COMMUNICATION STUDENTS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH FLORIDA ARE HARD AT WORK EXPOSING THE UNKNOWN HISTORY OF JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA
by Morgan Keene
The University of North Florida kicked off its Media Week events by premiering a series of short documentaries created by communication students on October 22nd, 2018. The event took place in the University’s John Delaney Student Union and was attended by students, Jacksonville historians, professionals in the media business, and long-time residents of the River City.
There were five mini-documentaries in total that shared stories of influential personalities and locations whose histories are greatly unknown in Jacksonville. They told the history of Richard Norman, A. Philip Randolph, Joseph Haygood Blodgett, the Kingsley Plantation, and how gentrification is affecting local historic neighborhoods. To create these documentaries, students interviewed Jacksonville historians, museum curators, and local residents. They also went out into the field to research and visit the homes and sites that make Jacksonville historic.
So often, Jacksonville is buried under the rug in terms of Florida history, but these students won’t allow that anymore. As stated by Professor Frank Goodwin, the host of the evening, “Uncovering Jax is one method to bring the Jacksonville community closer together…and recognize the potential for greatness together.” These UNF communication students are taking the initiative to get outside the classroom and into the real world to tell the history that they find so important. Addonica Toler, one of the Jacksonville historians featured in the documentaries and who spoke on the panel, said that this project was “Opening up the door for someone else to trip through so that they can learn about [Jacksonville History] sooner.”
The documentaries were not the only the only student projects to come out of the Uncovering Jax series. Students in the Journalism program also created multimedia packages and print stories. Public Relations students created the logo for the project, as well as ad campaigns to spread information on the project and events to the public. While all the projects will be published on the website (https://uncoveringjax.com/), the print stories will also be published over the course of weeks in the Florida Times-Union. Not only did this project help students gain experience in filming, writing, editing, and producing, it also is giving them the ability to have their work published for all to see.
This project is just another amazing example of how far the University of North Florida will encourage its students to go in order to fulfill their goals. Professors, school officials, local historians and media professionals from all over Jacksonville came together to help these students make this project a reality. Students got the opportunity to go out into the actual field and work on an assignment that will not only look amazing on a resume but give them the real-world experience they will need after college.
UNF students are truly amazing students. They take the opportunities granted to them by the university and run with them to create amazing projects. Not only is this a great project for them personally, but it opens doors for people in Jacksonville, all over Florida, and even the world to learn just how truly historic Jacksonville is.