University of Florida Unveils Plans for Digital Journalism ‘Media Farm’

By: E&P Staff

The University of Florida unveiled plans Wednesday for a new Center for Media Innovation and Research that will train students in digital media and house a think tank for conducting research in the field.

Construction of the Center is expected to begin next fall, according to UF College of Journalism and Communications Dean John Wright. “The goal is to have every single student have experience in emerging media so that when they leave here they can adapt to a rapidly changing field,” Wright told The Gainesville Sun.

The first phase of the project will be the construction of a “21st Century Newsroom and Laboratory,” which will be housed in another university building until a larger, permanent home is built. The center is expected to bring together students and faculty in print, broadcast and online journalism. Wright compared the newsroom to the AP’s new Washington D.C. bureau. “They have people close by across the platforms talking to each other in ways that you don’t see in traditional newsrooms,” he told The Sun.

The center’s second phase will be a “Digital Laboratory for Strategic Communications,” which will provide space for advertising and public relations students working in digital media. Construction on that phase could begin as early as next spring.

Launching the center is expected to cost $1.5 million. Roughly half the cost will be funded by the state, while the other half will be raised from private sources.

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