2015 Media Changemaker Prize and Scholarship Competition

 Find below video from our 2015 Media Changemaker Prize winner, Matt Thompson, as well as video from our media innovation and journalism matters panels, the list of 2015 Media Changemaker Scholars and Couric Fellows, and the full schedule for the 2015 Media Changemaker Prize and Scholarship Competition.

 Media Changemaker Prize Keynote from Matt Thompson

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Welcome and Journalism Matters (CCJ National Journalism Advisory Board) Panel

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Media Innovation Panel

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2015 Media Changemaker Scholars

Two applicants—Noemi Griffith of Decatur, Ga. and Megan Rosinko of Woodstock, Ga.—were selected as the 2015 Media Changemaker Scholars. Each received four-year full-tuition scholarships. In addition, several dozen other applicants from around the country received generous four-year scholarships, resulting in a record entering class for 2015. 

Noemi Griffin  Megan Rosinko

John M. Couric Media Fellows

Three applicants—Thais Ackerman of Cooper City, Fla., Vanessa Alva-Corral of Atlanta, Ga. and Noemi Griffith of Decatur, Ga.—were selected as incoming John M. Couric Media Fellows. Assuming satisfactory progress in the program, CCJ will place them in relevant media jobs, and pay them, for each of their three summers while enrolled at Mercer University. Additionally, CCJ selects existing students for additional ad-hoc fellowships each summer. For the summer of 2015, existing students Jenna Eason, Sarah Pounds, Shayna Waltower, Nick Wooten and Connor Wood were Couric Fellows serving at The Telegraph, Georgia Public Broadcasting and The Times-Picayune/NOLA.com.

Thais Ackerman  Vanessa Alva-Corral  Noemi Griffin

2015 Schedule

On Saturday, January 31, 2015, Mercer University's Center for Collaborative Journalism hosts a forum on media innovation. CCJ welcomes high school students competing for CCJ's Media Innovation Scholar scholarship, CCJ's National Journalism Advisory Board, leading media innovators from around the country and the public to panel discussions and the awarding of our inaugural Media Changemaker Award.

Lunch will be provided. The event is free to the public, but attendees should register at http://ccjweekend.eventbrite.com. (Invited scholarship applicants and their parents/guardians do not need to register).

The panel will be held in Penfield Hall (off Cruz Plaza across from Tarver Library, #23 on the campus map). 

We will livestream the event on this page. Check back on January 31.


  • 9:45 a.m.: Welcome and introduction
  • 10:00 a.m.: Journalism Matters
CCJ Journalist-in-Residence Adam Ragusea will moderate a panel of CCJ National Journalism Advisory Board members in a conversation on why journalism still matters, why it’s a worthwhile path for those who want to make a difference, and how the fundamentals of journalism apply in the digital age.

Panelists include:
  • Jennifer Greer, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Journalism, University of Alabama
  • Michelle HolmesVice President of Content, AL.com
  • Doug MitchellConsultant/Project Manager, NPR; Adjunct Instructor, Georgetown University
  • MaryLynn Ryan, Vice President & Bureau Chief, Southeast Region, CNN/US
  • Neil SkeneConsultant and Former Publisher, Congressional Quarterly
  • Mark StencelDigital Fellow, The Poynter Institute and former Managing Editor, Digital News, National Public Radio

  • 11:00 a.m.: Media Innovation Panel
CCJ Director Tim Regan-Porter will moderate a diverse panel of media innovators—from an investor to a seasoned reporter to startup entrepreneurs and technologists—to discuss how media is—and should be—evolving to meet information needs, effect change and provide for viable businesses.


  • 12:00 p.m.: Lunch
  • 12:30 p.m.: Media Changemaker Prize and Keynote
CCJ will present its inaugural Media Changemaker Prize to Matt Thompson. Matt has been director of vertical initiatives at NPR and just started his new job as deputy editor at TheAtlantic.com. His work at NPR was to develop “topic-focused verticals covering race, ethnicity and culture; education; and global health and development.” He started the Code Switch blog at NPR. He serves as the vice-chairman of the board of the Center for Public Integrity. He’s also the co-founder Spark Camp, which convenes diverse groups of leaders from a variety of industries. Matt was an interim online community manager at Knight Foundation, a Reynolds Fellow, a Poynter Naughton Fellow for Online Reporting and Writing, a Poynter advisory board member and deputy web editor at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He won a Digital Edge Award from the Newspaper Association of America’s New Media Federation.

For scholarship applicants only:

  • 8:30 a.m.: Registration on the Mercer Quad
  • 9:00 a.m.: Welcome from Mercer Admissions in Willingham Auditorium
  • 1:30–3:30 p.m.: Scholarship Interviews and campus tours