An old tape recorder rests in the corner of Paula Horvath’s office collecting dust as she sits at her desk editing from a digital MP3 recorder.
This evolution of technology is not something with which Horvath is unfamiliar. In fact, she embraces the opportunity for innovation and creativity with open arms.
Horvath is a senior instructor for the communication department at the University of North Florida where she has been sparking creativity in her students for 22 years.
“If we’re going to keep up-to-date and be relevant, be successful and be able to have a career in this thing we now call journalism,” Horvath said, “we have to do something completely different from what I did 30 years ago.”
She surrounds herself with memorabilia that reminds her both about where she came from and to continually update students and herself to new ideas in journalism.
Her office is embedded with current events, cultural knick-knacks and a few newsroom blasts-from-the-pasts that showcase her innovative nature.
“I began my print career 30 years ago when we still had typewriters,” Horvath said. “Today, we’ve gone from print reporting to digital reporting and probably even cloud reporting.”
In the classroom setting, Horvath prides herself on offering an abundance of opportunities for her students to “think out of the box.” She is currently teaching a social media class, where students run an independent news bureau completely through the web and social media.
Horvath believes in the importance of her students learning how to take risks to thrive and be successful.
She previously led study abroad trips to developing countries, has taken students to the Republican National Convention to report for The Washington Post and helped raise more than $20 million through the Hope Fund, a joint effort with The Florida Times-Union using student-journalists to tell the stories of those in need locally.
“It takes a special person to have the creativity, the ability to take risks and the ability to fail,” said Horvath.
Outside of the classroom, Horvath is constantly brainstorming ideas to stay above trends and better understand journalism and media in this new age.
Most recently, she helped put together a series of award-winning documentaries moderated by UNF faculty members concerning new ways of using the media and issues pertaining to it, including the loss of online privacy, social media and the increasing struggle for funding in the media.
Horvath wants to prepare her students for life after graduation by giving them endless opportunities to explore their own creativity so they will stand out and thrive in the new journalism industry.
“Personally, I believe this is the golden age of journalism,” Horvath said. “But it will only be the golden age for those who can innovate.”