In 2012, Mercer University opened its Center for Collaborative Journalism with $5.7 million in funding from the Knight Foundation.
Five years later, the school has been awarded another $2 million by the Knight Foundation to expand its broadcast journalism education with WMAZ.
Mercer is already partnered up with other organizations so students can learn all about print and digital, but now they are taking the plunge into television.
Jayla Moody says she caught the news bug when she was in middle school.
Being a part of her school's morning broadcast, she says that's when she knew this was the only job for her
“I found that when I interacted more with other people and heard their story it sparked something inside of me, so listening to other people and telling their story I felt like if it could have that impact on me it can change someone else's life as well," Moody said.
She says her passion still drives her forward as she attends classes at Mercer University's Center for Collaborative Journalism.
Mercer uses what they call a teaching hospital model.
"The basic idea was instead of having students come in and learn from professors how to do journalism and do fake stories, that we would partner up with local media and pair them up with reporters who are actually in the field doing real stories for real audiences and let them learn that way," said Tim Regan-Porter, executive director of Center for Collaborative Journalism.
Regan-Porter says the school will hire a full-time reporter who will work with WMAZ and their students to produce local news stories for the station and other outlets.
"It's really exciting to know that that project isn't just going to sit at a teacher desk or in a professor’s computer. That project is ultimately going to go somewhere whether it's the Telegraph, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and now WMAZ… it's nice to know I'm not just doing work for nothing, I'm doing work that's being published," Moody said.
Regan-Porter says they'll learn about both what it takes to put together a story for the newscast, but about the growing digital side of the industry.
He says around 100 students are enrolled at the center.
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