Mercer to Dedicate the Center for Collaborative Journalism Friday; Events Include Panel Discussion on Local Journalism in the Digital Age

Statue of Jesse Mercer on the Mercer campus.

For more on the Center for Collaborative Journalism, visit

MACON — Mercer University will dedicate the Center for Collaborative Journalism, located on the first floor of the recently completed Phase II of the Lofts at Mercer Village, in conjunction with the fall meeting of the University’s National Journalism Advisory Board on Friday. The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 11:30 a.m. in front of the new Mercer Village facility. Participants will include representatives from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Peyton Anderson Foundation, Mercer, Georgia Public Broadcasting, The Telegraph and the National Journalism Advisory Board.

Following the dedication, a panel discussion, titled “Enhancing Local Journalism in the Digital Age: How You Do It and Why It’s Important,” will be held at 2 p.m. in Fickling Hall of the McCorkle Music Building. Moderated by Knight Foundation’s Eric Newton, the panel will include Joaquin Alvarado, chief strategy officer for the Center for Investigative Reporting; Dr. Jennifer Greer, chair of the journalism department at the University of Alabama; Sherrie Marshall, executive editor of The Telegraph; Tim Regan-Porter, director of the Center for Collaborative Journalism; and Teya Ryan, president and executive director of GPB Media. The public is welcome to attend the discussion.

The Center is a unique community media collaborative combining Mercer’s liberal arts-based journalism and media studies program with the professional expertise of The Telegraph, Georgia’s third-largest daily newspaper, and Georgia Public Broadcasting, the third-largest station in the country based on population reach.

Supported by $5.6 million in grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Peyton Anderson Foundation, the Collaborative seeks to bring a new model to journalism education. The center is already drawing national attention for its innovative approach to journalism education and community engagement. It employs a medical school model by enabling Mercer students to work alongside professionals from The Telegraph and GPB Media to learn and employ digital-age storytelling skills to meet Central Georgia’s information needs. The goal is to educate students while transforming a city that has remarkable inherent advantages in geography, higher education and culture, but weakness in attachment, openness, economic strength and overall sense of community.

In coming years, the joint newsroom also will launch community engagement projects that will involve Macon residents in choosing important issues to cover, reporting the facts, debating the choices facing them and ultimately creating solutions.

“Through the expansion of our journalism faculty and employment of a clinical education model, graduates of Mercer’s journalism and media studies program will carry forward this progressive agenda, whether in Macon at our partner media, or wherever they end up working,” said Mercer President William D. Underwood. “Just as our medical students train in teaching hospitals with live patients in real situations, Mercer journalism students will learn in a real-life multimedia newsroom through a one-of-a-kind collaboration with The Telegraph and GPB Media, on whose websites, pages and airwaves their best work will appear.”

Regan-Porter, a digital media innovator and co-founder of Paste magazine, was appointed in March as the inaugural director of the Center for Collaborative Journalism.

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 campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah – and four regional academic centers across the state. The Mercer Health Sciences Center launched July 1, 2012, and includes the University’s medical, nursing and pharmacy schools and will add a fourth college – the College of Health Professions – on July 1, 2013. 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. The University also has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. It 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.
— 30 —