Well, it’s official! The ribbon cutting for the Center for Collaborative Journalism at Mercer University is tomorrow. We’re off and running with this bold experiment to train 21st century journalists in service to community. You may say, well, that’s what journalism has always done. But this is different.
The center has a shared newsroom - a living laboratory that houses The Telegraph, our daily McClatchy paper, Georgia Public Broadcasting and the journalism department at Mercer University. As far as we know, this is the only arrangement like it in the country. The curriculum will be based on the medical school model, placing students with veteran journalists so they might learn from one another.
The students will learn real-world reporting. How difficult it is to file a Freedom of Information Act request and actually get the information! How fact-checking might be tedious, but is the foundation of great stories. And how the work that journalists do to bring timely, accurate and actionable information to a community is critical to residents making informed decisions. The journalists will learn from the students about digital tools and how to become “multimedia journalists.”
What’s been fun to see is that a few Telegraph reporters have really started tweeting. It’s the best of both worlds, seasoned journalists sharing the bedrock of journalism excellence and the students teaching about digital delivery platforms.
The only problem right now is all the visitors to the newsroom. But I hope our reporters like finally being appreciated. Or, perhaps finally realizing that they’ve always been appreciated, but didn’t know just how much.
By Beverly Blake, program director/Macon at Knight Foundation