September 29, 2017

A new report from the Center for Cooperative Media looks at the growing movement of collaboration among newsrooms. It's one that, according to the author and editors, "is now being practiced on a scale that constitutes a revolution in journalism."

The report examines the history, the definition and why it's happening now. It identifies six types of collaborations, with several examples of each, that range from one-time projects that share but don't create content together to ongoing projects where the newsrooms share resources and work. 

The report also identifies four things that make collaborations successful. They are:

1. The newsrooms work from the start on thinking about how the work will be useful for each other.

2. There's a project manager.

3.  There's "some level of trust and goodwill among participants."

4, They're able to learn new ways to work outside of what they know, including across newsrooms, platforms and generations.

The report, written by Sarah Stonbely and edited by Heather Bryant and Stefanie Murray, notes that it approached the practice of collaborating from an optimistic place. 

"However, this optimism is tempered by the recognition that in some cases, collaboration and cooperation actually look more like downsizing in the name of efficiency. Indeed, an early collaboration between two competing newspapers in Raleigh, N.C., was viewed by some at the time as a decrease in diverse voices and viewpoints."

Recent collaborative projects many journalists might be familiar with include the Panama Papers at the international level and the USA Today Network's The Wall at the local and national level. Earlier this month, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting gave out $3.3 million to regional journalism collaborations.  

But can collaborative journalism provide sustainability at the local level, the report asks?

"The answer hinges largely on whether collaboration results in real, measurable gains for the journalism organizations and audiences involved," the report says. "As we have seen in this report, though there is little quantitative evidence, there is ample qualitative data on this point."

You can read the full report here

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Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

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