Tumblelog by Soup.io
Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

April 10 2012


Mercer Center for Collaborative Journalism Aims to Put the 'Lab' in 'Collaboration'

April 1 marked my first month on the job as director of Mercer University's new Center for Collaborative Journalism. While the center doesn't open its doors until August, and the bulk of the program starts in late 2013, I already feel the pressure.

The vision established by Mercer, the Knight Foundation, and our media partners, The (Macon) Telegraph and Georgia Public Broadcasting, could hardly be loftier -- not only establishing a new model for journalism education but also helping to transform local communities and save democracy itself. But it is the very audacity of that vision that, in two weeks' time, spun me around from plans to move to New York with my favorite magazine conglomerate to accepting an offer in Macon, Ga. (not long after telling my wife that Atlanta was "just too small" for me).

The ambition of the program is backed by $4.6 million in grants from the Knight Foundation and enabled by a unique collaborative arrangement between a liberal arts program, a public broadcaster and a daily newspaper. The center itself occupies the ground floor of a new development and houses the newsroom of The Telegraph, a McClatchy paper serving the region, and radio and television facilities for GPB. Students will take classes in the midst of a daily newsroom and radio station; some will even live in housing set aside for them above the center.

Students Embedded in Newsrooms

At the heart of the academic program is an adaptation of the medical school model of education. Students will train in a working newsroom, alongside professional journalists, throughout all four years of the program. Class projects will be integrated with the work of our media partners and the center's own digital news outlet (modeled after the University of North Carolina's reesenews).

Students will contribute to background research, shadow reporters, file reports, engage the community with social media, and perform most duties expected of a professional journalist. They will leave the program with a full portfolio of professional bylines, radio reports, and multimedia stories. This clinical model and high degree of collaboration offers students a truly unique experience.

Media Partners Working Together

Out of the gate, the community will benefit from the collaboration fostered in the center. GPB is tripling its local reporter presence and launching Macon Public Radio, making Macon the only community in Georgia, outside of Atlanta, to have significant locally focused public-radio programming. The university's journalism department is doubling its size and bringing in professionals skilled in digital media. And the combined efforts of The Telegraph and GPB allow for improved coverage.

The benefits of having a combined radio/newspaper newsroom were reinforced in a meeting with Dan Grech, news director at WLRN, which has a similar collaboration with The Miami Herald. (I believe we're the second outlet in the country to pursue this model.) Dan credits that collaboration with transforming WLRN's news department, allowing them to cover the area much better, with up to a four-fold increase in productivity. With all of the resources brought together by the center, we expect similarly transformational results.

Collaborating with the Citizens of Macon

While the collaboration of media partners and the university will fuel the center, I believe much of its success will depend on extending that collaboration. Students will need to leave the "Mercer bubble" to engage the community in new ways. Fortunately, that process began years ago, when Mercer went from an institution isolated by fences to a partner in the revitalization of, and a force for social justice in, Macon. The College of Liberal Arts implemented an experiential requirement, which often involves community service.


For our student journalists to provide value and learn the real work of local journalism, they will need to view Macon as more than a stopping point on their way elsewhere. It will need to be their home and its citizens their collaborators in providing information, highlighting issues, and crafting solutions. Part of the center's grant provides for and requires two major community engagement projects each year -- projects where we seek the community's input on the issues most important to it and then work with our partners to investigate and report on those issues in depth.

The center will utilize tools such as the Public Insight Network, as well as low-tech, high-touch approaches, to engage the community in dialog. Various other community groups -- from a local television affiliate to the local arts alliance -- have already reached out to work with the center. Additionally, I envision working with local religious and civic organizations to get information to neglected segments of the community and to train their members in digital technology and media consumption.

Macon remains deeply divided along socioeconomic lines, with significant gaps in information dissemination and community attachment. By collaborating with existing organizations, the center has a real opportunity to help bridge the digital divide, close the information gap, and increase attachment.

Interdisciplinary Collaboration

The center is housed in Mercer's College of Liberal Arts, which offers many key resources for collaboration. When I was an undergrad, several journalists advised my fellow students and me to find specific disciplines to study and use journalism as a way to explore and talk about those subjects. That mindset will undergird our new curriculum, where various tracks will train students to be environmental journalists, business reporters, or critics of the arts.

Proper training goes beyond simple double majors. It requires joint efforts from the faculty to not only train students in the substance of these fields but also in the nuances of conveying specific knowledge to a general public and of staying on top of controversies and advancements in those fields. My vision for this type of integration tracks closely with the yearlong seminars that form the core of Columbia University's M.A. in Journalism.

Beyond those core curricular structures, I envision particularly close collaboration with schools and departments in areas at the heart of the disruption in, and the way forward for, journalism: computer science and engineering, design, business, and social entrepreneurship (another exciting new program at Mercer). In addition to formal training across these disciplines, faculty and students will work together to constantly experiment with new technology, designs, and business models.

