Presenters & Instructors
Updated June 22
SMI ’19 Presenters and Instructors
Dania is a former news producer and reporter for the Univision Network and its East Coast affiliates in San Juan, Puerto Rico and a former CNN en Español reporter and producer. She joined the UF CJC Innovation News Center in 2017 as a news manager assigned to help expand College of Journalism and Communications’ Spanish-language news offerings across media and digital platforms. She oversees production of the weekly “Noticias” radio broadcast and its news team as well as manages its website and social media channels and all other associated multi-platform content. She is also developing and teaching a Spanish-language news curriculum and working with UF’s Center for Latin American Studies to develop an undergraduate joint certificate program in Spanish-language journalism.
Natalie is a lecturer at UF CJC. She most recently was head of social media at BODEN, a leading cross-cultural communication agency based in Miami, where she oversaw the McDonald’s USA scope of work as Hispanic agency of record. She led the account team and collaborated with McDonald’s communication, marketing and digital teams to develop communication and social media strategies to reach the Hispanic consumer market. Natalie also led the agency’s award-winning social listening practice, Escucha, to build brand advocacy through influencer and consumer engagement and real-time content. Previously, she worked on the Delta Dental, UnitedHealthcare, Dewar’s, America’s ToothFairy and American Academy of Pediatrics accounts.
Professor Basu is an author and award-winning journalist. Before becoming the Michael and Linda Connelly Lecturer for Narrative Nonfiction at UF CJC, Basu was a senior writer at CNN. She covered the Iraq War from its inception, for which she won several national awards. Her e-book, “Chaplain Turner’s War,” grew from a series of Atlanta Journal-Constitution stories on an Army chaplain serving in Iraq. She has focused much of her work on people who survive immense loss and trauma and also on issues of race and identity. Basu also was a distinguished professor of practice in the University of Georgia’s narrative nonfiction MFA program. Basu began her journalism career in Florida, where she worked briefly for the Tallahassee Democrat and before that, was editor of The Florida Flambeau, the independent newspaper serving the Florida State University community. She has also served as communication director for the Children, Youth and Families program of the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services.
Before joining UF CJC as the Rob Hiaasen Lecturer in Investigative Reporting in 2018, Professor Bridis was editor of The Associated Press’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington investigative team, and was AP’s leading newsroom expert on security practices for source-protection and on the U.S. Freedom of Information Act and related laws. His investigative team won the 2012 Pulitzer and Goldsmith prizes for investigative reporting on NYPD intelligence programs, and he led AP’s efforts that won the $10,000 Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Awards in 2011 and 2014. Bridis won the 2014 Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics and the 2014 Society of Professional Journalism Ethics in Journalism Award. His team’s coverage of hurricane flooding at toxic waste sites was a finalist for the 2017 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award in the category of investigations triggered by breaking news.
Professor Calvert is the Brechner Eminent Scholar in Mass Communication and director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project at UF. He has authored or co-authored more than 150 law journal articles on topics related to freedom of expression. Calvert has also published articles in journals affiliated with the law schools at Arizona State University, Boston University, Columbia, Duke, Harvard, Georgetown, New York University, Northwestern, University of California Berkeley, University of California Los Angeles, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt and William & Mary, among others. He received his J.D. from the University of the Pacific and a Ph.D. from Stanford University, where he also earned a B.A. in communication in 1987. He is a member of both the State Bar of California and the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Ann is the Frank Karel Chair in Public Interest Communications and director of the new Center for Public Interest Communications at UF CJC. She is developing a curriculum in the field, connecting practitioners and scholars who are already working in it, and nurturing and sharing research that can advance this newly emerging academic discipline. Ann also directs the frank gathering, which brings hundreds of thought leaders from around the world together with scholars and funders at a conference in Gainesville each February. Before she came to UF, Ann was a senior communications officer for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, where she directed communications efforts for programs that address the social factors – like housing, education and mental health – that drive health and well being.
