MACON — Digital media innovator Tim Regan-Porter, president and CEO of Decatur, Ga.-based Paste Media Group, has been named the first director of Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism. His appointment is effective March 1.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in December awarded $4.6 million in grants to launch a journalism collaborative involving Mercer’s Journalism and Media Studies Department, The Telegraph and Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB Media) in employing digital-age storytelling skills to inform and engage Central Georgia.
“Mr. Regan-Porter offers unmatched experience as a digital media leader, and we are excited by the skills and vision he will bring to the Center for Collaborative Journalism,” said Dr. Lake Lambert, dean of Mercer’s College of Liberal Arts. “His reputation for innovation and his experience with the business, editorial, design and technology aspects of media and publishing make him ideally suited to lead this new initiative.”
Regan-Porter co-founded Paste magazine in 2002 and helped lead the publication to become the third-largest popular music title in the English-speaking world, trailing only Rolling Stone and Spin. The magazine earned numerous editorial awards and its annual revenue grew to $5 million under his leadership.
He developed the strategy and technology that allowed pastemagazine.com to build traffic to 2 million unique visitors a month and was also responsible for the company’s social media strategy. A 2010 Cornell University study cited Paste for having one of the 100 most influential Twitter accounts, ahead of Oprah, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, MSNBC, ABC News and Vanity Fair.
“The Center for Collaborative Journalism is an ambitious effort,” Regan-Porter said. “The Center’s clinical education model, enabled by close partnerships with a statewide public broadcaster and regional daily newspaper; its cross-disciplinary approach, with a focus on new technology and innovative business models; and its investment in transforming local communities uniquely position it to become a standard for journalism education and practice nationwide. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help realize the vision set by Mercer, Knight Foundation, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and The Telegraph.”
At Paste, Regan-Porter helped build a successful and highly competitive internship program, matching 18 full-time staff members with 16 interns who came from colleges and universities across the country.
“I am proud of the intern program we built at Paste,” Regan-Porter said. “We attracted some of the best and brightest students from across the country, developed a formal training program, and gave them a wide variety of experiences — from fact-checking to feature writing to multimedia storytelling. Interns left the program well positioned to compete in a tough and constantly evolving field.”
In 2010 when Paste suspended publication of its print edition and went completely online, Regan-Porter conceived and designed mPlayer, a web-based digital media magazine platform where readers “play” the magazine. The proprietary interface integrates text, audio and video into a dynamic experience for its subscribers.
Prior to co-founding Paste, Regan-Porter worked for seven years in the tech industry as lead architect for IBM’s e-Business Group and director of development for Enterpulse, whose clients included AT&T, the City of Chicago, Coca-Cola, CNN, T-Mobile and Sprint.
Regan-Porter holds an undergraduate degree in economics from Olivet Nazarene University and has completed graduate work in business and mathematics at Georgia State University and the University of Georgia.
This summer the Center for Collaborative Journalism will move into the first floor of Phase II of the Lofts at Mercer Village, a new mixed used development under construction in the College Hill Corridor. The 12,000-square-foot Center will feature a joint newsroom shared by Mercer’s journalism department, The Telegraph and GPB Radio Macon, whose studios are located in an adjacent building in Mercer Village.
The media partners will also collaborate on two community engagement projects each year that will involve Central Georgia residents in choosing important issues to cover, reporting the facts, debating the choices facing them and ultimately creating solutions.
For more information on the Center for Collaborative Journalism, visit http://ccj.mercer.edu.
About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,300 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at four regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with four teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and The Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus — and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. www.mercer.edu