Apr 10, 2012

Collaboration to power media transformation in Macon, head of journalism center writes

Tim Regan-Porter, director of the new Center for Collaborative Journalism in Macon, Ga., provides early details on how the Knight-backed partnership among Mercer University, the local Telegraph newspaper and Georgia Public Broadcasting will work, in a post today (April 10) on MediaShift.

The ambitious vision, Regan-Porter said, is "not only establishing a new model for journalism education but also helping to transform local communities and save democracy itself."

Mercer journalism students will train in a working newsroom, alongside professional journalists, through the four years of the program — some students even living above the center, Regan-Porter said. GPB is boosting local coverage by launching Macon Public Radio, which will make the central-Georgia community the only town outside Atlanta to have "significant locally focused public-radio programming," he said. The university's journalism department is doubling its faculty, bringing in digital media instructors. "And the combined efforts of The Telegraph and GPB allow for improved coverage," Regan-Porter said.

The center also will work 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."

"Collaboration is the modus operandi that will power the transformation we seek," he said.

NEA may cut up to $1 million in PBS arts programming support

The National Endowment for the Arts is considering substantial cuts — possibly totaling $1 million — in funding for PBS arts programming through the NEA's Arts in Media initiative, according to the New York Times.

The NEA told execs with Great Performances and American Masters that the shows would each receive $50,000 in the 2012 financing cycle, down from $400,000 each in 2011. Independent Lens would get $50,000, down from $170,000; P.O.V., $100,000, down from $250,000. KQED in San Francisco was turned down for a $350,000 request; it received $200,000 for its PBS series Sound Tracks in 2011.

Simon Kilmurry, executive director of P.O.V., told the newspaper that the proposed cuts were “a huge surprise and a blow to how much we can support filmmakers, and it’s perplexing.”

Last year the NEA revamped and renamed its Arts on Radio and Television category of grants as Arts in Media. Of that $4 million, about half previously went to shows on PBS. But this year the category is open to content on media platforms including online, mobile, theatrical release and digital games. PubTV insiders said the NEA had about 350 applicants this year, compared with about 150 last year, with the same amount of cash available.

The grants will be announced April 25.