Mercer Cluster


The Cluster is the leading news source for Mercer University and surrounding communities in Macon and Middle Georgia. The student-run newspaper is named after a book of songs penned by university founder Jesse Mercer in 1810.

The Cluster has been published as a bi-monthly since 1920. While The Cluster is subsidized by Mercer’s Board of Appropriations, it retains strict editorial autonomy as a student publication under the University’s bylaws.

The Cluster launched its online operations in 2011 in an effort to reach more students as well as to reach those in the Macon-Bibb County community who do not have easy access to the locations where the print edition is circulated. That year, The Cluster also expanded its scope with the addition of a “Local” section, aimed at broadening the newspaper’s geographic reach to the increasingly gentrified neighborhoods that compose the surrounding College Hill Corridor area.

In addition to its digital focus, The Cluster maintains an estimated print circulation of around 1,000 copies. Print papers are distributed biweekly for free throughout the University as well as several local businesses.

In 2014, the Digital Library of Georgia and Mercer’s Tarver Library, digitized every printed issue of The Cluster from 1920-1970. All issues of the archive are available online at

The newspaper has won numerous student journalism awards over the years from the Georgia College Press Association, including Best Layout and Design, Best Website, Best Feature Story and General Excellence. Its former writers include notables such as longtime publisher Jack Tarver, attorney and author Robert Steed, former U.S. Attorney General Griffin B. Bell and Atlanta Journal-Constitution editor J. Reginald “Reg” Murphy

More recently, former editors have gone on to lead robust journalism careers. Nick Wooten ‘17 is the Southern Trends and Culture reporter for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Jenna Eason ‘18 is a Peyton Anderson Fellow at The Macon Telegraph, Katie Atkinson ‘19 is a Podcast Producer at NASA and Marianna Bacallao ‘20 is a Fellowship Host/Producer at NPR.

Today, The Cluster continues to provide community and campus news to Mercer University and beyond. Its editor-in-chief is Emily Rose Thorne, and its managing editor is Mary Helene Hall.


Comments Policy

The Cluster’s comments section is meant to be a place for respectful conversation and reflection on issues and events affecting students at Mercer University. Comments are moderated by the student staff of The Cluster to ensure that those made visible on the website reflect these standards.

Harassment, hate, spam and personal attacks on staff members will not be approved. This does not mean that critical comments will be rejected. We welcome diverse perspectives on our reporting and on students’ experiences at Mercer University.

Comments will not be approved unless a valid name and email address are submitted. Please also note that our comment moderation system logs IP addresses associated with every comment submitted.



The Cluster is committed to providing our readers with accurate and up-to-date information. We recognize mistakes can happen, but we will do our best to correct them as quickly as possible. If you spot a factual error, please let us know. We will correct the error online and make a notation that the story has been updated. If an error appears in a print article, we will run a correction in the next print edition. Please reach out to a member of our staff on the Contact Us page.


Submission Guidelines

The Cluster represents the voices of current students at Mercer University. We welcome your submissions, pitches and queries as long as they follow our guidelines.

The best way to get involved with The Cluster, either by taking an assignment from our editors or by pitching your own idea, is to attend our editorial meetings. Meetings take place every other Monday at 5 p.m. in the Center for Collaborative Journalism, which is located in Mercer Village. Our editors are available to hear pitches and speak individually with interested students at this time.

If you cannot attend a meeting, you may contact the appropriate editor with your pitch. We prefer that you tell us your idea for a story rather than submit a full, unsolicited draft, so that we can decide whether your story is a fit for us — and so that you don’t put your hard work into something we don’t have room to publish! We will also want to work with you to shape your story to ensure it fits journalistic standards and meets The Cluster’s reporting guidelines.

In an email, let us know what your story is about, what sources or contacts you have for it (if applicable), why this story is timely or relevant and why you are the best person to write this story. Please also disclose any conflicts of interest you may have (for example, you cannot write about a friend, roommate, significant other or group you’re involved with).

Contact a section editor with any questions.

The student news site of Mercer University