At Journalism.co.uk we have written about various types of editorial collaborations throughout the years, including cross-border reporting, joint projects between different newsrooms, and initiatives developed between journalists and technology companies or other groups.
Depending on their nature and size, these projects require different resources and workflows, and there are different benefits and challenges to working together, so where do you get started?
In this post we outline nine distinct examples of collaboration from our archive, to serve as inspiration and give you an idea of the type of topics and initiatives you could explore in partnership with other organisations.
Before you get started...
The Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University recently published a report outlining six ways news organisations can work together, ranging from temporary projects where the partners coordinate only at the publication stage, to ongoing initiatives where editorial, technical and financial resources are shared among the participants. It can be used to narrow down the possibilities for collaboration, if you already have an idea of what your newsroom could pitch in and what the limitations are.
In Norway, four competing news organisations have set up Faktisk, a non-profit that fact-checks claims made in public debates and on social media. Its team of eight journalists, developers and designers come from the founding partners, and the claims they verify are shared on the Faktisk website, social media platforms and the Norwegian national news agency, which also allows other publications to reuse them.
A network for pursuing local accountability
The Bureau Local team at The Bureau of Investigative Journalism worked with 65 reporters during a hack day in June to investigative voter power ahead of the UK election. Local journalists in five cities around the country were able to dig into a data set compiled by the Bureau Local team to find and report on issues in their communities that could influence the election, such as the state of jobs and industries, and the level of education.
Two languages, one interactive project
Back in June, the Financial Times developed an interactive called 'Can a robot do your job?' in partnership with its parent company, Nikkei. Eight people worked on the piece, and Robin Kwong, then special projects editor at the FT, said the challenge was bigger than just "having a version in both languages". Here is what they learned about user-testing, measuring the impact of a collaborative project, and involving all the relevant parties from day one.
Collaborative global reporting at university level
Collaboration is not just for newsrooms, it can also work in the classroom. As part of the Global E-News Immersion Initiative (GENII) project last year, journalism students from six universities in different regions were paired together to produce stories sourced from a different country with the help of a student from a local university.
Partnering to help people better understand an issue
US non-profit The Trace covers stories of everyday gun violence in America, with the aim of closing the gaps between what average readers think about the issue, and the reality on the ground. The Trace has so far partnered with more than two dozen local and national newsrooms in the country, who either collaborate on reporting or republish the team's investigations.
"There is only so much we can do ourselves and (...) in my experience, some of the most successful collaborations have been those where you work with a partner that produces content in a different medium," Ben Hallman, The Trace's deputy editor, told Journalism.co.uk.
Working together to build a resource for reporting and public use
ProPublica has been working with news outlets, journalism schools and civic-rights groups on Documenting Hate, with the aim of building a national database for hate crimes and bias incidents taking place in the US. The project's partners are collecting, verifying and presenting data from social media, existing databases, and contributions from eyewitnesses and victims. The resource is intended to help local journalists and other community groups understand the magnitude of the situation and better report on these issues.
Improving media literacy
The News Co/Lab is an initiative from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication that aims to research and develop innovative approaches to media literacy by working with newsrooms, technologists, educators, libraries and other organisations to identify people's needs in various communities. Some of the aspects they will focus on include identifying mis- and disinformation, and figure out ways to increase transparency in how news is made, and how people engage with it.
Putting polarising topics into a European context
Hostwriter is a global network that connects journalists to facilitate editorial collaborations. Its latest initiative, The Agora Project, saw 10 journalists from different countries work in a virtual newsroom to report on polarising issues, and put them into a European context by sharing data and adding depth to each other's stories.
"We had this setting where everybody was invested in each other's stories, so you had the opportunity to make a story a lot better with all of your contacts, but in return you also had the others," said Felix Franz, project manager at hostwriter.
Covering elections in real-time
Pop-Up Newsroom, a joint initiative from Meedan and Dig Deeper Media, gathers people from different backgrounds and with various expertise, including journalists, students and technologists, to collaborate and experiment in person. They use agile workflows and human-centered design approaches to tackle social newsgathering challenges, for examples in covering elections or finding and verifying reports of hate incidents.
Would you like to find out about other examples of editorial collaboration? Let us know on Twitter at @journalismnews if you are interested in a second collection of projects.
Free daily newsletter
- The Seattle Times asks readers to fund its future investigative journalism team
- ‘Solutions journalism on journalism itself’
- How international collaboration helps investigative journalists overcome challenges
- Slovakia’s first investigative journalism centre honours legacy of murdered reporter
- Local Democracy Reporters, Tortoise and Cairncross Report: here is your weekly journalism news update