Center Dedication Set for September 28

Mercer 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 Sept. 28. The program, 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, GPB, The Telegraph and the National Journalism Advisory Board.

Announced last December, the Center for Collaborative Journalism is a new initiative that seeks to increase and strengthen local reporting by integrating professional journalists with Mercer students in a unique, joint newsroom in Macon's College Hill Corridor. Funded with $4.6 million in grants from Knight Foundation and a $1 million grant from the Peyton Anderson Foundation, 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 (Macon) Telegraph and Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB Media) to learn and employ digital-age storytelling skills to meet Central Georgia's information needs.

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."

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