Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Hot Pod: We now have new, free rankings to show how podcasts stack up against each other
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Dec. 15, 2011, 9 a.m.

Knight funds collaborative reporting center in Georgia

The Center for Collaborative Journalism at Mercer University will bring together students, newspaper and public media reporters in one newsroom.

The Knight Foundation is launching a new program at Mercer University designed to prepare journalists, both aspiring and employed, how to perform their craft in an increasingly interdependent industry.

The Center for Collaborative Journalism at Mercer will partner students from the school’s journalism and media studies program with journalists from The (Macon) Telegraph and Georgia Public Broadcasting. Knight is investing $4.6 million over several years into the initiative, which will put students and professionals in the same newsroom to cover news from Macon and the rest of central Georgia. The aim is a two-fold benefit: giving students experience in live reporting and providing both news outlets with additional bodies to support their newsgathering. You may remember Knight’s Eric Newton in these pages describing his aspirations for a model that combines student learning with civic benefit:

What if universities turned their growing numbers of journalism and mass communication students loose on that unused local news capacity? If medical students can cure people as they learn to be doctors, why can’t more journalism students inform and engage communities as they learn to be professionals?

The arrangement follows many other efforts that combine for-profit newsrooms and non-traditional journalism producers. As staffs are reduced through layoffs and budgets shrink some news organizations have partnered with nonprofits, some have arranged story-sharing agreements for an informal newswire. Mercer joins a growing number of colleges and universities that are collaborating with news organizations in an attempt to give students a balance between academia with the real world. Think teaching hospital: Mercer’s medical school is affiliated with two, so there’s already an on-campus example of blending pedagogy and practice.

“The reason I think this is special is we have three strong partners who are civic minded and want to create the future of news and information,” said Beverly Blake, Knight’s program director in Macon.

That Knight has a program director in Macon is evidence of another reason for the collaboration: Macon is one of 26 cities where Knight gives special emphasis on local philanthropy — one of eight where it has a local program director. The reason: They’re cities where Knight Newspapers once owned the local daily, in this case The Telegraph.

A good portion of the money will be used to build out a physical space for the center on the Mercer campus. Blake told me the program will begin in earnest in fall 2012, when journalists from The Telegraph and Georgia Public Broadcasting move into a new shared newsroom. Mercer’s journalism and media studies department currently has around 50 students, Blake said, which they aim to increase to 100 soon.

Disclosure: Knight Foundation is a funder of the Nieman Journalism Lab.

POSTED     Dec. 15, 2011, 9 a.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Hot Pod: We now have new, free rankings to show how podcasts stack up against each other
Plus: Parsing the RadioPublic announcement; premium podcast subscriptions; Bill Simmons oversimplifies things.
BuzzFeed is building a New York-based team to experiment with news video
It is the “center of a Venn diagram” between BuzzFeed Motion Pictures and BuzzFeed News.
With NYTEducation, The New York Times is taking its expertise and access to the classroom
“People come to learn with us because they want something that feels Times-ean in the experience.”
What to read next
0
tweets
The Verge launches Circuit Breaker, a gadget blog-as-Facebook page
The Verge is launching a new gadget blog that is built for Facebook. (Articles will also run on The Verge’s website.)
0Millennial-focused local startup Charlotte Agenda is expanding its model to a second city, Raleigh
The North Carolina startup says it’s profitable and is looking to expand its reach — but it’s not seeking outside funding.
0With a scripted daily comedy news show, Mic looks to add a little late night TV to the social video mold
“We don’t just present a bunch of headlines and say what we think. Our videos are chock-full of facts and research.”
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Fuego is our heat-seeking Twitter bot, tracking the links the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about most on Twitter.
Here are a few of the top links Fuego’s currently watching.   Get the full Fuego ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Kaiser Health News
OpenFile
Upworthy
Chi-Town Daily News
Center for Investigative Reporting
Conde Nast
Foreign Policy
CBS News
Sacramento Press
Ann Arbor News
Kickstarter
Talking Points Memo