MACON – Mercer University's Center for Collaborative Journalism will recognize journalist Matt Thompson with the Center's inaugural Media Changemaker Prize in a public ceremony on Jan. 31.
Thompson, one of the nation's premier young African-American journalists, was recently named deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He previously served as director of vertical initiatives at NPR, where he founded the Code Switch blog that reports on the "frontiers of race, culture and ethnicity."
"Matt embodies just about everything we value in a journalist," said CCJ Director Tim Regan-Porter. "His work is on the forefront of both the technological changes that are affecting newsrooms and the demographic changes that are reshaping American life."
The CCJ's new Media Changemaker Prize will be awarded annually to a journalist, entrepreneur or other media figure who is taking creative steps to better serve the information needs of the public.
"We want to recognize talent and innovation, but we also want to bring these talented people to Macon to exchange ideas with our student and professional journalists," Regan-Porter said.
Thompson will receive the prize during the CCJ's Media Innovation Scholarship weekend, when dozens of high school seniors from across Georgia and the nation who are interested in journalism and media studies will be at Mercer competing for four-year scholarships.
Thompson, a dynamic speaker, will deliver the keynote address after receiving his prize at 12:30 p.m.
Five other nationally renowned journalists will join Thompson for a panel discussion at 11 a.m. on media innovation moderated by Joaquin Alvarado, CEO of the Center for Investigative Reporting. Panelists include: K-12 News Network founder Cynthia Liu, whose reporting is credited with helping to force the resignation of former Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John E. Deasy; Jim Brady, founder of Philadelphia-focused mobile news platform Billy Penn and former executive editor of WashingtonPost.com; Adrian Sanders, co-founder of Beacon, a crowdfunding tool for journalism projects; Heather Chaplin, director of the Journalism + Design program at The New School in New York City; and Doug Jackson, president of Shared Vision Marketing in Atlanta.
CCJ Journalist-in-Residence Adam Ragusea will moderate a panel at 10 a.m. on the future of journalism education, titled "Journalism Matters," with the CCJ's National Journalism Advisory Board, which includes, among other distinguished professionals, Dr. Jennifer Greer, chair of the University of Alabama's Department of Journalism; Doug Mitchell, project manager/consultant for NPR and instructor at Georgetown University; and Neil Skene, former publisher of Congressional Quarterly.
All events will take place in Penfield Hall on Mercer's Macon campus. Members of the public are invited to attend at no cost with registration at http://ccjweekend.eventbrite.com.
About the Center for Collaborative Journalism
The Center for Collaborative Journalism (CCJ) is a unique partnership between Mercer University, The Telegraph and Georgia Public Broadcasting, with generous support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Peyton Anderson Foundation. The Center's groundbreaking collaboration has students, faculty and veteran journalists working together in a joint newsroom. Learning in a "teaching hospital" model, students engage the community using the latest digital tools and leave with a strong portfolio of published work.