USF Digital Network

The University of South Florida Digital Network will showcase video content created by students, staff and faculty on
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The purpose of the digital network is to:

  • Create and share content made by students for students in one location
  • Celebrate accomplishments by students and employees across USF
  • Develop new curriculum to increase real-world training for students with innovative digital media technology
  • Create revenue opportunities to reinvest in student success
  • Recruit new students by showing what the university has to offer
  • Break down silos and increase campus engagement

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USF Digital Network Website Mockup

This is an example of what the USF Digital Network website can look like.


Proposed Channels

Featured Video
The Featured Video section can house creative, trending, and important videos like President Genshaft’s fall address.

Explore Tampa Bay
The Explore Tampa Bay page will feature off-campus locations. Videos will include local beaches, attractions, parks, shops, etc. This can serve as a great resource for students to discover fun things to do in the Bay Area.

Intercollegiate Athletics
The Sports page will house videos about sports and include a push to the USF Athletics Bullsvision page. The Sports page will eventually also include live streams of USF sporting events.

Student Documentaries
The Student Documentaries page will include 5- to 30-minute videos created by students on topics they’re passionate about. Projects can come from mass communications classes like Electronic Field Production, TV Production and Direction, and Documentary Film Production.

Health & Fitness
The Health and Fitness page will house videos from USF Health and any other health and fitness related videos. There should also be a link pushing to USF Health on this page.

Events & Entertainment
The Events and Entertainment page will feature USF arts and performances like dance, theater and music. This page can house videos of the University Lecture Series and videos from the USF Sun Dome like graduations.

Florida Focus News
The Florida Focus News page will include news briefs produced by USF students in the Florida Focus class. The local news briefs will be uploaded Monday-Friday during fall and spring semesters.

News in 90
The News in 90 channel will include 90-second news videos created by students for USF Housing about campus news and events.

USF Stories
The USF Stories page will house short videos that could feature USF students, staff and faculty. Videos can come from mass communications classes like Broadcast News, TV News and Electronic Field Production. Innovative Education is also producing content that would be great in this channel.

Community Stories
The Community Stories page will include feature stories in the form of interviews with members of the Tampa Bay community. The stories can be about local heroes, entrepreneurs, business owners, inspiring people making a positive change in our area, etc.

USF Campus Tours
The USF Campus Tour page will take students and future students on tours through campus. Videos will also show behind the scenes of USF’s TV studios, Bulls Radio, and the Oracle newspaper. Videos can showcase the USF Library Media Commons, Innovative Education, engineering, etc.

The TEDx USF page will house TED Talks from USF campus. The USF Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement posts talks on their YouTube page. 

Education Abroad
USF World and Innovative Education created several videos to inform students of education abroad opportunities. Students and teachers also have videos of their study abroad experiences.

The food channel will include cooking segments and food-themed videos like farmers markets. 

The Your Money & Business page will house videos that will help USF students manage their finances and save money. The USF Muma College of Business YouTube page has several interviews with business leaders like Jeff Vinik and professor lectures. 

You can see examples of some of the videos here.


Preeminence: Key Questions To Ask Ourselves

  1. Are we regarded as the national model? If not, what do we need to do differently? We have the opportunity to be the national standard if we invest in digital media technology.
  2. Are we following best practices and making smart decisions? With this digital network, we will establish the best practices in new technology. We will invest in new technology to arm our students with the tools to succeed. We will build the network in such a way that we can continue to grow and adjust.
  3. Are we surrounding ourselves with A-level players and A-level team members? Are we recruiting, hiring and retaining the very best? By committing to a digital network we will attract A-level students and faculty from across the nation. We will raise the bar for our students and our faculty.
  4. Do we create an atmosphere where everyone feels valued and empowered? Where can we hold each other accountable for going above and beyond? Offering students the digital network will empower students to tell their own stories on a platform they help create, which will prepare them to thrive when they enter the workforce. Students will be inspired to hold themselves and each other accountable by showcasing their work.
  5. What is not contributing to our goal of preeminence? What is holding us back? Silos are holding us back. The Digital Network will bridge our departments and boost school spirit. We aren’t recruiting the best students because we’re not providing the most cutting-edge learning opportunities.