The center aims to put the "lab" in "collaboration." Imagine a journalism graduate who understands the core terminology of web and mobile technologies, how to experiment with various solutions, and how to evaluate various business models -- or a computer science graduate who understands the language and needs of journalism and the core drivers of its economic models. Add to that, exposure to agile methodologies and a continuous deployment environment where experiments are routinely pushed out and evaluated. I can think of nothing more valuable to a graduating student or a potential employer.


When I started a month ago, I wondered if our moniker was broad enough (and modern enough) to contain our vision. Perhaps it should focus on "media" or "digital media" and point to innovation as its core. But I've come to regard "journalism" as capturing the civic responsibility at the core of our mission and "collaboration" as something much broader than the partnership between the university and our primary media partners.

Collaboration is the modus operandi that will power the transformation we seek.

Much of this vision has yet to be fleshed out in operational detail, and much work remains to actualize it. Success is not guaranteed. We need sharp students, willing partners, and the right structure. It seems we have the first two and are on our way to the last element. Undergirding all of this are remarkable energy and excitement throughout the university, our partners, and the community. It will take decades for our students to filter out into society and impact democracy, but it seems that a small transformation of those directly involved has already begun.

What are some examples of innovation in journalism education or media collaboration that we should examine as we build toward the vision I've outlined above?

Above photo by Flickr user Taber Andrew Bain.

Tim Regan-Porter is the inaugural director of the Center for Collaborative Journalism at Mercer University. Previously, he was co-founder and president of Paste Magazine, where he created Obamicon.Me and the Paste mPlayer. Prior to Paste, he spent a decade in web development as solutions architect at IBM's e-Business national practice and director of development at Enterpulse.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this post mistakenly described April 1 as the author's first day on the job.

Get Collaboration Central via Email

This is a summary. Visit our site for the full post ».

July 19 2011


Will David Cameron have to quite over phone-hacking scandal?

Political Betting :: There’s increased speculation from Iain Dale and The Telegraph that David Cameron may end up quitting over the fallout from his relations to Coulson, Brooks and Murdoch. Political Betting writes: "it’s worth considering who might takeover as leader of the Conservatives. The specific nature of this crisis hasn’t been reflected in the betting markets yet. I believe there is one candidate representing outstanding value. ... ."

At this point no one really knows how the crisis will further evolve and it is also hard to predict:

Guardian :: Speculation that the (phone-hacking) affair could eventually bring down David Cameron seems utterly fanciful - although anyone who claimed to be able to predict with confidence exactly where this will end would be a fool.

Continue to read www1.politicalbetting.com

Continue to read www.guardian.co.uk

Sponsored post
Reposted byLegendaryy Legendaryy

June 27 2011


Which UK news sites post the most stories? Do more stories lead to more visitors?

paidContent :: May 2011, The Telegraph posted the 1,099 stories on Thursday. But do more stories lead to more eyeballs? New data shows which publishers are churning out most articles - but is the strategy working? paidContent provides with interactive charts to hover and click in order to explore the data …

[Robert Andrews:] Story volume does correlate with audience size, but not universally. Although Telegraph.co.uk publishes more stories than anyone (not including its blogs), it ranks third for audience size.

Continue to read Robert Andrews, paidcontent.co.uk

June 03 2011


Speaker presentations: Session 2A – Developing the data story

Here are the presentations from Session 1A – ‘The data journalism toolkit’, at last week’s news:rewired conference.

The session featured:

With: Professor Paul Bradshaw, visiting professor, City University and founder, helpmeinvestigate.com; Alastair Dant, lead interactive technologist, the Guardian; Federica Cocco, editor, OWNI.eu; Conrad Quilty-Harper, data reporter, the Telegraph. Moderated by Simon Rogers; editor, Guardian datablog and datastore.

Paul Bradshaw, visiting professor, City University, London

Federica Cocco, editor, OWNI.eu


Conrad Quilty-Harper, data mapping reporter, the Telegraph

Alastair Dant, lead interactive technologist, the Guardian

See the full session on video

April 21 2010


#followjourn: @hwallop/consumer affairs editor

#followjourn: Harry Wallop

Who? The Telegraph’s consumer affairs editor. Oxford graduate and former Investors Chronicle writer.

Where? Wallop writes for the Telegraph technology video section (he is one of two ‘gadget inspectors’) and has a blog in the paper’s online finance section. As consumer affairs editor he has a broad remit however, and covers “everything from food trends and utility bills to the property market and the latest toys”. His Telegraph profile and collected articles can be found at this link. He also has a LinkedIn page.

Contact? @hwallop

Just as we like to supply you with fresh and innovative tips every day, we’re recommending journalists to follow online too. They might be from any sector of the industry: please send suggestions (you can nominate yourself) to judith or laura at journalism.co.uk; or to @journalismnews.

Similar Posts:

April 15 2010




Good visual journalist be alert!

How do you believe in these maps when the information is not very good?

Look at the first ones and you will see how unreliable they are.

This will be a great challenge for my infographic friends.

But they will end doing a good job.

You will see.

