We’re diving deep into what social science scholarship tells us about the reasons behind trust-eroding behavior so we can adapt rather than expect the communities we serve to change for us.

CUNY’s Carrie Brown chats with JSK Fellow Andre Natta, UF’s Spiro Kiousis, MIT’s David Karger and UF’s April Hines during a conversation on trust convened at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications in June 2018. (photos by Ryan Jones)

It seems that rarely a week goes by without another report on media trust, a conference is held where this isn’t a critical topic, or we’re faced with yet another reminder of the fallacy of the press’ position as an invulnerable Constitutionally enshrined institution.

That’s why, in partnership with the News Integrity Initiative, the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications launched an exploration to look beyond treating the symptoms of erosion of trust in independent journalism and examine if we can do a bit more to understand the underlying causes.

There are a lot of smart and dedicated…

by Alex wong on Unsplash

By Matt Sheehan and Annie Neimand

Narratives clearly have the power to persuade and impact the attitudes, beliefs, and actions of audiences.¹ However, narratives as tools aren’t neutral. They can be used to persuade people for positive aims such as justice, equality, and sustainability, but they can also be used to build support for terrorism, authoritarianism, and violence.²

Like the types of plots within narratives, many narratives can be placed into groups as well. Researchers call recurring narrative arcs “master narratives” and they play a large role in the how we perceive the world around us. Scholar Michael Dahlstrom writes…

with Ann Christiano and Annie Neimand

Verisimilitude (n.)
The appearance of being true or real
- Oxford dictionary

In the opening scene of “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Mississippi,” we watch Frances McDormand’s character as she backs up her station wagon to stare at three long-unused billboards along a remote country road. In the last moments of the scene, she chews the nail on the middle finger of her left hand, strokes her chin, throws her car into drive, and speeds off. …

Scaffolding by Joe Campbell/flickr (used via Creative Commons license)

Any discussion of story building starts — logically — with the structure that defines what a story is, and what it is not. As many organizations have embraced the importance of storytelling, the term “story” often gets used when instead we are talking about an organization’s marketing message or a vignette. Vignettes may present personas; messages present what we hope people will believe about our organization, issue or cause. Only stories– with a beginning, middle and end, with conflict and resolution– have the power to capture our imagination and incite empathy.¹

We know human communication can take many forms. Research…

Photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash

By Ann Christiano, Annie Neimand and Matt Sheehan

For many communicators — particularly those of us who work to inform or persuade — we believe the focus of our stories boils down to one thing: the sharing of fact. However, research has shown that the exchange of pure information or pure fact isn’t unique to what drives human communication. Communicating facts is, in fact, a skill shared by many of Earth’s creatures who employ methods of signaling danger or direction to safety and sustenance.

So what drives the dominance of human communication and separates us from other species?

In the…

“In contrast to our vast knowledge of how science and logical reasoning proceed, we know precious little in any formal sense about how to make good stories.” — Jerome Bruner, psychologist

In October 2016, members of the faculty and staff at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications attempted to begin to answer the charge by psychologist Jerome Bruner to further develop what we know of the scholarship in what makes stories effective. We wanted to dive deep in the knowledge and research that is out there, find commonalities across disciplines and make the intelligence actionable for practitioners.

As the spring 2017 semester here at UF J-School comes to a close, I was inspired by the self-reflection of students in my Innovative Storytelling class. This semester we had UF students in journalism, telecommunications, advertising, sociology and political science come together to learn a framework for intrepreneurship and innovation, and to develop product prototypes for new journalism and communication ventures. Some of those will be built out and shared through the CJC’s content+product incubator, Hatch.

These are some of their reflections, in their own words:

Something I know now from this class that I didn’t really know before was…

Why We Should be Ready to Play with Goliath and Why They Need to Listen to David

Like many folks focused on what’s happening in digital media, I was half paying attention to the Apple keynote launching its world-wide developers conference.

It was proceeding as expected, with updates to iOS and launch of another version OS X, the desktop operating system. And the much-anticipated launch of Apple Music. At about an hour in, just as I was about to tune out to head to a meeting, Susan Prescott’s presentation caught my eye.

No, it wasn’t that Apple, for the first time, put the spotlight on two of its senior executives who happened to be women (instead of…

Why we’re examining many of the things we’ve spent the last 18 months building in our newsroom. Follow along as we chronicle lessons from a small-market station group transitioning to a contemporary media organization.

When the project that became the Innovation News Center at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications launched five years ago, the mission was to ‘converge’ the three separate radio and television newsrooms. It was the latest iteration in a 87-year history of immersive, media-based learning opportunities at UF.

Since that initial conceptualization, our newsrooms…

A carbon nanotube. via flickr creative commons.

Read ‘Breaking News: Why we’re examining many of the things we’ve spent the last 18 months building in our newsroom

What is Project Allotrope?

The Innovation News Center is undertaking a strategic vision process as we re-orient from a primary focus on simply feeding the heritage, terrestrial broadcast properties to becoming a multi-platform, multi-brand news and information organization. …

Matt Sheehan

Managing director @RealGoodCenter & senior lecturer @UFJSchool. Stints @washingtonpost @merrillcollege, COO at a DC media startup + evolving #pubmedia news.

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