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USF Digital Network Goals

  • Integrate curriculum with content creation
  • More content made by students for students
  • Increased exposure for USF experts
  • Fiber lines and control room for live events
  • Power 5 eligibility for significant funding increase

 Launch Plan Year 1:

  • The USF web team will build a page on the content management system that integrates with the MyUSF app.
  • We will curate and embed existing content housed on USF YouTube Channels.
  • Several courses in the mass communications department will create new content specifically for the digital network.
  • Videos will be embedded into channels via an official USF YouTube channel.
  • We will distribute guidelines and style guides for video quality, branding consistency, and publishing workflows.
  • We will inform all content creators of video release and FERPA requirements.
  • We will launch customizable push notifications.

Launch Plan Year 2:

  • The digital network committee will meet with several app developers to get quotes for building the network on an app.
  • We will develop a plan for live streaming.
  • We will build up to a regularly live streaming network in areas like athletics, graduations, homecoming, etc.
  • We will set up plans for sporting event paywalls.
  • We will post digital ads and create sponsored content opportunities.

Launch Plan Year 3:

  • We plan to complete fiber installations and control room upgrades so we can technically be equipped to broadcast intercollegiate athletic events.
  • We plan to launch sports broadcasting curriculum and train students to run cameras and direct live athletics events.

Launch Plan Year 4:

  • We plan to upgrade the WUSF studio, lighting grid and cameras for commercial production.
  • We plan to streamline curriculum so USF students can create high-quality video production in an up-to-date production facility.

Pros of Creating Digital Network in House 

  • CMS integrates with MyUSF app
  • Simultaneous website and app launch
  • Customizable push notifications
  • YouTube embeds instead of storage
  • Embed workflow is more efficient

Cons of Creating Digital Network in House

  • Live streaming would require new staff or we partner with outside vendor
  • Building pay walls requires more time
  • Setting up digital ad deals would be more time consuming
  • We would lose a built-in group of advertisers that may come with third-party developers

Revenue Opportunities

Intercollegiate Athletics

If their current conference, the American Athletic Conference were to create a Digital Network, or if USF were to join a conference that already has a Digital Network in place, it is reasonable to believe that the increased conference revenue to USF Athletics could be between one million and twenty million dollars annually.

Studio Production

According to Jorge Cunha, WUSF brought in an average of $250,000-$275,000 a year in production revenue over the past 13 years. In addition to contracts with Ashley Furniture, WUSF earned $100,000 off six episodes of “Rays Rookies” production. Video production curriculum can help streamline an efficient and lucrative process so students can get hands-on experience creating videos for clients. This will increase our potential for new revenue streams. Upgrading the studio will also improve academic and revenue opportunities.

Digital Ads

In response to our Digital Network plan, Associate General Counsel Joel Londrigan suggested USF could earn digital advertising revenue on the website and app as long as students sign FERPA and video release forms. We can sell online real estate for digital ads like banners, billboards, and pre-roll.

Sponsored Content

USF courses that focus on creating video content can collaborate with businesses to produce sponsored content to reinvest in innovative student initiatives like a digital network app. Some sponsored content created by students for students could be:

  • “Cooking in College” by Publix
  • “Freshman 15” by Crunch Gym
  • “Now Hiring” by Glassdoor

Sponsored Graphics

In addition to sponsored content, companies can also sponsor graphics like lower thirds and tickers.

USF TV website mock-up

Upgrade Investments

These estimated costs cover production and post-production upgrades for live student-run broadcasts of Athletics events and commercial video production at WUSF, according to Jorge Cunha.

Total estimated cost: $4,025,000

Studio & Control Room             $3,450,000
Edit & Graphics Suites                $100,000
Fiber                $125,000
Installation                $275,000
Links                  $75,000

