Collaborations expand from newsrooms to the business side

“Business-side and operations collaborations have the potential to be revolutionary for how we think about the sustainability of local news organizations, and for how we think about what a local news ecosystem can be.”

One crucial movement in journalism over the past few years has been the rise of collaborations. Like the rise of nonprofit news, the increasingly collaborative approach and ethos of news organizations signal a fundamental shift toward journalism as a public good. The Center for Cooperative Media has tracked over 400 collaborations in the past few years, speaking to the explosion of this movement; the vast majority have been purely editorial, most often involving shared reporting and publishing.

But the field is starting to see a different type of collaboration emerge, especially at the local level: collaborations centered on local news organizations’ business sides, focused on the development and strengthening of revenue streams and operations capacity — all with a goal of building more robust and sustainable local news ecosystems that are ultimately better able to meet communities’ information needs for the long-term future.

Several recent examples are worth learning from:

This movement will no doubt continue to evolve in the coming months and years, and we’ll see more local news organizations — and the business teams within them — come together to take advantage of efficiencies like shared backend services and economies of scale (while staying fully local, independent, and mission-oriented).

But what’s truly exciting about this shift is that it’s a step beyond editorial-only collaborations to more deeply ingrain together outlets within a local news ecosystem. Business-side and operations collaborations have the potential to be revolutionary for how we think about the sustainability of local news organizations, and for how we think about what a local news ecosystem can be.

Gonzalo del Peon is an associate for strategy and startups at the American Journalism Project.

One crucial movement in journalism over the past few years has been the rise of collaborations. Like the rise of nonprofit news, the increasingly collaborative approach and ethos of news organizations signal a fundamental shift toward journalism as a public good. The Center for Cooperative Media has tracked over 400 collaborations in the past few years, speaking to the explosion of this movement; the vast majority have been purely editorial, most often involving shared reporting and publishing.

But the field is starting to see a different type of collaboration emerge, especially at the local level: collaborations centered on local news organizations’ business sides, focused on the development and strengthening of revenue streams and operations capacity — all with a goal of building more robust and sustainable local news ecosystems that are ultimately better able to meet communities’ information needs for the long-term future.

Several recent examples are worth learning from:

This movement will no doubt continue to evolve in the coming months and years, and we’ll see more local news organizations — and the business teams within them — come together to take advantage of efficiencies like shared backend services and economies of scale (while staying fully local, independent, and mission-oriented).

But what’s truly exciting about this shift is that it’s a step beyond editorial-only collaborations to more deeply ingrain together outlets within a local news ecosystem. Business-side and operations collaborations have the potential to be revolutionary for how we think about the sustainability of local news organizations, and for how we think about what a local news ecosystem can be.

Gonzalo del Peon is an associate for strategy and startups at the American Journalism Project.

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