PBS Digital Innovators Program Announces Call for Applicants

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PBS Digital Innovators Program Announces Call for Applicants


Now in its 5th Year, Annual Program Recognizes Top PreK-12 Educators Using Digital Technology and Tools in the Classroom

Arlington, VA, December 12, 2016 – Beginning today, educators from across the country—classroom changemakers who excel at using technology and digital media to spark excitement and drive learning in their classrooms—are encouraged to enter the 2017 PBS Digital Innovators Program.

The call for entries officially opens today and will remain open through midnight, February 13, 2017. Educators are asked to submit a 60- to180-second “mini-presentation” video to show how they’re using resources from PBS LearningMedia, the free media-on-demand service for classrooms from PBS and the WGBH Educational Foundation, along with digital technology and tools in their classroom to enhance their teaching and inspire of love of learning in their students. Entrants will also be asked to complete a profile and answer a short essay question. The PBS Digital Innovators online application is available at: www.pbs.org/education/digitalinnovators.

“Over the past five years, PBS Digital Innovators have served not only as role models for using digital content and instructional resources in the classroom, but also as true change makers in their classrooms and communities,” said Lesli Rotenberg, SVP and General Manager, Children’s Media and Education, PBS. “Education is at the core of PBS’ mission, both at the national and local level. Through our partnership with PBS stations, based in every community, this unique program allows us to recognize these leaders whose transformative work is inspiring a generation of lifelong learners.”

A panel of esteemed judges will seek to select one educator from each state throughout the U.S, its territories and the District of Columbia as PBS Digital Innovators. The Digital Innovators will receive a three-day all-expense paid trip to San Antonio, Texas, June 24-26, to participate in the 2017 PBS Digital Innovators Summit and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference. Attendance at these conferences will provide the Digital Innovators the opportunity to meet with, and listen to, renowned speakers, experts and educators; to discuss strategies for delivering best practices in digital education that they can immediately apply to the classroom and across their schools; and an opportunity to network with educators from across the country.

All PBS Digital Innovators will also receive ongoing professional development opportunities, including unique virtual trainings focused on digital best practices, access to exclusive resources from PBS LearningMedia Custom, invitations to special events, a free PBS TeacherLine professional development course, networking opportunities, a choice of a digital gift to use in their classroom and more. PBS Digital Innovators will also receive ongoing support from, and opportunities to work with, their local PBS member stations.

PBS continues to deepen relationships with educators across the country, so all educators who meet the entry requirements, follow the guidelines and submit their application to the Digital Innovators Program will automatically become a member of a robust professional learning community with ongoing professional development opportunities and access to free webinars from PBS LearningMedia.

The 2017 PBS Digital Innovators will be announced on March 15, 2017. For more information on PBS LearningMedia, visit www.floridapbslearningmedia.org.


Health News Florida Wins National Edward R. Murrow Award

Health News Florida, a statewide multimedia and broadcast collaboration between WUSF Public Media, WMFE 90.7, and WLRN Public Radio and Television, has been honored with the 2016 national Edward R. Murrow award for “Best Small Online News Organization Website.”

The national Murrow award is considered one of the most prestigious honors in the broadcast and multi-media industry. It is presented by the Radio and Television Digital News Association, which has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism since 1971. The awards are named after legendary broadcaster Edward R. Murrow, who is widely recognized as one of broadcast journalism’s seminal figures.

“The Health News Florida project demonstrates an essential service that WUSF provides on perhaps the most vital topic possible – health,” said WUSF General Manager JoAnn Urofsky. “My congratulations to the team across the state of Florida for their excellence in reporting.”

This year’s award recognizes Health News Florida for original reporting projects such as HIV in Florida, a series looking at poor Floridians caught in the Medicaid Gap, and ongoing coverage of statewide health care policies. This award follows other recent recognitions for Health News Florida, including regional Murrow awards for the site and in the news documentary division; and three awards from the Florida Associated Press Broadcasters Association.

“WMFE is very proud to partner with WUSF and WLRN,” said WMFE President and General Manager, LaFontaine Oliver.  “The Health News Florida project has multiplied the reporting power of our individual stations resulting in an incredible health news resource and service to all of Florida.”

Health journalist Carol Gentry created Health News Florida 10 years ago as an independent health news organization, at a time when the number of health journalists in the state was dwindling. It was acquired by WUSF in 2012 and expanded to the collaboration with partner public broadcasters WLRN and WMFE in 2014 as a result of a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

“This is a remarkable accomplishment and reinforces not just WLRN as a news leader in South Florida, but it also reflects the tremendous work from our fellow public media stations across the state of Florida, ” said John LaBonia, General Manager of WLRN.  “I am very proud of this news partnership and congratulate the entire team for this well-deserved recognition and their collaboration in making Florida Health News such a valuable public service.”

