MACON – The Mercer Center for Collaborative Journalism has appointed veteran journalist and technology entrepreneur Andrew Haeg as its first entrepreneur-in-residence. Haeg is the founder of Groundsource, a mobile research and engagement platform that enables journalists and researchers to gather first-hand knowledge from on-the-ground sources. Prior to founding Groundsource, Haeg was an "intra-prenuer" with American Public Media, where he co-founded the Public Insight Network.
"We are thrilled to welcome Andrew to the Center," said Tim Regan-Porter, director of the Center for Collaborative Journalism. "He is a perfect fit for our mission: a laser focus on innovation, technology and community engagement in journalism, a solid academic background, an entrepreneurial mindset, and a passion for service - especially to those unreached by traditional media. At Stanford, Andrew co-developed and taught a course titled 'Redesigning Journalism.' We are excited to have his help in doing just that here at Mercer."
The CCJ is a unique community media collaborative combining Mercer's liberal arts-based journalism and media studies program with the professional expertise of The Telegraph, Georgia's third-largest daily newspaper, and Georgia Public Broadcasting, the third-largest public broadcaster in the country based on population reach. The effort is supported by nearly $6 million in grants from the John S. and James L. Knight and Peyton Anderson Foundations.
"Mr. Haeg is a digital journalism entrepreneur committed to helping communities have better information," said Dr. Lake Lambert, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. "He will make a great addition to the Center for Collaborative Journalism and Mercer's partnership in community journalism with The Telegraph and GPB."
Haeg left American Public Media in September to start Groundsource, a mobile platform that engages people who are far less likely to be sharing information online due to lack of access. With more than 6 billion mobile phones in use worldwide, Groundsource is designed to engage this massive and growing number of phone owners using SMS, MMS and voice communications, helping connect them with journalists, social entrepreneurs and researchers.
"We are excited to incubate his startup, Groundsource, which has great potential for helping the program and diverse communities in the region and beyond," Regan-Porter said.
"The challenges facing journalism today are of unprecedented scale and scope, but I believe there are greater opportunities than ever before to serve the information needs of the public. I can't imagine a better place to explore the future of community-centered journalism than at Mercer University's Center for Collaborative Journalism." - Andrew Haeg
Haeg has more than 15 years experience as a journalist, including nearly a decade at American Public Media, where he co-founded the Public Insight Network, a crowd-sourcing platform used by close to 80 newsrooms that is composed of more than 180,000 sources. The Public Insight Network is an online initiative that systematically incorporates the knowledge and insights of the audience into journalism. Joaquín Alvarado, a member of Mercer's National Journalism Advisory Board and chief strategy officer for the Center for Investigative Reporting, recommended Haeg for the position because of their work at American Public Media, where Alvarado worked as senior vice president for digital innovation.
"Andrew is a unique talent and proven leader in the journalism innovation field," Alvarado said. "This is a great opportunity for him to join with the CCJ community and become a part of the Mercer community. It is a great match and I'm excited for him and for Mercer and to see what will come out of it."
In 2008-2009, he was a Knight Fellow at Stanford University where he focused on applying "design thinking" to leading change and innovation in journalism. He co-created a winter quarter class called "Redesigning Journalism" at the Stanford design school.
"The challenges facing journalism today are of unprecedented scale and scope, but I believe there are greater opportunities than ever before to serve the information needs of the public," Haeg said. "I can't imagine a better place to explore the future of community-centered journalism than at Mercer University's Center for Collaborative Journalism. It's an ideal seed-bed for new, highly collaborative approaches to journalism, such as Groundsource, which can be replicated across the country and the world."
Haeg helped lead a team that won two Batten Awards for Innovation in Journalism and the Inaugural Knight EPpy Award for Innovation in Journalism. He is a former Minnesota Public Radio News business and economics reporter and Midwest correspondent for The Economist. He has also been awarded the Gerald Loeb Award for Business/Financial Journalism and the Eisenstein Award for Photojournalism. Haeg was chosen by the U.S. Department of State to spend 10 days in the Philippines discussing techniques and tools for engaging citizens in journalism, meeting with journalists, students and media executives throughout the country.
Haeg earned his bachelor's degree from St. John's University, Collegeville, Minn., and his Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia University in New York. He was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minn., and is married to Mary Haeg, an attorney. Together, the couple has three young children.