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Collaborative journalism: A primer

Collaborative journalism takes many forms: reporting, deepening relationships with audiences, co-collecting and sharing data or even teaming up to build technology. Learn the basics here.

The last decade has been one of resource scarcity, uncertainty and rapid technological development for newsrooms around the world. Within this context, many journalism outlets have turned to collaboration as a way to share reporting workloads and stretch limited resources, while also providing more comprehensive stories to larger audiences.

Collaborative journalism looks like multiple news organizations working together on reporting projects, partnering on audience engagement efforts, co-collecting and sharing data and even teaming up to build technology that supports multiple organizations working toward a shared journalistic goal. It may or may not involve a formal agreement, but it always seeks to produce content that is greater than what any individual journalist, newsroom or organization could produce on its own. And although many different kinds of news organizations engage in collaborative journalism projects, participation is more common among public media, nonprofit news outlets and independent organizations.

Practicing successful collaborative journalism very often requires a break with past practices and mindsets — especially competitive instincts.

Investigative or accountability journalism is often the most common area of focus for collaborative projects. The Panama Papers are an excellent example.

This section of Better News focuses on journalism collaboration — but cooperation and partnership is essential across your entire enterprise. For more, read about Table Stake No. 6: Partner to expand your capacity and capabilities at lower and more flexible cost.