MACON – Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism recently added three staff members to support expanded programming underwritten by a $2 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Amyre Makupson, evening co-anchor at Macon’s WGXA-TV ABC 16 and Fox 24 for the past four years, has been named broadcast news director. Makupson will work with Mercer students to produce local news stories for CCJ broadcast partner 13WMAZ, as well as for Mercer’s own TV station, WMUB. Students will also, under Makupson’s supervision, produce video content for CCJ partners The Telegraph and Georgia Public Broadcasting.
Broadcast journalist Sonya Green, who recently completed a Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan, has been named engagement coordinator and reporter for the Center. Green will work out of the CCJ’s Peyton Anderson Newsroom and assist partners in coordinating community events, oversee assignments and schedules for the reporting teams, and manage new community-engagement technology.
The Center’s TV station, WMUB, has added William C. Maddox, a former longtime member of WMAZ’s engineering staff, as operations manager. Reporting to the broadcast news director, Maddox works with CCJ faculty, students and media partners to develop content and is responsible for WMUB operations and compliance with FCC regulations.
“These new hires bring years of experience to our journalism and media studies program and will help our students continue to expand their skillsets through hands-on work with WMUB and our media partners,” said CCJ Interim Director Debbie Blankenship. “The CCJ is very excited our new Knight Foundation grant has allowed us to make this expansion and put our students at the forefront of journalism.”
Makupson, who earned her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Howard University and her master’s degree in communications from Wayne State University, both with honors, worked as a reporter, editor, producer and anchor for network affiliates in Lima, Ohio, before joining WGXA in 2013.
Green has a bachelor’s degree in media studies and English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Prior to being selected for the highly competitive Knight-Wallace Fellowship at Michigan, Green spent more than a decade serving in management and editorial roles at TV and radio stations in the Seattle area. She also was a news producer at Denver’s KMGH, an ABC affiliate, for five years. She and a former colleague at KBCS in Bellevue, Washington, recently won third place in the 2017 Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability for two pieces they produced chronicling a wheelchair user’s experiences with public transportation.
A U.S. Navy veteran, Maddox served as an engineer at WMAZ for more than a decade. Prior to that he was assistant chief engineer for Georgia Public Broadcasting. He is licensed by the FCC and certified by the Society of Broadcast Engineers.
Established in 2012 with $5.7 million in funding from Knight Foundation and the Peyton Anderson Foundation, the Center for Collaborative Journalism is a unique partnership between Mercer’s Journalism and Media Studies Department, McClatchy-owned The Telegraph of Macon and Georgia Public Broadcasting. The prototype brings students, faculty and veteran journalists together in a joint newsroom located in Mercer Village. Learning in a teaching hospital model, students and professional journalists work together to deliver strong local reporting and engage members of the community around issues of local concern. The collaboration has led to in-depth coverage of important issues, and allowed students to use the latest digital tools and graduate with a portfolio of published work that gives them an edge in a rapidly changing field.
Knight Foundation in 2017 awarded another $2 million to the CCJ to help expand the Center’s efforts, including support for Georgia Public Broadcasting and the addition of a TV reporting partnership with 13WMAZ, which is owned by TEGNA Inc.