College celebrates Innovation News Center commissioning
The College of Journalism and Communications commissioned the Innovation News Center on the evening of Friday, Sept. 20, 2013. The state-of-the-art facility houses the College’s sports, weather and news operations. Alumni, students, faculty, staff and donors came to Weimer Hall to enjoy tours of the center, a reception and a keynote address by David Folkenflik, NPR’s media correspondent.
“Students entering the college today are encountering a tremendous facility,” Folkenflik said. “The next generation of reporters for the New York Times…the Buzzfeeders, and the Woodwards and Bernsteins will find inspiration here.”
The two-story, 14,000-square-foot Innovation News Center opened in fall 2012 and replaced three older newsrooms. The facility has nearly 100 seats for student editors, producers and reporters that work together to report news for the College’s media properties, including WUFT-TV, WUFT-FM 89.1, ESPN 850 WRUF, Country 103.7 the Gator, WUFT-TV 6, and wuft.org. Several journalism and telecommunications classes are held within the facility, allowing students to learn to report news in multiple platforms.
“At the most basic level, we are giving students practical experience in the professional sense,” said Dean Diane McFarlin. “But our students can also be part of experimental ventures. It’s the potential for exploration that excites me the most. The most successful businesses are looking for people who are creative and can work in teams, and all that will be exercised in this newsroom.”
Matt Sheehan, director of the Innovation News Center, is the executive editor of the newsroom. The Innovation News Center provides information for citizens in 18 counties in North Central Florida. His next explorative venture is a digital weekly magazine that will be available in the iTunes App Store soon.
“I think the possibilities of the INC are endless,” Sheehan said. “We will utilize the power of our media properties and the enthusiasm of this next generation of journalists,” he said. “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”
David Folkenflik’s keynote
Story by Mina Radman. Opening video by Steve Johnson. Keynote video by Craig Lee, audio by Bill McClancy, edited by Steve Johnson. Storify by Justin Galicz.