About the Center
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 public broadcaster in the country based on population reach, and 13WMAZ, the most-watched television station in central Georgia.
The Center was launched in 2011 with nearly $6 million in grants from the John S. and James L. Knight and Peyton Anderson foundations. In 2017, the Center received an additional $2 million grant from the Knight Foundation to expand opportunities for students and broaden its engagement efforts with the community. The Collaborative seeks to transform 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. This Collaborative combines:
- The reach and award-winning journalists of The Telegraph, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and 13WMAZ.
- The journalistic innovation resulting from Mercer’s undergraduate journalism program taught by faculty with strong practical journalism experience who employ a curriculum featuring a medical school-like clinical component;
- The energy and ambitions of many student journalists attracted by the career advantages this program offers them.
- A mission of steady engagement with the issues and how to resolve them. In the past years, the collaboration has produced award-winning projects focused on the people of Macon, blight, pedestrian safety and the resegregation of public schools.
Mercer and its partners have created one of largest journalism/community projects in the country and a model for higher education/media collaborations in other cities.
Journalism Program Noteable Alumni
- Harry Stillwell Edwards, AB 1877, who authored 19 books and was editor of The Macon Telegraph. His most celebrated book, Eneas Africanus, is one of the great classics of Southern literature.
- George P. Oslin, AB ’20, who during the Great Depression invented the “singing telegram” as a publicity stunt for Western Union, where he served as public relations director for 35 years.
- Jack Tarver, AB ’38, who climbed the journalism ranks of Georgia, from his start as editor of the Vidalia Advance to publisher of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and chairman of the Associated Press.
- John Hogan, AB ’40, who was an early leader in broadcast journalism and founding president of the Radio-Television News Directors Association.
- John Couric, AB ’41, reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and United Press International who went on to serve as chief writer for the National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters. He was the father of broadcast journalist Katie Couric.
- Charles Kopp, AB ’42, MA ’48, who taught journalism at Mercer, Georgia Southern College, the University of Maryland and the University of Georgia’s Grady School of Journalism. He wrote The Law and the Press, a long-popular journalism textbook.
- J. Reg Murphy, ’54, whose career included service as president of the National Geographic Society, publisher of The Baltimore Sun, editor and publisher of The San Francisco Examiner and reporter and later editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- Two Pulitzer Prize winners: J. Buford Boone, AB ’29, who won in 1957 for his editorials against segregation in the Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News; and Malcolm Johnson, AB ’26, who won in 1949 for local reporting in the series “Crime on the Waterfront” in The New York Sun. Johnson’s reports became the basis for the film On the Waterfront, which starred Marlon Brando.