Allison is a senior writer (news and content management) with the UF Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing. She focuses on finding and telling stories about the amazing things happening at the university. Before joining UF, Allison wrote for publications such as the Tampa Bay Times, Mental Floss, National Geographic Traveler and the Boston Globe Sunday magazine. She subscribes to way too many magazines and loves geography, dogs and travel.
Dr. Ferrier joined Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in October as dean of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication. She is the founder of TrollBusters.com, a just-in-time rescue service for writers and journalists experiencing online harassment. She is also a digital content architect with 30 years’ experience in media entrepreneurship and new media technologies. Named one of the top 20 journalism innovation educators for 2018, Ferrier is an award-winning columnist and author as well as a scholar and communications consultant around community-based participatory research and media entrepreneurship. Her research interests include digital identity and reputation management and online communities. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Central Florida, a master’s degree from the University of Memphis, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland.
Professor Freeman has headed the photojournalism program at UF since 1991. He has a master’s in communication for Wichita State University, where he taught for 10 years, and a bachelor of journalism degree from the University of Missouri. His professional experience includes six years as a photojournalist at The Wichita Eagle in Kansas and college internships at The Arizona Republic in Phoenix and The Palm Beach Post in Florida. As a UF faculty member, Freeman updated his journalistic skills and knowledge on fellowships at The Los Angeles Times and National Geographic magazine. He was named National Press Photographers Association’s Educator of the Year in 2001 and is a two-time winner of the College of Journalism’s Teacher of the Year award. Since summer 2005, Freeman has conducted a two-week study-abroad course in Berlin, where he lived as a high school student and discovered his interest in photojournalism.
Professor Foley joined the UF CJC faculty in 2003 as a master lecturer in journalism after a 30-year career with the St. Petersburg Times. His classes focus on news reporting and writing. Previously, Foley served as executive editor, managing editor, metropolitan editor and city editor of the Times. He also worked on the business side as vice president of community relations. He was selected as a distinguished alumnus of the UF College of Journalism and Communications in 1994. In 2013, he received the Society of Professional Journalists’ Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award.
Ernest has served the readers of the Tampa Bay Times for more than 25 years. He has handled a variety of roles during that span and currently works as a metro columnist and assistant sports editor. Ernest also hosts “That’s All I’m Saying,” a public affairs show on WEDU-TV (PBS) and co-hosts a podcast that focuses on a mix of politics and entertainment. He has spoken at Florida Scholastic Press Association (FSPA) state and regional conventions for many years, and in 2017 received the Journalism Education Association’s national Friend of Journalism Award.
Harrison joined the UF CJC Innovation News Center as its broadcast news manager and will join the college’s faculty as a lecturer in July. He was a news anchor, reporter and meteorologist at WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio, and served as a lecturer at Ohio State University. Previously, he was a reporter and meteorologist for the Ohio News Network and a reporter and meteorologist at KLFY-TV in Louisiana. He has bachelor’s degrees in telecommunication and political science from UF, a B.S. in meteorology from Florida State University, and an M.A. in journalism and media management from the University of Missouri. Harrison has won numerous industry awards, including the National Award for Excellence in Science Reporting from the American Meteorological Society, four regional Emmy awards and 21 regional Emmy nominations.
Jeff knows just about every type of weather. Growing up in Missouri, he developed a passion for understanding thunderstorms, tornadoes and winter storms. Upon graduating from the University of Missouri in 2001, he continued tracking extreme weather for eight years as morning meteorologist for ABC17 and FOX22 in Columbia. In 2011, he couldn’t resist the challenge to head south and track tropical storms. He accepted a position with UF’s multimedia properties (WRUF-TV/FM, WUFT-TV/AM/FM) as chief meteorologist. It was here that he founded a 24-hour HD weather, news and sports channel (WRUF-TV), whereby students gain real-world experience as he coaches them to become broadcast meteorologists. In 2013, Jeff also became director and meteorologist for the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network, a collaborative effort by all public radio stations in the state to keep their audiences informed of hazardous tropical weather. In his free time, Jeff enjoys playing tennis, working out, exploring nature and occasionally sleeping.
