For the past year, the Center for Cooperative Media has been collecting every instance of collaboration in journalism that it can find. The 175 collaborations identified so far encompass more than 1,500 newsrooms across nearly 100 countries.
It’s that breadth of partnership that makes the newest expansion of the database so exciting. Starting today, the entire database and submission form have been translated from English into Spanish and Portuguese.
Collaboration is one of the most powerful shifts in journalism practice, empowering newsrooms to do quality work despite facing myriad challenges and declining resources. The Center’s goal is to ensure that the lessons and advancements in collaboration are available to as many newsrooms as possible.
“We’ve been receiving a growing number of international requests and inquiries since we began building a community of practice around collaborative journalism in the U.S.,” said Stefanie Murray, director of the Center. “Through our research, we came to understand the breadth and depth of collaborations outside the U.S. and decided to catalogue such projects globally rather than focusing only on one country, which is why translating the database became important.”
Journalist Guilherme Amado put in the incredible work to make the translations possible.
“The main challenge of fostering collaboration among journalists is to promote its benefits for journalism,” Amado says. “Reporters still don’t know enough how powerful collaboration is. By translating the database we will be able to show successful examples and how they were developed.”
Amado, an investigative journalist in Brazil, works for the daily newspaper O Globo. He is an member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and vice-president of the Brazilian Investigative Journalism Association, Abraji. Guilherme was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford in 2017–18, where he designed ways to foster the collaboration among investigative journalists, especially cross-border collaborations.
“Latin America, as all the world, needs more examples of collaborative projects in journalism,” Amado said.
The Center’s vision for the database is to include collaborations happening around the world and expand the opportunities to learn from them.
Whether it’s the next Paradise Papers, covering stories with global impact like climate change or the industry’s collective need to address disinformation efforts, cross-border collaborations are only going to become more common and more important.
Verificado2018 was a recent collaboration that spanned 28 of the 32 Mexican states and included more than 90 newsrooms fact-checking information leading up to the election in Mexico. The project was recently recognized at the Online Journalism Awards with the prize for Excellence in Collaboration and Partnerships. (In fact, nearly 20% of projects recognized as finalists and winners at the OJAs were collaborations.)
Amado says that one of the biggest values of the database for newsrooms is seeing just how broad the possibilities of collaboration are. And the depth of information included about each project can help organizations plan how to structure and organize their partnerships.
“Funding, metrics, audience participation… There are so many points that good collaborative projects can include,” Amado says.
The work doesn’t end here. The Center needs your help to add more collaborations. Has your news participated in a collaboration or have you seen interesting collaborative work? We want to know about it. You can tell us by either emailing me (email@example.com) or by adding it to the database via our submission forms:
Heather Bryant is the founder and director of Project Facet, an open source infrastructure project that supports newsroom collaboration with tools to manage the logistics of creating, editing and distributing collaborative content, managing projects, facilitating collaborative relationships and sharing the best practices of collaborative journalism. She published the Collaborative Journalism Workbook, available at projectfacet.org.
About the Center for Cooperative Media: The Center is a grant-funded program of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. The Center is supported with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Democracy Fund, the New Jersey Local News Lab Fund of the Community Foundation of New Jersey and the Abrams Foundation. Its mission is to grow and strengthen local journalism, and in doing so serve New Jersey residents. The Center also runs a national program focused on collaborative journalism. For more information, visit CenterforCooperativeMedia.org.