Florida public radio and television stations have a strong history of collaboration on projects the benefit the citizens of Florida. Florida public radio stations joined forces with the Florida Division of Emergency Management to form the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN) in 2014, which covers 99 percent of the state and is locally staffed and equipped to stay on the air to deliver important information to local audiences before, during and after an emergency. Florida public television stations work together across the state to provide Florida teachers, parents, students, and mentors with the Florida PBS LearningMedia, a free and innovative digital library developed to support curriculum-based teaching and learning from pre-K through college. The success of these initiatives, along with the award-winning Health News Florida, demonstrates the deep commitment of Florida public television and radio stations have to serving the state and its citizens.

Get emergency info on free Florida Storms mobile phone app


GAINESVILLE, Fla.  – Florida residents and visitors have a new resource to help them prepare for destructive storms and other emergencies.  The Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN) today launched Florida Storms , a free, mobile weather application that offers a simple way to stay informed of potential weather and other hazards, backed by real-time credible information from the nearest Florida public radio station.


Using a combination of state of the art weather tracking and forecasting technology and the expertise of staff meteorologists at WUFT-FM, the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications public radio station and host to the FPREN StormCenter, Florida Storms helps deftly navigate weather-related emergencies, from preparedness checklists to storm updates to evacuation routes.

“Millions of people visit this state every year, and millions more have moved here since a hurricane last struck our shores ten years ago,” said Jeff Huffman, Florida Public Radio Meteorologist at UF. “Think about this: Twitter, YouTube, and even the iPhone weren’t around when Wilma made landfall back in 2005. To say there will be a lot of Floridians experiencing a potential disaster for the first time on social media or the smartphone is an understatement. We hope Florida Storms will help them cut through the noise and come to rely on a service that’s been proven for decades to be there in time of need, which is the backbone of public radio.”

FPREN communicates emergency information statewide through a seamless system of free over-the-air FM radio stations. The new mobile app extends the reach of the Florida station network with reliable and immediate accessibility on weather developments.

“The launch of the Florida Storms app is the natural next step into mobile distribution of the critical lifesaving information FPREN provides,” said Randy Wright, executive director of WUFT-FM and the Division of Multimedia Properties at UF’s College of Journalism and Communications. “The features of the app are groundbreaking and it’s very user-friendly.  Combine that with it being available at no charge equals what we believe will be an essential mobile tool for Floridians and visitors to our state.”

The iOS app, now available free in the Apple App Store, was developed in collaboration with mobile engagement provider Mobiquity. An Android version will be ready early this fall.

Among the features of the new app are:

  • Weather map: Clean and fast national radar with 1-hour past loop and future radar up to 48 hours, including current temperatures, wind speeds and lightning data
  • Radio streaming: Live stream of nearest FPREN partner station, with ability to customize based on desired location
  • News feed: Multiple feeds of real-time watch and warning information from various sources, with simultaneous advisory text and radar view
  • Emergency preparedness: Information for a weather disaster, including what to do before, during and after a storm
  • Push notifications: Customizable, from the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center.

The app can be downloaded here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/florida-storms/id1011397030?mt=8


Florida public radio stations joined forces with the Florida Division of Emergency Management to form FPREN in 2014. The FPREN Storm Center is operated by WUFT-FM at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications providing local 24/7 weather, data and storm updates to all stations in the network.

 FPREN stations collectively cover 99 percent of the state and are locally staffed and equipped to stay on the air even during times of massive power outages in order to deliver important information to local audiences before, during and after an emergency. In the event of a weather incident, the FPREN stations will continue to provide recovery information for as long as necessary. Working in partnership with the Florida Division of Emergency Management and local Emergency Operations Centers, listeners and users of the mobile app can be assured of having access to the most up to date information.

About FPBS

FPBS is a non-profit association of public radio and public television stations in the state of Florida. As the largest broadcasting network in the state, we reach more than 99 percent of Florida’s population through traditional broadcast, online tools and community engagement. FPBS stations are a state partner in education, emergency management and public affairs. Through our collaborative efforts, we identify and implement regional and statewide projects that enhance and sustain community initiatives that serve the citizens of Florida. For more information, visit the FPBS website at www.fpbs.org.


Craig Fugate Sends Letter of Thanks to WUFT and Acknowledges Vital Role of FPREN Network

Craig Fugate, FEMA Administrator, sent a letter of thanks to the UF College of Journalism (WUFT), praising the team for their assistance in the public information efforts in advance of Hurricane Arthur. Read the full letter here.


Download a PDF of the letter here: FEMA Craig Fugate-Media Properties Letter 2014

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