Joe teaches newspaper, yearbook and online journalism at Hillsborough High School in Tampa. His students’ work has won National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) Pacemakers as well as Columbia Scholastic Press Association Crown Awards. Joe serves as evaluations coordinator for the Florida Scholastic Press Association (FSPA), with responsibility for publication critiques and digital contests. A Journalism Education Association Medal of Merit recipient and CSPA Paschal Award winner, he is a regular speaker at local, state and national journalism events including at The Poynter Institute. Joe will serve as local team leader for the fall 2020 national high school journalism convention in Orlando. He loves scholastic journalism and team trivia.
Andrea is the producer and host of The Creative Impostor and Podcast Envy. As a creative producer, editor and consultant, she helps business owners, nonprofits and entrepreneurs make podcasts that matter. Recent clients include the Santa Fe Opera, Chicago Reader and Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship. Her sweet spot is crafting podcasts that garner community engagement, provide education and tell stories that resonate with audiences on a deeper level. Andrea is also the program director and mentor for Power Your Story, a podcast produced by students with diverse learning challenges at a Chicago Public High School.
Professor Lowe joined the UF CJC as a lecturer and director of the Summer Media Institute in 2017. He had been the professional in residence in the journalism and media studies department at Marquette University in Milwaukee, his alma mater, and director of its O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism. He teaches classes in digital journalism and race, culture and sports; has taught courses focused on journalism history, sports journalism and coverage of elections and campaigns; and has written articles related to journalism education for Poynter.org and PBS MediaShift. A past president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), Lowe spent 22 years as a reporter at newspapers such as Newsday in New York, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk. He also has served as a senior writer and editor at the U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and communications director for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in Washington.
Mira is UF CJC’s assistant dean for student experiences and director of its Innovation News Center (INC), a public media newsroom serving north central Florida, where student journalists produce content for multiple media platforms, including WUFT-TV, WUFT-FM, ESPN 95.3, WRUF-FM, WRUF-TV, WUFT.org and Noticias WUFT. Prior to joining UF, Mira was a senior editor at CNN Digital in Atlanta, where she managed the planning, execution and programming of various special projects across a global portfolio. She previously led the features team there, overseeing the entertainment, lifestyle, tech, travel and health sections for domestic CNN.com and mobile. Before that, Mira was editor-in-chief of JET magazine in Chicago, the first woman to helm the No. 1 African-American newsweekly. She also served as assistant managing editor at EBONY magazine, also at Johnson Publishing Co. Her print experience extends to newspapers, including as an editor and recruiter at Newsday in New York.
Ethan is the breaking news editor in the Innovation News Center at UF CJC, home to WUFT News. He worked for two years at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as a social media editor, and before that spent a summer at Arizona State University as a News21 fellow reporting on the voting rights battle during the lead-up to the 2012 election. He also reported for the Erie Times-News while in college and worked as online editor at WUFT after receiving his master’s degree from UF. Ethan created WUFT’s The Point, a daily morning newsletter covering local and state news of interest to public media supporters in Florida.
Malick is a rising sophomore journalism major at Ithaca College (New York) who loves crying, laughing and chai lattes. He hosted Instagram’s official news coverage of the March for Our Lives in Washington on @Instagram – the largest Instagram account with a following of 250 million. Soon after, student activists launched Road to Change, which began on the South Side of Chicago. Malick traveled there to continue being a student journalist on the ground, this time hosting @Mic’s Instagram coverage and writing for Mic.com. He has also worked with Teen Vogue + Toms to urge young people to vote, DoSomething.org to interview NYT-bestselling author Aija Mayrock, and JetBlue to celebrate National Aviation Day. He has moderated a panel at Instagram’s launch of A Parent’s Guide in NYC and the panel on IGTV at the 2018 Online News Association Conference in Austin, Texas. He’s the first intern at Localish, ABC-TV’s new digital news brand for mobile millennials and he hosts his own show on IGTV.
