New York Times comes to CCJ

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The Center for Collaborative Journalism has continued to generate buzz over the past six months with multi-million dollar grants and state of the art classrooms. The center opened to staff and students just a few days before school and from the card swipes and Ipad control docks, to remote control blinds, the center clearly is above and beyond what anyone expected. A center so innovative it has garnered the top prize of media attention, The New York Times. Last week a reporter from the coveted paper visited Macon to write an article on the new center.
Christine Haughney, who has worked for the Times since 2006, was the choice reporter for the article.
Mercer amassed the attention of the New York Times in a series of events. In May, Macon hosted the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, where New York Times columnist Gail Collins won the 2012 Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award. At the awards dinner she sat with Mercer’s President Underwood. Information on the new center was exchanged and later the Times contacted the Center’s Director, Tim Porter about a trip to Macon. Haughney would arrive in the opening days of the center.
“We tried to encourage them to come later, when we would have more of an idea of what we were doing and students would have the opportunity to know what they were doing and what they were interested in but they really wanted to be here for the first day of school,” said Porter.
Porter had the opportunity to be Haughney’s guide throughout her stay in Macon. Haughney appeared at last Monday’s orientation and social where the new program was discussed in detail.
The first day of class Haughney met with employees at the Georgia Public Broadcasting and sat in on one of The Telegraph’s editorial meetings, speaking to various reporters. During the morning Haughney came to a journalism class and made time to meet at Jittery Joe’s to speak and interview students.
“I ended up showing her around all day long…it was a great opportunity to spend time with a New York Times reporter,” said Porter whom also drove her around downtown Macon.
Haugheny met with some prominent Macon figures such as President Underwood and GPB’s CEO, Tae Orion.
“I think it went very well, she said a couple times it was nice to have a story about something interesting and new and exciting happening instead of all of us talking about the decline of the industry. I think it will be a good story for us and for Macon,” said Porter.
Porter mentioned that he does not think the article will be a PR piece but it will show what the center has accomplished.
Haughney was unable to comment on her piece until it runs to print. The story has been delayed due to the Republican National Convention but is set to print in the upcoming weeks.
Haughney has written for several other prominent newspapers including the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.
“It’s not going to be a PR piece for the center, but I think it will a great look at what we’ve done,” said Porter of the article.
Porter was brought on in March of last year. As Director, Porter looked into several other University programs, including Arizona State, Columbia and Missouri, to find a basic structure for the new center. A relatively new phenomenon has been to collaborate coursework and media outlets in a school’s journalism program. “The Center and the JMS Department have been working on reviewing the curriculum and deciding upon how our curriculum will be shaped based on the goals we identify… Students in classes this fall will work with the staff of the Telegraph and GPB more closely in the context of our current curricular offerings.” said Department head, Dr. Cynthia Gottshall.
Mercer’s developing program will see initial changes this semester as teachers and program coordinators alike experiment with the new accessibility of media outlets.

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