Cross-border collaborations become easier and more balanced

“By working alongside local journalists as equal partners — not as assistants or fixers — newsrooms can finally put to rest the practice of ‘parachute journalism’ and build longterm, mutually beneficial relationships.”

The barriers that prevented collaboration between newsrooms across the globe have been crumbling for years. In 2022, they’ll fall for good.

Many newsrooms used to consider global collaborations, or even regional ones, as logistical nightmares that required huge investments for uncertain returns — and better left to the big national publications. But the pandemic forced editors and publishers to rethink the logistics of gathering news. In the process, it lowered their reticence to work with others.

Technology has played a part. As much as we dread the now ubiquitous Zoom calls, they’ve become instrumental in demystifying collaborative work. A simple invite can bring together an entire team across multiple time zones, while messaging and free project management apps can keep the project on track until completion.

Improved processes have come hand-in-hand with a change in mentality: Covering a story so big that it directly affects every human on the planet has also helped newsrooms realize that there are stories that can be global in scope, but remain relevant to their local audience. In 2022, the increasing number of successful projects being published will entice more organizations to extend their hand to others and ask, “What else can we do together?”

As Stefanie Murray, director of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University, noted recently, there’s a growing ecosystem of journalism collaboration, with Europe and Latin America leading the way, supported by organizations like the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, Solutions Journalism Network, and the Global Investigative Journalism Network. Projects that have been born out of those networks, like the Pandora Papers, will serve as a blueprint for others to attempt their own.

In addition to improving the depth and scope of their coverage, an increase in cross-border collaborations will continue to redefine the relationship between Western newsrooms and their counterparts in other parts of the world. By working alongside local journalists as equal partners — not as assistants or fixers — newsrooms can finally put to rest the practice of “parachute journalism” and build longterm, mutually beneficial relationships, particularly around topics like migration, climate change and diaspora communities.

The success of these new initiatives will require further transformations inside news organizations. Leadership must invest in employees with the language, logistical, and cultural skills needed to work with a wide variety of partners, which has to go hand-in hand with their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Some changes to the internal culture will be needed as well to accommodate for new workflows and other demands of collaborative work.

The pandemic gave added momentum to cross-border collaboration, but it won’t be the last story to have a global impact. Newsrooms need to continue to build bridges between them to match the size and complexity of the challenges they’ll report on.

The barriers that prevented collaboration between newsrooms across the globe have been crumbling for years. In 2022, they’ll fall for good.

Many newsrooms used to consider global collaborations, or even regional ones, as logistical nightmares that required huge investments for uncertain returns — and better left to the big national publications. But the pandemic forced editors and publishers to rethink the logistics of gathering news. In the process, it lowered their reticence to work with others.

Technology has played a part. As much as we dread the now ubiquitous Zoom calls, they’ve become instrumental in demystifying collaborative work. A simple invite can bring together an entire team across multiple time zones, while messaging and free project management apps can keep the project on track until completion.

Improved processes have come hand-in-hand with a change in mentality: Covering a story so big that it directly affects every human on the planet has also helped newsrooms realize that there are stories that can be global in scope, but remain relevant to their local audience. In 2022, the increasing number of successful projects being published will entice more organizations to extend their hand to others and ask, “What else can we do together?”

As Stefanie Murray, director of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University, noted recently, there’s a growing ecosystem of journalism collaboration, with Europe and Latin America leading the way, supported by organizations like the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, Solutions Journalism Network, and the Global Investigative Journalism Network. Projects that have been born out of those networks, like the Pandora Papers, will serve as a blueprint for others to attempt their own.

In addition to improving the depth and scope of their coverage, an increase in cross-border collaborations will continue to redefine the relationship between Western newsrooms and their counterparts in other parts of the world. By working alongside local journalists as equal partners — not as assistants or fixers — newsrooms can finally put to rest the practice of “parachute journalism” and build longterm, mutually beneficial relationships, particularly around topics like migration, climate change and diaspora communities.

The success of these new initiatives will require further transformations inside news organizations. Leadership must invest in employees with the language, logistical, and cultural skills needed to work with a wide variety of partners, which has to go hand-in hand with their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Some changes to the internal culture will be needed as well to accommodate for new workflows and other demands of collaborative work.

The pandemic gave added momentum to cross-border collaboration, but it won’t be the last story to have a global impact. Newsrooms need to continue to build bridges between them to match the size and complexity of the challenges they’ll report on.

Brian Moritz

Kristen Muller

Meena Thiruvengadam

Simon Allison

Matthew Pressman

Gabe Schneider

Juleyka Lantigua

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

Joni Deutsch

Jody Brannon

Sarah Stonbely

Matt DeRienzo

Alice Antheaume

Michael W. Wagner

Simon Galperin

Victor Pickard

Cindy Royal

Doris Truong

Gonzalo del Peon

Sarah Marshall

Moreno Cruz Osório

Matt Karolian

Shalabh Upadhyay

Mary Walter-Brown

Paul Cheung

Ariel Zirulnick

Anthony Nadler

Anika Anand

James Green

Jim Friedlich

Chicas Poderosas

Nikki Usher

Jesenia De Moya Correa

Errin Haines

Melody Kramer

Millie Tran

Anita Varma

Wilson Liévano

Catalina Albeanu

Whitney Phillips

Megan McCarthy

Mandy Jenkins

Kendra Pierre-Louis

Tom Trewinnard

Larry Ryckman

Chase Davis

Don Day

Sam Guzik

Parker Molloy

Jesse Holcomb

Amy Schmitz Weiss

Jennifer Brandel

Izabella Kaminska

Ståle Grut

Kristen Jeffers

Raney Aronson-Rath

j. Siguru Wahutu

Stefanie Murray

David Cohn

Joanne McNeil

An Xiao Mina

Burt Herman

Gordon Crovitz

Kerri Hoffman

Eric Nuzum

Christoph Mergerson

Jonas Kaiser

Jennifer Coogan

Candace Amos

Tamar Charney

Joshua P. Darr

Daniel Eilemberg

Cristina Tardáguila

Joe Amditis

Tony Baranowski

Cherian George

Joy Mayer

Richard Tofel

Julia Angwin

David Skok

Robert Hernandez

Rachel Glickhouse

John Davidow

Julia Munslow

Natalia Viana

Christina Shih

Kathleen Searles & Rebekah Trumble

A.J. Bauer

Zizi Papacharissi

Mario García

Andrew Freedman

S. Mitra Kalita

Laxmi Parthasarathy

Mike Rispoli

Janelle Salanga

Shannon McGregor & Carolyn Schmitt

Stephen Fowler

Francesco Zaffarano

Amara Aguilar

Jessica Clark