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A year of local collaboration

“Gone are the days when a single news organization had the resources to dominate local news coverage, or when multiple news organizations would enter fierce competition to ‘win’ on the same local story.”

Gone are the days when a single news organization had the resources to dominate local news coverage, or when multiple news organizations would enter fierce competition to “win” on the same local story.

While competition used to drive strong news coverage and accountability reporting, a new information environment driven by technology and battling today’s challenges — from misinformation to declining trust in media — demand solutions from a variety of sources and players. In 2019, we’ll see an increase in multidisciplinary collaboration among sectors, institutions, and news organizations working to better serve local audiences.

There are a few positive indicators pointing to that trend:

Stronger local news ecosystems: A new nonprofit organization, Resolve Philadelphia, is leading a collaboration of The Philadelphia Inquirer, WHYY, Billy Penn, WURD, NBC10, Temple University, and 13 other media outlets in Philadelphia to report on and promote civic engagement around the issue of poverty. Resolve grew out of a 2017 collaborative news project organized by the Solutions Journalism Network about the challenges and the solutions to prisoner re-entry in Philadelphia, producing more than 200 stories and about the social and economic toll of high recidivism rates. In 2019, Resolve Philadelphia will continue to apply the solutions journalism framework to “Broke in Philly” and provide in-depth, nuanced reporting on the impact of poverty and potential solutions in Philadelphia. Knight is supporting a similar effort with the Solutions Journalism Network in Charlotte and has been helping fund the Detroit Journalism Cooperative for more than five years.

National–local partnerships: ProPublica just announced it will be working with 14 more local news organizations under its Local Reporting Network on accountability reporting and investigative reporting projects. Report For America is seeking applications for its next class of reporters and local news organizations after demonstrating tremendous success last year. And Reveal is continuing its strong work bringing data journalism, new forms of storytelling, and a collaborative approach in New Orleans and San Jose, with more cities to come.

Multidisciplinary partnerships: Problems associated with declining trust in media are drawing experts across academia, technology, and journalism to work collaboratively on solutions. One example is Cortico, a media technology nonprofit born out of MIT Media Lab. Cortico is working with the Associated Press, Alabama Media Group, and others to create an ear-to-ground listening tool that can systematically identify and elevate issues important to their local community. We are seeing similar collaborations tackling other critical issues such as the governance of artificial intelligence and the news.

Media funders join forces: More and more, media funders are collaborating to support local journalism projects. For example, Knight joined with the Lenfest Institute in Philadelphia this fall to support a $20 million fund aimed at transforming local journalism. Another key example is NewsMatch, a national matching-gift campaign that is helping nonprofit news organizations build their audience and donor base while also helping them increase fundraising expertise. After launching in 2016 with 57 news organizations, Knight joined with Democracy Fund, MacArthur Foundation, Ethics and Excellence, and a host of others to help members of the Institute for Nonprofit News raise $26.4 million. The 2018 campaign, which closes on Dec. 31, now includes 155 nonprofit news organizations and a host of new funders.

In 2019, we’re hoping that funders will join together to invest in the American Journalism Project, a venture philanthropy organization for local news led by Chalkbeat founder Elizabeth Green and Texas Tribune founder John Thornton.

These examples are among the many collaborative efforts the Knight Foundation journalism team was excited by in 2018. Looking ahead, we anticipate more strategic and unexpected collaborations among news organizations and those passionate about creating a strong future for informed communities.

This prediction was written by the Knight Foundation journalism team: LaSharah Bunting, Paul Cheung, Jennifer Preston, Karen Rundlet. and Nick Swyter.

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Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

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Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

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Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

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Cristi Hegranes   A year to invest in the security of local journalists

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

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Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

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Heather Chaplin   Agree we’re partisan — for the democratic system

Matt Karolian   Publishers come to terms with being Facebook’s enablers

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Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

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Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Whitney Phillips   Our information systems aren’t broken — they’re working as intended

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Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

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Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

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Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

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Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

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Angilee Shah   The year news orgs say “yes” to real leaders

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

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Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

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Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

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Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

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Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

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Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

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Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Cindy Royal   For journalism curriculum to change, its faculty needs disruption

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Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

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Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Efrat Nechushtai   Journalism wants to be your friend, not your teacher

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

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Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

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Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter