Immersion Update

Immersion Update

Immersion Update

Innovation News Center

The Innovation News Center (INC) celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2023. The INC has served thousands of students since 2013 and has been a premier example globally of a converged newsroom within an academic setting.

With strategic funding from the President’s Office, the INC will be expanding its coverage with a new Florida Environment & Ag Desk, which will help train student journalists in specializations including water, climate, farming and rural issues statewide—all in demand as newsrooms around the nation expand coverage of climate change and other environmental pressures. A Report for America reporter will join the INC in summer 2024 to help bolster the new desk.

The strategic funding will also support a new Natural Disaster/Emergency Coverage Desk, including the creation of a mobile unit of undergraduate students who can be dispatched to cover emergencies from the field. In 2025, funding will help provide support for local “news desert” communities.

 Among the special projects produced by the INC for WUFT were:

  • Unintended, a five-part series about the consequences of unintended shootings in Florida.

 Among the awards won by the INC/WUFT News Team in 2023 were:

  • Florida Association of Broadcast Journalists: first place, Public Affairs
  • RTDNA Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards: winner, News Magazine category
  • SPJ Florida Pro Chapter Sunshine State Awards: first place in the professional category for News Website (small newsroom category) and first place in the college category for Best Broadcast Outlet.

 The Agency at UF

In 2023, The Agency engaged with new clients and partners, including collaborations with ESPN, SEC Network, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, L'Oreal and the Associated Press. Last year, The Agency:

  • Collaborated with ESPN, SEC Network and nonprofit Gators Unidos to celebrate the influence of the Hispanic community in the world of sports through a mix of live events and original content.  The content will be unveiled gradually over the year, with significant highlights during Hispanic Heritage Month, ESPN Deportes’ anniversary in January, and International Women’s Month in March 2024. A five-minute video of UF student-athletes reflecting on their Latino heritage, shown nationally, resulted in 9.7 million viewers and 1.4 million streams.
  • Was selected as the branding agency for the inaugural UF Space Mission Institute. This $2.5 million initiative serves as a nexus for interdisciplinary collaboration across UF colleges, contributing to space exploration, development, and commercialization.
  • Introduced the first women's volleyball shoe brand, Avoli, into the market. Student teams orchestrated successful Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and holiday e-commerce campaigns.
  • Developed two courses that delve into the intricacies of agency operations, marketing strategy, and cinematic storytelling, enriching students' skill sets and industry insights. It is also collaborating with the Media Production, Management, and Technology Department to hire a part-time lecturer, expanding its course offerings in Fall 2024.

The Agency is also exploring the integration of Gen AI into content development processes, marking an early yet promising venture into the future of AI in marketing. This forward-looking initiative positions students at the forefront of emerging technologies.