Ribbon cut on Mercer, GPB and Telegraph’s journalism venture

By Joe Kovac Jr.

In grand-opening style Friday morning, the Center for Collaborative Journalism at Mercer University, considered a bold journalism experiment, was formally introduced in a ceremony where professors, editors, students and others, including Macon’s mayor, wielded scissors in three rounds of ribbon cutting.

The Telegraph, which has joined forces with Georgia Public Broadcasting and Mercer to create a hands-on-learning lab for student journalists with aims to bolster community news coverage and, perhaps, serve as a model for other news organizations, moved its newsroom to the Montpelier Avenue center in mid-August.

David Hudson of the Georgia Press Association, speaking to a gathering of a couple of hundred or so at Mercer Village, said, “Who will benefit from this center? We, the citizens. We who make up our democracy. We who will be able to read and listen with confidence that the highest standards of journalism have been followed.”

Eric Newton, senior adviser to the president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which has backed the center with a $4.6 million grant, noted how funding from the late newspaper magnates, the Knights, was vital to the Macon-based news initiative.

“We’re more or less involved in a gigantic recycling project,” Newton said. “Money came and money comes back.”

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Teya Ryan, president and executive director of GPB Media, lauded the uniqueness of a private university, a commercial newspaper and a public media entity coming together to promote innovation and scholarship.

“Not only are we leaders, I hope, in the Macon community,” Ryan said, “but I think we’re setting the stage for a model for public media around the nation.”

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.