A major highlight of this year’s columnists conference, “Macon Whoopee,” was a first-hand accounting of the creation of the Center for Collaborative Journalism at Mercer University in the Georgia city. Word is spreading on how Mercer’s journalism and media studies department now is in the same building cluster on campus as Macon’s daily Telegraph newsroom and Georgia Public Broadcasting’s radio and TV studios.
It’s made the Times, as in The New York Times.
In a Sunday New York Times article, “On Campus, an Experiment to Save Local News,” reporter Christine Haughney writes, as the Times summarizes: “Mercer University is undertaking a $5.6 million project, which partners student work with news organizations in the area, in the hopes of reviving local journalism.”
Telegraph columnist, and Macon conference chair, Ed Grisamore told the board of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists that the prominent national newspaper got the story idea via Gail Collins, this year’s recipient of the NSNC’s Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award.
Mercer President William D. Underwood sat at the head table with Collins at the conference awards banquet May 5, and he “used the opportunity to bend her ear about” the center. The university was the sponsor of the banquet, held at Macon’s historic Hay House.
Back in New York, Collins told her editors about the professional-faculty-student collaboration and the Times dispatched Haughney to the center on the first day of classes, Grisamore said.