Knight Chair in Journalism Technologies and the Democratic Process


The College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida is one of the largest and most respected j-schools in North America. The Knight Foundation has selected 22 schools since 1990 at which to establish an endowed chair in journalism. I have established (with the help of my colleagues here) an online media concentration within the Department of Journalism; this is equivalent to the department's concentrations in reporting, editing, photojournalism, and magazine journalism.


The College

The College of Journalism and Communications offers the bachelor of science degree in journalism, telecommunications, advertising, or public relations. Also offered are master's and doctoral degrees in mass communication; there are options for joint mass comm and law degrees. There are about 60 faculty and more than 2,600 students in the college (including more than 200 graduate students). It's a big place! The college operates two TV stations and four radio stations and also is home to the Interactive Media Lab and the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information -- among other things. Please investigate the college's Web site for more information.

The Town

The University of Florida is in Gainesville, a really nice college town with no beach. The nearest, nicest coastal towns are St. Augustine (63 miles as the crow flies) and Cedar Key (a bit closer, on the Gulf of Mexico). Gainesville is about 100 miles northwest of Orlando and Disney World. The city of Gainesville has about 110,000 residents (see U.S. Census data). The Gainesville airport is served by Delta and U.S. Airways.

Academic Life

People outside academia seem to think this is an easy job with a light workload. Most of my colleagues work at least a 60-hour week during the semester, and there are plenty of weeks when we work 80 or more hours. To teach an hour-long class in a subject you know well, you usually prep for two to three hours. When it's a new subject to you, it can takes weeks to get ready to teach just one day's class. Reading takes a lot of time. Grading takes a lot of time. We also spend hours every week talking to students and advising them, and more hours in required committee meetings. (The number of hours one spends in meetings sometimes exceeds the time spent teaching in a given week.)

The payoff: It's very enjoyable work, almost always interesting, often new and surprising, and it allows me to learn new things continually. It's harder than working in the newsroom, but it's more stimulating.