Center for Collaborative Journalism gives new hope to JMS students


It was announced before Christmas last year that Mercer and local media were coming together to create a Center for Collaborative Journalism.

As a follow up to that, the director for Mercer’s new Center for Collaborative Journalism was announced this week.

Tim Reagan-Porter is the President and CEO of Paste Magazine, formerly a print medium that was taken fully online in 2010.

I do not care why Reagan-Porter wanted this job, but I am so happy that he has taken it. This is a huge step for journalism in Macon, one that was sorely needed.

As one of Mercer’s Journalism students who has been involved in the program for the last four years, I am extremely proud to welcome this new Center and Regan-Porter to Mercer.

This Collaborative Center is going to have a huge impact on the Journalism and the Media Studies program at Mercer, and while I wish I could have the opportunity to reap some of the benefits of the new program, I am so proud of Mercer for going after the grant from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation that has allowed this process to begin.

Coming into Mercer I knew I wanted to major in Journalism, but at the same time I knew I needed a backup plan incase my dream of being a journalist failed.

So many people have expressed concern for the journalistic field, “Newspapers are dying.” “The world of journalism is converging more and more.”

It is like a song stuck on repeat, the field of journalism is dying.

But this new step for Mercer is stating the opposite. I was scared to put all of my eggs in the Journalism department at Mercer. Not because of bad teachers or a bad program, but because it seemed as though Mercer did not even believe in its own school of Journalism.

The staff for both the Journalism and Media Studies Department consists of three professors. They are all great and I have learned so much from every one of those professors. But I could not help feeling uneasy about how little Mercer seemed to care about Journalism.

If my undergraduate university did not even seem to care enough about journalism to hire another professor, how would the rest of the country view a degree in journalism? The thought kept my stomach in knots.

But now it seems as though current students and prospective new students have less to fear.

Hopefully, this grant and the process of bringing together Mercer’s Journalism and Media Studies Department, the Macon Telegraph and Georgia Public Broadcasting to build a collaborative center will allow new students passionate about journalism to feel more comfortable putting their eggs in the journalism basket and it is about time.

This Center will allow students to interact with thriving media in Macon. The new labs will give them opportunities to work with mediums they would have never been able to work with in Mercer’s old Journalism school.

Furthermore, Reagan-Porter’s knowledge and expertise will hopefully give students the extra look into the profession that they need to succeed.

Mercer needed this boost to the Journalism and Media Studies Departments. Not only will the Center attract prospective students interested in journalism, but it will be able to give them a leg up in the media world.

I wish I could be around to see the Center take shape and be a part of the piece of history that is being forged right now. But thank you Mercer for finally putting stock in journalism and media. We appreciate the vote of confidence.


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