The Great Storytellers series showcases some of today’s most highly-regarded storytellers across media and platforms.  We will feature award-winning authors, journalists and photographers, creative gurus and documentarians, bloggers and performance artists.  All will share their insights on how to best engage audiences in today’s cluttered media landscape.

Claire Smith
Claire Smith

Claire Smith  is a pioneering, female sports journalist who has been covering baseball for more than three decades, including seven years as a national baseball writer and columnist for The New York Times.  She has covered baseball for ESPN since 2007.

In early 2017,  she was honored with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s J. G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing — the first female honoree.

On Feb. 21, 2018, Claire shared stories about her craft and her life, as an African-American, female sportswriter,  with players, officials, owners, Major League Baseball and fellow journalists.


Best-selling authors Michael Connelly (B.S. Journalism 1980, Alumnus of Distinction 2003) and James Patterson speak in the Reitz Union as part of GatorNights on February 24, 2017. The event was co-sponsored by the CJC Great Storytellers series.

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Best-selling and critically acclaimed author Michael Connelly returned to his educational roots at the University of Florida on Sept. 21, 2015 to talk about the art and craft of storytelling.

Connelly—a 1980 graduate of the College of Journalism and Communications—is a former crime reporter for the L.A. Times and has written nearly 30 novels and sold more than 60 million copies. He is a writer and producer of the Amazon Prime TV series “Bosch,” based off his character Harry Bosch. Connelly’s visit kicks off the College’s new Great Storyteller series.

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Author and Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist  Debbie Cenziper, B.S. Journalism 1992, discussed her new book Love Wins and the fight for legalization of same-sex marriage.

Cenziper is an investigative journalist with The Washington Post.  Previously, she worked for more than five years at the Miami Herald where she received the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting for her year-long investigation of housing corruption in Miami, which led to the convictions of several developers and to a federal takeover of the county housing agency. In 2006, Debbie was named a Pulitzer finalist in explanatory reporting for her series exposing breakdowns in the nation’s hurricane-warning system.

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