University of Florida Launches Sports and Media Specialization | Athletic Business

University of Florida Launches Sports and Media Specialization

Source: University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications

Gainesville, September 28 -- The public’s insatiable desire for watching sports on TV rose to 31 billion hours in 2015, a 160 percent increase from 2005, according to Nielsen.   With the emergence of new platforms for sports viewing and the proliferation of sports news sites, careers in sports journalism and communications are rapidly increasing.

The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications is helping position students for this is expanding landscape with a new Sports and Media track available for students in the College. The track resides in the Department of Journalism. The track includes courses in such areas as sports journalism, sports production, sports law and ethics and sports communications.

"The sports and media specialization provides students an exciting and uniquely integrated educational experience,” says Professor John Wright, director of Sports Journalism and Communications and immediate past dean of the College. “As they complete an extensive classroom curriculum, they receive multiple unique, real-life professional sports media experiences and training and in the College’s radio and television stations and affiliated online operations, as well as the UF Athletic Association’s and GatorVision, all located here at the College.” 

The track will include a journalism and communication core of courses, as well as 20-plus credits of sports-specific media and communications classes and additional elective opportunities to take even more. 

“We’re excited to formalize a program that really is a huge area of popularity among our students,” said Ted Spiker, professor and chair of the Journalism Department. “This program will help us develop and cross-train students in reporting, writing, video, social media, and so many other areas that will make them major contributors in various sports-media industries.”   

Spiker, who teaches a popular course open to all majors called Sports Media and Society, cited adjunct professors like Jason Cole of the Bleacher Report (formerly of Yahoo! Sports) as difference-makers when it comes to educational experiences for students.   

“We have so many assets in the sports-media world—in terms of facilities, people and media brands—that students will be able to explore and excel in various disciplines—all that emphasize the fascinating world of sports and media,” Spiker said.   

The College’s sports communications programs have produced many prominent sports media figures, including the Denver Bronco’s Patrick Smyth (B.S. Public Relations 2003), ESPN’s Jeff Darlington (B.S. Journalism 2004) and Chris Doering (B.S. Telecommunication 1996), Fox Sports’ Erin Andrews (B.S. Telecommunication 2000) and Kristina Pink (B.S. Telecommunication 2007), The Washington Post’s George Solomon (B.S. Journalism 1963), Dallas Maverick’s Chuck Cooperstein (B.S. Telecommunication 1981) and Olympic swimmer Dara Torres (B.S. Telecommunication 1990).

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