Florida Focus is a 3 p.m. "newsbreak" reported, written and produced on deadline by School of Mass Communications' students at the University of South Florida. Students compete for acceptance to the class as only the best applicants have the opportunity to work on this professional newscast that reaches more than 1 million viewers in Florida's largest television market.
The studio for the newscast is housed in the School of Mass Communications, a modern facility located in the heart of Tampa, Florida's largest media market. Developed in 1996, Florida Focus first aired in January 1997.
In 1996, the school's director at the time, Dr. Edward Jay Friedlander, and its original instructor, Dr. Ken Killebrew, laid the groundwork for the look, content and placement of the newscast with the help and support of WUSF-TV/DT management. Working together the faculty established a set of standards for both student involvement and the overall production of the broadcast. In the spring of 1997 during the first semester of Florida Focus, students produced and anchored the newscast from WUSF-TV's small studio originally set up for sports interviews.
The first major change to Florida Focus came in the fall of 1997 when the School of Mass Communications started to produce and air the newscast from its own studio.
The School of Mass Communications' faculty views Florida Focus as a cornerstone class which fulfills the school's mission to introduce our students to the theories, principles and problems of mass communications while providing laboratory courses to sharpen their professional skills.