The Peyton Anderson Foundation has given a $1 million grant to fund the teaching newsroom at Mercer Universitys new Center for Collaborative Journalism.
The partnership will put journalism students and faculty working alongside journalists from The Telegraph and Georgia Public Broadcasting.
The newsroom will be named the Peyton Anderson Newsroom after the former owner and publisher of The Telegraph. The newspapers editorial staff -- which produces news, sports, features and opinion -- will move into the first floor of Phase II of The Lofts at Mercer Village, a multimillion-dollar mixed-use development. The move is expected in mid-August, about a week before the start of the fall semester.
The center will occupy about 12,000 square feet of the ground floor of The Lofts. About half of that space will be devoted to the newsroom. The development also will feature loft-style student apartments on the three floors.
Mercer and other partners announced the grant in a news release Wednesday. University President William D. Underwood in the release thanked the trustees of the Peyton Anderson Foundation for funding the centers newsroom, which he called a key component of this nationally significant initiative in journalism education and community engagement.
Officials announced plans for the Center for Collaborative Journalism in December when the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation awarded $4.6 million in grants for the initiative to bring a medical school model newsroom to Mercers Journalism and Media Studies Department.
The Knight brothers once owned a chain of newspapers, including The Telegraph.
The funding of the initiative by the Peyton Anderson and Knight foundations sends an incredibly powerful message about how vitally important it is that our community continues to receive the same high level of public service journalism that we have delivered for 185 years, Telegraph Publisher George McCanless said Wednesday.
As a for-profit company, The Telegraph will not receive any of the grant money directly.
It will be used for the physical building, which is not owned by the newspaper, McCanless said.
This is the first time our two foundations have jointly funded a Central Georgia initiative, said Beverly Blake, Macon program director for the Knight Foundation, and it underscores the commitment of both foundations to seeing this important project succeed.
Mercer students and faculty will work with Telegraph and GPB professionals to learn and employ digital-age storytelling skills. The collaborative also plans to launch community engagement projects that will involve Macon residents in choosing and debating important issues.
GPB Macon Radio will use its share of the Knight grants to expand its staff. Last week, GPB appointed Adam Ragusea, formerly of Boston public radio station WBUR, as new host of the Morning Edition show and site supervisor for GPB Macon Radio.
Karen Lambert, president of the Peyton Anderson Foundation, said the universitys decision to name the centers newsroom for Peyton Anderson seems a fitting tribute to Mr. Anderson, who was the face of journalism for many years in this region and whose generosity will continue to make Macon and institutions within Macon, such as Mercer University, stronger for years to come.
The center also includes classrooms and faculty offices for the journalism department. Tim Regan-Porter, the centers director, said having the working journalists, faculty and students housed in the same facility is important.
Even with all of the communication tools available, there is no substitute for face-to-face collaboration, Regan-Porter said in the release. Having students work and study in a daily newsroom fosters an energy, creative spirit and real-world knowledge acquisition that we believe will benefit students, The Telegraph, GPB and the community.
To contact writer Rodney Manley, call 744-4623.