Production Control Room
Estimated cost: $700,000

  1. UHD (4K) production video switcher
    • 3G processing.
    • Two configurable multi-viewers.
    • Four mini ME controls.
    • Ability to deliver outputs to multiple screens, on-set displays and signal distribution systems.
    • Configurable routing sub-system with up to 144 physical inputs/outputs and 2 ME.
    • I/O of up to 144 X 144.
    • Input groups that accept analog and HDMI inputs as well as SDI.
    • Powerful animated transition capabilities with audio playback.
  2. Character generator
    • Graphics with blur, distortion, color correction, chroma keying, drop shadows and wipes.
    • Sequencer.
    • Effects palette.
  3. Monitoring scopes/vector/phase
  4. Video wall
  5. Studio Furniture
    • Custom studio furniture with rack rails.
    • Recessed equipment and wire panels.
    • Accent lighting.
    • Access hatches.
    • Wire egress – Radius.
    • Equipment rack bays with standard EIA tapped mounting rails.
  6. Equipment Racks
    • Mid Atlantic 7-foot equipment racks.
    • Wire management housing.
    • Power strips.
    • Side panels, back doors, blank panels.
    • Grounding.
  7. Cabling/connectors
    • Multi conductor cable.
    • 75 Ohm video cable.
    • Network cable Cat 5E or 6.
    • BNC, XLR, Mini BNC, RJ 45.
    • Testing/labeling.
  8. Servers
  9. Recorders
  10. Embedders
  11. Licensing and support contracts
  12. Audio announcer booth
    • 4X6 audio announcer booth.
    • Avalon microphone processor.
    • Sound soak materials and sound panels.
    • STC 60 or greater studio door.
    • On air light.
    • Neumann U78 or TLM 103 microphone with wind screen.
  13. Audio mixing console
    • Wheatstone 32 channel digital mixing console.
  14. Router
    • 2RU frame with 64X64 HD-BNC I/O and 8 AUX I/O ports.
    • Compliant with SMPTE 259M, 292M, 344M, 424M DVB-ASI and SDTI signals.
    • Ultriscape multiviewer heads use four outputs on the frame.
    • Ultrimix upgrades allow for routing, mixing and processing of all embedded audio inputs.
    • Ability to support up to 512X512 discrete mono audio inputs through the use of the AUX I/O ports.
    • Two power supplies.

Estimated cost: $2,500,000

  1. LED cyc lights
  2. Strand lighting boards
  3. Complete lighting package
  4. Complete grip electrical package
  5. 4 HD studio cameras with pedestal.
  6. Dolly.
  7. Cammate

Integration: General studio and production control room
Estimated cost: $250,000

  1. Cabling
  2. Connector count
  3. Installation
  4. Construction
  5. Floor and wall soundproofing
  6. AC, mechanical, heat and load calculations engineering
  7. Electrical and electrical engineering / UPS upgrade
  8. Permitting and design
  9. Documentation and labeling
  10. Training, testing, calibration

Estimated cost: $75,000

  1. Links from SunDome to WUSF studios
  2. Links throughout campus
  3. Links for live outside production events

Edit & Graphics Suites
Estimated cost: $100,000

  1. Adobe Suite (Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, etc.)
  2. Storage system
  3. Computers

YouTube Workflow:

After meeting with Associate General Counsel Joel Londrigan, we developed this workflow to ensure all content follows copyright laws, includes video release forms and FERPA forms:

  • Instructors and digital network liaisons should only upload the best videos after confirming they are free of errors, professionally shot and edited.
  • Anyone uploading videos to USF YouTube accounts should activate the closed captioning option for compliance.
  • Any audio used in videos uploaded to YouTube must be fair use (or legally downloaded from our music library contract “Jingle Punks”).
  • All videos must be 16:9.
  • Video cannot contain gratuitous nudity or profanity.
  • No video should be posted without first confirming video producer submitted signed video release forms for any person featured in the video.
  • Students must also sign FERPA form so we can legally upload their work on YouTube and embed on any USF CMS, like the USF digital network and
  • All videos on YouTube should include search engine optimized headlines.
  • Every YouTube post should include keyword tags. Tags include topics, names of those interviewed, USF department or college featured, and class in which the project was created.
  • YouTube video descriptions should include the name/s of the person or people who created the video and published date.
  • YouTube video description should include the name of the course for which the video was created if applicable.
  • Videos should include short Associated Press style stories in the YouTube description section.
  • Links should be included in the YouTube description to make it easier for viewers to get more info about the USF people/departments in the video. YouTube does not yet recognize hyperlinks, so we should include actual links for their YouTube descriptions.

YouTube title limit: 100 characters with spaces.
YouTube video description limit: 4,900 characters with spaces (approx. 800 words).

