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The Innovators Series

Innovator logoThe University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications and the Public Media properties have launched The Innovators Series, a project that will bring thought leaders who are developing breakthrough ideas in media. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is supporting the speaker series, which will kicked off in the Fall 2014.

Over two years, six speakers will take part in the series, which focuses on three areas of media innovation: news distribution and collection, audience engagement and new ways of communicating. The lectures will also highlight innovative uses of data and mobile.

The series goes beyond the traditional keynote presentation format. Each event is designed as an intimate, purpose-driven gathering, ensuring that it is equally meaningful for the speakers and the community.

Mark Little, the founder and CEO of Storyful, kicked off the Innovators Series in September. Little founded Storyful, a tool that uses advanced technology and journalistic expertise to find content used by newsrooms, brands and video producers around the world. Based in Dublin, New York and Hong Kong Storyful’s journalists and technologists cover news from around the globe. Reuters, The New York Times, the BBC and many other leading media organizations use its dashboard. View his presentation at:

Melissa Bell, the co-founder of Vox.com and executive editor and senior product manager of Vox Media, visited the College and Public Media Projects in November. Vox Media, one of the fastest-growing online publishers in the world, focuses on developing high-value digital journalism, storytelling and brand advertising at scale. It includes the sports blog network SB Nation, tech site The Verge, food blog Eater and explanatory journalism site Vox.  Check out our discussion with Melissa at:

Nicco Mele, an entrepreneur, angel investor and Harvard Kennedy School faculty member, will round out the first phase of The Innovator Series with his visit in early February. His book, “The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath,” explores the consequences of living in a socially connected society. He co-founded EchoBitto, a leading strategy and consulting firm, whose clients include AARP, the Clinton Global Initiative, Medco and the United Nations World Food Programme.

Conversation on human trafficking in Florida

Panel of journalists, advocates and law enforcement officials to discuss

Camille Johnson’s runaway daughter, Wa-Das, 17, was prostituted from a Sarasota townhome. The night Wa-Das returned, Camille grabbed this sword, thinking she would hurt those who had prostituted her daughter. (Herald-Tribune staff photo by Dan Wagner)

A panel of journalists, advocates and law enforcement officials discussed the issue of human trafficking, both domestic and abroad, in “A Conversation on Modern-Day Slavery” presented by the UF College of Journalism and Communications in 2013. The discussion was held in partnership with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and the Bob Graham Center for Public Service.

Panelists included journalists from the Herald-Tribune who on Sunday, Oct. 13, published “The Stolen Ones,” a compelling investigative series that shared the stories of victims of human trafficking in Florida.

“This isn’t the polite chit-chat of receptions or lunch meetings, yet this issue of trafficking – and the sordid economy of abusing children – is flourishing nationally, in Florida, and probably down the street if not in your neighborhood,” Herald-Tribune Executive Editor Bill Church said.

Bridget Grogan, with WUFT News, moderated the panel that included Church, Herald-Tribune reporter J. David McSwane and projects editor Scott Carroll; Jeanne Singer, chief assistant state attorney, Eighth Judicial Circuit; Frank Williams, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Florida; and others.

“Conversations like this one are critical in a democratic society,” said Diane McFarlin, dean of the UF College of Journalism and Communications. “This fits within our mission as an institution of higher education and steward of North Florida’s public media outlets. It is our obligation to bring these types of discussions to the community and work through the weighty and under-the-radar issues together.”

View the discussion at: