session was called “Baby Come Back! Establishing Meaningful Connections with Speakers, Alumni and Friends of the Chapter.”

Five UF CJC seniors — Andrea Cepeda, Nathan King, Elliot Levy, Trisha Tucker and Valeria Yulee — were part of the Bateman Competition team. They created an awareness campaign for the non-profit Home Matters to help educate the public about the serious consequences of poor quality housing and to inform and engage communities on how they can help. The Bateman award was originally announced in August.

PRSSA is the foremost organization for college students interested in public relations and communication with more than 11,000 students and advisers organized into more than 300 chapters in the U.S. and South America. The organization advocates rigorous academic standards for public relations education, adherence to high ethical principles and diversity in the profession.

Category: College News, Student Awards

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Selepak Interviewed on CNBC’s “Power Lunch”

Published: November 23rd, 2015

Andrew Selepak

Andrew Selepak

Social Media master’s program director Andrew Selepak was interviewed on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” on November 20, 2015. The interview is summarized in the story, “The push and pull of social media in a crisis,” on the CNBC website.

Randy Wright Presented Innovator Award by University Station Alliance

Published: November 20th, 2015

This story was edited from a press release by the University Station Alliance.

Randy Wright

Randy Wright

The University Station Alliance presented its 2015 USA Madison Hodges Innovator Award for Public Media Advancement to Randy Wright, executive director of CJC’s Division of Media Properties, at its Super Regional Meeting in San Antonio, Texas on November 19, 2015.

Wright led an effort that impacted the state of Florida with a first-of-its-kind resource to help residents prepare for destructive storms and other emergencies. The Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN) this year launched Florida Storms, a free mobile weather application that offers a simple way to stay informed of potential weather and other hazards, backed by real-time credible information from the nearest Florida public radio station.

“I’m honored to receive this award from USA and proud to accept it on behalf of my colleagues throughout Florida’s public radio stations” Wright said. “Madison Hodges was one of the first leaders in Florida public media to welcome me to the state and our organization when I arrived at WUFT in 2010. I became amazed at the love and admiration so many in our industry have for him. In a small, way this award brings back such warm memories of my brief time being able to be around and work with such a wonderful man and ambassador for public media.”

Florida Storms uses a combination of state of the art weather tracking and forecasting technology and the expertise of staff meteorologists at WUFT-FM, the College of Journalism and Communications public radio station and host to the FPREN StormCenter, The app helps deftly navigate weather-related emergencies, from preparedness checklists to storm updates to evacuation routes. Millions will be impacted and have access.

“The USA is very proud to present Randy Wright with the Innovator Award. Randy’s pioneering work with Florida public media outlets typifies the type of work our USA members accomplish each day,” said John Hess, USA Board President. In addition to the award Wright received a $1,500 check.

About the Innovator Award

The Innovator Award recognizes Wright’s leadership building the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network vision and leadership fostering a strengthened partnership among 13 public radio stations and the Florida Division of Emergency Management. Now fully functioning this resource serves 99% of Florida’s population through participating member stations.

This award reflects the USA’s Mission and Madison Hodges’ desire to strengthen the public media system through improving the relationship between broadcasters and their licensees to help the station/licensee transition to success. Advancement means not accepting the status quo, so this award is for forward-thinking media professionals and institutional leaders.

Award criteria is based on the quality and importance of a short or long-term achievement. The Award is intended as a platform to recognize success, defined in this case as simply the courage to “try.” Even failures, if successful in helping move the system forward, can be recognized. The Award recognizes the individual’s attempts to make a greater impact in their communities and their profession as a public media professional. In 2014, the first Innovator award was presented to the Madison Hodges family.

About Madison Hodges

The late Madison Hodges (1947 – 2014) will long be remembered for his many contributions to Public Media. He was a mentor, a friend, a colleague, and a model leader. He had a long and admirable career in television and radio. As a leader he knew how to build consensus. Madison worked at several university public radio stations and he worked for a number of years in Washington, DC as a project manager for the Public Telecommunications Facilities program (PTFP) and as NPR’s Director of Policy and Station Services. He then served as Executive Director of University Station Alliance. Throughout his career he also served on several national boards including the University Station Alliance, PMBA board, and the executive board of the Florida Public Broadcasting Service.

Hodges was Manager of WQCS at Indian River State College in Ft. Pierce, Florida when he lost his long-term battle with cancer in July, 2014. Madison was the University Station Alliance Executive Director in 2006. From 2007 to 2014, he served as USA’s past president, past vice-president, and at the time of his passing board member.

About the University Station Alliance

The USA is a grassroots not-for-profit organization founded in 2001 to assist university-licensed stations with the challenges and opportunities associated with their licensees.