Here are some of the YouTube channels affiliated with USF that we may be able to aggregate videos from:

  • USF
  • Institute for Research in Art-IRA
  • Oracle News Online
  • USF Athletics
  • USF College of Art and Sciences
  • USF College of Engineering
  • USF College of The Arts
  • USF Housing & Residential Education
  • USF Innovative Education
  • USF Marine Science
  • USF Muma College of Business
  • USF Patel College of Global Sustainability
  • USF St. Petersburg
  • USF Bulls Club TV
  • USF Employee Training
  • USF Graduate School
  • USF Health
  • USF Honors College
  • USF Libraries
  • USF New Students
  • USF Orientation
  • USF Pharmacy
  • USF World
  • WUSF
  • Zimmerman School Digital Network at USF

University of Florida Tour

On July 21, 2017, the USF digital network team toured the University of Florida’s television/radio stations and sports venues to get a better idea of how the students produce video and live content as part of their courses and volunteering. The UF Athletics team launched a new collaboration with the journalism school about seven years ago.

UF worked with the company BCI to install the fiber. WJHW consulted with them about audio-visual aid in the athletic venues. WJHW is out of Texas. The University of Florida has 1,200 connection points for fiber on their campus. They suggest adding as many extra lines of fiber as we can (they said Notre Dame has 144 individual pieces of fiber at each one of their venues).

UF provides one to three credit pass/fail courses starting at the freshman level. They are all electives related to TV production, live events, news, video and social media. They have seven of these courses. They say that these extra electives have not caused students to go over their credit limit. They found that offering these electives as credit hours reduced the number of no-shows and helped students get experience much sooner.

Software/apps used at UF TV and Athletics:

  • Adobe Premiere Pro to edit videos.
  • News students use ENPS to build and manage newscasts.
  • UF does not use the automation system Ignite, but they are considering it.
  • Splice app for mobile video editing.
  • Slack for planning stories and student pitches.
  • DaPulse for their project management and schedules.
  • Select Tracks for music licenses.
  • WeTransfer to share video files.
  • Studio.Twitter to upload videos and save as draft before posting social content made by students.

After the tour, I met with Mira Lowe, director of the Innovative News Center. She oversees all of the news classes for the college of journalism and communications. These classes produce 30-minute newscasts for broadcast on their local PBS affiliate.

These classes do not produce content for students. Their goal is focusing on their older demo. Few videos make it to the UF app. These videos are not separated in channels and are difficult to find. Most videos are not uploaded to social platforms or YouTube.

When students do post to social media, the WUFT profiles will retweet or share the best ones, but this is lower on their priority list than the live broadcast.

I also met Harrison Hove, the multimedia news manager. He teaches one class for the college of journalism and communications. He spends each day in the newsroom with a few other managers/teachers who act as executive producers of the newscasts. Together, they help the students produce the newscasts Mon-Fri.

Both Harrison and Mira were very open to collaborating with USF and/or airing content created by USF students if we decide to pursue a content share model in the future.

USF Health Feature Story Ideas

Here is an example of an inspirational and educational story students can create that they will actually want to watch and share.

Madison Miller is a 23-year-old cancer survivor who started a non-profit to help young cancer patients.

TV students can get experience producing content in the field, then they can get studio production experience by producing interview segments at WUSF TV studios.

USF Health Studio Expert Interviews

Here is another example of how students can hook viewers with a compelling story, then go more in-depth with health experts in on-set interviews.

USF Health Research Studies

USF Health and Moffitt recruit USF students to participate in research studies. TV students could shoot interviews with participants and doctors to explain how the research coming out of USF is changing people’s health around the world.

Recruiters could use the extra help getting the word out about the studies. And the interviews can spark a more in-depth dialogue about health. It would help educate USF students.

Long Format Studio Programming

Here’s an example of a 30-minute health program I produced at WUSF-TV studios in 2009. Students can create in-depth programming about research like the HPV clinic off Fowler.

USF Medical School Projects

We could also have a place for USF medical students to present their projects.

Published by JeanetteAbrahamsen

I am an instructional designer and TV news instructor at the University of South Florida. My passion for innovating learning led me to pursue my PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Instructional Technology. I love creating media to enhance eLearning and foster online engagement. I teach students to create multimedia stories for broadcast, web and social media platforms. I lead the Florida Focus class where students produce daily news shows that air on Tampa's PBS station. My reporting classes collaborated with Tampa's NPR station to produce award-winning stories. I am an Emmy Award-winning journalist. I produced thousands of hours of TV news in some of America's largest media markets at Tampa's NBC station, San Diego's ABC station and the San Diego Union-Tribune. I also produced immersive 360-degree virtual tours at the University of South Florida and reported for Hashtag Our Stories.

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