Collaboration to power media transformation in Macon, head of journalism center writes

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Tim Regan-Porter, director of the new Center for Collaborative Journalism in Macon, Ga., provides early details on how the Knight-backed partnership among Mercer University, the local Telegraph newspaper and Georgia Public Broadcasting will work, in a post today (April 10) on MediaShift.

The ambitious vision, Regan-Porter said, is “not only establishing a new model for journalism education but also helping to transform local communities and save democracy itself.”

Mercer journalism students will train in a working newsroom, alongside professional journalists, through the four years of the program — some students even living above the center, Regan-Porter said. GPB is boosting local coverage by launching Macon Public Radio, which will make the central-Georgia community the only town outside Atlanta to have “significant locally focused public-radio programming,” he said. The university’s journalism department is doubling its faculty, bringing in digital media instructors. “And the combined efforts of The Telegraph and GPB allow for improved coverage,” Regan-Porter said.

The center also will work with local religious and civic organizations “to get information to neglected segments of the community and to train their members in digital technology and media consumption.”

“Collaboration is the modus operandi that will power the transformation we seek,” he said.