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2020
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7

Collaborative journalism takes its rightful place at the table

“Collaboration isn’t just a cute idea or a nice distraction anymore. People and organizations of all shapes and sizes are finally starting to take it seriously as one of the best ways forward in an industry that remains racked with uncertainty and mistrust.”

It’s been growing little by little over the last half decade or so, but this year we saw an explosion of collaborative reporting projects and other cooperative endeavors popping up all over the place. And I expect that this trend will not only continue into 2020, but that we’ll genuinely start to see collaboration take its rightful place as one of the defining schools of thought within the journalism industry.

In fact, it’s already happening. At virtually every level of the journalism industry, news and news-adjacent organizations are finding new ways and reasons to collaborate.

At the local level in the U.S., newsrooms have already been collaborating for years and 2019 was no different. But now we’re seeing more projects that involve local-national partnerships like the latest announcement from Report for America and the Associated Press, which plan to add new statehouse reporters in 13 different states, or The Washington Post’s new public DEA database that allows local reporters to track the path of every pain pill sold in the U.S. between 2006 and 2012.

At the regional and national level, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a higher concentration of collaborations focusing on a single topic than I have over the last year when it comes to climate change collaborations. From the massive national and international collaborations like Covering Climate Now, to regional projects like The Invading Sea and InsideClimateNews, to college and campus collaborations like Bitter Cold and Code Red in Baltimore — collaboration has never been hotter. (Unfortunately, neither has the planet, but I digress.)

Then, of course, there are the myriad international and cross-border collaborative reporting projects. Just this month, many of us came down with an acute case of journalistic deja vu when yet another trove of leaked data and documents about how the rich get away with various financial crimes was unveiled by the #27Leaks international investigative reporting collaboration. Meanwhile, digital media outlets in Venezuela recently launched a new collaborative journalism platform that will help them join resources to investigate and circumvent censorship.

Google is even getting in on the collaborative action. They recently enlisted the brilliant minds at the Reese News Lab to help build a new, collaborative platform for local news.

I could literally go on for days, but my main point is this: Collaboration isn’t just a cute idea or a nice distraction anymore. People and organizations of all shapes and sizes are finally starting to take it seriously as one of the best ways forward in an industry that remains racked with uncertainty and mistrust. I see no reason why this would change in 2020.

Joe Amditis is associate director of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University.

It’s been growing little by little over the last half decade or so, but this year we saw an explosion of collaborative reporting projects and other cooperative endeavors popping up all over the place. And I expect that this trend will not only continue into 2020, but that we’ll genuinely start to see collaboration take its rightful place as one of the defining schools of thought within the journalism industry.

In fact, it’s already happening. At virtually every level of the journalism industry, news and news-adjacent organizations are finding new ways and reasons to collaborate.

At the local level in the U.S., newsrooms have already been collaborating for years and 2019 was no different. But now we’re seeing more projects that involve local-national partnerships like the latest announcement from Report for America and the Associated Press, which plan to add new statehouse reporters in 13 different states, or The Washington Post’s new public DEA database that allows local reporters to track the path of every pain pill sold in the U.S. between 2006 and 2012.

At the regional and national level, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a higher concentration of collaborations focusing on a single topic than I have over the last year when it comes to climate change collaborations. From the massive national and international collaborations like Covering Climate Now, to regional projects like The Invading Sea and InsideClimateNews, to college and campus collaborations like Bitter Cold and Code Red in Baltimore — collaboration has never been hotter. (Unfortunately, neither has the planet, but I digress.)

Then, of course, there are the myriad international and cross-border collaborative reporting projects. Just this month, many of us came down with an acute case of journalistic deja vu when yet another trove of leaked data and documents about how the rich get away with various financial crimes was unveiled by the #27Leaks international investigative reporting collaboration. Meanwhile, digital media outlets in Venezuela recently launched a new collaborative journalism platform that will help them join resources to investigate and circumvent censorship.

Google is even getting in on the collaborative action. They recently enlisted the brilliant minds at the Reese News Lab to help build a new, collaborative platform for local news.

I could literally go on for days, but my main point is this: Collaboration isn’t just a cute idea or a nice distraction anymore. People and organizations of all shapes and sizes are finally starting to take it seriously as one of the best ways forward in an industry that remains racked with uncertainty and mistrust. I see no reason why this would change in 2020.

Joe Amditis is associate director of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University.

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