Center for Collaborative Journalism Adds Two Staff Members

Media Contact: Mark Vanderhoek, (478) 301-4037 or vanderhoek_m@mercer.edu

MACON — Mercer University's Center for Collaborative Journalism has added two staff members as it begins its first full academic year in its new 12,000-square-foot facility in Mercer Village.

Ashley HopkinsonAshley Hopkinson, who recently completed a master's degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, has joined the Center as its newsroom coordinator. While at UC Berkeley, Hopkinson served first as a reporter then as senior producer for Richmond Confidential, a student-led community news site that is a model for the Center's forthcoming news website. In addition to regular multimedia reporting, she was an instructor in documentary film.

Prior to entering graduate school, Hopkinson served as Kaiser Health Media Fellow at The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, was a global news intern for the Associated Press, and was a community, cops and general assignment reporter for The Montgomery Advertiser and The Gadsden Times. She earned an undergraduate degree in journalism from Auburn University.

"We are very fortunate to get Ashley at the Center for Collaborative Journalism," said Tim Regan-Porter, the Center's director. "She is incredibly bright and comes with glowing recommendations from her editors and from one of the best journalism schools in the country. One of her Berkeley professors — a Pulitzer nominee — described her as a 'hundred megawatts of power.' She has already done much of the work we will be doing through the Center, is committed to being part of the community, and has great ideas for making students an integral part of the news ecosystem in Macon."

In her role as newsroom coordinator, Hopkinson will work with student journalists, faculty and the editors, reporters and producers at The Telegraph and GPB Radio Macon to facilitate editorial assignments.

Meg Donahue, a creative writing graduate of Georgia State University, is serving as the Center's editorial assistant. Donahue has been a freelance journalist for nearly a decade, writing and editing for local, regional and international publications. Her experience encompasses hard news, entertainment, fashion, dining and sports reporting, research and feature writing for publications as diverse as Patch.com, Atlanta Magazine, Paste Magazine, the Forsyth Herald newspaper and Tatler Magazine in the U.K., the world's oldest magazine. Donahue has also been active in social media and digital technology for most of her career.

"Meg will be a great asset in honing students' stories, helping them find internships nationwide, and organizing our high school journalism camps," Regan-Porter said. "We are very glad to have her at the Center for Collaborative Journalism."

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in December 2011 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. The Center's joint newsroom, which houses The Telegraph's main editorial operations along with student reporters and a GPB radio studio, was funded with a $1 million grant from the Peyton Anderson Foundation.

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