Category: College News

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New Online Magazine Helps Young Adults Stay Savvy About Health and Wellness

Published: November 19th, 2015

Healthy pizza. College depression. Beauty tips from Miss Florida. These are a few of the topics covered in Student Body Magazine, a new online publication by college-age adults for their peers.  The new site, launching today, is a one-stop shop for information on how young adults can enhance their quality of life.

The Student BodyDeveloped by a team of 15 students at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, the digital magazine includes information on nutrition, fitness, sleep, mental health, beauty, holistic health, body image, sexual health, sports performance and much more.

Student Body Magazine is unique because it’s the only website providing health and fitness content specifically targeted to a college-age population. The final product was indirectly modeled after popular health sites such as Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Shape and Prevention. The site also offers unique multimedia features including fitness videos.

Doctoral student Nicki Karimipour and adjunct faculty member Tom Burton led a team of students in the Health Media Innovations course who developed the name, design and content for the site.

“I’m really proud of all of the work that Nicki, Tom and all of the students did to get the site up and going,” said Ted Spiker, who initiated the idea when he became chair of the College’s Journalism Department earlier this year.  “I think that when you look at the potential for growth—to really get good health content to this demographic—you can see that this is a platform that can be incredibly relevant and robust. Not only will it serve the audience well, but it will also be a great training lab for different genres and forms of storytelling for our students.”

The magazine is available online at with updates on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.

For more information contact Nicki Karimipour at

Research Explores Future of Public Relations Practice and Studies

Published: November 18th, 2015

Juan-Carlos Molleda

Juan-Carlos Molleda

University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Public Relations Department Chair Juan-Carlos Molleda, doctoral student Gabriel Stephen and Sarab Kochhar, director of research for the Institute for Public Relations, published an article titled An Intertwined Future: Exploring the Relationship between the Levels of Professionalization and Social Roles of Public Relations Professionals for the Institute for Public Relations.

Ángeles Moreno, professor at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and executive director of the European Public Relations Research and Education Association and director of the Latin American Communication Monitor, was also an author of this study.


In this quantitative research study, the future of public relations practice and study is explored through the lens of professionalization and social roles. Specifically, this study evaluates the relationship between professionalization and social roles of public relations professionals. A survey of public relations professionals is used to build and test a model of professionalization and social roles constructs.

The results revealed significant relationships between the three dimensions of professionalization and the two dimensions of social roles. Strong associations were found between institutionalization and external and internal social roles. Positive associations were found between specialization, as an indicator of professionalization, and internal and external social roles of public relations professionals. Results indicate that the greater the professionalization of the practice, the greater of the enactment of social roles of professionals.

Molleda Featured in Online PR Training Podcast

Published: November 16th, 2015

Juan-Carlos Molleda

Juan-Carlos Molleda

Public Relations Professor and Chair Juan-Carlos Molleda is featured in the November 16, 2015 edition of the Online PR Training podcast, “Dieselgate – The Volkswagen Crisis PR Case Study.”

Strekalova: Social Media Activity Engages General Public in Infectious Disease Topics

Published: November 12th, 2015

Yulia Strekalova

Yulia Strekalova

Recently-published research by Yulia Strekalova, director of grants development and Ph.D. student, suggesting that social media postings through established public health sources engage a sizable portion of the general public is featured in this Healio: Infectious Disease News article published on November 10, 2015, “Social media activity engages general public in ID topics.”

Lee Wetherington Makes $1 Million Bequest to CJC

Published: November 12th, 2015

Lee Wetherington

Lee Wetherington

Lee Wetherington, a Sarasota homebuilder and philanthropist, has made a bequest of $1 million to the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications for the advancement of watchdog journalism.

The gift will be in the form of a grant from the Lee Wetherington Foundation, administered by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. It will be used to provide faculty support in the areas of freedom of information and open government, to make the imperative for investigative reporting in a democratic society, to teach journalism students the skills and critical thinking needed to do their jobs well, and to advance the sort of public service journalism that deeply engages the public in civic matters.

“It’s with great pleasure that the Lee Wetherington Foundation will provide the means to help our next generation of journalists continue the tradition of being on the front lines of making sure our government and leaders do not take advantage of the trust we have put in them,” Lee Wetherington said. “Investigative journalism is one of the best means to do this.”

Diane McFarlin, dean of the college, said Wetherington is a close follower of the media and has been deeply involved in civic life.

“This gift represents his belief that the tradition of watchdog journalism and investigative reporting is a cornerstone of American democracy,” McFarlin said. “We are at a crucial intersection of government and media. Governments are becoming more reluctant to release public records to the media and the public at large. At the same time, there is a precipitous decline in resources being spent on investigative journalism. This trend is undermining the people’s right to know.”

Journalism Department Chair Ted Spiker added: “This gift will serve a critical mission at a critical time: to hold government accountable to the public by making its decisions and actions transparent to the people it serves. We are grateful to Lee Wetherington, both for his generosity and for his belief in the importance of public access.”

Category: College News