Special to The Telegraph
With a new year commencing, Mercer’s Center for Collaborative Journalism adds three more staff members to its team.
According to a press release from Mercer University, The Center for Collaborative Journalism, funded by a $5.7 million grant from the Knight Foundation and Peyton Anderson Foundation, connects students, experienced journalists and the local community.
WMUB, Mercer’s news station in partnership with the CCJ, added Amyre Makupson, an experienced broadcaster, and William Maddox, a specialized engineer.
Makupson graduated from Howard University with her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and continued her education at Wayne State University with a master’s degree in communication.
A former evening co-anchor for WGXA-TV, Fox 24 and ABC 16, Makupson will now primarily manage news interns as Mercer’s broadcast news director. She will work with Maddox to bring a student-run show to WMUB as part of the student production class, she said.
“I am going to work with Maddox, and we are going to get a student show that will be Mercer related,” Makupson said. “Maddox and I will have our own show concept, talking with city leaders, health leaders, community activists, and stuff going on in Macon.”
Maddox said he previously served as an operations manager in WMAZ’s engineering department and as an assistant chief engineer for Georgia Public Broadcasting.
Stimulated by the student activity at Mercer, Maddox said he will use skills to oversee WMUB operations. He said his main goal is to expand broadcasting and to modify the existing equipment so that students can do their jobs in the field with more ease.
“I would love to go over to Mercer Village and see WMUB being played so students and staff and local people can go over there and see what’s going on in the community,” Maddox said.
Overall, both Makupson and Maddox said they will work together to expand WMUB’s coverage and make it the main news source in Middle Georgia.
“Once we get our show developed, I want it to be weekly, and hopefully in the long-run, daily. I want it to be the source not only for Mercer, but for the Middle Georgia community to look to when they want to know what’s happening,” Makupson said.
Sonya Green also joined the Center for Collaborative Journalism’s staff as the new engagement coordinator. Green said she recently completed a Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan before coming to Mercer. She said she will also be serving as a reporter for the Macon Telegraph and Georgia Public Broadcasting.
Outside of community engagement, Green’s work is focused on practicum, where she helps students gain real-world experience and translate their stories across different mediums, she said.
“What I would love to be able to do is have a project that the students can work on collaboratively and get them involved in all aspects of a project, not just writing but also the engagement aspect,” Green said.
Green’s past experience at TV and radio stations in Seattle as well as working with students will help her grow the program into a multipurpose center for engagement, she said. In the future, Green said she hopes to prepare students to encounter and thrive in the ever-changing journalism industry by incorporating different platforms and data sets into their work.
“Journalists have to be really great storytellers, but they also have to be so much more than that today,” Green said. “I definitely want to contribute to the program by creating some well-rounded journalists with skills beyond the basics.”