The BBC has done this basic one:


Anoher version with the same data posted by the European edition of The Wall Street Journal website from the U.K. Met Office with an illustration of the volcanic ash dispersion from the surface to 20,000 feet, issued at 6 a.m. on Thursday.


And The Telegraph included this picture from a real-time radar image showing all aircraft movements in UK airspace at 9.30am today.

The image from www.radarvirtuel.com shows how ash from the Icelandic volcano stopped all flights in the northern parts of UK.


Lainformacion.com in Spain has a bigger map with more or less the same data.


El Pais in Madrid shows the Meteosat 9 images and this the best way to understand the size and impact of the volcanic ashes.


And in Twitter going to ashes you can see this incredibly beautiful picture


More, later.

April 01 2010


April Fools’ Day: a round-up of media mischief

The venerable old day of leg-pulling and pranking is upon us again, and British news institutions are doing their bit for the fun. Some better than others, it must be said. Here is a short round-up of some headline hilarity from the web.

The Guardian went big and bold with a mock-election campaign designed to show the rough and ready side of our beloved PM:

Brown aides had worried that his reputation for volatility might torpedo Labour’s hopes of re-election, but recent internal polls suggest that, on the contrary, stories of Brown’s testosterone-fuelled eruptions have been almost entirely responsible for a recent recovery in the party’s popularity.

While the traditionally rowdy readers of the Guardian were treated to this new bar-room-brawling Brown, the refined readers of the National Union of Journalist’s site woke up to the news that the bruiser and the posh boy, along with that other one Clegg, were all joining the NUJ executive council as part of a new “affinity programme”.

Through our new affinity scheme NUJ members will now be able to join the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democratic parties at a reduced rate. In fact, from now on they can also get membership of all three parties for the price of one, which we believe will appeal particularly to our members at the Guardian and elsewhere.

Harmony was prevailing elsewhere too on The Register’s site, with the equally unlikely news that highly improbable bedfellows Associated Newspapers and the Guardian Media Group would join forces to share a common editorial facility.

Using the latest technology, a single team will produce stories for both groups flagship titles, the Daily Mail and the Guardian, in a process that will be largely automated.

The Independent went with some highly unlikely technical advances to the Circle Line, claiming that London Underground was in talks with the boffins at CERN about using the 23km tunnel to house a new particle accelarator, similar to CERN’s Large Hardon Hadron Collider. Provided, of course, they can iron out the “geo-magnetic ‘kink’ in the circuitry at Edgware Road”.

It would mean that two beams of protons would be travelling in clockwise and counterclockwise directions at 99.999999 per cent of the speed of light, within feet of Circle line passengers stuck in perpetual immobility.

(The boffins were up to some riotous Brass Eye-esque hilarity of their own over in Switzerland, declaring on their site this morning that high-energy collisions within the newly restarted LHC had unearthed a “paleoparticle”. In other words, “a hideous particle from the prehistory of the Universe”.)

Also on the science side, the Daily Mail, with news (and video) about, the AA’s new rocketmen, able to fly out to the hard-shoulder in your time of need. Unfortunately this corker has come down off the site already.

Rather than muck in with its own side-splitting falsity, BBC News ran with a bit of an also-ran in the form of a collection of true stories that really should be April Fools. Although, tucked away on the Radio 4 site is this deadpan gem about the possibility of William Shakespeare being half French, based on some pretty dubious analysis of his mother’s family tree:

It’s a lock of hair, it’s quite faded, which would mean it’s potentially a lock of hair from Mary Queen of Scots.

Lastly, as this is only just a taste of the press’ Herculean April Fools’ effort, the Telegraph, who claimed this morning that ferrets were to be used in the government’s plans to begin broadband to all:

The animals have been used by Virgin Media for over a year to help lay cables for its broadband service, the company has disclosed. The ferrets wear jackets fitted with a microchip which is able to analyse any breaks or damage in the underground network.

What the Telegraph’s story lacks ever so slightly in humour, it more than makes up for with this deftly mocked-up picture of a ferret on the job. Of laying cables, I mean.

Back to frowning at your desks until next year then folks.

Similar Posts:

March 19 2010


#followjourn: Rob Kelly/football reporter

#followjourn: Rob Kelly

Who? Kelly is a football reporter at the Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph.

Where? You can find Kelly’s Telegraph articles collected in the paper’s online sports section here. He has a journalisted page here.

Contact? Kelly is not quite au fait on all things Twitter. From his Telegraph blurb:

He remains totally bewildered by Twitter, yet has an account. Follow me on it if you like, I could do with the friends.

Should you choose to, here is where – www.twitter.com/robkelly2

Just as we like to supply you with fresh and innovative tips every day, we’re recommending journalists to follow online too. They might be from any sector of the industry: please send suggestions (you can nominate yourself) to judith or laura at journalism.co.uk; or to @journalismnews.

Similar Posts:

Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.
No Soup for you

Don't be the product, buy the product!

YES, I want to SOUP ●UP for ...