Save University of Florida's Documentary Institute

  • by: supporters of The Documentary Institute
  • recipient:,,,, ,,
In a time when print media is losing strength and television news is shifting towards entertainment, documentary films are filling a void for honest and well-researched journalism.  The College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida is planning to terminate The Documentary Institute, an award-winning graduate program.  Please help us save The Doc Institute by signing this petition.
To: President Machen
cc: Provost Joe Glover
Board of Trustees Chair Dianna Morgan
Dean John Wright
State Senator Steve Oelrich
State Rep Larry Cretul

Dear President Machen,

We the undersigned are dismayed about the plans to disband the College of Journalism and Communication%u2019s Documentary Institute and fire the four faculty that are currently administering this outstanding program.

The Documentary Institute was recently listed as a Top-Ten documentary film program along with NYU, UC Berkeley and Stanford. Every year since 2006, Documentary Institute graduate thesis films were nominated for Student Emmys and the David L. Wolper award (the two most prestigious international awards for documentary film students). In addition, the Institute%u2019s four Professors, Dr. Churchill Roberts, Dr. Sandra Dickson, Cindy Hill and Cara Pilson, have won numerous coveted awards for their work in documentary film, bringing unprecedented notoriety to the University of Florida.

The Documentary Institute is not an esoteric curriculum. Graduates are immediately employable and are prepared for the age of digital media.  Documentary Institute graduates now work at major media outlets including National Geographic, The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, ABC, NOVA and many have started their own private documentary film production companies.

In a time when mainstream news is becoming entertainment, documentary film is filling a void in true journalism where the journalist can take the time to research important stories and accurately bring issues to the masses. The Documentary Institute has already put the University of Florida in the lead pack of this burgeoning field. It would be tragic to lose this program that has an undeniable track record of success and sure future on the cutting edge of journalism. We urge you to reconsider the current plans to eliminate the Documentary Institute. Thank you for your time.
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