UFCJC Receives $8 Million Gift to Strengthen its Support for State and Local Journalism

by | Mar 4, 2024

GAINESVILLE, FL. (March 4, 2024) — As part of its commitment to bolstering state and local journalism, the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications (UFCJC) today announced that Nathan S. Collier has gifted $8 million to the College to sustain the Collier Prize for State Government Accountability and create a new local journalism symposium.  It is the largest gift in UFCJC’s history.

Collier is founder and chairman of The Collier Companies headquartered in Gainesville, Florida, and a descendant of Peter Fenelon Collier, who in 1888 founded Collier’s, a weekly magazine focused on investigative journalism. The magazine published stories from renowned journalists such as Jack London, Upton Sinclair, Ida Tarbell and Samuel Hopkins Adams.

Nathan Collier provided an initial gift to the College in 2019 to establish the Collier Prize, one of the largest journalism awards in the country.  It is designed to encourage coverage of state-level government in every state, focusing on investigative and political reporting. The prize, announced annually at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, recognizes the best U.S. professional reporting on state government accountability in any medium and on any platform. Since its inception, the Collier Prize has attracted more than 350 entries from a range of news organizations.

“I have supported the Collier prize for several years on an annual basis and it has become all that I wanted it to be,” said Collier. “The support of the College and the University of Florida has been extraordinary and it’s having an effect, and I want it to have a lasting impact.”

“We are extremely grateful to Nathan Collier for this generous and impactful gift,” said UFCJC Dean Hub Brown. “The College is already recognized for its support of journalism and news organizations, including the Collier Prize, the ONA Prize for Investigative Data Journalism, Fresh Take Florida and other initiatives, and this gift will help take that support to the next level.”

The gift will provide an endowment to fund the prize in perpetuity, hire a director to administer the prize, and create an annual symposium dedicated to local and state journalism.

The director position, which the College is now in the process of recruiting, will be responsible for growing the national reputation of the prize and for shining a spotlight on superb local accountability journalism. The director will work to secure top‐tier entries, spearhead all promotional activities, coordinate the annual symposium and be a thought-leader on supporting state and local government.

The annual Collier Symposium will highlight the best in local accountability journalism, examining the challenges to producing the best reporting and exploring solutions to improve the journalism and the environment that supports it. The event will bring Collier Prize winners and top-tier journalists to campus to interact with students and faculty and help enhance the College’s reputation as an incubator for excellence and innovation in journalism and inspire students to pursue local accountability journalism as a career.

“I’m looking forward to the establishment of the annual symposium and the convening of journalism thought leaders across the country,” Collier said. “My goal is to help the College of Journalism and Communications become a city on the hill, a mecca for investigative journalism, the place where people turn to for standards on how best to do it. And I hope that really becomes something that the University of Florida is well known for.”

About the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications

The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, recognized by its peers as one of the premier programs in the country, is driving innovation and engagement across the disciplines of advertising, journalism, public relations and media production and management. The college’s strength is drawn from both academic rigor and experiential learning. It offers its more than 2,500 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and certificates, both online and on campus. CJC students have the opportunity to gain practical experience in the Innovation News Center, which generates content across multiple platforms, The Agency, an integrated strategic communication agency, the Atlas digital media analysis lab, and in seven broadcast and digital media properties. The College is also home to the Joseph L. Brechner Freedom of Information Project, the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project, and the Consortium on Trust in Media and Technology.

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