News company buys UCF publication

Newspaper giant Gannett Co. on Tuesday purchased Central Florida Future, the University of Central Florida’s independent student newspaper.

The company’s Central Florida unit, Florida Today/Cape Publishing, paid an undisclosed amount for the Future, a free paper published three times a week during the academic year.

It also bought the Seminole Chronicle, a weekly circulated in Oviedo and Winter Springs, and Sales, a coupon book distributed at UCF.

Jebailey, who was co-owner of the three publications said, “It has become a great publication.”

The Future, with a circulation of 15,000, was once the university’s official newspaper. Jebailey said it moved off campus in 1992 and eventually became a for-profit business. Jebailey and a partner, Brian Linden, bought the Future in 2001.

Jebailey will work for Gannett, serving as liaison to the university, which advertises in the paper. About 30 students work in the paper’s editorial operation, Jebailey said.

Florida Today Publisher Mark Mikolajczyk said Gannett has no plans to change the publications’ operations.

“The Future will be a student newspaper,” Mikolajczyk said. “The papers will report to me, but they will be run locally.”

Last year, Gannett entered the student newspaper market with the purchase of Florida State University’s independent student newspaper, a free semiweekly called FSView ‘ Florida Flambeau.

John Morton, a newspaper analyst in Silver Spring, Md., said he doubts Gannett’s foray into the world of university journalism will grow significantly.

“Most university dailies are products of their schools’ journalism departments,” Morton said. “I don’t see a groundswell of interest developing.”

But Morton said corporate ownership could bring unforeseen change to student newspapers, which are often freewheeling operations.

“They will be answering to a different master,” Morton said. “And it will be a more strenuous master.”