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.

Raney Aronson-Rath

Anika Anand

Megan McCarthy

Matt DeRienzo

Brian Moritz

Richard Tofel

Matthew Pressman

Kendra Pierre-Louis

Julia Angwin

Tony Baranowski

Errin Haines

Kristen Jeffers

Chicas Poderosas

Amara Aguilar

Janelle Salanga

Eric Nuzum

Rachel Glickhouse

Millie Tran

Chase Davis

Christoph Mergerson

Larry Ryckman

Jesenia De Moya Correa

Jennifer Brandel

Joni Deutsch

Cristina Tardáguila

Stephen Fowler

Juleyka Lantigua

Matt Karolian

An Xiao Mina

Ariel Zirulnick

Parker Molloy

S. Mitra Kalita

Anthony Nadler

Mike Rispoli

Cherian George

Nikki Usher

Moreno Cruz Osório

Kathleen Searles & Rebekah Trumble

Izabella Kaminska

Joy Mayer

Tom Trewinnard

Mary Walter-Brown

Joshua P. Darr

Anita Varma

David Cohn

Don Day

j. Siguru Wahutu

Paul Cheung

Melody Kramer

James Green

Natalia Viana

Laxmi Parthasarathy

Sarah Stonbely

Amy Schmitz Weiss

Simon Galperin

Wilson Liévano

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

Julia Munslow

Jonas Kaiser

Joanne McNeil

Zizi Papacharissi

Jesse Holcomb

David Skok

Simon Allison

Candace Amos

Tamar Charney

Whitney Phillips

Jessica Clark

Mandy Jenkins

Robert Hernandez

Francesco Zaffarano

Joe Amditis

Mario García

Kerri Hoffman

Sam Guzik

Meena Thiruvengadam

John Davidow

Christina Shih

Ståle Grut

Gordon Crovitz

Jody Brannon

Doris Truong

Andrew Freedman

Burt Herman

Catalina Albeanu

Sarah Marshall

Alice Antheaume

Shalabh Upadhyay

Jennifer Coogan

Kristen Muller

A.J. Bauer

Victor Pickard

Shannon McGregor & Carolyn Schmitt

Michael W. Wagner

Jim Friedlich

Daniel Eilemberg

Gonzalo del Peon

Gabe Schneider

Stefanie Murray

Cindy Royal