Digital Media Summer Camp

2020 Essay Contest is closed.

Each summer, several dozen rising 11th and 12th graders with an interest in journalism converge on Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism to have a fun week learning new journalism skills and trying their hands at multimedia storytelling. Working with CCJ’s university faculty, journalists in residence, partner journalists and journalism mentors our campers:

  • Create content for a web-based publication
  • Hone writing and photography skills
  • Learn essential audio and video skills
  • Sharpen interviewing skills

If you are a high school student interested in telling compelling stories through photo, video, audio and the written word, this camp is for you. You won’t spend your time cooped up in a classroom; you’ll get out into the community, practicing new skills with professionals guiding you. We’ll also have many fun activities (this is camp, after all).

Our campers learn or improve their knowledge of, and skills in, DSLR cameras, Premiere, Audition, writing for the web and more. They interview real people to tell their stories in a compelling multimedia format and publish the results. See the fine work from our 2015-2019 campers at The Macon Newsroom.

Scholarships are available. If you are interested in receiving consideration for a scholarship, please check that option on the camp application.

2020 Camp

We were very hopeful the Center for Collaborative Journalism would be able to proceed with our digital media camp next month, but Mercer has made the tough decision to cancel all day and overnight camps for June. This means our camp scheduled for June 13-20 has been canceled. We share in your disappointment as the camp is one of the highlights of our summer and how we first meet some of the students who later become Mercer Bears!

In lieu of overnight camp, we are hosting a multimedia “essay” contest and would like to encourage you to submit an entry between now and June 13. You can make a video, create a short audio story, put together a photo essay or write an article (or try your hand at all four). The pieces should be themed around “What Would You Put in Your Time Capsule,” a short explainer on a moment in history or a story about what you would have done differently in January and February if you’d known social distancing and shelter in place was coming.

We have a few parameters to follow:

  • Video or audio stories should run between 1 ½ to 3 minutes
  • Written pieces should be between 300-500 words
  • Photo essays should include 5-10 photos with a cutline (which is a short paragraph explaining what’s in the photos)

Submit your entries here or go to Feel free to tag us on social @mercerccj and/or use #campccj2020 if you share your pieces online.

Everyone who enters will be mailed a special camp box with a T-shirt and other CCJ goodies. We’ll also provide you with professional feedback on your entries and post the best ones on our website. You can look at past camp projects here.

The CCJ's Digital Media Summer Camp in Macon was a great experience for Odyssey Newsmagazine and Odyssey Online students. Through hands-on, team-based and individualized instruction, students were able to experiment, to succeed and even to fail in a safe learning environment. Lessons learned this summer have informed our production this year and likely for years to come.

David A. Ragsdale, Clarke Central High School adviser