As its director of programs and training, Ellen oversees the daily operations and provides leadership in the strategic direction of UF CJC’s Center for Public Interest Communications. As a member of the frank strategic communications academy, she delivers in-person and online training to various constituents. Ellen is event manager for the frank gathering, which brings hundreds of thought leaders from around the world together with scholars and funders at a conference in Gainesville each February. Also an adjunct faculty member who teaches writing at CJC, she earned her master’s degree in education, with a specialization in curriculum design and education technology, from UF. Her master’s thesis examined the ability to establish social presence in an online community via Twitter.
Andre is a news producer at WXIA-TV in Atlanta, where he has produced unique multiplatform content shared by millions online. He is known for conceptualizing numerous creative franchises, one of which was recognized as a Murrow award-winning piece. As a recent graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, Andre understands the importance of maximizing college. While in school, he worked with several top media organizations including CNBC, the NFL and ABC’s “The View.” He is also a wedding videographer and an executive producer at Novapane Productions. Andre uses his influence to shift the culture of broadcast journalism and aims to shine a light on underrepresented communities.
Matt is a journalism lecturer at UF CJC who has helped established and emerging media organizations make strategic shifts in digital. He was the inaugural director of the college’s Innovation News Center, serving as news director for the university’s seven media properties, including the NPR, PBS and ESPN affiliates. During that time, student journalists were honored with 185 national and regional awards. He is a former assistant news editor at The Washington Post and previously worked in administration at University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Matt joined CJC in 2011 as director of the 21st Century News Laboratory, shifting from two years in the media startup world, where he served as chief operating officer for a topical digital-first media company based in D.C. He serves on the training team for UF’s Center for Public Interest Communications.
Professor Spiker is the chair of the department of journalism and primarily teaches advanced magazine writing, and sports media and society. He has also taught health and science writing, applied magazines, magazine management, journalism as literature, magazine and feature writing, and other courses. He came to UF in 2001, was awarded tenure in 2007, and promoted to full professor and chair in 2015. Spiker was named UF’s teacher of the year for 2016-17. His book and magazine work is focused on health and fitness. His work has been published in TIME.com; Esquire.com; Outside; O, The Oprah Magazine; Fortune; Men’s Health; Men’s Fitness; Women’s Health; Runner’s World; AARP The Magazine; Reader’s Digest; Parenting; Prevention, and many others.
Marc joined the CJC Division of Media Properties as a media service producer in 2018. Before that, he was instructional support manager for the UF College of Dentistry, where he produced training, lecture and social videos. Marc had previously spent 10 years in Los Angeles as a production assistant and second assistant director for the Directors Guild of America, working on shows such as “Fast and Furious,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Insidious,” “Heroes” and “Scandal.” He is a past member of the state press corps in Tallahassee, as a news photographer for Mike Vasilinda Productions, where he shot and edited packages coming out of the capital.
Ryan is a 2006 graduate of the UF College of Journalism and Communications. He has a master’s degree in interactive technology from the University of Alabama. He spent seven years as a reporter and host for Alabama Public Radio, where he covered stories along with the staff that earned national awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and RTDNA. He returned to UF in December 2014 as a multimedia news manager in the Innovation News Center. He is also an adjunct instructor at the college, teaching audio storytelling and podcasting.
Houston joined the UF CJC faculty as a lecturer in the telecommunication and journalism departments in 2014. He started his career in professional video production in 2000 after graduating from the UF Documentary Institute and has been working in production and post-production ever since. Houston teaches several courses including fundamentals of production and a senior capstone course in corporate video production.
Taylor – creator and director of Guts & Glory GNV – is a live show producer, creative consultant, personal coach, speaker, performer and writer. She has studied and performed improv comedy and storytelling for over 10 years. A Gainesville native, she got her start in New York, training with Upright Citizens Brigade and working as a commercial actress. In Washington, she co-hosted a live late-night talk show, was a part of several improv troupes, including iMusical, a fully-improvised musical production, and continues to be a regular performer with StoryDistrict. Taylor created and hosts “Unvarnished,” a live storytelling podcast in collaboration with WUFT News, based at UF CJC, where she is an adjunct lecturer teaching a class centered around live personal storytelling and podcasting for journalism students. She has developed and taught undergraduate and graduate level courses on women’s issues, career development and optimal performance at UF, George Washington University and George Mason University.