Collaborations are vital to the news industry and have been an integral part of some of the best multidisciplinary journalism projects of our time

Collaborations are vital to the news industry and have been an integral part of some of the best multidisciplinary journalism projects of our time

From the senior editor

I’ll admit I was skeptical. I was on the phone with Stefanie Murray, the director of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University, talking about her piece for us about why more and more news organizations would be partnering up in the future to facilitate ambitious reporting projects. I was thinking about the advice I was given when I first got into this business — that my job was to outwork, out-write, and out-scoop the competition. 

But, of course, things change. Staffs shrink, business models fail, and news outlets shutter. The world is increasingly interconnected, making investigations into things like financial fraud and government surveillance harder for a single newsroom to cover. As Sarah Stonbely points out in another piece, journalists are collaborating with civil service organizations to make sure their work has a greater impact, whether that means their reporting leads to new legislation, investigation into corrupt practices, or a politician being ousted after having been shown to abuse their power.

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So, how do you make a collaboration work? A lot of it is making sure you have a strong written agreement in place at the beginning that includes plans for:

  • Publishing that specifies when and how the stories will go live online, be broadcast, or go to press
  • How the stories will be presented by the various newsrooms involved in the project. Will they live in one central location, or will each newsroom publish their own stories?
  • Tracking traffic
  • Award submissions

Several newsrooms wrote to us to tell us about projects where they collaborated. We’d also like to hear from you. Has your newsroom tried to work with another? How did it go? Write back and let me know.

Before I sign off, I wanted to share with you that we are continuing to add pieces to our Reporting at Risk series. Our latest essay comes from Ghana, where journalists working to hold power to account are at risk of arrest, torture — and worse. I hope you’ll take a look.

Until next time,

Laura Colarusso

Senior Editor

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